One down…

…and 3.6, tomorrow and I’m out of here… (/Ben Folds)

Ahem. The Minutemen put together one of their finest performances of the season tonight (technically last night) and downed the River Hawks 3-2 at the Bill, making all of us at Fight Mass thoroughly happy. It was a bizarre game in which UMass thoroughly dominated for bursts, and fell back on their heels for stretches, but the defense was tough-as-nails throughout, and the Minutemen overcame a thoroughly impressive performance by Nevin Hamilton in net for Lowell. I’ll be honest, when Lowell tied the game late in the 3rd on Auger’s goal, then went on a power play with four minutes to go, it was one of the scariest moments of the season, but Lowell continued their pattern of untimely penalties and undisciplined play late in games and I believe it was Worthington whose penalty negated the man-advantage and led to Mikey’s game-winner.

So now it comes down to tomorrow night, at Tsongas, for the Alumni Cup. The Minutemen have shown what can happen when they play to their potential, especially on the defensive end. Regardless, nothing seems to come easy for these guys, and with Lowell’s collective back against the wall, this showdown in Coketown will undoubtedly be a key moment in their season going forward. UMass already blew one chance earlier this year to kick the Sewer Rats when they were down and out. With a potentially-huge student turnout from the Minutemen faithful across eastern Mass, and the suddenly-existent Lowell student section still on break, Tsongas should lose at least some of its intimidating edge. Toot and the boys may be able to afford to squander this opportunity, but it would behoove them not to.

-E.M. Bitter

(Yup. Finally read it. But more on that later; first, hockey.)

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