Welcome to the second installment of my new weekly feature, “Max Outsources The Labor of Writing of His Blog to his Readers.” In today’s episode, Jarod gives his own account of the student section experience from the Bentley game, which I thought was a solid crowd but nothing compared to what it’ll look like Friday. There’s also some actual hockey talk sprinkled in there, along with a few of my own italicized thoughts. Give it a read and start getting amped for a weekend with
Scoops Mazurik’s Jack Parker’s Terriers.
Off the Glass – by Jarod Hendrickson
It’s a privilege to now be a contributor to a blog I’ve read religiously since freshmen year. My main focus is hockey, as football is in CAA purgatory for a year while we undergo the transition to D1, and I will refuse to acknowledge the clusterfuck that is UMass basketball. [Editor’s note: But…but…there’s no more dribble drive!!!1 – Max] I’ll try and keep this column updated on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, while dealing with the “sack up and raise your GPA this year” period, which is also referred to as junior year in college. Anywho, down to my recap of the first four games and some thoughts (rants).
Well so much for that eh? Just when this team offers you a small glimmer of hope, they quickly piss it away less than 24 hours later. Maybe this is just a drunk, knee jerk reaction, but seriously. I’ve always been a glass half full of whiskey kind of guy, and Friday’s home opener, “good enough for 2 points and a W” performance was enough to offer me hope that this team was headed in the right direction. Sure freshmen backstop Kevin Boyle let in a couple of questionable goals, but keep in mind he’s a freshmen and would hopefully learn the ropes sooner than later. On Saturday however, he took a step back from that development, and was chased from the game in favor of sophomore Jeff Teglia after giving up 5 bad goals. Why it took Toot so long to pull him nobody knows, the kid obviously didn’t have it from the opening drop. UMass then gave us the usual “valiant effort but still falling short in the end” comeback that we’ve become accustomed to, and dropped 2 points to (lowly?) Providence in the empty cavern that is Schneider Arena. [Also dark. It’s very dark. – MB] In two games against Northeastern and Providence, UMass has only come away with 1 point. Honestly, that sucks. We really needed those points against two lower tier Hockey East teams. The following weekend, UMass dropped a 4-2 loss to #1 BC. Teglia got the start, and stood on his head and played extremely well, despite the score (which could have easily been 34-2). UMass now sits at (1-2-1), good for 7th in Hockey East.
Friday’s home opener vs. the high flying Falcons of Bentley has been well recapped and is old news, so I’ll point out what I saw from the student section from halfway up section R (due to a sober driver who missed the exit on rt. 116, thanks bro). Fans were loud and supportive, but some of the chants died off way too early. Remember kids, we do the whole “fuck ‘em up fuck ‘em” routine again after the faceoff after a goal. I’m kind of glad we got stuck up a ways in the seats, as everyone soon followed along after they saw our group chanting again. No worries, the new faces in the stands will learn soon enough. During intermissions (which I’m pretty sure are primarily for cigarettes and Yukon Jack outside while avoiding eye contact with security) some people left early and others were still showing up. The thing that really got me were the loud cheers after a Bentley goal. Cheers for Bentley? No. Cheers for some douchebag in a Hawaiian shirt who couldn’t hold his alcohol and was slumped in his seat for half the game, then finally dragged out by his friend? Yes. Pathetic. Fuck him and watch the game. We’ve all had those nights, but there are much better things to focus on than the lightweight. Overall, I’ll give the student section a B- for the night, because I’m nice and it was Bentley after all.
Back to the road ahead…a home and home with #12 Boston University this weekend. This Friday should easily be a sell out. A big name like BU coming to town, a NESN telecast, Halloween weekend, no excuses. The campus is buzzing over the upcoming weekend, and what better way to start it than with everyone’s beloved UMass hockey. So get there early (doors open at 5:30), be loud, and stay for the whole game. You’ve got all night for Halloween weekend shenanigans, what’s a couple of hours? [No, but seriously kids…get there early. Even if the game doesn’t sell out, there’s only so much room in the student section, and at some point they cut that off and make students buy general admission tix. Even if your friends are saving your seats, don’t expect to get in if you stroll up to the Bill after 6:30 or so. – Max]
Grabbing two points this weekend would be out-fucking-standing. Hopefully they can look back at this start of the season and call it a “character building experience” and say these first four games proved to be a shot of reality that shoved them in the direction that we’d like to call progress and success. You can see the potential is there. It’s no doubt they could hang with the top teams in Hockey East. The offense (primarily the first line) is lighting it up, defense is solid, the question now is between the pipes, something we’re not used to saying. This team is on the cusp of something, and they are starting to gel right before our eyes. But we can only use this excuse for so long before they have to take the ice night in and night out and get the wins. There are no moral victories anymore. Last year was rebuilding, this year needs to translate into a higher seed in the hockey east tournament and maybe a key upset and advancement into the second round. But we’re not there yet, no not even close. It’s only October..much more hockey to be played, and the toughest stretch of the season coming up. This team needs a couple of good; solid wins under their belt. With the confidence from said wins, who knows what can happen. What better place to start than against BU? Oh and is it Friday yet?
Alright kids, there you have it. I will stress one more time for those newbies out there: get there early. BU and BC games are always near-sellouts, and like I said, the student section has a maximum capacity that normally gets reached before the ticketed seats go, and likewise, the cheaper general admission seats go before the assigned (and more expensive) seats do. UMass has been playing Providence for Halloween weekend for several years now, so to be playing a much better draw of an opponent means expect chaos. Oh, and enjoy – Halloween (with the costumes and such) is one of my favorite times of year in Amherst. I’m excited to get to return after spending the holiday in Orlando last year. See you all at the Bill.