I blame the noid.
Well, once again, a visit to Agganis Arena resulted in a blowout loss for the Minutemen, almost as if to mock my pregame predictions of a much closer game.
To be fair, from all accounts, the Minutemen played a hell of a lot better than in their previous four-goal defeat at BU, dominating the first period but trailing 1-0 as the Terriers got the first of many timely goals. Alas, regardless of the Jack Parker influence on this game (i.e. whenever something didn’t go BU’s way, it was argued extensively to the point where a makeup call was a foregone conclusion), the Minutemen simply didn’t capitalize on their early chances, and, as in games like the 4-2 home loss to UNH and the Bentley loss in the UConn tournament, appeared to let their frustrations derail their play down the stretch.
Not a good sign, and not a good showing by the defense (which, we must add, continues to miss Doug Kublin, who was so good in those Lowell games and the “turning point” Northeastern game), but a loss is still a loss, even if it throws UMass into the negative as far as their Hockey East pythagorean is concerned. If it’s any consolation, UNH got edged at Lawler by Merrimack, which basically just never wins on the road and never loses at home this season. Also, Lowell got the smug wiped off their faces with another 2-1 loss to Northeastern, this time one which counts in Hockey East play (and, it must be said, where the Huskies had a significant shots-on-goal advantage for the entire game – Carton Hutton continues to stand on his head in vain for the Eastern Mass. State-Lowell River Rats). The “consolation from elsewhere in HEA” parade ends with Maine throttling Vermont (we love seeing Lowell drop out of home ice, but we’re not particularly fond of Maine jumping back into it either) and BC making PC their bitch tonight as well, grabbing sole possession of 2nd place back.
So, umm, yeah, as long as the games are being played at Agganis Arena, we’d love to not see the Terriers again this year, though if the season ended today Jackie and his crew would be in Amherst for the quarterfinals. Even in that first game at the Bill, where the Minutemen severely outplayed BU for most of the game, the final was a narrow win for UMass. This is a team that simply matches up well with the Mass Attack, unfortunately. That said, shots on goal were 41-37 in favor of UMass, and if Millan doesn’t stand on his head for the first period, this game would have taken a different direction. UMass didn’t play nearly as bad as they did a month ago, and so let’s hope that tomorrow night we draw the same Alex Beaudry who let up 5 first-period goals to the previously-floundering BC Eagles tonight.