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Weekend Update, Polls, & Awards

Do you like splits?  Well this past weekend in Hockey East was for you.  The biggest story of the weekend was that Northeastern got its first win of the season at home against UNH after losing in Durham the night before.  Vermont got blanked in Providence 3-0 on Friday but rebounded with a 2-1 win on Saturday.  What I found most surprising about that series is that the Friars, the #3 team in the country to start the season, only got 2300 fans to each of the games.  That’s disappointing and surprising, despite the slow start for the team.

Merrimack hosted Notre Dame this past weekend and after losing a tough one in overtime on Friday bounced back to a surprising 4-1 win on Saturday.  Even out of conference we saw a split has Penn State dominated #4 Lowell by a score of 4-1 on Saturday after losing 5-3 the night before.  In a split against two different teams this past week Boston College continued to struggle on Tuesday in a 3-2 loss to Harvard but travelled out to East Lansing and beat the Spartans by the same score Friday.  No split for Boston University as they travelled up to Orono for a 3-1 victory in their only game of the weekend against Maine.  And in the “Well, that’s college hockey…” result of the week UConn followed up its three point week against BC and BU by getting shutout 2-0 against Sacred Heart.  What’s interesting about that game is that it was played at prep’s Taft School in honor of Jason Pagni, a force in Connecticut hockey and someone who meant a lot to UMass great Jon Quick.

  Conference     Overall
    GP W-L-T   PTS GF-GA     GP W-L-T GF-GA
1 Vermont 8 5-2-1   11 22-16     10 7-2-1 27-17
2 Boston University 6 4-1-1   9 25-12     8 6-1-1 29-14
  Mass.-Lowell 5 4-0-1   9 23-7     11 7-2-2 44-29
4 Merrimack 5 3-2-0   6 11-8     11 7-3-1 31-21
  Providence 6 3-3-0   6 10-10     10 4-5-1 19-24
6 Notre Dame 4 2-1-1   5 9-10     12 6-5-1 36-32
7 Maine 5 2-3-0   4 14-18     11 3-7-1 25-38
8 Connecticut 4 1-2-1   3 7-8     10 2-5-3 17-24
  Northeastern 6 1-4-1   3 12-23     10 1-8-1 17-36
10 New Hampshire 4 1-3-0   2 8-15     10 4-6-0 29-29
  Boston College 4 1-3-0   2 9-12     10 5-5-0 30-27
  Massachusetts 5 1-4-0   2 12-23     8 3-5-0 26-32

 

Minnesota got swept by Minnesota-Duluth this past weekend which means we have a new #1 team this week.  That team is Michigan Tech.  Michigan Tech!  If Union winning the championship last year and the Huskies of Tech being the top team in the country isn’t a huge affirmation to the fact that any team in college hockey, even success-challenged UMass, can climb to the top I don’t know what is.  North Dakota stays at #2 and BU climbs all the way to #3 with their 6-1-1 ranking.  Needless to say David Quinn is the early favorite for coach of the year.

Minnesota drops to fourth after getting swept by the Bulldogs while Lowell’s loss to Penn State drops them a spot to #5.  Saturday’s opponent Vermont dropped one spot from tenth to eleventh after splitting at Providence. Friday’s foe BC is just behind them at #12, dropping out of the top ten with their recent struggles.  Vermont’s split with Providence dropped them one spot but Providence’s split with Vermont dropped them three spots to #19.  Merrimack is set to break into the Top 20 next week if they can build on their 7-3-1 start.

USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll

November 17, 2014

Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Michigan Tech (24) 10- 0-0 940 5
2 North Dakota (12) 8- 2-1 916 2
3 Boston University (14) 6- 1-1 913 3
4 Minnesota 7- 3-0 830 1
5 Massachusetts-Lowell 7- 2-2 731 4
6 Colgate 8- 3-1 726 6
7 Miami 8- 4-0 686 7
8 Minnesota-Duluth 8- 4-0 663 13
9 Minnesota State 7- 3-0 574 9
10 Denver 6- 3-0 509 11
11 Vermont 7- 2-1 477 10
12 Boston College 5- 5-0 439 8
13 Nebraska-Omaha 6- 1-1 394 14
14 Quinnipiac 7- 2-1 283 20
15 Union 6- 5-1 249 12
16 St. Cloud State 4- 5-1 248 15
17 Northern Michigan 6- 1-1 205 18
18 Bowling Green 8- 3-1 177 19
19 Providence 4- 5-1 163 16
20 Robert Morris 7- 1-2 108 17
Others receiving votes: Merrimack 61, St. Lawrence 54, Ferris State 53, Harvard 44, Notre Dame 22, Penn State 19, Yale 15, Michigan 1.

