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UMass Picked To Finish 7th By Coaches

The UMass hockey team was picked to finish 7th, same as they ended last season, by the Hockey East coaches in the poll released at today’s Media Day event.  BU was picked to repeat.  I’m surprised to see Merrimack picked to finish last behind the Friars despite the fact that they have one of the best goaltenders and some solid recruiting.  Providence seems to be in shambles.

 

2009-10 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. Boston University (6) 84
2. UMass Lowell (2) 79
3. Boston College (2) 76
4. New Hampshire 59
  Vermont 59
6. Northeastern 57
7. Massachusetts 47
8. Maine 32
9. Providence 24
10. Merrimack 23
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Lowell & BC Previews

Boston College Eagles

At first glance second place for the BC Eagles may seem like a bit of a stretch.  Gone are major contributors to their 2008 National Championship such as Brock Bradford, Ben Ferriero, and Andrew Orpik.  Also gone is hard-hitting (some would say goonish) sophomore defenseman Nick Petrecki.  Yet with the late season emergence of some of BC’s young players last year we saw what the team just may be capable of this year.

The offensive firepower this season should come from junior Brian Gibbons and a pair of talented sophomores in Cam Atkinson and Barry Almeida (cousin of TJ Syner).  Anchoring the defense will be Carl Sneep and sophomore Tommy Cross.  But I think the players that will make or break BC’s season will be their incoming class, arguably the best in Hockey East.  Forwards Steve Whitney and Kenny Ryan along with defenseman Brian Dumoulin are all good enough to make a positive impact for the Eagles from game one.  The fate of the Eagles season however depends on John Muse returning to the form of his freshman year.  This will prove tougher due to off season surgery that will likely sideline him for the first month of the season.

Trips to Notre Dame (to coincide with the schools’ football game) and to Colorado for the Denver Cup highlight the non-conference schedule for the Eagles.  UMass and BC will spread out their three games throughout the season with the Eagles visiting the Mullins in December and February.

There’s certainly a lot that could go wrong for the Eagles this season.  If Muse takes long to recover from surgery or their younger players are slow to adapt to the college game BC may fight just for home ice.  But Jerry York always seems to get a little extra out of his players and the composition of this team seems very similar to some of his strongest of the past few years.

Lowell River Hawks 

When the pre-season polls started  coming our recently showing the Lowell River Hawks ranked higher than some of the storied programs in Hockey East a lot of college hockey fans around the country sat up and asked, “huh?”  But it shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise to see the Hawks get some praise nationally.  After all, this was a team that knocked Frozen Four participant Vermont from the conference quarterfinals on their own ice, upset Northeastern in OT in the semis, and then ended up on the wrong side of a quick whistle in the finals against national champion BU.  And what do they lose from last year’s squad?  Hardly anything.

Mark Roebothan and Mike Potacco are the only graduations on a team that returns their seven top scorers.  Look for forwards Scott Campbell, David Vallorani, and Ben Holmstrom to carry the goal scoring load.  It should be interesting to see how Kory Falite plays this season given his strong finish after spending considerable time last season in Blaise MacDonald’s doghouse.  Incoming center Riley Wetmore put up some good numbers in the EJHL last year and could be a top freshman for Lowell this season.  The defense will be anchored by Maury Edwards, Jeremy Dehner, and the tough Nick Schaus.  Perhaps the most agonizing decision on gameday for MacDonald will be who to play in net as both Nevin Hamilton and Carter Hutton boasted sub-2.20 goals against last year.

Lowell has a relatively easy non-conference slate to maneuver opening with a trip west against a somewhat weak Icebreaker lineup, a trip to Alabama-Huntsville, and the Dartmouth Tournament.  A late October two game matchup with BU should give an early read on prospects for the Hawks this year.  The Alumni Cup will be decided in the months of December and January with two of the matchups coming at the rejuvenated Tsongas Arena.

So can Lowell actually break through and beat out the powers of Hockey East?  They certainly have the tools to.  While they have some excellent players what this team has that the other teams do not is depth and specifically experienced depth.  I think a lot of it will come down to coaching and the players themselves not getting psyched out by the names on their opponents’ sweaters.  If they can then prepare to see Hockey East turned upside down.  Remember, never has a team not named Boston University, Boston College, Maine, or New Hampshire won the regular season title.

My picks:
#1 Lowell River Hawks
#2 Boston College Eagles
#3 Boston University Terriers
#4 Vermont Catamounts
#5 New Hampshire Wildcats
#6 Massachusetts Minutemen (preview tomorrow)
#7 Northeastern Huskies
#8 Maine Black Bears
#9 Merrimack Warriors
#10 Providence Friars

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What do the Atlantic 10 and the ECAC have in common?  They’re both holding their tournaments in the same arena.

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Today is Hockey East Media Day so I’ll post an update later with the preseason polls and such.

BU & UVM Previews; Polls; Ugh, Shootouts; Other News, TV (updated)

Make sure to scroll below for today’s news.  Tomorrow I’ll be unveiling my pick to win Hockey East, Thursday will be my lengthy UMass preview, and Friday will be a look at this weekend’s game.

Vermont Catamounts

Last year Vermont was an offensive force that made it all the way to Washington DC for the Frozen Four. This year they’ll try to make up for the loss of 40% of their goal production from last season. Yet perhaps they don’t really have to score as much as last year and still be successful.

Viktor Stalberg was one of Hockey East’s best scoring 24 goals in 39 games, but he took the opportunity to jump to the Maple Leafs instead of coming back for his senior year. UMass killer Peter Lenes and his 31 points will also be missed after his graduation this spring. Look for Brian Roloff and Justin Milo to do their best to step in for the offseason losses. Does the scoring touch run in the Stalberg family? We’ll find out as little brother Sebastian arrives on the Burlington campus this season. But while offense was the solution last year UVM could become one of the better defensive teams this year. They return every defenseman who played significant minutes last year but the biggest asset will be in net where Rob Madore is coming off a stellar freshman year. After splitting time with Kevin Spillane last season look for Madore to get the catamount’s share of the playing time this season (awful pun, but I had to do it).

After an opening series out at Denver to start the season UVM will have a relatively soft non-conference schedule filled with ECAC teams and the participants in their tournament. The annual Turkey Tuesday Tilt against UMass will take place at the Gutt this season. The two teams will then meet up for the balance of the series in late January at the Mullins.

If UVM can make the transition from offensive team to defensive team they might be able to make up for the loss of Stalberg. This will not make me popular on Comm Ave but I thought Madore was the most impressive freshman goaltender in the conference last year. A seasoned defensive group in front of him should only improve his stats.

Boston University Terriers

With the flip of the wrist and a flutter of the puck the BU Terriers were champions last year, their first since 1995 and fifth total. The Terriers were flat out dominant towards the end of the season losing just once from mid-January on. But success comes with a price and not only does BU have to fill the spots of Hobey Baker winner Matt Gilroy and Brian Strait on one of the most suffocating defenses in recent years, but they lose over half of their goal production.

Gone are seniors Brandon Yip, Brian Lawrence, and Chris Higgins but the biggest loss up front is Colin Wilson who joined the Predators over the offseason. But, if there’s one thing BU always seems to have is plenty of depth. Nick Bonino was somewhat overshadowed by Wilson but proved to be nearly as dangerous. Zach Cohen and Vinny Saponari will have to step up their games. Also don’t be surprised to see freshman Alex Chaisson make an immediate impact. Gilroy and Straits departures will hurt but BU was able to keep Kevin Shattenkirk in school and he and Colby Cohen will be counted on to lead what is still one of the best defenses in the league. Kieran Millan won rookie of the year but there is still debate as to how much of that was him and how much he owed to the guys in front of him. Regardless if the defense plays to its potential he’ll be able to enjoy a season similar to last year.

BU oddly will be raising their banner during an exhibition game against the USNDPT and will open their regular season with the October 16th tilt in the Mullins Center. They’ll then head home to play CCHA powers Michigan and Notre Dame. Their non-conference highlights also include a repeat of last year’s game against Cornell at Madison Square Garden and of course there’s always the Beanpot. UMass will be at the Agganis right after New Years and directly before the Beanpot semis for the endless debate of whether it is good, bad, or indifferent to meet up with a Beanpot team before, during, or after the tournament. Personally, I don’t think it makes a difference.

It’s amazing to think you can lose a Hobey Baker winning defenseman and so much of your goal scoring and still be expected to compete for a league title. Yet that’s exactly what I think BU will do considering they’ll have fourteen NHL draft picks on their roster and an excellent incoming class. My gut tells me they’ll go as far as their ability to keep the opposing team away from the net.

My picks:
#3 Boston University Terriers
#4 Vermont Catamounts
#5 New Hampshire Wildcats
#6 Massachusetts Minutemen (preview later this week)
#7 Northeastern Huskies
#8 Maine Black Bears
#9 Merrimack Warriors
#10 Providence Friars

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The first USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll is out and they have Frozen Four finalist Miami as the team to beat.  Interesting that they got considerably less first place votes than the next two teams.  Denver, BU, Michigan, and Notre Dame round out the top 5.  Hockey East representation besides BU is found with Lowell at #10, BC at #12, UVM is #15, and UNH and Northeastern falling under Also Receiving Votes.

And the ECAC had its media day and released its preseason polls with UMass opponent Yale picked first in both the coaches and media poll.  Other 09-10 foes include Union at #6 in both polls, RPI picked 8th in the coaches and 10th in the media, and Quinnipiac 8th and 11th respectively.

Hockey East will hold their Media Day tomorrow.

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The CCHA which implemented shootouts last season as part of their league games to avoid ties has readjusted how it’s awarding points this year.  Lipstick on a pig.  I hate having games decided by skills competitions.  Why breakaways?  Why not set up the targets in the corners of the net or break out the radar gun for hardest shot?  It’s like a football game being decided by which quarterback can throw more passes through a tire hanging from a tree.  I don’t like it.

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Not surprisingly Jon Quick has won the starting goaltending job for LA.

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Saturday’s opponent the UNB Varsity Reds will be playing Mike Kostka and the Portland Pirates tomorrow.  Considering that UMass beat this team 6-0 last year I’d hate to see what an AHL team is capable of against them.  They seem to be under the impression that our mascot is the Attack.

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I meant to post about TV this morning as well as Hockey East released the full television schedule yesterday.  UMass will be on TV eight times next season; two on local channels, three on NESN, and three will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU (thankfully now available on Comcast).

 

Date Opponent Time Channel
10/30 at Providence 7pm Cox
11/28 at Quinnipiac 3pm NESN
1/2 at BU 4pm ESPNU
1/10 at Northeastern 8pm ESPNU
1/24 UVM 4pm ESPNU
2/5 BC 7:30pm NESN
2/20 Merrimack 7:30pm NESN
3/6 at Maine 7pm WABI

UNH Preview; Shea & Boyle Off To Hot Starts

New Hampshire Wildcats

New Hampshire had another solid season last year but in what has become a rite of spring they faltered late and their season ended in disappointment again.  Things looked good as they finished the regular season strong and secured the #3 seed in the Hockey East tournament.  Yet they were quickly swept at home by BC in the first round and then couldn’t get past BU in the NCAA Regionals in which they were the host.

To equal or even surpass last year’s results the Wildcats must improve on defense.  UNH allowed almost three goals per game, worst in Hockey East next to only Providence.  The blame for that falls equally on goaltender Brian Foster and the defensive group.  Blake Kessel and the rest of the young defense must step up and close up holes on defense.  On the offensive side UNH will have to make up for the loss of James VanRiemsdyk who left for the NHL.  Mike Sislo appears to be on the verge of Hockey East stardom and the addition of talented freshman Greg Burke should also help if he can recover from an injury that kept him from playing most of last year. 

