Uhh, no, this isn’t the long-awaited student article. Patience, Iago, patience. Today’s wrath is directed at one Chip Ainsworth of something called the Recorder, which is apparently some sort of town newsletter in something called a Greenfield. I’ve never heard of him, frankly, because, uhhh, Greenfield? Really? Wikipedia lists it as: “a six-day (Monday through Saturday) morning daily newspaper published in Greenfield, Massachusetts, USA, covering all of Franklin County, Massachusetts; Hinsdale, New Hampshire; and Brattleboro, Guilford and Vernon, Vermont.” So, in other words, a newspaper covering a region in which nothing happens.
That’s really the only excuse for an article like the one Ainsworth published, which spews all kinds of ridiculous venom about how much Don Cahoon sucks, yadda yadda yadda, McCutcheon. I won’t even begin to try to match Mark’s brilliant response article, just go read it now even though you most likely already have. Anyway, the same line that caught his ire also got our attention:
Meanwhile the hockey team’s only dedicated blog — “Fear the Triangle” — should more aptly be called “Fear the Truth.”
Needless to say, you are not in our good graces, Chipper. I might even say you’re hovering dangerously close to the level of Lowell/Jack Parker/that one dumb bitch who went to Michigan over UMass and bragged about it in the Globe. Anyway, this wasn’t going anywhere particularly deep, I was mostly just looking for an opportunity to paraphrase Aziz Ansari: FUCK YOU CHIP, WE DO EXIST!
That is all.
P.S. Oh, and Fight Mass and friends will be making an appearance rooting for the UMass hockey alumni of the Worcester Sharks this weekend. If nothing else, we get to rag on Carter Hutton some more. The game is Saturday night and we welcome anyone in the area to attend as well if you’re sad about lacrosse’s disappointing return to earth, the Bruins’ mediocrity and Boston College’s impending third national title in four years. Good, harmless fun!
P.P.S. No shit, really? Some other site has done a column called “This Week in Disrespect” before? We’ve only been poking fun at that for like a year and a half now. But I thought of a more fitting title this morning anyway. I think we’ll make this a regular feature, in fact.
After last night’s kinda sorta shitshow against St Louis, its easy to be a little negative towards this team. Lord knows I’ve been critical after, and during (cue a long, steady Bob Dylan Eeeeeh) wins. However, in attempt to stay positive, lets point out some things I like about this team, and the season so far. IN BULLET FORM! (like allowed tweets)
- Big City. Listen, my hatred of big city (aka little village, census designated place, etc) is well established. And even early in this season where some heralded city as a different, better player, I called bullshit. However, as I looked closer at his game this year, I’ll eat the crow and say that city is not only an asset for the team because of his size, but he actually has some game. Offensively, he does often still stay in a place and not add much, but I have noticed a major improvement by city defensively. He is switching well, showing hustle and, thankfully, NOT JUST STAYING IN THE PAINT FOR ENTIRE POSSESSIONS! He’s moving his feet, contesting shots, and I would say with confidence that he is certainly one of the better defensive players on this team. Good job city, keep it up!
- Raphiael Putney is going to be good, scary good, by the time he’s a junior. And as we stand, halfway through his first “real” season, he is one of the better players on this team. Is he a little raw in current form? Of course, but he is showing more promise than any of the freshmen last year. He’s a good shooter, but thankfully he’s not afraid to crash the boards as evidenced by his 9 rebounds last night. People ask who is going to carry the team next year in the absence of Gurley, but I’m predicting it right now: Putney will be the best player on this team in 2 years. He is the prototypical college player. I little weird looking physically (I often stare at his ankles when watching this team live, they are the 10th wonder of the world), but the type of body that makes him athletic enough to outmaneuver most power forwards in the league, but lanky enough to force tough shots on guards and forwards. I love Putney, and he alone will make the 2 hour voyage west to see this team next year worth it.
