Op-Ed: The electricity of the Mullins Maniacs is the extra charge the Minutemen need on the ice

The pure firepower of the UMass faithful at the Mullins Center is seen nowhere else in the country.

The Militia Student Section and the rest of the Mullins Maniacs brought the noise and passion this past weekend at the Mullins Center, giving the Minutemen on the ice an extra boost of confidence. Ranking third in all-time attendance history, a combined 13,612 fans attended both games in the series sweep against Denver, dethroning them as #1 in the nation. No one expected UMass to beat the Denver Pioneers even once, never mind sweeping them entirely. So, what was the driving force behind the Minutemen’s wins this past weekend?

The Powerful Influence Through The Glass

The attending crowd is 100% the driving force for the Minutemen. Denver was rattled from the start. The defending Frozen Four Champions were not expecting such an electric atmosphere, and they certainly did not match the energy inside of the Mullins Center. The Pioneers were thrown off of their game entirely by the jeering near-sellout crowd both Friday and Saturday.

The main target of the student section will always be the opposing goaltender. This time around, the victim was Magnus Chrona; he did not look like himself the whole series. The first game of the series he only saved 11 out of a lackluster 15 total shots from the Minutemen. Chrona’s subpar play that night was certainly to blame for Denver’s 4-2 loss. The Militia Student Section absolutely got in his head, ultimately setting the table for an exceptional series sweep against the Denver Pioneers.

That being said, the Pioneers weren’t the only ones that heard the fans this past weekend. Two Minutemen players, #1 and #23, were quite literally on fire, ignited by the roaring of the fans. Goaltender Luke Pavicich was playing out of his mind, stopping a whopping 75 of 77 Pioneer shots over the two game series. Defenseman Scott Morrow recorded 3 points in the two games. Pavicich received Hockey East Player of the Week honors and Scott Morrow received Defenseman of the Week recognition.

They weren’t the only UMass players who were charged up by the Mullins Maniacs.

“That’s why you play college hockey,” said freshman forward Tyson Dyck about the fans during a Tuesday media session. “You don’t get that support really elsewhere in the NCAA… it really brings us energy when we don’t necessarily have [it]. We build off it and like we saw we really capitalize on it.” 

Earlier on in the media session, he also described being able to celebrate with the student section right after his first collegiate UMass goal as “pretty surreal.”

Weekend Sweep Part Two With the Help Of U

Tonight the UMass Minutemen go up against the Union College Dutchmen, kicking off another two game weekend of hockey at the Mullins Center. Union comes into this game with a 2-3-1 record. UMass is statistically undefeated with a 2-0-1 record. UMass should fight off Union with ease, hopefully sweeping the series. 

No team, no matter how bad the record, should be taken lightly. The Mullins Maniacs should be once again out in full force this weekend, cheering on the Minutemen, optimistically boosting the hockey team to another series sweep. With the fans as loud as ever, the UMass hockey team is unstoppable.

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