UMass hockey off to hot start ahead of games against conference rival

Photo of the UMass Hockey practice facility at the Mullins Center
Photo of the UMass Hockey practice facility at the Mullins Center(Western Mass News)
Published: Oct. 26, 2023 at 12:28 PM EDT
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AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The UMass Amherst ice hockey team has had a hot start to their regular season, including three wins against ranked opponents. Now, the Minutemen are gearing for a massive two-game series against a big Hockey East conference rival.

For UMass hockey, this season is about redemption. After winning the national championship in 2021, then last year’s 13-17-5 performance, the Minutemen have, so far, answered in a big way and have taken four of their first five contests. It’s a start that has impressed head coach Greg Carvel.

“(We) made a lot of changes in a lot of positive ways, a lot of change in players, and so far, so good. The team is moving in a real good direction,” Carvel said.

The Minutemen has 13 new players on the team. After a 7-2 blowout loss against sixth-ranked Michigan on October 13, UMass knocked off the Wolverines the next day with a 6-3 victory.

That was followed by last weekend’s sweep over #19/20 Minnesota State. Forward Liam Gorman, a graduate transfer from Princeton, told Western Mass News that strong leadership has played a key role.

“It’s always really good to start on a strong note and really try to keep building the rest of the way. It’s always easier to start off when you have a really good start,” Gorman said.

Now, UMass has another ranked opponent to face this weekend as they take on Boston University in a home-and-home series starting Friday night in Boston.

“We need to play big and fast and play as hard as we can,” Carvel explained.

Gorman acknowledged that the chemistry has been great and they must stick to the game plan moving forward.

“You want to approach every game the same way, no matter who you’re playing against. It’s always something special to be going against an in-conference team that’s ranked, obviously,” Gorman added.

There are also 27 NHL draft picks between the two squads during the two games. With the team back on home ice later in the weekend, Carvel expects not just a good performance, but also a great crowd.

“They’re people that deserve the support, especially from our community on-campus and in the town. It’s always fun to play Hockey East rivals and we got a good one this weekend.”

UMass’s next home game is Saturday night against ninth-ranked Boston University as the Minutemen continue their quest for their second-ever national championship.