Coach Whitehead: UMaine must defend UMass’ top line in weekend series

Posted Feb. 21, 2013, at 6:55 p.m.

Men’s College Hockey

MAINE vs. MASSACHUSETTS

Time, site: Friday, 7 p.m., Saturday, 7 p.m., Mullins Center, Amherst, Mass.

Records: Maine 8-16-6 (4-11- 6 Hockey East); UMass 10-16-2 (7-13-1)

Series, last meeting: Maine leads 43-17-8, 2-2 tie on 11/16/12

Key players: Maine — RW Joey Diamond (12 goals, 7 assists), C Devin Shore (3 & 15), C Steven Swavely (4 & 7), LW Ryan Lomberg (6 & 4), D Ben Hutton (2 & 6), D Mike Cornell (2 & 6), G Martin Ouellette (6-9-6, 2.32 goals-against average, .918 save percentage); UMass — C Branden Gracel (13 & 16), LW Michael Pereira (12 & 13), RW Conor Sheary (8 & 14), D Conor Allen (5 & 10), LW Rocco Carzo (8 & 6), G Kevin Boyle (8-9-2, 2.72, .896), G Steve Mastalerz (2-6-0, 3.52, .876)

Coach Tim Whitehead’s keys to the game: “We’ve got to stay between the faceoff dots on the defensive side of the puck. We’ve got to defend their top line (Pereira-Gracel-Sheary) and their second wave (defensemen) of attack. And we’ve got to get to the net front for second and third shots like we did against Boston University next weekend.”

Game notes: UMass has lost four in a row and given up 18 goals in those four losses. UMass, in the midst of a five-games-in-nine-days stretch, dropped a makeup game to Northeastern 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday. UMass is 5-9-1 at home. Maine is 3-3-1 in its last seven HE road games. Maine has been involved in six overtime games over its last 11 games.

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