The highlight of the non-conference schedule for the Wildcats will be a two game series at Wisconsin as well as a home series against Frozen Four participant Miami.  They’ll visit the Mullins Center for an odd two games series in mid November and will have completed their regular season games with the Minutemen by mid-January.

I think it will be possible for UNH to overcome the loss of JVR as a lot of their underclassmen performed well last season but if they are not able to improve defensively it may all be for not.  Foster will be asked to improve the most as they do lose a few quality players on defense and it appears their incoming blueliners are very offensive minded. 

My picks:

#5 New Hampshire Wildcats
#6 Massachusetts Minutemen (preview later this week)
#7 Northeastern Huskies
#8 Maine Black Bears
#9 Merrimack Warriors
#10 Providence Friars

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Defensive recruit Colin Shea has gotten off to a great start in the EJHL with a shorthanded goal and 3 assists in his first 3 games over the weekend.

Meanwhlie goaltender Kevin Boyle was named the AJHL Goaltender of the Week for his 2 win weekend that I blogged about previously.

Maine & Northeastern Previews; Nolet Chat;

Maine Black Bears

Maine certainly has the talent to return to the playoffs this year but it will probably take a lot more than just getting in to satisfy the disgruntled Black Bear fanbase.  Just a few years removed from his fourth Frozen Four Tim Whitehead has been under fire from the fans who expect to reload, not rebuild.  But rebuild is exactly what Maine did last year and were still able to find their way into the playoffs.

The youth movement is paying off as the team only loses four seniors to graduation.  On offense they’re led by freshman star Gustaf Nyquist who put up 32 points last season.  All in all they had five freshmen or sophomores last season with seven or more goals. They’ll most likely get some additional production from talented incoming freshmen like Kyle Beattie and Mark Anthoine.   In net last year Maine got solid play from freshman goaltender Scott Darling  who had a 2.76 GAA in 27 games.  Defense will be the biggest question mark at Alfond Arena.  The returning players as well as newcomers like quality USHL defenseman Nick Pryor will really have to step up their play to not only overcome the loss of Matt Duffy and Simon Denis-Pepin but to improve what was poor defensive play last year.

Maine’s schedule isn’t too tough this year.  They’ll open with a couple games against Union but then have to fly out to Lansing to take on Michigan State in the week following.  UMass will meet the Black Bears just a couple weeks into the season at the Mullins but then the teams won’t match up again until the two game tilt at Alfond in the final weekend.

On paper Maine certainly has the talent, albeit young, to compete for a spot in the middle of the Hockey East pack.  However, things just don’t seem right in Orono these days.  There is a large contingent of followers who simply want Whitehead gone no matter what and the usual buzz around Maine hockey seems to be waning.  Add in a tough summer where you had players with run-ins with the law, including star recruit Joey Diamond, and a good number of future recruits decommit and it certainly makes you wonder if Whitehead will crumble under the pressure.  I for one think he does.

Northeastern Huskies

One of the best stories last year was the breakthrough season for Northeastern.  The Huskies just barely missed out on a regular season title but were able to make just their third NCAA appearance in school history.  Greg Cronin deservedly was named the conference coach of the  year and certainly has things heading in the right direction on Huntington Ave but will have a tough task to repeat the accomplishments of last year.

Offensively Northeastern will has to replace a good deal of their scoring as Ryan Ginand has graduated along with do-all leader Joe Vitale.  They do however return leading point getter Wade Macleod and two talented forwards in Steve Quailer and Alex Tuckerman who had excellent freshman seasons last year.  On defense they return most of their group from last year save for Louis Liotti who won best defensive defenseman in Hockey East.  The biggest story for the Huskies offseason and the biggest question mark is goaltending.  Hobey Baker finalist Brad Thiessen opted to turn pro and leaves a huge hole in net.  As Thiessen played every second of Northeastern’s season last year it’s impossible to know what to expect from backups Ryan Mula or Mike Binnington.  The Huskies will likely go as far as their goaltending allows this year.

