News ▲ UMass Falls To Team USA 4-0; Vatrano, Sheary Shine In Bruins-Penguins Matchup

The Massachusetts hockey team played their final game of 2015 on Friday night in an exhibition game against the US Junior National Team, falling by a score of 4-0.  The game was the conclusion of Team USA’s evaluation camp ahead of their trip to Finland to compete in the World Junior Championships.  I think there are positives and concerns to take away from the exhibition loss and probably highlights the team’s most glaring area of improvement heading into the second half; offense.

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News ▲ Brian Williams Commits To UMass; Minutemen Face Team USA Friday

The Massachusetts hockey team picked up a commitment from forward Brian Williams (insert exaggerating newscaster joke here) today.  The news was first reported by Over The Boards on Twitter:

Williams later took to Twitter to announce his commitment as well:

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News ▲ UMass Hockey Players Arrested, Fined Over Weekend

Over the weekend UMass hockey’s Shane Walsh, Ben Gallacher and goaltender Henry Dill were arrested by Amherst police in connection with a loud party off-campus.  Also arrested was former player Evan Stack who retired from the sport last year due to concussion issues.  The Collegian’s Jason Kates reports that the four were arraigned today in Hampshire County Court and Walsh, Gallacher, and Stack paid fines for violating Amherst’s noise bylaw.  Dill paid a fine for disorderly conduct after “punching a police car”.

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Hockey East Coaches Pick UMass To Finish 12th

Today was Hockey East Media Day and, like the media members over the weekend, the league coaches also picked the Massachusetts hockey team to finish 12th in the 12 school league.  Again, not a big surprise given that the Minutemen are losing their top two players off a squad that finished 12th last year as well.  Will the dueling polls with UMass in last serve as motivation for the players and staff?  We’ll have to see.  Here’s the whole poll:

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Recruit Update ▲ Makar Grabs Four Points In Brooks’ Opening Weekend

We’re still a few weeks away from UMass taking the ice for their first game, but the season has already started for some of the future Minutemen.  So let’s take our first look at where the current recruits are playing this season and how they’ve done so far.

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Czepiel Hired To Coach At NMH; Vatrano Shines For Bruins

Updates were sparse here as I spent the last few days out in the Mile High air of Colorado where the results of the CU-UMass football game were disappointing but the beer scene was not.  So there’s a lot to catch up on.  There are two pretty major stories to get to regarding Kevin Czepiel and Frank Vatrano.

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Countdown: 24 Days ‘Til Dalhousie

In 24 days UMass will kick off their season with an exhibition game against the CIS’ Dalhousie Tigers.  So it’s time to take a look at #24 on the roster, Dennis Kravchenko.  Kravchenko is coming off a stellar freshman season for UMass and it was a given that he’d be a key to success for the team as a sophomore.  But when Frank Vatrano and Brandon Montour decided to leave school early for the pros Kravchenko’s status changed from being an important part of the team to probably the most important component.

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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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