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Saturday thoughts: Wait, that didn’t FEEL like an Amherst win

November 16, 2008

UMass Amherst fans, always the epitome of class, had this one chalked up as an easy W for their Minutemen.

To illustrate this, here is an excerpt from a post by “persee” on UMass[Amherst]Hoops.com’s hockey message board entitled “A saturday (sic) visit from the Sewerhawks (sic):”

So it’s our first matchup of the season against our ugly sister. I’m sure some of their fans are already writing the excuses about how they would’ve beaten us were Hutton healthy, and maybe a conspiracy theory about how we caused the injury somehow.

I’ll call it a 4-1 win, with a goal for Danny Hobbs.

Aw man, you just barely missed on that score. Instead, Lowell got an ugly goal from Michael Budd, the first of his career, and Scott Campbell added a pretty insurance marker on the power play. That was more than enough.

UMass Amherst never composed itself in the offensive zone by the wilder stretches of any imagination and couldn’t pull off a tape-to-tape pass of any kind through the neutral zone as Lowell walked to an easy 2-0 shutout win.

UMass Amherst, unlike last year’s three games with Lowell, wasn’t noticably bad. It wasn’t anything. The Mass Attack (ha!) that terrorized three of its last four opponents to the tune of 19 goals was nowhere in evidence tonight. James Marcou? Barely noticeable. Cory Quirk? May as well have stayed in the dressing room. Alex Berry? Invisible apart from a shot he ripped off the crossbar late in the game. If this is the team we were supposed to be worried about, please accept our humblest apologies for not seeing it. It’s hard to describe the total lack of presence the entire team had for the entirety of this game’s dreary, sloppy 60 minutes.

The ice surface was a mess, but we’ve come to expect that from the barely-renovated dump that is the Mullins Center. The puck was bouncing everywhere and players were slipping and sliding all over the ice. UMass Amherst fans are already using it as an excuse, which must surely be part of Lowell’s Hutton Injury-related conspiracy in some way we’ve not yet figured out.

Says “hatsoff:”

…they might have well have played in wellingtons as skates. Would have been a mess of slush even worse than they had to deal with.

You could tell the kids were working their arses off, but couldn’t get the puck or their skates to do a darn thing.

Got it. So that’s the reason you could have driven a Zamboni through the five-hole presented to Budd by Paul Dainton*? That’s why the breakout was a disaster only for UMass Amherst while Lowell connected on home run passes all night, with far greater success than we’re accustomed to seeing? That’s why UMass Amherst managed just three shots on net in four power plays, and all those shots came on one two-minute advantage in the first, and Lowell somehow cobbled together six shots on three chances and, y’know, scored? Because if it is you could just drop us a note and let us know. We are curious to hear your thoughts (in much the same way Jane Goodall would be).

UMass Amherst was once again victimized by its own pacificism. Lowell was having a hell of a time properly breaking the puck out for most of the first period and instead of actually capitalizing on this, the Minutemen were too busy dropping FIVE GUYS into the neutral zone and saying, “Please come to us since we don’t know how to pressure in the attacking third.” It was painful. We had to wonder if this was how they put 14 past Providence in one weekend or how they scored five against BU on Friday. Because if it’s not, then why change a clearly successful gameplan? If it is, then how the hell did it happen?

But in the end, both teams were ultimately fairly sloppy as a consequence of the poor ice conditions and the difference, as it so often does, came down to goaltending.

Said “Dickie Dunn,” whom we suspect you may know from a more well-known college hockey “news” outlet than UMass[Amherst]Hoops.com:

It doesn’t help that Nevin Hamilton is going to graduate and head straight to the over-30 leagues at North Star Forum in Westboro.