Whoever Thiessen’s replacement ends up being will be tested right away as the Huskies open their season with two games out at Colorado College.  UMass and the Huskies will meet for one game in mid-January and then a home and home in February.  Following that series will be a tough stretch to end the season for Northeastern as they’ll face BU, BC, and UNH in the final weekends.

This looks to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Huskies as they address the situation in net and try to replace some talented forwards from last year.  However if they are able to get solid goaltending and their freshman stars from last year avoid sophomore slumps then Northeastern could vie for home ice again this year.

My pick:

#7 Northeastern Huskies
#8 Maine Black Bears
#9 Merrimack Warriors
#10 Providence Friars

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Here’s the wrapup of Martin Nolet’s chat on UMassathletics.com.

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A congrats to Jon Quick on his recent nuptials, mentioned here in this story from the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Providence & Merrimack Previews; Wessbecker Signs; Other News

Here’s the first installment of my 2009-2010 previews of all the Hockey East teams and my predictions.  I’ll be doing two teams a day into next week.

Providence Friars

Well, the wheels have certainly fallen off the Providence Friars and I don’t see them getting the program off the blocks anytime soon.  It appears that Tim Army has completely lost his players as five, yes five, players have quit the team this calendar year and moved on to places like Notre Dame (gee, don’t they have some kind of Providence connection at assistant coach), Colgate, URI, and Providence (but without playing hockey).  This is on top of some early departures before last season, most notably talented defenseman Cody Wild.

Providence will have to replace about a quarter of their scoring on a team that was second to last in goals scored in Hockey East.  Luckily their top point and goal scorers return in the form of sophomore winger Matt Bergland and senior center John Cavanagh.  The bright spot for the Friars comes from the fact that they return nearly their entire defensive group from last year.  Added to that blueline mix will be talented incoming freshman Alex Velischek, a 5th round pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins in last Spring’s draft.  Alex Beaudry got off to a hot start in goal after joining the team mid-season but quickly cooled off and finished the year with a 4-10-4 record and a 3.50 GAA.  Most likely his play will improve after given the chance to prepare for a full season in Hockey East.

PC will have a tough schedule early as they’ll travel to the Midwest two weekends in a row to play four games against Notre Dame and Bowling Green.  They’ll face the Minutemen in the weekend following their Ohio trip for a two games series that includes Halloween night at the Mullins.  Just a few weeks later Providence will play Brown looking to avenge their loss in last year’s Mayor’s Cup.

Unfortunately for the Friar faithful it looks to be a long season at The Coffin this season.  In his four seasons Tim Army has been unable to entice or at least retain the talent needed for PC to compete in Hockey East.  Another bad season and Friar fans will be longing for the days of Pooley.  It’s gotten so bad that there were even rumors over the summer that Army was shopping himself out for coaching positions in the AHL and NHL.  That can’t do good things for morale.  Look for the Friars to finish near or at the bottom of the standings.

Merrimack Warriors

By the numbers last season looked like a typical season for the Merrimack Warriors winning just 5 games in Hockey East and once again missing the playoffs.  However looking closer there were a lot of positives, the primary being that they were able to avoid last place for the first time in five years and the second being that they had 13 losses by only one goal.  It’s not surprising that many think could be the year former UMass assistant Mark Dennehy gets Merrimack to play a couple extra games after the regular season.

Merrimack only graduated three seniors last year but the biggest loss occurred when leading scorer Rob Ricci surprisingly decided to jump to the pros after his junior season.  His loss will be huge for a team that scored the fewest goals in the conference last year.  As a result younger players like Chris Barton and Jesse Todd will really have to step up this coming year and take on more of the scoring load.  Defense and the guy behind the defense is where you’ll find Merrimack’s strength.  The defense will be further strengthened with the addition of freshman Kyle Bigos, a 4th round pick in the last NHL draft.  But the big star for Merrimack is goaltender Joe Cannata who had a spectacular freshman season with a 2.35 GAA and .918 save percentage.  You have to think these numbers will only get better as he enters his second year.

