Recruit Update ▲ Hildenbrand Commits To UMass

The Massachusetts hockey team picked up a commitment from forward Niko Hildenbrand.  The right shot, 1995 birth year plays forward for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL.  The Vacaville, CA native is 5’11” and weighs 194 lbs.

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Weekend Wrap-around ▲ UMass Drops To 10th Place In Hockey East

Another weekend without gaining any points has put the Massachusetts hockey team in a precarious position with just a few weeks left in the season.  It also sets up an interesting matchup this weekend as the Maine Black Bears come to town currently inhabiting last place, but are just two points behind the Minutemen.

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Recap ▲ Vermont Comes Back To Defeat UMass 6-4

A night after perhaps their worst performance of the season the Massachusetts hockey team looked much better as they hosted the Vermont Catamounts.  UMass would play well enough to take a 4-2 lead into the final period.  However they ran out of gas late, gave up four third period goals, and ended up falling to UVM 6-4.  There were a number of positives to take away from the game, such as the offensive reemergence of Dennis Kravchenko and Austin Plevy as well as Nic Renyard’s performance in net.  However the team still cannot find a way to win and are now 1-12-0 in their last 13 games.  In addition John Micheletto is now winless in his last 8 games against his former team.

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Recap ▲ UMass Gift-Wraps 1,000th Win For Jerry York, Falls 8-0

Last night’s game between #4 Boston College and the Massachusetts Minutemen seemed to be a referendum on how the respective teams feel about their coaches.  From the start the BC Eagles played like they were going to stop at nothing to make sure Jerry York would gain his 1,000th career win, the first to ever reach such a milestone.  On the other side, if the UMass players are worried that the Minutemen’s continued poor results is going to cost John Micheletto his job, they didn’t play like it.  Or maybe, like nearly all the remaining UMass hockey fans, they too are ready for a change.  UMass played before its biggest crowd of the season last night, but few of the 4,673 fans were there at the end to witness history as the embarrassing 8-0 loss sent them to their cars, or nearby bars, early.

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Preview ▲ UMass Begins Homestand With Games Against #4 Boston College, Vermont

Boston College Eagles 15-4-3 (8-1-3) Hockey East 2nd

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Massachusetts Minutemen 7-12-4 (2-7-4) Hockey East T-8th

If the Massachusetts hockey team is going to make a run in the second half of the season it has to start now.  The Minutemen will not have to play a game outside of Western Mass until February 13th against Northeastern.  Friday’s game against 4th ranked Boston College kicks off a five game homestand, followed by a game against AIC at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, and then capped off with a return to the Mullins Center to face Northeastern.  We heard a lot earlier on in the season that the team was in need of a good homestretch to reverse their fortunes.  That hasn’t really happened as the team is just 2-5-1 at the Mullins Center.  But considering that the team plays three of its final four regular season games on the road, they desperately need to do well now if they’re to stay out of the bottom portion of the league standings.

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Weekend Wrap-around ▲ Northeastern Surging

We had  nothing but conference play for the Hockey East teams this past weekend.  Yes, the stretch run has come to the league.  Of the six weekend series, four ended up being sweeps.  The weekend helped cement the gap between the four or five teams with a chance at the league title and everyone else.

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View From Section U ▲ Time For A Coaching Change

Let me start by saying that I think John Micheletto is a sharp, innovative hockey mind in the college game as well as a talented recruiter.  I have no doubt that he has spent the last three and a half years working hard to make UMass hockey successful in the competitive Hockey East.  I think he’s a well-intentioned individual who is trying his best.  I also believe that despite all those qualities he is not the right person to be head coach and after this current season, Athletic Director Ryan Bamford should look to someone new to lead the Massachusetts hockey program.

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Recap ▲ #11 Lowell Dominates UMass In Weekend Sweep, Wins Alumni Cup

The Massachusetts played 120 minutes this weekend against sister school Lowell and was barely in the games for more than a matter of a few minutes.  The River Hawks grabbed an early lead both nights, controlled possession throughout the weekend series, and utterly embarrassed the Minutemen.  Lack of focus and at times what looked to be a lack of effort made for a tough weekend for the UMass hockey team.  A season that started with such promise after a 4-0-1 start in October now is shaping up to be another huge disappointment as the team has gone 3-13-3 since that hot beginning to the season and is in danger of falling to the bottom of the Hockey East standings.

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Preview ▲ UMass Faces #11 Lowell In Home And Home Series

#11 Lowell River Hawks 12-4-4 (7-2-3) Hockey East 1st

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Massachusetts Minutemen 7-10-4 (2-5-4) Hockey East T-7th

The Massachusetts hockey team hasn’t won a league game since their sweep of UConn in the first week of November, going 0-3-3 in that time.  Their return to Hockey East play in the new year got off to a very rough start last Friday when they were blown out by the Boston University Terriers 7-2.  They’ll look to get back on track in conference this weekend, but it won’t be easy as they’ll have to face the 1st place Lowell River Hawks in a home and home series starting Friday in Amherst.

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View From Section U ▲ Micheletto’s Boyle Blunder

Kevin Boyle committed to play hockey at the University of Massachusetts in February of 2009 at age 16.  After a couple more seasons of juniors, one year played in his native New Jersey and the other on the west coast of Canada, he came to Amherst in the fall of 2011.  He would make his debut in the opening game of the season, a 3-3 tie at Northeastern where he made 29 saves.  A week later he made his Mullins Center debut and got his first collegiate win in a 5-3 decision over Bentley.  If all had gone to plan Boyle would’ve played his last game as a senior last February.  But things did not go as planned.  Instead he’ll make his final appearance in Amherst this Friday.  He’ll be wearing a UMass sweater, but not one adorned with maroon and white.  Instead it’ll be the red and blue jersey of UMass-Lowell where Boyle is putting up excellent numbers in net for a top ten team with their sights set on the NCAA tournament.

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