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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Men’s and Women’s hockey need to sharpen their game


A men’s hockey team member during a game.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for college hockey at UMass Boston. Both men’s and women’s ice hockey—who were listed in preseason rankings as top five teams—have had disappointing starts to their seasons to say the least (1,2). There are a lot of games left to be played, but if both teams want to make it deep into the New England Hockey Conference Tournament come February, they have to take advantage of the three-week break they have before starting back up prior to New Year’s Day. If anything, simulated gameplay for both teams would be extremely beneficial, both physically and mentally.
Men’s and women’s hockey were expected them to run the table and come away on top in close games. To put it bluntly: that has not happened. Women’s hockey’s impressive 3–1 start to the season did not last, and they fell back down to Earth; losing four bouts in five games has caused their record to plummet and sink.
Granted, women’s hockey may turn it around, since they have yet to reach uncharted territory. With their stance in the conference standings, they are not in too deep, but are trying to  tread water instead of going under. Men’s hockey on the other hand? They’re trying to find their way out of the Mariana Trench. The faster they’re falling, they’re stopping and stalling. It seems like during every game, fans would be susceptible to watch and think to themselves “they’re running in circles, again.”
Their 2–4 record to begin the year gave the team time to recoup and turn the tide in the matter of a single weekend. But just as things were looking up, a four-game losing streak raised questions about whether even Bobby Beacon has the ability to save them from the wreck that is their dreadful season.
In that stretch, men’s hockey scored just one goal, and even worse, it occurred in the first game of the losing streak against Elmira College—meaning they went scoreless in three consecutive contests. Forward Evan Googins netted a shot by Grady Friedman with a deflection on the powerplay in the second period of the game against Elmira. A bright spot to shine on was that Friedman’s point streak extended to five with an assist on Googins’ goal (3). However, Friedman’s point streak was snapped, and the Beacons were outscored 12–0 in the latter three games, capped off with an embarrassing 6–0 loss to Bowdoin College on Nov. 27 (4).
On the flip side, women’s hockey has made a full 180 of their fantastic 3–1 start to the season and have been playing similar to the way they played in their atrocious 10–0 defeat against Norwich University on Nov. 5. Ironically enough, their loss to Norwich was the only loss in their first four games. Even so, their game against Norwich was a fluke, and their goal differential is something they want to bury in the sand and never dig out. Nonetheless, their 3–1 record gave the Beacons a chance to improve on the great start to their campaign.
That was until they dropped two straight games against Southern Maine and Elmira on Nov. 12 and 18, being outscored 9–0 in the process. The Beacons got back on the right track though, as they went on to beat William Smith College on their road trip to Geneva; the Moose never stood a chance after the Beacons defeated them in overtime, 2–1 (5). Although they were outshot 32–24 and had three penalties to WSC’s one, the women’s team won the game on freshman Sydney Leonard’s breakaway goal. It was Leonard’s first collegiate goal of her career, and the Beacons hoped to ride the wave and momentum heading into their matchups against Colby and Nazareth Colleges the following week on Nov. 26 and 27 (6).
However, the team went winless for the weekend and fell below .500 with a 3–0 loss to Colby and a 4–2 loss to Nazareth. On the plus side of things, the team is still 3–3 in conference play and will be looking to get back to their winning ways—they have the talent to do so (5). For Men’s hockey, it’s best to take things one skate at a time in order to get back into the swing of things and eat away at their win-loss record; based on their performance last season, they have the capabilities to do the same.
Both teams need to win at home, focus on bettering their powerplays and generate more shots as a whole in order to maintain success going into the second half of their seasons. Men’s hockey is currently sitting with a putrid 1–5 record at Barry Ice Rink (4); women’s hockey sits at a more respectable, yet still dreadful, 1–3 record at home (5).
Regarding the powerplay, it’s hard to argue whether their home record or conversion percentage on the advantage is worse. Women’s hockey has gone 1–29 in five-on-four action compared to their opponents going 4–36 (7). If anything, the stat line shows that not only do they need to drastically improve their scoring on the powerplay, but they must improve their discipline to keep penalties at a minimum too.
Men’s hockey is in the same sinking boat; they’re 2–41 on the powerplay yet have given up three powerplay goals on 32 opportunities. They may be better at drawing penalties but are certainly in the same position as women’s hockey when it comes to offensive inconsistencies.
The upcoming break for both men’s and women’s hockey will hopefully spark some offensive prowess that can help both teams start winning more games, once they get back to playing in late December. For both teams, the phrase “practice makes perfect” speaks volumes and must be the mindset going forward.
Above all else, focusing on the improvement of the powerplay would pay off tenfold and hopefully become the difference maker in games down the line. Now is the time for the Beacons to reset and come back rejuvenated in preparation for the postseason, with the goal of showing their worth and making it deep into the NEHC Tournament.

  1. Men’s Ice Hockey Comes In Tied For Fifth in NEHC Preseason Poll – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  2. Women’s Hockey Picked Fourth On NEHC Preseason Poll – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  3. Men’s Ice Hockey Drops Against Elmira College on Friday Night – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  4. 2022-23 Men’s Ice Hockey Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  5. 2022-23 Women’s Ice Hockey Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  6. Leonard’s First Collegiate Goal Gives Women’s Ice Hockey Overtime Win Versus William Smith – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  7. 2022-23 Women’s Ice Hockey Cumulative Statistics – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor