View From Section U: With And Without Vatrano; Olczyk Hired By Niagara

The Massachusetts Minutemen will have a tough time replacing the contributions of Frank Vatrano this coming season after the star forward signed a contract with the Boston Bruins last Spring.  A couple weeks ago I quantified exactly how much Vatrano meant to the offense last year.  He accounted for almost 1 out of every 5 goals scored last year and over 10% of the total points on the team.  He took almost 20% of all shots taken by the Minutemen.  Without a doubt he will be missed and it is up to players like Dennis Kravchenko and Shane Walsh to step up and help fill the void Vatrano leaves.  But how much did Vatrano’s output factor into the strong numbers those two returners put up last season?  Probably less than you would think.

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Brooks-UMass Pipeline Lands Minutemen Another Recruit

Yet another member of the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits has committed to join the Massachusetts hockey program once their junior career is finished.  Defenseman Cale Makar is the latest Bandit to commit to John Micheletto and his staff, due to arrive in Amherst in the fall of 2017.  Current Minutemen Maddison Smiley and Patrick Lee, incoming freshman Austin Plevy, and current Bandits Shane Bear and Kyler Nachtigall are the Brooks players who previously signed up to play at UMass in recent years.

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Countdown: 37 Days ‘Til Dalhousie

The countdown is on.  I know most sites would count down to the first regular season matchup, but that would create a lot of work in those last few days before the first game when I’ll be trying to focus posts on other topics.  Plus, it’s really the exhibition that will give fans the first real glimpse of the team to understand the full capabilities of this squad.  So when we countdown we ain’t talking about a game, not talking about a game, we’re talking about 37 days until practice. Practice.  Not talking ‘bout a game, talkin’ ‘bout practice.

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15-16 Preview: Massachusetts Hockey Points Lost/Returning

As we continue to shift focus to the coming season one of the main ways to analyze the prospects of the Massachusetts hockey team is to take stock of what they’ve lost during the season and what they have coming back.  As we know there were a number of key seniors who graduated, such as captain Troy Power and Zack LaRue.  But the biggest departures of course were underclassmen Frank Vatrano and Brandon Montour who following the season signed contracts with the Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks respectively.  However, there are still some key contributors coming back, like Dennis Kravchenko who will be looking to build off of a tremendous freshman season.  Let’s take a closer look at what the departures and returners mean on a number basis.

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UMass To Provide Cost Of Attendance To All Student-Athletes

Athletic Director Ryan Bamford sat down with Director of Broadcasting/Hockey Play-By-Play Announcer Cody Chrusciel to discuss his first 100 days on the job.  In the interview he broke the news that UMass will be providing Cost Of Attendance stipends as part of their scholarship packages for all of its student-athletes starting this year.

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Up To The Minute 8/10

It’s been almost two weeks since the last post so there’s a lot of miscellaneous UMass hockey stuff to catch up on.  So let’s get to it.

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2015-16 UMass Hockey Schedule Released

The Massachusetts hockey team released the schedule for the upcoming season.  Following an exhibition game against Dalhousie on October 3rd the Minutemen will open the season on 10/9 in the shadow of Pike’s Peak for a two game series with Colorado College.  The home opener will take place Friday, October 16th against Sacred Heart.

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Up To The Minute 7/22

I’ve been busy the last few weeks with work (bad) and vacation (very good) so time to catch up on the news around the Massachusetts hockey program since my last post.

Of course the biggest news, at least in this area, was former Minuteman defenseman Matt Irwin signing with a one year deal with the Boston Bruins.  Irwin will become the first UMass hockey player to suit up the Bruins, assuming Frank Vatrano doesn’t somehow beat him onto the Garden ice first.

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Defenseman Callum Fryer To Join UMass This Fall; Leonard To Play For US U18 Team

It may be July but Coach Micheletto and his staff are still on the road trying to improve the fortunes of the Massachusetts hockey team.  They’re doing so not just for future years, but this coming year as well.  UMass picked up a commitment from 6’2”, 185lb defenseman Callum Fryer for this fall.  The news was first reported by Over The Boards:

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Up To The Minute: Sheary, Kostka, and Hanley Sign NHL Deals

Today was the first day of NHL free agency and a number of former Minutemen have new homes tonight.  Perhaps the highlight of the day is the two-way deal that Conor Sheary signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Penguins rewarded him for a strong rookie season in the AHL where he led the Wilkes-Barre Penguins in points for both the regular season and the playoffs.  His contract this past season was a strictly minor league deal with Wilkes-Barre so the signing with the big club is a significant milestone for Sheary.

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