When Don Cahoon left Massachusetts following the 2011-12 season, the subsequent coaching search looked a lot like most of UMass’ seasons. Nothing went as planned, and it took far too long to figure out the proper course of action.
Ultimately, the Minutemen settled on then-Vermont assistant John Micheletto.
Two-and-a-half seasons into Micheletto’s tenure, the Minutemen are worse off than they were before Cahoon departed.
A 4-11-0 start has come with a number of embarrassing losses and very little in the way of promise moving forward. UMass was swept by Notre Dame last weekend in a pair of games at the Mullins Center. Both losses continued two themes of the program over the years. UMass had a lead heading into the third on Friday night, and Notre Dame promptly scored four times to take a lead. The Minutemen tried to come back but fell short. Saturday, they were plainly outclassed by the Fighting Irish in a 4-0 loss — a scoreline that flatters UMass.
The 2014-15 season was never going to be a successful year, but there’s been nothing in the way of progress either.
UMass won 12 games in Micheletto’s first year, eight games last season and it’ll be lucky to reach that number before it gets swept out of the Hockey East tournament in a few months.
A look at the roster paints a pretty clear picture of UMass’ problems. There are a handful of high-end forwards and really nothing else.
UMass allows 4.47 goals per game — the most in the nation. It scores 2.67 goals per game, 29th in the country. A fair amount of offense and no defense has been the theme with Micheletto running the show. Insisting upon playing an uptempo brand of hockey without the players capable of doing it.
The next two seasons, based on players departing and those coming in, don’t figure to be much better in Amherst. Anaheim Ducks second-round draft choice Brandon Montour, a high-end defenseman, has joined the team and will be eligible for next Tuesday’s non-conference game against Northeastern. But that’ll hardly be enough.
When Cahoon left, UMass had an opportunity to improve its program vastly. As Providence, Massachusetts-Lowell and Connecticut have showed, both on the ice and in recruiting, all it takes is a good coaching hire to change things. Micheletto may well be the answer, but the returns to this point suggest UMass missed badly on this hire. And it’s set the program back even further as a result. (more…)