Apparently spending a week growing Movember mustaches isn’t enough for UMass players to get a mention in the Hockey East Weekly Awards.  Important to note that Vermont sophomore goaltender Mike Santaguida was defensive player of the week.  Meaning it’s not just Brady Hoffman that Catamount opponents have to plan for.

The big news around UMass hockey today was that Austin Plevy signed his National Letter of Intent to join the Minutemen next fall.  This link includes a profile and commentary from Coach Mick on Plevy.  Those who have followed along with FTT’s recruit updates know that Plevy, a former Merrimack recruit, is one of the top scorers in the AJHL and will likely be able to contribute right away for the 2015-16 season.  Plevy is currently leading the Viterra Cup standings, which measures the accumulation of each player of the game designation around the AJHL.

Speaking of UMass spending their bye week on their mustaches, the UMass team, spurred on by head coach John Micheletto has fully embraced Movember, where guys grow facial hair to raise awareness of prostate cancer.  Although as someone who goes through every day with facial hair I never really know what to do when November rolls around (do I shave and start from scratch?  do I just mold the usual goatee into something else entirely?) this is a great cause and one that hits home since I faced a prostate cancer scare myself a few years back myself.  Clicking on the above Collegian link will show you that Mike Busillo should already be crowned the Movember champ for UMass.  Friday’s game against BC will feature some mustache themed contests.  I encourage everyone to donate to Coach Mick’s Movember page for this cause.

UMass athletes, coaches, and administrators have created the following video in support of the “It’s On Us” campaign to battle on-campus sexual assault:

Its on us–UMass

 

Finally, here’s a must read about a Union hockey player who finally got to meet the person whose life he helped save last winter before a game this past weekend.

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Polls & Awards

Minnesota remains atop the USCHO poll this week but they’re sharing some first place votes with #2 North Dakota and #5 Michigan Tech.  Boston University is tops among Hockey East teams at #3 after beating Boston College and tying UConn this past week.  Lowell is just behind them at #4, jumping a couple spots after taking three points from Northeastern.  BC slides from third all the way to eighth after losing to UConn and BU last week.  The Eagles now have a three game losing streak.  They’ll play Harvard on Tuesday and then travel to Michigan State (who might as well be an affiliate member of Hockey East at this point) before they come to Amherst on the 21st.  Vermont’s sweep of Maine lifts them to #10 in the poll, giving Hockey East four teams in the top ten.  Providence’s split with Merrimack drops them four spots to #16.

UConn grabbed two of the weekly Hockey East awards after their win over BC and tie against BU.  BU’s Jack Eichel won just his first weekly award of the season despite dominating statistically so far.  Frank Vatrano and Dennis Kravchenko were named Top Performers for their efforts against AIC.  Zack LaRue was recognized in the milestones for his first multi-goal game and “Minuteman Freshman” also got a nod too for his assist.  That dude is great, I’m not sure where we’d be without him.  (I’m guessing they meant Dominic Trento)

UMass is 11th in the SB Nation Hockey East power rankings.

Vatrano’s four game point streak is mentioned in their weekly Notes and Numbers piece.

Cornell coach Mike Schafer was suspended a game for saying some not so nice things about Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold after losing 1-0 to the Bobcats.  Funny that the guy who seems very concerned about player safety wanted UMass to play on slush last year.

It’s a bye week for the Minutemen but FTT will still be active.  We have two weeks of games to catch up on with our recruits.  And on Wednesday or Thursday I’ll take an early look at how the Minutemen have fared against expectations so far this season.

Polls & Awards

Minnesota is still the top team in the land in this week’s USCHO poll despite losing a game over the weekend to St Cloud.  Boston College is the top Hockey East school at #3, moving up two spots despite splitting with Denver.  The Eagles’ opponent this week, Boston University, moves up to #5 after their split with Providence.  Just behind them is Lowell at #6, moving up from #8 last week after dominating New Hampshire over the weekend.  BU got to move up a spot for their split against Providence, but for some reason Providence fell three spots to #12 after taking one of two from the Terriers.  Vermont slipped to #14 after only managing a single point out in Notre Dame this past weekend.  The Irish are right behind them at 15th.  Out of conference I would say the highlight of this week’s poll is Michigan Tech, which swept in-state giant Michigan this past weekend.  The Huskies rocketed up the poll to ninth and even managed a first place vote.

No Minutemen were honored in this past week’s Hockey East awards.  Black Bear Liam Pecararo was selected as Rookie of the Week after scoring the game winner on Saturday to go with a couple of assists on Friday.

The Collegian has their recap of this past weekend’s losses.

UMass falls to second to last in the SB Nation Hockey East Power Rankings.  Ditto for the WEEI Power Rankings.

Conor Allen has been called up to the NY Rangers where he could potentially be playing on a pairing with Mike Kostka, who was called back up to Broadway last week.  Allen played three game for the blueshirts last season.

