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Colonial Championship Preview

A friend posted a message that fits my opinion to a T.  If Syracuse had UMass’ schedule, they’d be #1
in the Nation.

I’m going to call the unthinkable.  I say
Drexel beats Umass, and knocks them from a bogus #1 ranking to not even making
the tournament.  Yes, you heard me.  If UMass loses the Colonial Championship
game, they don’t get an AQ, and with their lack of quality wins, and a soft
schedule, they COULD lose any chance at an at large bid. It all depends on how
the other chips fall, but at this point, I would say they would be out with a
loss.

Drexel isn’t a bad team.  
They are 7-7 playing the 7th toughest schedule, with a win
over #14 PSU.  Five of their losses were by
1 goal including UVA, Notre Dame, Bryant, Bucknell, PSU. The 6th
loss was by 2, but for all intensive purposes they really lost by 1 to
UMass.    

Against UMass they had it tied up 4-4 midway through 4th quarter. After
some back and forth goals, UMass was up by 1 with 1:38 to play and started to
stall forcing Drexel to come out and press. 
This gave UMass an easy extra goal.   In the game, Drexel’s goalie, Mark Manos, and
his defense started hot and cooled to human levels (8GA, 8saves).  On the flipside UMass goalie, Tim McCormack, started
hot and ended up amazing (6 GA, 14saves).   The other key factors to this game was UMass
dominance at the FO winning 11 of 17 (65%), and Drexel’s dismal performance on
EMO (0 of 4).

Drexel’s numbers look average, but they play gritty.  Drexel is outshooting opponents 36.5 shots
versus 28.  However this hasn’t equated
to a landslide of goals.  A combination
of good opponent goalies and at sometimes a questionable shot selection, lowers
their shooting percentage (26.2%).  Bob
Church leads the team with 24 Goals/ 18 Assists, followed by Brendan Glynn 20G/10A,
Kyle Bergman 16G/13A, Aaron Prossner 21G/6A, Ryan Belka 12G/8A, and Ben
McIntosh 9G/3A. 

Drexel’s FO unit is performing just above average with 52.3% wins. 

In net is Mark Manos who has posted 111Goals Against, 125 Saves for an 8.23
GAA, and save percentage of 53%. 

Drexel isn’t a powerhouse.  They aren’t
going to win by a landslide.  They are
gritty but need to find that last gear to overcome the late game frustrations.

Umass is undefeated (so far).  W over #20 Bucknell, #18 OSU, #14PSU, #19
Drexel.  UMass has had its share of close
calls with 1 goal wins over Hofstra and PSU, and 2 goal wins over Drexel and
Bucknell, but has always managed to come out on top.  UMass has also thrashed such dangerous foes
as St. Joes, Hartford, Towson (twice). 
Looking at their stats, I take it with a grain of salt (27th
ranked Strength of Schedule).

UMass has outshot their opponents 37.6 shots to 29.8 per game.  UMass shooters are taking advantage of the
chances they get as their top 6 scorers have a 39% shooting percentage.  Will Manny leads the way with 40 Goals/31
Assists, followed by Art Kell has 28G/17A, Kyle Smith 29G/13A, Collin Flemming
23G/7A, Anthony Biscardi 20G/6A, and Mike Fetterly 7G/17A. 

UMass’ offense is also getting plenty of opportunities thanks to their FO unit
winning 58.2% of the time.  They are
backed up by goalie Tim McCormack who has really stepped it up this year
posting only 85 Goals against with 146 Saves for a GAA of 6.3 and a save
percentage of 63.2%.

Statistically UMass looks much better, and if you watched a game, they looked
decent.  Note I did not say great. 

This game will be a mental test.  UMass is undefeated, and in many views #1 in
the nation.  They have already beaten
Drexel.  They can be PC all they want,
but there has to be some sense of invincibility at this point with UMass.  On the other hand Drexel is coming in with
their only shot at making the tournament. 
They are out to prove that even without the Ws they are a decent team.  They have been so close all year, and want to
prove those near misses weren’t flukes.  What
better time to do it than against the #1 team…a team that barely beat them in
the regular season. 

Both teams skill wise I would say are fairly evenly matched with a slight
advantage to UMass’ goalie and FO unit.  I
give advantage to Drexel for being the tougher team mentally, but wonder if
they have the toughness physically, or the depth of UMass bench.  I am going to say Drexel in a 1 goal win,
gets their revenge and a ticket to the NCAA tournament.

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