CHN Preview; Maine Game Notes; Recruits Ranked For NHL Draft

Well, better late than never I suppose but here’s College Hockey News’ Hockey East preview.  They don’t make any predictions but there are some pretty good capsules of each team.

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Looking ahead to Friday UMass as put up their game notes for the matchup against Maine.  Oh boy, it’s country night.  Remind me to bring my earplugs so I don’t have to hear the shrill country western music.

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Kevin Boyle and Mike Pereira were both listed as “players to watch” by the NHL Central Scouting Service for next year’s draft.  Pereira is listed as a potential mid round pick and Boyle as a potential late round pick.  I’m a little surprised/disappointed not to see Joel Hanley on the list.

The Indiana Ice issued this release about John Parker and his other Indiana teammates chosen to represent the US at the World Junior A Challenge next month.

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Elsewhere around college hockey…

If the RPI was available for the season the win against BU would probably be hurting UMass as the Terriers lost last night at home to Notre Dame 3-0.  After putting up over 40 shots against the Minutemen they only managed 16 against the Irish and went 0 for 8 on the power play.  Maybe Jack Parker was smart to raise the championship banner before an exhibition game.

Cornell is going to retire Ken Dryden’s jersey this season.  What?!?  How has this not happened already??

Finally, good luck to the UMass women’s club hockey team which begins play this weekend.  The women’s club team has established themselves as one of the best programs at that level.  I was very glad to see a banner go up in the practice rink last year to commemorate their deep run into the ACHA tournament.

Dainton Named Hockey East Defensive POTW; Polls; Parker Named To Team USA

Two weeks of Hockey East awards, two UMass hockey recipients.  Paul Dainton was very deservedly named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week for his career-high 39 save effort against BU last week.  I probably didn’t mention his play enough when recapping the game over the weekend.  To be honest, I thought he was fighting the puck a bit during the early parts of the game.  But he really settled down quickly and made some spectacular saves to preserve the win.  There’s no doubt that to be successful this season UMass will have to rely on his veteran play.

Rocco Carzo and Will Ortiz were both named as Weekly Top Performers.

Dainton also shared the UMass Athlete of the Week honors with running back Jonathan Hernandez who did an excellent job filling in for Tony Nelson against UNH.

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Yesterday I mentioned INCH has UMass as their #18 team on their weekly power rankings.  The Minutemen are on the outside looking in on the polls released yesterday.  USCHO has the team as the first Also Receiving Votes getter, de facto #21 while USA Today/USA Hockey has UMass as de facto #18.  Their loss in the Mullins didn’t hurt BU too much as they only slid one spot to #3 in both polls and are still receiving first place votes in the USCHO poll.  UVM is also surprisingly receiving a first place vote in both polls despite already having a loss on the young season (to #4/#5 Denver).

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Congratulations to John Parker who was chosen to represent the USA in next month’s World Junior A Challenge in Prince Edward Island.  Rocco Carzo and Darren Rowe helped Team USA win the gold at last year’s event.  This is great to hear as I was a little worried about his lack of production so far in his 2nd USHL season (0pts in 4 games).  But obviously the USA Hockey people are seeing something from him if he was picked to the team. 

Unfortunately he will not get the chance to go up against one of his future teammates as defenseman Joel Hanley was not picked to the Canada Team East squad announced late last week.  Hanley is current tied for 5th in scoring for defensemen in the CCHL with 3 goals and 11 assists in 13 games.

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Alex Berry is mentioned in this look at the Maple Leafs organization from Hockey’s Future.  Berry has two assists and 9 PIM so far in 5 games.  And his fighting skills are starting to improve.

BU & Weekend Recap; Polls; Alumni Updates

Well what a homecoming weekend that was.  Two extremely entertaining upsets over top 5 teams in both hockey and football.  That plus some good times hanging out with friends, new and old, add in some quality tailgating and you can’t ask for a better time spent out on campus.

A few more links to share from Friday’s upset of BU.  First is an interview with Will Ortiz by UMass alum Mike Reiss for the ESPNBoston website.  That’ll be great if ESPNBoston decides to cover local college hockey, especially coverage that goes beyond just the schools in Boston (and Newton).

Here’s the game recap from the Collegian.  The article confirms that Dan Meyers suspension will be through this week’s game against Maine.

Here’s a take on the game from BU’s Daily Free Press with a lot of deserved praise for the play of Alex Chiasson.

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Hockey East fared better on Saturday than the night before.  Maine was able to beat Michigan State up in Orono to get the series split while UNH tied #1 Miami in Durham.  Merrimack freshman Stephane DeCosta decided to make up for the games he missed while waiting to be cleared by the NCAA and scored five goals in a 6-3 win over Army.  Yesterday Boston College played their season opener and lost to UVM at home 4-1.  Despite rumors that he was going to miss weeks if not months of the regular season recovering from surgery, John Muse got the start in net for the Eagles.

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INCH has UMass at #18 in their latest power rankings.  It’ll be interesting to see if the Minutemen will be able to sneak in to the USCHO and USA Today polls that are released later today.  UVM made a huge jump to #3 in the power rankings with their win over BC yesterday.

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I received some good and bad news for our alumni playing in the minors over the weekend.  First, David Leaderer is doing well with the Trenton Devils where he has been named an assistant captain for the season and even spent some time in the AHL Lowell Devils training camp.

Unfortunately things aren’t going that well for Chris Capraro and John Wessbecker.  Wessbecker was released by the Florida Everblades last week (note to the Naples News, learn how to spell Hobey).  Capraro meanwhile was surprisingly released by the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers.  I found this item talking about his release where it’s also mentioned the South Carolina Stingrays could be interested in Stephen Werner if he decides not to go overseas.

BU Game Recap

(photo by Karen Winger)

(photo by Karen Winger)

It’s amazing what can be accomplished when a team plays full out for an entire game.  Ok, well they did look flat for the first five minutes but beyond that they went toe to toe with the defending champs and second ranked team in the country and came away at the end with the 3-2 win.  If UMass puts that kind of effort into every game this season the end result will be limitless.

I was very impressed by the defense and the play of Paul Dainton who stopped 39 shots in the game.  They did a good job of limiting BU to some low percentage shots and did their best to sweep away any rebounds from in front of the net.  Freshmen Mike Donnellan and Darren Rowe (playing his first game) were able to minimize their mistakes and seemed poised considering the magnitude of the game.  Mike Marcou had another solid game and seems to have worked himself into the regular rotation at D.  Matt Irwin continued his offensive onslaught with yet another goal.  He has now scored in five straight games going back to the end of last year and has six total in that stretch.

Another freshman who did was was Rocco Carzo who had a goal and two assists and also provided some great defensive play as well.  I think T.J. Syner’s defensive play is starting to rub off on his linemates James Marcou and Casey Wellman as that line looked much better defensively as a unit.  Wellman also came up with some very key faceoff wins at time wound down in the 3rd.  It doesn’t surprise me that Will Ortiz got the game winner, he certainly seems to have recaptured the form of his early career and has the personality to raise his game when it counts most.

I said in my preview that I couldn’t wait to see BU freshman Alex Chiasson and he did not disappoint with his two goal performance.  I knew he had some good scoring ability given his numbers in the USHL but I had no idea he had such size.  Given how he played last night I’d be surprised if there’s a better freshman in Hockey East right now.

Fear The Triangle Player Of The Game:  Danny Hobbs
Certainly Will Ortiz deserves a lot of credit for his game winner in the third but the entire play was the result of some great effort and execution by Hobbs.  He started it off with a great outlet pass from deep in his zone to Carzo.  He then hustled up the ice, got the puck back and made a nice pass to Ortiz who put it past Kieran Millan.  Hobbs provided some great two way play for the entire game before that sequence as well.

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Here’s a shot blurb from the Boston Globe on the game and one from the Boston Herald.  Too bad they couldn’t actually send someone out to the hinterlands to cover the game.

Joe Meloni of College Hockey News reminds us that while early season wins are nice it’s the one’s next spring that count the most.  He should know, he was with the Collegian last year.

Here’s the recap from the Gazette’s Matt Vautour.

Jack Parker says his team tried to play too cute in this recap from the Republican.

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Elsewhere in Hockey East, Providence couldn’t make it two in a row as they lost at Notre Dame.  UNH is not off to a good start after getting beat 6-3 by Miami last night.  Northeastern beat Bentley while Merrimack defeated Holy Cross.  Things are not getting any better in Orono has the Black Bears lost to Michigan State 5-3.

Alright, now off to tailgate and hope that football can continue to Homecoming Weekend success.

BU Preview; More Honors For Boyle; Around Hockey East

 

Boston University Terriers
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Massachusetts Minutemen
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Official BU hockey website
Terrier hockey fan blog

So much for easing into the conference schedule.  Just a couple weeks after first hitting the ice as a team to practice the Minutemen must take last year’s Hockey East champions on the heels of them raising their fifth national title banner.  Certainly it’s not a make or break game for UMass but it will provide a measuring stick for the team as well as let the freshmen work out some big game butterflies early in the season.

Usually when a team loses over half of their goal scoring to graduation and early departures you can pretty much chalk up their season to the dreaded “rebuilding year”.  But I wouldn’t say that about this year’s BU team.  First of all the loss of goalscoring is a little misleading.  Sure, they’ll miss the production of players like Colin Wilson, Brandon Yip, and Jason Lawrence, but considering that the team’s goal average of 3.92 last year was almost a full goal more than the next team they obviously can score a little less and still win a good number of games.  Plus with the tremendous depth and skill of last year’s team it’s likely that a number of players will significantly increase their production with more ice time.  Add in a strong freshman class and it’s clear that this BU team is reloading, not rebuilding.

