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UMass hockey set for first road game of season

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts hockey team would like to get its first road win of the season in the same place it got its first one last year, albeit, a little sooner.

A big part of the Minutemen’s problems last season was their inability to win on the road, where they finished 2-13-2. They didn’t win their first true road game until Feb. 10 against Boston University at Agganis Arena. UMass plays its first road game of this season at BU, Friday at 7:30 p.m.

UMass (1-1, 0-1 Hockey East) and No. 13-ranked BU (1-1, 1-1) play again Saturday at the Mullins Center at 7 p.m.

“It’s a good new start for us. We have a new team, a new coach and a new outlook on things. Going to BU is a tough rink to play in, but I think we’re going to be ready,” junior defenseman Joel Hanley said. “We’ve got to be road warriors. We have to get pucks deep, play a simple game and make it hard on the home team.”

Senior captain Kevin Czepiel agreed.

“We don’t think about last year’s road worries that much, just like last year’s home record doesn’t mean that much right now,” Czepiel said. “Winning on the road, especially in this league, is huge. If you can get points in some other team’s building, that’s huge.”

The Terriers opened with a 4-2 win over Providence on Oct. 13 before falling at New Hampshire, 4-1 on Oct. 20.

It will be both teams’ first two-game weekend. Throughout the preseason UMass coach John Micheletto has stressed that every week of practice is a tryout for that weekend’s games. The preseason was an audition to play against Connecticut and last week was for Boston College.

This week’s practice earned players a spot in Friday’s game. How they do Friday will impact if they dress Saturday.

“When you don’t have any practice time in between, the guy who gets the nod on Friday is either at an advantage or disadvantage in that regard,” Micheletto said. “On a two-game weekend for any player, getting in the lineup Friday night is ultimately the most important thing because if you get in and play well it can solidify you in the lineup for Saturday.”

PEREIRA HEALTHY — UMass junior forward MichaelPereira was helped off the ice after a leg injury in overtime of last Friday’s 5-4 loss to Boston College. Pereira will skate against BU.

“He’s fine. Good to go 100 percent,” Micheletto said. “He’s raring to go Friday night I’m sure.”

RECRUIT ADDED — According to the Alberta Junior Hockey League website, Patrick Lee, an 18-year-old forward for the Brooks Bandits, has committed to play for the Minutemen.

Lee, a 5-foot-9, 155-pound Calgary, Alberta, native, had nine goals and 23 assists while helping lead the Bandits to an AJHL title last year. He was appointed to the Team Canada West Camp for the World Junior A Challenge. It’s unclear what season he’ll join the Minutemen.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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