Unsurprisingly, Merrimack’s Chris Barton won Hockey East Player of the Week honors after he followed up his 4 assist night against Northeastern with a 2 goal and 3 assist performance durring the 11-2 drubbing of UMass on Saturday. Rob Madore continued his Jekyll-and-Hyde season by winning Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week following his 70 save (.972 save%) weekend against Providence. For the second week in a row, no UMass player even made Hockey East’s weekly “Top Performers” list.
In other news of Hockey East players winning awards at the Mass Attack’s expense, Chris Rawlings was named Hockey East Goaltender of the Month for January. Rawlings (seriously guys, why the fuck are his eyes so close together?) went 2-0-1 against the Minutemen in January, including a shutout. In slightly happier news, Mike Pereira was named a runner up for Hockey East’s Rookie of the Month Award. In 8 games in January, Pereira had 3 goals and 4 assists.
After going 3-0-1 against the bottom of Hockey East, the Minutemen have gone 0-3-1 in their last four games against the top and middle of Hockey East. Over this period, they have been outshot 135-110 outscored 21-4. In the BC game alone, UMass was outshot 43-16. The penalty kill self-destructed on Saturday (giving up 3 goals on 6 chances) and the power play is as inept as ever (it went 0-for-19 over the last 4 games). The return of Mike Marcou has done anything but stabilize the defense (he was on ice for at least 6 of the Merrimack goals; the game sheet fails to list the defense on ice for the 9th MC goal). Excepting only the tie against Northeastern, the Minutemen have been beat in all 3 zones recently, and in the last two games the Minutemen were beaten in literally every single facet of the game.
Perhaps the embarrassing blowout at Merrimack will light a fire under the team (hoping for a silver lining, I am). This team has two home games this weekend. One against a tough BU team and another against a very, very weak Providence team. This team can either step up and compete (and beat Providence and at least show some competitiveness against BU (idk, maybe tie? if they actually somehow magically won I’d probably die of a heart attack on the spot)) or it can fold and take less than two points from this weekend, in which case the outlook for the rest of the season is worse than any I have seen in my time at UMass (bad enough to make me question whether we can even make it into the playoffs).