It’s obvious the offense will start with Nick Bonino, the second leading scorer for Hockey East in total games last year. Look for guys like Zach Cohen and Chris Connolly to push into the upper echelon of conference scoring.  The Terrier freshman I’m looking forward to seeing most is Alex Chiasson, one of the leading scorers in the USHL last season and a 2nd round NHL draft pick this past spring.

The defense has a few players gone from last year’s stellar group but they’re returning enough to still be one of the best defenses in the conference.  Captain Kevin Shattenkirk will be looked upon to lead the defense in the absence of Hobey Baker winner Matt Gilroy.  He’ll be joined by defensive stalwart Eric Gryba and offensive threat Colby Cohen.  Many are calling for a breakout year for balanced blueliner David Warsofsky.

In net BU returns Hockey East rookie of the year Kieran Millan, who led Hockey East with a sub-2.00 goals against last year.  Despite those lofty numbers there is still a question of whether they’re the product of Millan’s skill or the skill of those playing in front of him.  Given the strength again at defense Millan won’t have to stand on his head for BU to be successful, he’ll only have to be ready for the shots that actually are able to get through to him.

For UMass to win tomorrow they’ll have to crack through that tough defense and challenge Millan.  I don’t think this will happen if they try to rely on generating offense from the point, they’ll have to try to cycle the puck down low.  In terms of speed UMass should equal or perhaps even surpass the BU players.  It’s also important that the Minutemen control the puck.  With guys like Mike Marcou and Mike Donnellan still working their way into everyday roles on defense the more time that’s spent in the offensive zone the better.  Keep an eye on Matt Irwin, with a goal tonight that will be the 5th straight game with a tally dating back to last season.  Hopefully UMass is going into the game in a good mental state.  The last two games these teams played last season were pretty ugly.  The first came at home when UMass chased Millan and took a 3-0 lead only to give up 6 goals the rest of the way.  The second night was perhaps the ugliest game of the season as they lost 7-2 on Comm Ave.  But that was last year.  This is a different team and so is BU.  Their championship was for last year, not this one.  Starting tonight the Hockey East title is up for grabs once again.

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The Republican has a Syner-centric preview of tonight’s game.  T.J. says the key will be keeping BU out of the slot.

Here’s a preview from BU’s Daily Free Press.

USCHO has UMass losing the game 4-2.

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Kevin Boyle was named the AJHL Goaltender of the Week for his two win weekend.  This is the second time he has won the award this season.

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Boston College’s quest to rebound from last season’s disappointing result just got a little harder as one of their top freshmen, Kenny Ryan, left to play in the OHL.  Oh well, leaving BC before playing in even one game worked out pretty well for Jeremy Roenick, right?

While BC has lost a key freshman, Merrimack has gained one.  Warrior Rink Rat is reporting that the NCAA has cleared Stephane De Costa to play.

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Providence travelled out to the land of Touchdown Jesus and knocked off #7 Notre Dame last night.  Does that mean Providence is better than expected or Notre Dame was ranked way too high to start the season?  Considering that the Domers have already dropped a game to UAH as well, I’m going to go with the latter.

Looking Toward BU, Pereira Update

The Daily Collegian has a preview of Friday’s game where Toot is trying to downplay the significance of opening conference play against the defending national champions.

The Collegian also has a notebook covering James Marcou being named Hockey East POTW and Matt Irwin’s take on the power play.

Here’s a good look at this year’s BU’s team from the BU Daily Free Press.

Look for FTT’s preview tomorrow.

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Mike Pereira is currently tied for the most points in the Western New England Fall Elite League.  He has five goals and two assists in six games.

I’m not sure how Conor Sheary is faring in the eastern version of the fall league as that league has decided not to publish stats or box scores.

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Here’s a Hockey East preview out of Catamount country.  The Burlington Free Press goes out on a limb to say that UMass has a “nice team”.

USCHO Poll, BU Game Notes; Quick A Star

Minimal news out there today.

The USCHO poll is out.  UMass lost votes to some of the teams that made a big splash this weekend (Union, Quinnipiac, UNO) and comes in at de facto #30.

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The game notes for Friday’s game against BU are up on UMassathletics.  Looks like someone came up with a name for the Syner/Wellman/Marcou top line.  The SWarM line.  Not bad.  Now let’s see how long Toot keeps them together. 😉

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Jon Quick was named the NHL’s Second Star of the week for his three win performance last week.  Quick has played every game so far this season.  What goaltender controversy in LA?