- Speaking of the future, I have great optimism regarding the future of this team and group. Its an awkward sophomore year for this team, who we all knew was going to have to grow together. While players like TV have taken a slight “step back”, i feel like the core 4 (I’m excluding Freddie for the sake of positivity) have grown as a unit. Javon has off nights, but adds a sense of leadership to the group. TV has shown flashes of being a better player than last year, last night included. He can be a low post force and hopefully it will all come together by years end. Sampson has been less visible, but I feel like he makes fewer mistakes than most on the team. He will never be the number one scorer, but he sneakily affects games, which will be a major asset in the next few years. Putney, as I’ve said before, will be great as well. This team, despite the missteps, has improved this year despite losing Rickey Harris. I thought this team would be as good as last year (read: not very) or worse without the offensive output and leadership. What do we have now? A decidedly better team that has a real shot of getting a home court A10 playoff game. Thats a jump that not even some of the most optimistic idiot message board posters would have expected. Next year? I wouldn’t be surprised to get a bye. Obviously its too far away to even predict such a thing, but its in play. The trajectory of this team is up.
- Gary Correia is a solid point guard, just what this team needs. He isn’t going to put up big numbers, but he puts more on the table than he takes off. He will be missed next year, no doubt.
- Anthony Gurley can score. And often, unlike last night, these points come naturally through the flow of the game. His points are often sneaky, and while he’s averaging 20+, watching the team he never seems to take over the offense. That is, to me, a good thing. Last year watching Rickey you were constantly aware of his presence, as he took the majority of the shots and the ball was constantly in his hands. With Gurley, he doesn’t need the ball to score. We can get a good feed and make a shot or, more ideally, get the ball while streaking and attack the basket. He is in no way a player of the year candidate (sorry student section) but he is by far the best player on the team, and he didn’t back into it. He improved his game in the off season and is now a great player. Sadly, its his last year.
- Freddie knows how to get the most out of flagrants (hey, I’m being positive, remember?)
Also, to clarify some behind the scenes blog stuff, I, Matt, will continue to be writing for the blog, and tweeting in a publicizing role. Max is also still with the blog. I stand behind the tweets on sunday, as they were valid complaints I have, wrapped within sarcastic tweets. However, given that the blog’s twitter speaks for the entire entity that is Fight Mass, and golly we don’t agree on much, it shouldn’t have come from that medium. I feel shame for bringing criticism to a blog that was started to be a positive student force rather than the snickering bitter asshole (which, notably, I am). I’ve been the loose cannon for a long time now, and I often go a little too far. If you were offended by the tweets, I apologize. I would personally contend that you are wrong and can go fuck yourself for you head in the sand positivity, but as someone speaking for the blog, I say don’t hold one opinion against the umbrella that is this blog. In the words of Derek Walsh: Deal with it.
Much Love to the UMass community.
Err… summer. But hockey season is upon us so you will be once again seeing an increasing stream of Fight Mass blog posts. To all of you that religiously checked in over the summer, we apologize, but we have begun our operations in earnest for the fall. We’ve added some new sharing options for facebook, twitter, and stumbleupon at the bottom of each post; so if you really enjoy something we’ve said, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d click on those buttons and share our work with others. Again, thanks for the readership and we’ll hopefully be seeing all of you on the 22nd.
Went ahead with that long-awaited update to the encyclopedia page. It’s got room to grow, but I think there’s a good baseline there, and the organizational structure is better than it was. And hey, 2,000+ words of new material to peruse on these long summer days!
I’ll be updating the writers section soon too.
Today I graduated from the University of Massachusetts, joining the thousands of alumni who have survived the four years in the Pioneer Valley. It’s a bittersweet moment in my life; on one hand, life moves on, I will have a degree from a fine national institution of higher learning and might possibly be done forever with the toils of homework, essays, and graded projects. On the other hand, the real world is a scary place in this climate, and the comfort of the wonderful place I called home for four years will never fully be regained. It’s a celebratory day, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little choked up leaving Amherst for the last time as a student (barring an unlikely but possible grad school stint).
Just as the Boston pro sports teams have been a constant in my life, so too did UMass athletics in both good times and bad during my time at the school. It’s through UMass sports that I’ve met and/or bonded with some of the greatest people I had the privilege of spending time with. It was through football that Derek and myself met Matt, and it was through basketball and hockey that we became the good friends we are today. Sports led me to some really great friendships. Goggles, Hamel, Tyler, Andres, Beth, Ben…you guys will be sorely missed and I really hope we remain in touch and our paths cross again as we alumni come back to root on our alma mater in the bright times ahead. Melissa, Matt, Derek…you guys have the reigns (in my opinion) of the student section and I hope to see it continue to grow and flourish.