So where’s The Best Goalie in the Hockey East going after he graduates? We’d suggest he start pushing a broom around to get practice for the career paths presented by an “intended major” (read: undeclared due to general laziness) in psych, but we saw how he handled the puck tonight and don’t know if he’d be up for it. Lowell took 24 shots and Dainton* stopped all but two of them. UMass Amherst took 22 shots and Nevin Hamilton stopped all of them. Note that there is no “but _____” in there. That’s because Nevin Hamilton is just as good a goaltender as Dainton* is. Fact. The only difference is Hamilton doesn’t have to pad his stats against UConn. That’s what UMass Amherst is for.

Oh, and before the game “UMass02” helpfully added:

Lowell: The real ass of UMass.

I watched part of the UVM vs. UML game the other week. I was not impressed.

Just remember folks… for the eight UMass-Lowell fans, this is their big rivalry.

Apart from the incredibly witty lead-in, how impressive do you think that was, then? Nevin Hamilton and Co. come into your barn the night after you beat the No. 1 team in the country and go to the trouble of bagging up a nice lunch for you. The main course: the turd sandwich your team made tonight. Enjoy it, kids. You’d do well to be able to consider us your main rival. You might have to settle for UConn.

Four big points. Can’t say the same for Scumherst.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Monty permalink
    November 17, 2008 1:23 am

    I love that they think we care that much about them. We’ve only lost the Alumni Cup to them once IIRC … that’s like the morons who used to say that Yankees/Red Sox was a rivalry while the Yanks were consistently winning the World Series. Note to UMass fans … you have to win much more than you currently are against this particular team for it to be a rivalry.

  2. Jay permalink
    November 19, 2008 12:58 am

    Congrats on the win against UMass.

    But, if you dont care about them, why the idiotic comments in the article?

    Oh yeah… you’re still bitter over last summer.. that’s right. But you dont care about them.

    Right.

    Good luck this season. All that matters is where we are at the end of the season as UMass proved last year.

  3. The 'Hawks blog permalink
    November 19, 2008 4:50 am

    Well Jay, we’ll explain our stance on why we don’t care or worry about playing UMass Amherst.

    Simply, Lowell doesn’t lose to UMass Amherst in almost every instance. You can point to a random season here or there in which UMass Amherst was better than Lowell-head to-head (okay, just the twice).

    We’re not bitter over last summer. Never were. We knew it was a misguided and myopic pursuit by a UMass Amherst alum who was on some kind of warpath against the UML program and despite the months of handwringing, we never feared that the final result would be anything but what it ended up being.

    We just think it’s adorable that every year, UMass Amherst fans and its boosters (see also: Howe, Jeff) in the media trump the Minutemen up to be anything more than what they are: a mediocre program that is as much the victim of on-campus apathy as Lowell’s (the difference, obviously, being the size of the student body). Every year when UMass Amherst beats a few good opponents and everyone starts hopping on the bandwagon, we just laugh because we know that it will, as ever, all end in tears.

    We also enjoy it because of UMass Amherst fans’ inexplicable complex that is at once concerned with the program’s obvious inferiority to Lowell’s but plays it off as though UMass Amherst is superior to its “ugly sister” in every way. Because we can think of one way in which UMass Amherst is clearly worse than Lowell: on the ice.

    That’s why the Minutemen haven’t beaten Lowell in their last five tries, and it’s why we enjoy seeing Lowell beat UMass Amherst more than any other team.

    Please, by the way, enlighten us as to where UMass Amherst finished the season to prove that it was better than Lowell. We would be massively interested to learn the secret tournament they won that makes its finish better than Lowell’s.

  4. Jay permalink
    November 20, 2008 3:03 am

    You misunderstood my comment about the end of the season…

    My point was Umass was 5th in the nation at the beginning of January and then fell on their face for an embarrassing finish.

    Where teams are now mean nothing, it only matters come playoff time.

    Also, we dont have too many fans or real boosters. Our fan base sucks as bad as yours. But it is cute that for some reason we think we’ll be good every year. What have we had, 2 good years in 13? Maybe those boys over at hoops should shut their traps…

    I just dont get why all the negative comments about UMass. Scumherst? Really? If I didnt care about a team I wouldnt be bashing every little thing about them. Obviously there is something other than just your team is better.

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