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Niagara will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first NCAA berth when UMass visits Dwyer Arena next month.  I with I could be there for the game since I haven’t been to Niagara yet, but I just can’t justify a trip that long for only one night of hockey.  Ideally in the future it’d be great if UMass did some kind of swing out that way with games against NU and Canisius so I could cross off two arenas at once.

Marcou HEA POTW; Polls; Recruits And Alumni Update

Well, after being snubbed by both INCH and the College Hockey News in the pre-season James Marcou has taken the first Hockey East honors by being named Player of the Week for his 4 assist night against RPI.  Rocco Carzo and Matt Irwin were both named Hockey East Top Performers.

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UMass made its way into the Also Receiving Votes category in the USA Today/USA Hockey Poll with one (1) whole vote.  Hey, it’s a start.  This week’s opponent, BU, moved up to #2 thanks to Vermont taking a game from Denver.

Those Vermont Catamounts saw a healthy jump in INCH’s Power Rankings going from 15th to 11th and leap-frogging Lowell in the process.  North Dakota somehow jumped four spots to second by sweeping Merrimack at home.  I don’t get it.

USCHO must have given their voters a day off for the Columbus Day holiday (lucky them) because they haven’t released their poll yet.

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Eric Filiou had a goal and an assist as his Penticton team beat Merritt 9-1.  It was Filiou’s 4th mutli-point game of the season.  He now has 5 goals and 5 assists in 14 games for the 11-2-0 Vees.  Here’s the highlights of the game, Filiou’s goal can be seen at the 3 minute mark.  That’s at least the second breakaway goal he has scored so far this season.

Peter DeAngelo seems to be getting used to play in the EJHL as he had a goal and an assist in two games this past weekend.  He now has 5 points in 7 games.

Kevin Boyle got a couple wins over the weekend for the NJ Junior Rockets.  Through 4 games he has 4 wins, a 2.36 goals against and a .915 save percentage.

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Wow, so the Big Ten Hockey Conference wasn’t just a myth?

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Here’s an article on Obi Aduba trying to catch on with the Quad City Mallards of the IHL.

Matt Anderson has a new teammate on his Chicago Wolves team……the ageless legend Chris Chelios.

New Radio Agreement; Weekend Recap

UMass salutes the crowd following RPI.

Well the tailgating and football atmosphere at Delaware was amazing, unfortunately the performance of the Minutemen was anything but amazing.  In fact it was flat out uninspired.  Still a nice trip overall however.

In the last few days UMass has announced another agreement to broadcast some hockey games in Boston on 1060AM, including this Friday’s game against BU.  The agreement calls for at least 20 games to be aired on the station.  I’m not familiar with the station (during the day it’s a business talk format) so I’m not sure what kind of coverage it has.  Still any publicity and a presence in Boston is a good thing.  Let’s just hope this station doesn’t go under like 890am did just weeks after the last agreement.

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It was a good and bad weekend for Hockey East.

First it’s interesting to note that UNH fell to RPI by a score of 3-1 on Saturday.  Elsewhere BC and BU just did the exhibition thing this weekend, though the Terriers did raise their banner on Friday.   But for games that counted Northeastern and UVM found themselves in the great state of Colorado (a place I once called home).  Both teams split their series out west with the Huskies taking on Colorado College and the Catamounts taking a game from #1 Denver.  Merrimack did not have as much luck in that part of the country as they were swept by North Dakota.  More surprising was Maine getting swept by Union in Schenectady by a combined score of 10-4. Can things get any worse in Orono?  Providence opened with a win against Holy Cross.  Meanwhile Lowell lost the Icebreaker Tournament Final in Omaha to the unranked host Mavericks.  It didn’t take Dean Blais long to make a splash in his return to coaching college hockey as he won the tourney despite pulling his starting goaltender in both of the games.

Outside of Hockey East Quinnipiac looks like they could be a tough opponent for UMass next month as they travelled to the midwest and swept Ohio State.

USCHO Preview; UAH Shows They Belong

Greetings from wonderful downtown Wilmington, DE.  Just enough time to do a quick post before getting ready to head over to Tubby Raymond Stadium to watch UMass and the Blue Hens.

USCHO has their Hockey East preview up where they pick UMass to finish 7th or 8th.  Dave Hendrickson says that UMass has enough talent to improve from last year’s finish if not for the competition in Hockey East.

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There were some interesting results from last night’s hockey action as most teams started their season.  Perhaps the best from a fan’s perspective was that Alabama-Huntsville beat #5 Notre Dame in South Bend.  You think the Chargers were out to prove that their program is worthy enough for admittance in the CCHA?

Hockey East did not have the best of nights as only Lowell came away victorious with a 3-0 win over a depleted St Lawrence team.  No doubt the calls for Tim Whitehead’s job will be loud after the Black Bears lost to Union 4-1.

New Brunswick is now 3-0 against Hockey East teams as they defeated Providence by a score of 6-3.