As for the blog? Matt and Derek are in charge now. As I head off to Florida for the next eight months, I’ll be tracking these teams from afar as closely as I can, although I can’t guarantee much until January when I make my triumphant, tanned return to the Bay State. At that point hopefully I can make it out to Amherst for some games (if all goes to plan, I’ll be down in Bristol, just a 90-minute drive away!). Either way, I’ll provide as much insight as I can, but it’s in Matt and Walsh’s (and anyone they choose to add along the way’s) hands. And lemme tell you, you’re in good hands. I mean no disrespect to anyone, but these two are the best, most devoted fans the class of ’11 has to offer.
So that’s the skinny on that. Thanks again to everyone who’s made UMass the best four years of my life (so far) and I’ll see you all again reaaaall soon.
Obviously. Hope at least some of you got a laugh out of it. If I got anyone to believe it for even a few seconds, mission accomplished.
It’s been a busy time for the Fight Mass writers, and coupled with the, err, complete lack of hockey, we obviously haven’t provided much material of late. Hopefully we’ll get around to some housekeeping, like some more pseudo-optimistic talk about what is shaping up to be a promising recruiting class, as well as get Encyclopedia UMass-ica done to a satisfactory extent.
In the meantime, we can’t really do much better than to defer you to the breaking recruiting news at Fear the Triangle.
Is it October yet?
Well, frankly, yes, but your UMass Minutemen (16-13-0 (11-11-0 HEA)) need them pretty desperately in this weekend’s home-and-home series against the Merrimack Warriors (11-15-1 (8-11-1 HEA)). In fact, both these teams could really use four points. While the Minutemen have just given up fourth place to BU, Merrimack sits just two points behind struggling Vermont, who may have dismissed their Hockey East Tournament berth along with their points per game leader.
The Merrimack offense ranks fifth in Hockey East right now at 3.11 goals per game. The five on five offense features the two-man show of super freshman forward Stephane De Costa (13-22-35) and junior forward Chris Barton (17-14-31). This is combined with an excellent power play that scores on 24.6% of its opportunities, good for second in Hockey East. Six Warriors have three or more goals on the power play this season (the team leader in PPG is Chris Barton, who has seven). Secondary scoring has been an issue for Merrimack this season, so if the Minutemen can shut down De Costa and Barton (and this is a mighty big if), they should be in good shape.
Merrimack’s defense is offensive. Really, it is that bad. They are dead last in Hockey East in scoring defense at 3.37 goals against per game. Merrimack’s defensemen are so bad that only one is a plus player (Brandon Sadlowsky is a +4), and Pat Bowen is an atrocious -12. While talking about Merrimack’s poor defense, one must never forget to mention their two goalies. They are Joe Cannata (.886 save%, 3.10 GAA in Hockey East play) and Andrew Braithwaite (.895 save%, 3.40 GAA). There, I mentioned them. I’ll let those terrible save percentages speak for themselves.
Meanwhile, what can we say about our Minutemen? Last Friday, the defense played extremely well and the offense couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket. That’s it; the offense set things up well and had plenty of chances but they were either snuffed out by Chris Rawlings, sent infuriatingly wide, or completely missed by players who didn’t have their sticks on the ice. Saturday was better for the offense, but the defense had returned to their undisciplined ways. Although whistle-happy refs contributed to the loss (calling 12 penalties in the third period!), the whole team failed to keep its cool (including Toot) and Michael Lecompte got himself ejected for fighting, meaning we won’t have him tonight either. I might add, the penalty kill gave up three of Northeastern’s six goals.
Merrimack is 2-2-1 in its last five games. The Warriors are coming off a three point weekend, but it was against Vermont, and Justin Milo didn’t play. Their win the week before was against UMass Lowell, who were still reeling from the loss of Jeremy Dehner at the time. The last time Merrimack faced a legitimate opponent (read: I’m not saying UML isn’t a legitimate opponent, they just weren’t during that stretch) they gave up five goals to Northeastern. That being said, Merrimack is 10-2-0 at home this year, so beating them tonight may take quite the trick.
