Bamford Introduced As UMass AD; Recruit Update: Leonard Named ESPN Boston’s “Mr. Hockey”

“I am enthused to get back on campus after four years of being away from college hockey.  Hockey East is arguably the best conference in the country.  And that’s something that I want to help [with].  I want to help be the best hockey program we can be.  And football.  And basketball.  And I think we can get there.”

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Ryan Bamford Named UMass Athletic Director

The University of Massachusetts today named Ryan Bamford as Athletic Director, replacing John McCutcheon who left for UC-Santa Barbara last month.  Bamford will be officially introduced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.  Bamford was most recently the Senior Associate AD at Georgia Tech where he oversaw football, basketball, and baseball as well as facilities and game operations.

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Massie Commits to UMass; Yevenko Signs With Adirondack

UMass picked up a commitment, likely for fall of 2016, from defenseman Jake Massie.  Massie played this past season for prep school Kimball Union Academy where he was coached by former Maine coach Tim Whitehead.  Massie’s commitment comes on the heels of that of Brian Scoville, another strong prep defenseman who played for Cushing.

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Montour Makes His Departure Official; FTT Hockey East Awards

Brandon Montour made official what was first reported over the weekend that he indeed is going to forgo his final three years at UMass and sign with the Anaheim DucksI shared my thoughts on the subject on Saturday when his impending departure was first reported.  While I wish UMass fans had gotten to see him in the maroon and white for longer than 21 games, I wish him well in his pro career.

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Report: Brandon Montour Leaves UMass, WIll Sign With Anaheim Ducks

Brandon Montour we hardly knew ye.  Montour’s career with Massachusetts hockey has come to an end after just one semester as he will sign with the team that made him a second round draft pick, the Anaheim Ducks.  He leaves after only 21 games with the Minutemen, but they were a productive 21.  Montour had 3 goals and 17 assists in his time in college and his 20 points were 4th best among all freshmen defenseman nationally despite playing in significantly less games.

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Vatrano Signs With Bruins, Forgoes Final Two Years At UMass

Fresh off his 18 goal season for the Minutemen RS sophomore forward Frank Vatrano signed a free agent contract with the Boston Bruins today, ending his career at UMass after one season (plus that one playoff game no one counts).  This is obviously great news for Vatrano who was able to turn his stellar season into an opportunity to play professional hockey with the local team.  The Bruins will gain a great skating forward with a quick, but powerful shot.  To my knowledge Vatrano is the first Minuteman to sign a contract with the Bruins, though Marvin Degon and Tim Lovell played for the Providence Bruins previously and Dusty Demianiuk landed a spot at Bruins training camp after winning NESN’s “Be A Bruin” reality show.

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UMass Travels To Notre Dame For Hockey East Playoffs; Pöck Named To UMass Hall Of Fame

Notre Dame

12 Massachusetts Minutemen 10-21-2 (5-16-1)

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5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 15-16-5 (10-7-5)

The Massachusetts Minutemen could’ve been on a bus to Boston this weekend to take on the Northeastern Huskies but last week’s loss to UConn means they’ll have to fly to the Midwest for their opening playoff series.  UMass will take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in the best of three Octofinals in the newly formulated Hockey East playoff system.  Pulling off an upset over the 5th seeded Irish will be a tough task for the Minutemen, who have won consecutive games just once this season.

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UMass Looks To Upset #2 BU; McCutcheon Leaves UMass For UCSB

Massachusetts Minutemen 8-16-1 (3-11-1)  Hockey East T-11th

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#2 Boston University Terriers 15-4-4 (10-2-2)  Hockey East 1st

Almost four months ago Massachusetts and Boston University took to the ice in kind of similar spots.  Both were coming off disappointing seasons with relatively new coaches and featured large freshman classes that would be relied upon to produce early on.  And through two periods the teams looked pretty similar, with BU taking a narrow 2-1 lead into the third period.  But the Terriers exploded for six goals in the final period on the way to an 8-1 win and then the teams went their very separate ways for the next few month.  While the Minutemen were left embarrassed on opening night and would struggle mightily through the entire first half of the season, BU continued their strong play and come into the rematch the second ranked team in the country.

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Vatrano Named Hockey East Player of the Month; Recruit Update

Massachusetts sophomore Frank Vatrano gained the well deserved honor of being named the Hockey East Player of the Month for December today.  Vatrano, who has been on fire since the first day of November, had six goals and 3 assists during last month.  Crunching the numbers, as I tend to do, Vatrano accounted for 43% of the Minutemen’s goals, 26% of the team’s total points, and 20% of their shots on goal during the final month of the year.

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AJHL Goalie Nic Renyard Commits To the Minutemen For 2015

The Massachusetts hockey program has picked up a commitment from goaltender Nic Renyard of the Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.  Renyard has been one of the best netminders in the AJHL this season with a league best 19-3-1 record to go with a save percentage of .934 and goals against average of 1.86, both second best in the league.  Renyard was the October Player of the Month for the AJHL (UMass commit Austin Plevy playing for Brooks was the POTM for November).  Renyard will fill the roster spot of graduating senior Steve Mastalerz and join Henry Dill and Alex Wakaluk on the goaltending crew next season.

It has been an interesting year for the 5’11, 170lb goaltender from Victoria, BC.  At the beginning of the season he was released his hometown Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL who wanted to prioritize playing time for their younger goaltenders.  He joined the Oilers and has been a big factor in their 24-9-3 record this year, 3rd best in the South Division just behind the Brook Bandits who have three future Minutemen on their roster (Plevy, Shane Bear, Kyler Nachtigall).  The Oilers literally picked him up for nothing and he’s been one of the best netminders in the league in return.

Renyard had a solid year in net last year for Victoria, with a .911 save percentage and 2.71 GAA.  The prior year he played for Penticton, also of the BCHL, and split time in net with Chad Kautner, who now plays for Notre Dame and picked up the win last Friday against UMass.  The duo picwon the Forslund Trophy in 2012-13 for best combined GAA in the BCHL.  Renyard had a .919 save percentage that year and 2.24 GAA.

This seems like a solid pickup for Coach Micheletto and his staff for next year.  Renyard is likely one of the best uncommitted goaltenders still available for next season.  Hopefully he’ll have as much success as the last goaltender who went from the AJHL to the Mullins Center.  Former Minuteman Paul Dainton went 13-6-4 with a .916 save percentage and 2.42 GAA for Fort McMurray of the AJHL in 2006-07.

Here’s an article from when Renyard signed with the Oilers, stating one of the reasons for the move was so he could, “…be a starter as a 20-year-old this year so I was waiting, looking for a program I know could win a championship and could get me a scholarship and move onto the NCAA next year.”

The Calgary Sun has this article on Renyard’s role in the Oilers early success this season.  The Okotoks local news website has a similar story.

Here’s a nice display from Renyard last year:

Here are some other odds and ends.

Captain Troy Power has a new post of from his season long blog.

The hockey office also has an updated Minutemen in the Pros release.

The Republican/Masslive has this excellent profile on Amherst native and UMass commit John Leonard on the eve of kicking off his season with Springfield Cathedral.

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