Polls & Awards: Dill Named Hockey East Rookie of the Week

Congratulations to freshman goaltender Henry Dill who was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week for his effort this past weekend.  Dill had a .932 save percentage on a weekend that was highlighted by his 42 save effort in the Friday win against Northeastern.  You’ll notice in the linked release that Dill is also among the leaders of the Army ROTC Three Stars Award.  Zack LaRue was named a Top Performer as well.  It’s the second straight weekend that the Massachusetts hockey team has had someone recognized by the league as Steven Iacobellis was named Player of the Week previously.

Minnesota received all the first place votes in this week’s USCHO poll.  Boston College’s win over UMass Saturday helped them move up a spot to #5 with rival Boston University just behind them at #6.  BU’s wins over Michigan and Michigan State lifted them up six spots from the previous week’s poll.  Lowell dropped one spot from 7th to 8th after splitting with the Michigan schools.  Providence dropped from 5th to 9th after only salvaging a tie in a trip out to North Dakota for a two game series.  A 4-0-0 start has helped Vermont to their #13 ranking.  Notre Dame is ranked as #20 this week after a sweep of Niagara that saw them outscore the Purple Eagles 13-3.

According to the USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today poll, Lowell has annexed Providence College because UML is ranked both #8 and #9.  I’m sure there’s some kind of law about not operating a public college outside of the commonwealth’s borders so this act of aggression on the River Hawks’ part is probably only temporary.  If not it’s going to create havoc with the HEA playoff tiebreakers.

The Collegian has their summary of the past weekend’s split.

Polls & Awards: Iacobellis Named HEA Player of the Week

Congratulations go to Massachusetts sophomore forward Steven Iacobellis for being named the Hockey East Player of the Week.  While Iacobellis was named the team’s Rookie of the Year last season, this is the first Hockey East weekly honor for Iacobellis who had two goals and two assists in Saturday’s win over Michigan State.  Patrick Lee was named one of the weekly Top Performers for his three point weekend that included the game winner in the waning seconds of Saturday match.

Iacobellis was also named co-UMass Athlete of the Week with running back Shadrach Abrokwah.

Hockey East owns an entire block of this week’s top ten in the USCHO poll with Providence, Boston College, and Lowell coming in as the 5th, 6th, and 7th schools respectively.  The Friars didn’t move in the poll after playing an exhibition game against the USA Hockey U18 team this past week.  BC moved up a slot with their 6-2 win at RIT while Lowell jumped two spots after gaining a win and a tie against Quinnipiac.  Boston University’s win over UMass keeps on giving as the Terriers have still only played that one game on the season yet slid up to #12 in the poll.  Vermont has joined the rankings at #17 after starting the season 3-0-0.  Notre Dame, Merrimack, New Hampshire, and Northeastern are all getting votes.

Like the USCHO poll, the Minnesota Gophers are the top team in the USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today poll.

The highlights from this past weekend have been posted on UMass Athletics.  They’re worth a watch.  From Friday’s highlights I was impressed by Shane Walsh’s long cross ice set up to Keith Burchett’s first goal as well as the nice job by Dennis Kravchenko and Zack LaRue on the shorthanded goal.  On Saturday, the Lee gamewinner is certainly the big highlight, but the second goal of the game shows some excellent puck movement and a nice job by Lee in collecting a loose puck to start the whole play off.  On that sequence is some of the best passing I’ve seen from UMass in recent memory so make sure to check it out.

Here’s the weekend recap from the Collegian.

And here are some weekend thoughts from the Spartan viewpoint at The Only Colors.

Jeff Cox of SBN College Hockey has UMass at #10 in his Hockey East power rankings.

USHR is reporting that former UMass and BU recruit Liam Coughlin is now committed to Vermont.  Coughlin was all set to join UMass this semester until he backed out of his commitment in April for BU, which he had dubbed his “dream school”.  Well that dream didn’t last long as he was already on the outs with BU by the end of the summer.

Polls & Awards

Not unexpectedly UMass is no longer receiving any votes in this week’s USCHO poll.  Providence dropped from third place to #5 with their opening weekend split at Ohio State.  Boston College dropped three spots to #7 after losing to Lowell, who was the big winner in the polls this week, jumping from #17 to #9.  With their decisive win over the Minutemen Boston University improved 6 spots to #14.  All in all 10 difference Hockey East teams are receiving votes in the polls, only UMass and UConn are not.

And here’s the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll.

No mentions for UMass in this week’s Hockey East awards.

I missed this last week, but College Hockey News had their Hockey East Preview.

Winter Is Coming…

Yes, Fear The Triangle is back in business and you can thank Game of Thrones for that.  Really.  First, let’s back up a bit to about 21 months ago when I first announced the blog going on permanent hiatus.  With impending fatherhood and homeownership on the horizon I figured I would have a tough time just following the team much less watching games and then trying to keep other fans up to date.  I was partly right.