The offense needs to continue to produce goals as it did last Saturday if the Mass Attack expects to win this weekend. Merrimack’s sieve-like defense should hopefully give the Minutemen a spark. And sophomores Justin Braun and Mike Marcou need to step up their defense, they are -8 and -6, respectively on the season. If the offense does its job and the defense stays disciplined, there is no reason the Minutemen cannot take four desperately needed points from this weekend.
P.S. Good luck to Andres and anyone else who’s making the trip to Lawler tonight, I wish I could go but I couldn’t get out of work.
P.P.S. UMass Men’s Lacrosse has its home opener on Saturday at 1PM at Garber Field against Hartford. The LAX team is 1-0 on the year and let’s not forget they made the NCAA tourney last year. The LAX team is an often overlooked member of the UMass athletic community that deserves more fan support!
Scores UMass Fans Should Keep an Eye On
UMass Lowell (7th Place, 20 Points) vs. Maine (3rd Place, 24 Points)
Boston University (4th Place, 22 Points) vs. Providence (sucks!)
Boston College (2nd Place, 26 Points) vs. Northeastern (6th Place, 21 Points)
UMass Lowell (7th Place, 20 Points) vs. Maine (3rd Place, 24 Points)
Providence (sucks!) vs. Boston University (4th Place, 22 Points)
Other Hockey East Action This Weekend
Vermont vs. New Hampshire
Vermont vs. New Hampshire
…and also the blog. Or at least, it will be. You’ve noticed the new tabs at the top perhaps; the new Writers section is under construction and About has been separated into Encyclopedia UMass-ica, which will hopefully have some actual content by the end of the week. I mean, we do have lives outside of this website, kinda.
Also forthcoming, a new logo and a new layout which will theoretically be more UMass-themed (read: maroon and white) and more space-efficient (read: columns will be on both sides instead of just the left). All of these fancy new things, whenever I feel like getting around to it. Look forward to it, damnit!
Also, we’ve continued having 100-plus views every day since the BC event page was posted last week. We really appreciate your patronage and we hope you guys continue to check in daily and SPREAD THE WORD. You can also follow us on Twitter: Fight_Mass. I swear we’re gonna get around to putting up flyers before hockey season ends…I think.
So, uhh, is it Friday yet?
I want to take this moment to discuss the music played at the hockey games. When I heard the title song (“Riot” by Three Days Grace) earlier this season, I thought how ironic it was that a song like that would be playing at UMass. Afterall, the lyrics are “let’s start a riot”
So that got me thinking, can we, as a group of bloggers, fans, and students, list every song that is played during our beloved hockey games?
I’ll start by posting my favorite: “No Limit” by 2Unlimited (the song for the first puck drop of every period)
So please feel free to post your favorite songs and comment on what songs you like and dislike in the comments section and maybe as a blog, we can come up with an ultimate UMass hockey mix.
In other hockey east news, Maine swept UNH, which puts us in 4th place, but a mere 2 points out from second place. We also have two games against Maine (tied for second) at the end of the season and one game against BC (also tied for second) too. What does this mean? Those three games are going to help decide the top 4 spots of Hockey East.
Northeastern is coming up this weekend for White Bright Out Night (rumor has it that the term “whiteout” is trademarked). I will also be going to the game at Northeastern, so to any fans considering the journey, they usually put visiting fans in section 23, and I might request it since it ended up being primarily UMass last game.
And finally, the pot-o-beans is tonight. I was looking forward to watching NEU play Harvard, but apparently NESN doesn’t think the game is going to be big enough to broadcast. So I will wait for the 8:00 BU BC matchup. I am thinking that a BU victory would help UMass more since BC is doing better in the Pairwise, and a BC loss might move UMass up. So GO BU? (can they both lose? is that possible?) or at least BU should try to take out Muse and every other BC player so we can have an easier time when we venture out of the quiet comfort of the Mullins and move to the Conte Forum where the Superfrauds will outnumber us. Ugh.
But we will revamp the BC hate later. Right now lets climb the NEU goalie Mountain (who was playing during the first 4-1 victory at Matthews earlier this season) and start the Northeastern (girls are husky) hate.
