Hobbs Shines in UMass Frozen Fenway Win
Senior Healthy as Stretch Run Begins
by Scott McLaughlin/CHN Writer
BOSTON Senior co-captain Danny Hobbs was there for Massachusetts in the first semester; he just wasn't himself. Although Hobbs, the team's leading scorer a season ago, only missed three games, he was battling through a slew of injuries that limited his effectiveness.
He missed opening night, but appeared to be in prime form the next weekend when he registered five points in two games. It was an uphill battle from there, though, as he tallied just four points in 11 games the remainder of the semester while missing another two contests due to lingering injuries.
Hobbs saw reduced ice time in a number of games, especially ones that came on the back end of a weekend series. He also rarely practiced more than one or two days a week, as he spent most of the week watching his teammates on the ice.
"I think mentally it was kind of a struggle," Hobbs said. "I was in and out of the lineup. It's frustrating when you have to watch practice or watch games."
Hobbs took an entire week off prior to winter break, and then another full week during break. As it turns out, rest was the perfect cure. Hobbs said he returned to Amherst at 100 percent, and that's been reflected in his play.
The New York Rangers draft pick has five points in four games since the layoff, including a goal and an assist in Saturday's 3-2 overtime victory against Vermont at Fenway Park.
"It's definitely nice to be healthy and finally getting some points and helping out the team," Hobbs said. "To be able to score a goal in a venue like this is something I'll never forget."
The goal, Hobbs' sixth of the season, came on a great individual effort. Hobbs pressured Catamount defenseman Michael Paliotta at the UVM blue line, forced a turnover, then raced in and beat Rob Madore five-hole.
Hobbs said that as great as it is to be contributing on the stat sheet again, he wants to make sure he's contributing in other areas as well and fulfilling his duties as a captain. He said he doesn't want to have any regrets at the end of his senior season, especially since he was able to do so little in the first half.
"It's really important for me," Hobbs said of the second half. "I want to contribute not only offensively, but also defensively and just doing the little things so guys can look at me as a leader.
"I just want to be a bigger factor in helping the team improve and get out of the first round of the playoffs. My first three years, we've gotten beat in the first round of the playoffs, so we wanna bring an end to that."
UMass coach Don Cahoon said that if that's going to happen, Hobbs will be a big piece of the puzzle.
"It's gonna be a big difference for our team. Just getting an older, more mature guy contributing is big," Cahoon said. "The difference right now is that he's back full-tilt, practicing every day. He's a solid player and a real hard-nosed kid."