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The nation’s best power play percentage isn’t sustainable, but the execution is

By on November 1, 2022 0

AMHERST — The UMass power play is experiencing a surge in power.

The Minutemen lead the nation in converting 47.4% of their man opportunities. That’s more than 10% above No. 2 North Dakota (36.4).

He won’t stay that far ahead or at that level.

“It’s not sustainable. Since I’ve been here, we’ve had the best power play in the country twice, and I think we were at 28 and 27. [percent]”, UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “If you’re over 20, you have a very good power play and if you’re over 25, you have a very good power play. is the beginning of the year. We haven’t really had that many power plays.

The No. 5 UMass has just 19 power-play attempts this season in seven games. It is the 46th among the 60 Division I programs.

Most of his strength comes from his two second-choice defensemen in the NHL Draft: Scott Morrow and Ryan Ufko. Morrow has scored twice on the power play and Ufko once, and they work together on the blue line to keep the pressure on their shorthanded opponents.

“Their ability to skate the pucks in the zone and calm down when there is pressure on us, Scotty Morrow is incredible to be able to hold a puck. Few players at this level have that kind of patience with the puck, and Ufko is great at that as well,” Carvel said. “That’s a big part of why your power play works, is that you’re able to maintain possession of the ball and not have to chase it down the ice again. These two guys are the elite at this level and almost singlehandedly why our power play is so good.

Morrow did not take all the credit. He pointed to the team’s puck movement and the fact that everyone in the unit has a power play goal. For him, this is why they will be able to continue what they are doing.

“It’s not like we used our bag of tricks and they’re going to figure us out,” Morrow said. “We haven’t really scored many goals in the same way. We share the puck and we have a lot of different ways to attack. I think we will keep scoring because we take what the other team gives us.

Even if the percentage drops to more realistic but still elite levels, there are ways to pull off a powerplay.

“Obviously you’d like to score any power play, but just build momentum for your team by really making the other team feel the pressure you’re putting on them and putting the other team’s goalie under pressure. pressure,” Morrow said. “Make sure they know even if you don’t score that they’re lucky they made it out alive.”

ANOTHER? – The Dallas Stars signed former UMass goaltender Matt Murray to an entry-level contract on Monday. Starter Jake Oettinger was injured Saturday against the New York Rangers.

He will become the NHL’s 11th Minuteman this season once he makes his debut.

Murray played five games with the Stars’ AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, and went 2-2. He finished fourth in the league among rookies with a 2.00 goals-against-average with one shutout.

“It was a bit of a surprise when I saw him on social media. It’s indicative of his time at UMass. He’s grown in a ton of different ways,” Carvel said. “Dallas m reached out a week ago and thanked me for helping us find Matt and bringing him to us. He has been such a great asset to our franchise. They didn’t tell me anything about signing him to an entry-level contract, but it’s quite a statement that they were ready to do so.

TRUST YOUR INTESTIN – UMass encouraged Carvel to use his coach’s challenge on a second-period hit Saturday at Merrimack. The call on the ice was upheld.

“It’s the conversation: Nolan (Gluchowski) will say ‘they say challenge it’ and turn around and I say ‘they’re never right.'” No, they said this one for sure,” said Carvel.” And I’m like, ‘OK if they’re 100% sure.’ And I dispute that, and that’s not true. Their track record hasn’t changed recently.

Kyle Grabowski can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.