Before this post, some business: First off, we’ve had an absolute explosion of new visitors in the last few days, undoubtedly thanks to our self-pimping on Goggles’s/Hamel’s/my event page for the UMass-BC game on Facebook. I just want to thank you all for checking us out and we hope you keep following the blog for the rest of the season and beyond, and again, contributors are always welcome so if you want to write for us in any capacity, big or small, contact one of us through here or Facebook or wherever. And please spread the word. We’re trying to make this about the student body here, something I think gives us a unique perspective as opposed to the other college hockey blogs out there (not that we don’t like their angles – we’re just filling an empty niche). As soon as our lazy asses get around to it we’ll be pimping the blog out on bulletin boards around campus, but word-of-mouth is always nice too. We’re not doing this for money or for our own careers – we just want our work to get read, and to open discussions.
And one more thing: Welcome aboard Ben, a.k.a. “Flag Guy!” We’re lovin’ your contributions so far.
So halfway through tonight’s Xavier-UMass basketball game, with X up 50-33 and with all the momentum in the world, I said to nobody in particular, “Let’s just make it respectable. That’s all I ask. Get it to single digits, make a run, show us something.”
It started reasonably enough, with Vinson and Riley knocking down a few shots and UMass up 13-10. And then Big City checked into the game and proceeded to play zero defense, Xavier got away with a vicious trip on someone (Gurley, IIRC) and everyone fell apart as the Musketeers went on a monster run to seemingly put the game out of reach before the 10 minute mark of the first half. The Gurley Show looked like it needed to be cancelled. Ricky Harris looked…old. Vinson disappeared. “Here we go again,” we groaned. “Is it Friday yet?” we groaned. It was so bad that the biggest applause came when the Hoop Band decided to reveal that they have, in fact, learned how to play not one but THREE Lady Gaga songs (Bad Romance, Paparazzi and Poker Face). Sidenote: This is the greatest moment for the Hoop Band since they started playing “Army” by Ben Folds last year.
Then, lo and behold, UMass came out of the halftime locker room possessed. Gurley and Riley stopped taking stupid 3’s. Ricky started to actually knock down shots. Javorn Farrell became a beast on both ends of the floor, as did TV. UMass was hustling defensively. Even City looked more like the guy we saw in the Memphis game, shedding the “Big Shitty” label if only fleetingly. People like Sean “Hov” Carter and Big City were – gasp – actually hitting free-throws.
This is the UMass team we want to see from here on out. This is the up-tempo, aggressive, drive-and-dish offense Kellogg wants to run. This is the energetic defense these guys need to start using. This is what DK and Walberg are building here in Amherst, a team that could develop into a serious A-10 title contender and bring basketball glory back to the Pioneer Valley. UMass erased that 17-point deficit, and even held a lead in the later stages of the game! Hell, that’s better than T-Fraud’s teams did last time Xavier was in town a couple years ago, and we were good back then!
Ultimately, and somewhat predictably, the machine ran out of gas – Xavier showed their combination of experience and young talent, pulling away with a big run as the defense came together to shut down Ricky, Gurley, et al. There were still some rough edges, sure, and Xavier shot itself in the foot with careless turnovers to help fuel the run. But for once, the Mullins faithful finally saw first-hand for the first time (unless they were in Boston for the Memphis game) flashes of the potential this team has. Remember, Farrell’s a freshman. Riley’s a freshman. Vinson’s a freshman. These guys are only going to get smarter, stronger, more efficient, more adjusted to the offense they’re trying to run.
Until tonight, and even through the first half, I was concerned about the progress this team was making. I’ve conceded that the gelling of this team probably won’t end up happening quickly enough to rescue their A-10 tournament hopes, but I was getting to the point where I actually felt this team was regressing. But they heeded my call. They showed me something. And that’s all you can ask for in a rebuilding year.
Baby steps. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the team keeps taking them, in a forward direction, from here on out.
So yeah, Friday. BC. About that…I’ll be hitting up the Motion City Soundtrack concert tonight (Thursday) in Hartford, and between that and classes I prooobably won’t have time to write anything before the BC game, or, for that matter, Saturday’s annual URI road-trip. Maybe the other guys will having something to say, but otherwise, fear not, there’ll be plenty to say after the games, good or bad. Until then, all I have to say is…Friday, PACK THE DAMN MULLINS CENTER! (as if it even needs to be said!) And as for Saturday: this.
It will never, ever, ever get old.