In April I bought a house on the South Shore and a couple months later my beautiful daughter arrived, punctually arriving on her due date to the overwhelming joy of myself and my wife.  I thought the baby and the house would encompass every last minute of my life, and they kind of do, but at the same time you still can juggle stuff around for some free time or just incorporate them into the rest of your life as best you can.  So there were many times last season when I sat with my infant daughter on my lap while watching UMass hockey streaming on my computer.  But other times I was able to sneak away for a few hours and make the trip out to Amherst to see the team in person.  And a couple times my wife and I took the baby to the game where she saw a win in her very first game and didn’t even cry when she met creepy gray Sam.  Not surprisingly, my 15 month old daughter already recognizes and points out the UMass logo wherever she finds it.  As for the house I quickly learned that I’m incapable of doing even basic maintenance so mostly I keep myself busy as a homeowner by complaining and waiting for the next bill to come in for all the stuff that goes wrong.

So while I was able to keep up with the team and how the season fared last year there’s still no way I would’ve been able to keep up with the blog.   In retrospect, I’m very glad I shut it down, even if only for just one year.  There were just too many midnight wake ups, constant feedings, crying (sometimes by me, sometimes by the baby), soothing, rocking, and a hundred other things going on to prevent me from logging on and spending hours writing about hockey.  But, things got better.  Soon the baby realized how to use her fingers and was able to start feeding herself.  Sleeping through the nights luckily started early on and regular naptimes soon followed.  Towards the very end of the hockey season I was soon finding I had some free time each night after the girl’s bedtime.

That newfound spare time was filled in the Spring when my wife and I squashed all four seasons of Game of Thrones into a month’s worth of binge watching.  Once that was completed I was hooked on the series and the characters and moved right on to reading the Song of Ice and Fire book series the show was based on.  That kept me busy all summer.  A couple weeks ago with only a few chapters left I started to wonder what I’d do to keep myself busy going forward.  I’ve never been one to spend my nights in front of the TV watching NCIS:Cleveland or whatever so it led me back here. So yes, Game of Thrones helped me realize that I had enough time to do this blog again.

I’m looking forward to writing about UMass hockey again and doing what I can to help other fans follow the team.  I’ll actually start writing about the team itself in the coming days, but it should be an interesting season to follow.  There are a ton of new players to get to know.  With those new players Coach Micheletto has a roster made up of players better suited to play his style of hockey.  UMass has a new Hockey East“rival” in UConn.  And there are a lot of interesting storylines within the conference itself, as evidenced by the fact that Providence is the team to beat.

One thing to keep in mind is that sequels, even the good ones, are rarely as good as the original.  That’s likely going to be the case with FTT 2.0.  While I do have some free time, I definitely won’t be able to put as much into this as I did during the first few years.  I wouldn’t get back into this if I didn’t think I’d be able to put enough into it to keep everyone informed and offer some insight.  But I still won’t be able to get to all the games, home and away, like I used to.  The previews and recaps may not be quite as long.  I might not have a weekly column every week.  But, I still think this will be the place for UMass hockey fans to come to know what’s going on with their team.  Especially since no other UMass hockey fan sites popped up in the last year and a half to fill the void anyway (looking at you Fight Mass boys).

I plan on keeping the format roughly the same:

  • Mondays:  Polls & Awards
  • Tuesdays:  Recruit Updates
  • Wednesday:  View From Section U Semi-Regular Column
  • Thursday/Friday:  Weekend Preview
  • Saturday/Sunday:  Weekend Recap

In the immediate future I plan to do a Hockey East preview, write a “what to watch for” ahead of this Saturday’s exhibition, write about the newcomers to the team, and of course write a season preview for the team itself.

So I guess that’s it.  I want to thank all the Minuteman fans out there who continued to tell me how much they enjoyed, and then missed, the blog.  You kept FTT at the forefront of my mind and helped me realize the tremendous reach this blog.  Hopefully FTT continues to be a place for the diehard fans to keep up with the team.  What I would really love is for the program to start to ascend in the Hockey East standings and FTT ends up being where all the bandwagon UMass fans come to learn the details and history of their newest favorite team.  Let’s hope the wheels on that bandwagon start rolling next Friday against Boston University.

Go UMass!

It was a bit surprising to find UMass in the Also Receiving Votes list of the first USCHO poll of the season, but that’s great recognition going into the season.

That wasn’t the case with the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll however.

Here are the details of this Saturday’s exhibition against Dalhousie from the CIS.  To my knowledge this will be the first time the exhibition game will be held in the Mullins Center.  Also, if you’re unable to make it the game will be broadcast on WHMP as well.

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