Winless weekends are never truly fun, especially when we UMass fans have been treated to so many of them over the past year and a half. The Minutemen came up 0 for 2 in a big hockey/football weekend against front-running BC and soon-to-be-former CAA archrival New Hampshire. There’s a little bit of silver lining to each loss, enough to make me hesitate to use “shit sandwich” to describe the weekend as a whole. I think the somewhat less-pessimistic “less than stellar” will suffice.
Friday, the Minutemen lost for the 926th straight time to BC, 4-2. Not a lot to say about this other than BC is good and we are not as good at hockey. In fact, it really sucks to admit this, but the Eagles actually look better this year in spite of their losses on offense and in goal. On top of all that, it doesn’t even look like we can make fun of their fan apathy this year – Conte Forum had golden-clad spoiled brats filling both endzones AND an entire side of the arena, something we haven’t seen in our Conte visits in recent years. You know, good for them, it’s about time they come out to support this runaway powerhouse of a hockey program. (Then again, their basketball team has been picked to finish dead last in the ACC, and their football team is on its way to a winless season against teams that aren’t in the middle of transitioning from FCS. So I guess they have to have something.)
It was good to see Teglia perform his best Dainton impression in net (complete with trying to play the puck at any and all opportunities, to the detriment of our heartrates) and props to Andrew Tegeler, who scored his first collegiate goal and earns my Kubbie Point for the game (Matt’s, I believe, goes to Teglia). But barely scratching to within 2 goals of BC is not going to cut it. It just isn’t. Papa Triangle is starting to question if this team has made any improvement at all over last year’s. I can’t say I blame him, but let’s wait and see how they handle BU (who just lost to Holy Cross!!!1 and also who UMass played better against last year than they did against BC) before we start jumping off the library.
Of course, if Toot keeps the HoPS line separated again like he inexplicably did in this game, we’ll probably lose both games by 10 goals. Not really, but yeah, let’s not be doing that anymore, k? K. (I will leave ample opportunity for Derek to rant about this, because hoooooh boy was he steamed about this.)
Saturday, Matt and I joined the Section U guys and gals for the second and final annual Colonial Clash at Gillette against the Wildcats of
Villanova wait that’s next week… New Hampshire. It was the very definition of a mixed bag for me, though as a short-term event I thought it was a great experience. Here are some observations:
– We lost the game, in case you didn’t hear. Now, as far as this season is concerned, it is (Rob Lowe) lit-rally (/Rob Lowe) irrelevant. In the long run…I’d actually argue that losing this game HELPS the Minutemen. I don’t really feel like talking about Kevin Morris any more, but rest assured, the “fire Morris” sentiment is getting stronger every day. There’s absolutely nothing about this guy that gives any of us confidence that he’s the direction the University needs to be moving in. None. Zero. Yesterday’s game was classic Morris mismanagement – Pagel finally signs of figuring out this offense, so let’s keep running with Hernandez against a good run defense. The special teams looked completely unprepared for this game on every single kickoff. You can’t blame Morris for things like turnovers, Levengood’s inability to kick, umm, anything, or the refs’ inability to understand concepts like “pass interference” and “the clock stops when the ball-carrier goes out of bounds.” You can blame Morris for “getting outcoached by an FCS coach.” Which he does, week in and week out, and when it does, the losses won’t be as close as this one was.
More troublesome to me, seeing as how the game was for all intents and purposes an exhibition, was the game presentation itself. Gillette Stadium, for all its daddy’s charge-style excess (fireplaces?!!!) and sterile reputation by NFL standards, was home to some of the most amateurish in-game presentation I’ve ever seen at a sporting event. We here at Fight Mass like to laugh at things like this – like that game we went to in Lowell, pre-renovations, where the announcer called out “30 seconds to play in the period,” Ke$ha randomly came on during the game, and they spent every stoppage on some Rowdy the River Hawk cornball storyline. Yesterday at Gillette felt an awful lot like that, only it was our team, and…wait, what’s that? Why, that’s Matty G’s music…nooooooooooooooooo!
It will be a glorious, glorious day when Matty G and his noise meters and over-the-top, trying-WAY-too-hard-and-failing-miserably delivery are no longer associated with our university. (Nothing personal.) For the time being, can we at least quarantine him to PA duties at hockey games and lineups at basketball? There is NO reason, in a football game, we should have a pre-recorded video of Matty G, being COMPLETELY serious, looking like a Tim and Eric Awesome Show sketch – only, again, not a joke. On top of all that, the clips would freeze halfway through. It was hilarious at first, then you remember “hey, remember how this whole MAC thing relies heavily on getting people in Eastern MA to come to games and want to come back?” If you’re not going to wow folks on the field, could we at least invest a dollar or two in the game presentation?
I don’t know a single person who enjoys Matty G who finds “NOOOOOOOISE MEEEETERS!” cool. We tolerate it at hockey because there’s so much else to the presentation and because we’re more concerned about the action on the ice anyway. I just think if we’re gonna have Gillette Motherfucking Stadium as our home field, we can at least try with the presentation. No Matty G. Let the POWER AND CLASS OF NEW ENGLAND lead the students in cheering. Hell, pump their music over the loudspeakers if you have to (BC sure does that with their hockey band). And for the love of Cosby, can we please get a copy of Jock Jams 2 that doesn’t skip? Please tell me they fired the intern who thought “hey, well, this recording of ‘Y’all Ready for This’ skips badly every time we play it, but let’s keep playing it every five minutes.” I’m guessing no, since we’re talking about a school that still doesn’t realize that the recording of “Fight Mass” that plays at hockey games has a nasty skip in it that throws the whole “Go! U! Mass!” chant off for everyone. Mind you, this has been the case for AT LEAST SIX YEARS NOW. (We could, of course, fix this with a hockey band.)
Okay, so that rant went in a lot of directions. Long story short: Gillette good, Teglia good, HoPS line good, Matty G bad, splitting up HoPS line bad. But you get your choice of toppings! That’s good. The toppings are also cursed. That’s bad. Can I go now?
Sorry I’ve been so scattershot this past week or so, what with my whole moving up to New Hampshire business. I have another article from contributor extraordinaire Jarod that I failed to post regarding UMass’s student section from the home opener and a semi-preview of the road ahead for hockey. Since most of it is relevant (especially regarding the student section, as we prepare for what had better be a sellout with the Halloweekend Hockey East home opener against BU) I will post it this week, along with hopefully the Kubbie Kounter page and maybe one or two other goodies.
Take care, and remember that a seven nation army couldn’t hold me down. AGH DAMNIT BC