The season is over for Massachusetts hockey but not so for all of its recruits. It’s been a couple weeks so let’s take a look at the future Minutemen.
Posted by rocks22 on March 17, 2015
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 Ducks. I 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.
Posted by rocks22 on March 16, 2015
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.
Posted by rocks22 on March 14, 2015
Throughout the season people have regularly asked me my opinion on John Micheletto, the job he’s done at UMass, and if I thought he should keep his job. My answer to them was I didn’t want to get too much into “the coaching situation” while there was still hockey being played because I wanted to see how the season played out and I also didn’t want to get caught up in a trap of constantly talking about it. My worry was if I opened the Pandora’s Box of my views on the coaching and state of the program that it would dominate my postings from then on and take away from the regular game previews, recaps, and writing about the players. Well the season is over. I’ve written just about all I have to say about the 2014-15 season, so let’s talk coaching.
Posted by rocks22 on March 12, 2015
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.
Posted by rocks22 on March 12, 2015
You can say one thing, this surely was a memorable season. Not really for the right reasons though. To say the season was a disappointing one would be an understatement. It started poorly back in October, reached depths that I thought the program would never ever see again, showed some inconsistent promise later on, and then fell completely flat in the final two games. Not much was expected of this team considering they lost two hundred-point scorers last season in Mike Pereira and Conor Sheary as well as other key contributors like Branden Gracel and Joel Hanley. Plus the team had nine freshman to start the season and the jewel of the class, Brandon Montour, wouldn’t even join the team until second semester. Still, it was hoped that, perhaps after some early growing pains, the team would be able to make a material improvement upon last year’s 8 wins and 10th place finish. That did not happen.
Posted by rocks22 on March 11, 2015
With the season over for the Massachusetts Minutemen it’s time to hand out some hardware. Not actual hardware mind you as that would be a booster violation. But I want to take the opportunity to recognize some of the players who made major impacts for the Minutemen this season. All awards are entirely my choice except the Player of the Year which is awarded to the player who has accumulated the most FTT Player of the Game recognitions through the season.
Posted by rocks22 on March 10, 2015
The Massachusetts and Notre Dame hockey teams played 14 periods of hockey this past weekend and Massachusetts was as good or better than the Irish in 9 of those periods. But Notre Dame’s dominance in the final four periods played during the weekend ended up deciding the series. After being the better team in final period of Saturday’s Game 2 to break a tie and even the series Notre Dame embarrassed the Minutemen by scoring seven in last night’s deciding game. UMass’ season ended much as it began way back in October, with a seven goal loss.
Posted by rocks22 on March 9, 2015
The trend of one step forward, one step back has continued into the playoffs for the Massachusetts hockey team. After dispatching Notre Dame in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday when Shane Walsh’s goal ended a record setting five overtime affair, the teams met again later that night as UMass looked to sweep the Irish and move onto the Hockey East quarterfinals. But a lot of the problems that have plagued the Minutemen for much of the season, problems that were largely absent in the 150 minutes played the previous night, ultimately led to the Irish grabbing the 5-3 win and forcing the series deciding game later tonight.
Posted by rocks22 on March 8, 2015
This has been one of the most frustrating and disappointing seasons of UMass hockey in the 20 plus years that I’ve watched the program. There have been blowouts. There have an unthinkable amount of late game collapses. There have been games, as recently as last Friday, where the team has looked unfocused and at times disinterested. It’s been tough to understand why the team has played this way and know exactly what they were truly capable of. Last night the Massachusetts hockey players showed that despite the up and down results of the season, they are in fact a team that can play inspired and amazing hockey. They are a team that can execute at a high level on consistently through long stretches. They can battle to get back into a game and continue to battle to get a win. They are a team that will leave it all out on the ice for a victory. They are a team that has heart. A lot of heart. The prevailing problem this season has been that the team too often failed to put in a total 60 minute effort. But they put in a 60 minute effort last night. Twice in fact. And then did it some more. In the 152nd minute of last night’s five overtime marathon, the longest game in NCAA history, Shane Walsh’s game winner sent all the Minutemen back to the locker room as heroes.
Posted by rocks22 on March 7, 2015