Merrimack will have a challenging schedule ahead of them this season and they get thrown into the fire opening weekend as they travel to play North Dakota.  The new year will find them in Madison facing the Wisconsin as part of the Badger Showdown.  UMass will host the Warriors just before both teams go on break in December and then the two teams will play a home and home toward the end of February.

Nothing would make me happier for their fans and their coach than picking Merrimack 8th or better.  And without the loss of Ricci, I probably would have.  But I just can’t see how they are going to score enough goals to get into the playoffs this year.  Cannata will certainly make them dangerous in nearly every game they play but in the end I see them losing a lot of games by small margins just as they did last year.  The good news however is the core group of their scorers are all sophomores and juniors and will likely be able to get Merrimack over the playoff hump the following year.

My pick:
#9 Merrimack Warriors
#10 Providence Friars

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John Wessbecker has signed with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

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Greg Mauldin has been sent down to Bridgeport from Islanders camp.

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Eric Filiou scored the game winner for the red hot Penticton Vees last night.  Here’s video of the goal, it’s around the 1:50 mark.

Trouble For Meyers; Nolet Chat

According to the Amherst Bulletin goaltender Dan Meyers was arrested this past weekend for an open container violation, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on a police officer.  Ugh.  Not how you want to see UMass hockey get into the paper, especially on the eve of the season.  It always troubles me to see students jeopardize their chance to play Division I athletics and get a college education with a few dumb decisions.  Hopefully this gets cleared up and Meyers gets back on track.  However he is most likely looking at missing some games.  Over the Summer I wondered why Toot was bringing in another goaltender to bring the total to four.  In retrospect, maybe not a bad decision.  I’m not sure who would be slotted as the backup behind Paul Dainton but freshman Randy Wolcott could be the likely candidate given his Goaltender of the Year performance in the AtlJHL last year.

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Martin Nolet will be doing an online chat at 10am this morning at UMassathletics.com.  You can submit your questions for him beforehand.

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Be sure to check back each and every day as I roll out my team by team Hockey East preview starting tomorrow.

On The Subject Of Hot Seats; Fall Prep Leagues; WNEC Hockey

Three years ago Toot Cahoon was named in a “10 Questions for ’07” feature as needing a good showing otherwise he may find himself on the hot seat at year’s end.  Of course Cahoon went on to coach probably the greatest season in UMass history and led the program to its first ever NCAA tournament berth, getting within one game of the Frozen Four.  Yet, just a few short years later he has found himself in exactly that same spot again, needing to show that UMass can indeed compete in Hockey East and that he’s the man to facilitate just that.

Now no one can deny that the high points of Cahoon’s career at UMass are worthy of much praise; the NCAA win in Rochester, a #5 ranking in 2008, three trips to the Garden, and one lightning fast Jimmy Howard glove save away from a Hockey East title.  But between those highs have been inexcusable lows.  In the two years following the NCAA appearance UMass has had a below .500 record.  The #5 ranking came after UMass captured the Lightning College Classic tournament and had a record of 11-3-5 at the time.  They went on to finish that season a dismal 5-13-1.  Despite the three trips to the conference semis the team has still finished 7th or worse in conference in four of the last seven years.  Despite all the success the program has had under Cahoon he still has a record at the school that is 41 games under .500.  Even if you throw out those first two years when he was left with little to work with by predecessor Joe Mallen his record is still 9 games under .500.  In his reign UMass has had back to back winning seasons just once and on average has finished 7th in the conference.

These Jekyll and Hyde results are certainly having an effect on the fanbase.  Frustration and rumblings are coming even from those supporters closest to the team.  I think it’s tough for many to admit their faith may be wavering in Cahoon because he’s such an upstanding person who has been engaging with the fans, graduated his players, and done things the right way.  But it does appear that followers are getting discouraged with where the program is headed.  Perhaps Toot has no one to blame but himself.  What he has accomplished at times with the program has given us all a taste of what it’s like to be a formidable hockey program in the country.  And we like it and we want more of it.

