Much Anticipated Frozen Fenway Arrives As UMass Takes On Vermont In Border War
It's back to Hockey East play for the UMass hockey team this week as the Minutemen are coming off a 4-4 tie at Providence on Thursday night to take part in the Sun Life Frozen Fenway against Vermont on Saturday. After losing just once in December, UMass is looking to keep momentum going in its first league games since before Thanksgiving.
Saturday's game against Vermont in Fenway Park will be televised live on NESN and NESN-HD beginning at 4 PM. For UMass, the home team in the game, the announced sell-out of 38,472 will be the largest crowd to ever witness the Minutemen on the ice.
Saturday's game will be carried on the Flagship Station of UMass Athletics, 100.9 FM KIX, with John Hennessy calling the play-by-play and Brock Hines providing color commentary. The pregame show for both games will begin 30 minutes prior to the opening face-off. Links for streaming video, audio, and live stats can be found at UMassAthletics.com.
Selected home games throughout the season will be televised on CBS3 Now. Streaming video is also available through UMass All-Access (www.umassathletics.com/allaccess). This is a for-fee service which works best on high-speed internet. All home games will be available through the package.
The Series With Vermont
Vermont leads the all-time series 34-16-6, but UMass won last year's series 2-1 including a 6-0 win at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Since 1996, these two teams have met every Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving including this season's 2-1 win for the Catamounts.
The win this year for Vermont tipped the last 10 games in its favor as the Catamounts are now 5-4-1 in those meetings.. UMass has won four of the last seven games including a pair of wins last year by a combined score of 10-1. The lone loss last year was at Gutterson going 2-1 to Vermont.
Next Up: Boston College
UMass and Boston College will wrap up the season-series next Friday, Jan. 13 at the Mullins Center. Both teams have defended their home ice this year with the Eagles winning 4-2 on Oct. 21 at Conte Forum and the Minutemen winning 4-2 on Nov. 5 at the Mullins Center. That win marked just the third time in program history that the Minutemen have toppled a No. 1 ranked team.
Story Lines: Vermont
Saturday's projected sell-out attendance of 38,472 will be the largest crowd to ever see a UMass hockey game. The previous best attendance mark was 17,565 set twice against New Hampshire in the Hockey East Tournament at the TD Garden in Boston (3/14/03 & 3/19/04).
The win over #13 Cornell put UMass at 3-2-1 against ranked teams this year (including a win over then-No. 1 Boston College)
When allowing 4 or more goals this year, UMass is 0-7-2, however, when cutting that to 3-or-fewer, UMass is 6-1-3
Holding a lead or being tied after 2 periods has also been a good omen for UMass this year as the Minutemen are 6-1-4 (0-7-1 when trailing)
In the tie at Providence, UMass posted 30+ shots for the fourth time in the last five games, improving to 5-2-5 when hitting that mark
Against Maine, UMass was 0-for-5 on the power play and was 0-for-5 at Providence this past Thursday as well, dropping to 0-4-3 when failing to score with the extra-man advantage
Following the Vermont game, UMass will have a three-game homestand where the Minutemen were unbeaten in the Mullins Center for the first half of the season at 5-0-3 - just the third time in the program's Modern Era (1993-94, 2007-08) that UMass did not lose a home game to start the season.
T.J. Syner has at least one point in 17 of 19 games this season after notching two assists at Providence. He enters Saturday's contest with a seven-game active point streak
Conor Sheary now ranks 5th in Hockey East in points and tied for 6th in assists notching a goal and an assist at Providence. He now boasts a three-game point scoring streak with 3 goals and 3 assists for six points during that span.
Conor Allen posted 3 goals and 1 assist in the pair of wins over Holy Cross and Northeastern with a +3 rating. He became just the 3rd defenseman in UMass' Division I history to score a hat trick with all three of his goals coming vs. Holy Cross.
The line of T.J. Syner, Michael Pereira and Danny Hobbs combined for 10 points (4g, 6a) in the win over Bentley. All told for the Bentley/Providence weekend, the trio tallied 16 points (6g, 10a).
At Providence on Thursday night, the line of The line of T.J. Syner (two assists), Branden Gracel (two assists) and Conor Sheary (goal, assist) combined for six points. Defenseman Joel Hanley had a multi-point game, as well with two assists.
Against the Friars, UMass scored its first goal with an extra attacker this season. At the 18:34 mark of the third period, Kevin Boyle came off for the extra man with the Minutemen down, 4-3. Danny Hobbs scored 49 seconds later to force overtime.