What you missed while UMass hockey was paused

  • Filip Lindberg and the UMass hockey team was building momentum before the University paused all athletics programs. The Minutemen return to the ice at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Providence. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 2/22/2021 4:20:15 PM

Twenty three days have passed since the UMass hockey team last played. The Minutemen swept UMass Lowell and won their first game at Tsongas Arena in a decade. They ended a four-game winless streak and were poised for a strong stretch run.

Junior goalie Filip Lindberg was named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week and Goaltender of the Month after the performances.

Then UMass moved to a “high risk” COVID-19 posture on Feb. 7, halting all athletic events for two weeks and blunting the Minutemen’s momentum. That erased a road game at Northeastern on Feb. 9 and the potential of two weekends’ worth of series.

When the pause occurred, UMass had played two more games than any other team in Hockey East and among the most in the nation. Now the Minutemen, ranked No. 9 nationally, are tied with No. 2 Boston College, Providence and UConn for the second-most games played in Hockey East (19). New Hampshire has played 21.

Games played is one factor in the Hockey East Power Index, a formula the conference developed to seed its teams in an unbalanced schedule. UMass is currently third behind BC and Boston University, in line for a bye into the Hockey East quarterfinals and a home playoff game. Whether the Minutemen can do that at the Mullins Center remains to be seen. When UMass announced its move down from the “high risk” posture to “elevated” on Friday, the release said there will be no home events in Amherst until “mid-March.” The quarterfinals are set to begin March 14.

The top five teams will receive a bye, and Nos. 6-11 will play in the opening round. The teams will be re-seeded before each round.

UMass will play its first game back at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Providence. Hockey East announces its weekly schedule on Tuesdays, as well, so this weekend’s games should be known shortly.

The Minutemen have the best scoring defense (1.89 goals per game) and penalty kill (91.7 percent) in Hockey East.




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