Toot came to Amherst with a monumental task; take a perpetually losing program with hardly any DI tradition and show that it was possible to win against the titans of eastern college hockey.  And I think he’s done that.  UMass hockey is now able to attract quality players, has been in the top 15 in the country in attendance, and even has a couple banners hanging in the Mullins Center.  The question now is can the program take the next step beyond showing that type of success isn’t just possible but can be done on a regular basis.  Can UMass become a regular contender not only for home ice every year but for the Hockey East crown?  And if so, is Toot Cahoon the man to lead UMass hockey onward to that next daunting challenge?  I think the 2009-2010 season will shed a little light on that answer.  And I sincerely hope the answer is yes.

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Speaking of Toot according to the athletic department he’ll be in the UMass tent at the Big E in West Springfield tonight between 6 and 7pm.  I lived in Western Mass for almost 15 years and never made it to the Big E once.  I’m not sure how that happened.

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Both Conor Sheary and Mike Pereira will be playing in fall prep leagues in the next few weeks, albeit different ones.  Since prep schools have much shorter seasons than the various junior leagues around the country these fall leagues give prep players a chance to hone their skills and perhaps impress their scouts before getting into the regular season.  Pereira will be playing for Team East in the Western New England Fall Prep Elite Hockey League (you know it’s bad when even the acronym would be a lot to type).  Games will be played at Trinity College in Hartford.  Sheary in the meantime is playing for Team West in the New England Fall Prep League.  Those games will be played at Babson College in Wellesley.

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Assistant coach Red Gendron gets a mention in this article from the Springfield Republican on the new hockey coach at WNEC.

Practice Starts; Hockey East and the Sharks; Training Camp Updates; Radio Deal

Well, this year’s edition of UMass hockey has officially taken the ice.  If you go to the main hockey page on UMassathletics.com they have a short video of practice and some remarks from Toot.  He specifically mentions he has liked what he has seen from Matt Irwin so far.

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Here’s an article from the Worcester Sharks website about the eight former Hockey East opponents added to the San Jose farm team (and joining current Shark P.J Fenton).  I like this line, “Envision raising your hockey stick to a fanatic student section at the Mullins Center…”  Also some praise for Toot from the Sharks GM as well.

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Somehow when I was writing about Minutemen in NHL training camps last week I missed Mike Kostka at Buffalo Sabres camp.  Well, he’s not there anymore as he was sent down to Portland.  The Portland Pirates coach though was impressed by his play last season and his eager to get him into camp.

Meanwhile Jon Quick was listed as one of five things to know about the Kings in this CBS Sports preview.  The Kings NHL site also has this very brief video interview with him.  Quick got the win last night as the Kings beat the Islanders in the best hockey arena with no team, the Sprint Center in Kansas City.  Unfortunately Greg Mauldin did not dress for the Isles and is probably soon headed for Bridgeport.

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I meant to blog about this earlier but the great news about UMass hockey being aired on the radio in the Boston area didn’t stay great for long as ESPN 890 is toast.  According to a poster on UMasshoops.com the school is pursuing other options.

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Finally, if you didn’t notice before I’ve now added the option to sign up and receive Fear The Triangle everyday by mail.  The only thing is it doesn’t get sent out until at night and I’m still trying to update with new news every morning, so you may be getting slightly old info.  However, it hopefully adds another way to stay up to date with all things UMass hockey.

UMass Ranked 20th By Sporting News; Boyle Starts Season; Berry In Scotland

In this season’s hockey yearbook The Sporting News has UMass ranked 20th in the country.  The top 5 are Denver, Miami, Michigan, Lowell, and Notre Dame.  Other Hockey East schools making the top 20 are BU at #6, BC #14, Northeastern at #16, and UNH coming in at #18.

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Goaltending recruit Kevin Boyle has gotten off to a great start for the regular season.  Moving up to the NJ Rockets A team this year Boyle got a shutout in his very first start in the AJHL on Saturday.  After a 5-3 win yesterday he’s already 2-0 on the season.

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Alex Berry and his Toronto Marlie teammates are heading to Scotland to play an exhibition tournament with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

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Here’s a preview of the LA Kings from NHL.com with some Jon Quick mentions.

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