Well hey, it’s been a couple days, hasn’t it? Well, we’ll admit, as students, there’ll be weeks like this one (the first “real” week of school of the semester) where we don’t have much to say in the middle of the week. Deal with it.
First of all, a special shout-out to Sam and Neil, the sports directors at WMUA and co-hosts of its Sportsline program, for giving me a couple minutes to plug the blog yesterday. Matt was there too, but there was already a shortage of microphones in a very crowded master control room. Anyway, I’m hoping that now that I finally can do the show without a total scheduling conflict, I’ll be able to contribute this semester with some hockey and basketball talk (and MLB when that comes around). SportsLine airs 4:30-5:30 on 91.1 FM WMUA and you can stream it with the link in our links section.
Now that the name-dropping is out of the way, in less than an hour, the Mass Attack will take to the ice against the defending champions, and the team I followed throughout high school, the BU Terriers, for the rubber match of their three-game season series. For the first time, I will not be behind a microphone for this one, having called both the thrilling 3-2 victory at the Mullins Center and the embarrassing 7-3 debacle at Agganis a few weeks back for WMUA. Tonight, sadly, with no bus trip being coordinated and with BU’s exorbitant ticket prices being a little too much for our college-kid budgets to absorb, we’ll be stuck listening or streaming the game from the warm comforts of the North Apartments. Luckily, if you haven’t listened to a UMass game all season, the new guys, Hennessey and Hines, are a couple of experienced hockey broadcasters with delightful voices and great chemistry, enough so that we’ll let slide the occasional “C.J. Snyder.”
So what can we expect tonight? BU has certainly been decidedly not bad this second half of the year so far, although you have to wonder how much of their success is contingent on the fact that the Terriers are a motivationally-challenged team which has played its archrival, in what is (in our Hockey East-tinted glasses) the fiercest rivalry in all of college hockey, twice, once at Fenway Park and once on enemy ice. This, by the way, is also a caveat to the “hey, look, BC’s not that good after all, like we thought coming into the season!” crowd, though the Eagles did just stink up the joint last weekend against the formerly down-and-out River Rats.
Anyway, based on recent comments in the Collegian, it appears (at least according to Bronco) that the Minutemen miiiight have looked past the Terriers last time they played; this coupled with the disparity in rest (remember, 3 games in 5 days for UMass, first game in a month for BU) are a bad combination for a team that already relies heavily on speed rather than physicality. With the rest situation much more even, and Toot Cahoon surely reminding his boys on a daily basis of the final score of that last meeting, and with the Beanpot coming up this week, it would be shocking if the Terriers were to blow out the Minutemen again, especially given the way the Minutemen have played lately.
That power play (2 for its last 23 I believe) needs to get going, although I’m hoping for a much less whistle-happy game than the slopfest we saw at the beginning of the month. But as long as the defense continues to play as well as they’ve been doing of late, I’m confident that the Minutemen can bounce back from an offensive perspective. I’m looking for a 4-2 or 5-3 win, but it’ll probably be closer than that. A tie would be acceptable, barely, if the Minutemen can bounce back tomorrow night; I’ve accepted the fact that one is inevitable given that UMass is one of like 3 teams in the country that has yet to play to a draw.
Fear the Triangle’s Twitter just popped up that Langeraap and Coco are back in the lineup, but Kublin (who’s been playing very well on the blue line) and Hobbs are both out. Here’s hoping neither is a lasting injury, especially since we don’t know what to expect from Chase yet.
I’ll have reactions and a look at the Providence game (and tomorrow’s Charlotte basketball game) later on or in the morning, depending on my level of sobriety. Go UMass!