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Dean Stork Named Head Coach In ECHL

Well, I figured a guy with two ECHL championship rings as an assistant would likely get a shot at a head coaching job and sure enough that’s exactly what happened for UMass alum Dean Stork.  Congratulations to Storker who was named head coach of the ECHL’s Greenville (SC) Road Warriors.  The Road Warriors just moved south from Johnstown, PA where they were the infamous Chiefs.  (Who own da Chiefs?)

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Other than the imminent announcement of the formal schedule, we’re likely entering a period of little news for UMass hockey.  I’ll still be posting when things come up or I get a few ideas in my head, but make sure to follow the Fear The Triangle Twitter and Facebook pages to keep up with things as the Summer moves along.  There are a lot of times I’ll be sharing bits of information that may not be totally blog worthy, so be sure to sign up.  Other than that, enjoy your Summer.  October will be here before you know it!

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Pereira Goes Undrafted

After all the profiles, previews, and predictions the NHL Draft came and went this weekend and incoming recruit Mike Pereira’s name surprisingly went uncalled.  Does this mean Pereira could potentially be a bust for the Minutemen?  I doubt it.   The NHL Draft is just that, for the NHL.  Teams are not picking what they think are the best players in the world, they’re drafting the most likely players to get to the NHL.  The best NHL-type players and best college-type players are not always one in the same.  It also doesn’t mean that the drafted players are automatically the best on the roster.  Look at last year’s roster, how do undrafted players James Marcou and Casey Wellman stack up against Rangers draftee Danny Hobbs?  Even arguably the best UMass player, Tommy Pöck, went undrafted.

So what are some of the reasons the NHL teams overlooked Pereira?  Here are a few ideas.  First off, one Fear The Triangle reader commented that Pereira may have been injured during the combine which limited the number of tests he was able to do at the event.  Secondly, and probably more importantly, the NHL drafts for stature nearly always.  Pereira’s size of 5’10” plus concerns of lack of upper body strength likely hurt him.

I’d like to say that a bright spot to him going undrafted would be that it would make it more likely we’ll see a full four years from him, but if this offseason has taught us anything it’s that you can’t count on the talented players to put in a full career no matter their draft status.  But, maybe there is a positive for UMass out of this situation.  Perhaps the NHL passing over Pereira has just put a chip on his shoulder for the next few years.  Being told he wasn’t good enough or big enough motivated Marcou into three outstanding years.  Let’s see how Pereira reacts.

Keeping An Eye On Logan Roe

According to this article UMass is one of the schools courting 6’4″ defenseman Logan Roe from Ft Meyers, Florida.  Roe spent last season playing for the Kent School in the prep league and is ranked as the 140th North American skater for this weekend’s draft.  Per the article Roe has also taken visits to Northeastern, Providence, Union, Quinnipiac, and Brown.  Roe was named to the Prep League’s All-New England team this past year joining UMass recruits Mike Pereira, and Conor Sheary.

UMass has had success with recruiting players from Florida before….kinda.  Ex-Minuteman David Boehm played for the Junior Everblades as well.

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Speaking of Pereira, here are a couple more stories on him on the eve of the draft.  First is a short profile thanks to ESPNBoston, Hockey Journal labels him as a clutch player in this piece on New England players in the draft, and finally a nice feature on him from the Middletown Press.

Pereira Blazing His Own Trail

Hockey’s Future has perhaps the best profile of Mike Pereira I’ve read yet. The article features a number of highlights of the talented winger, from wanting to grow out from under his brother’s (BU’s Joe Pereira) shadow to “feeling at home” in Amherst. Like other features on Pereira it stresses his skating ability, as well as his vision. But it also speaks of skills like his ability on the forecheck which reminds me of guys like James Marcou and TJ Syner, whose forecheck ability really stood out when I saw him play in juniors. Hockey’s Future has him as one of the top 36 prospects in USA juniors, including those in the US National Development Program.

Both Pereira and incoming goalie Jeff Telgia are featured on Hockey’s Future college commitment prospect list.

This is a little late finding, but apparently Jeff Teglia’s style is a bit unorthodox. Hey, whatever it takes to stop the puck. Tim Thomas won a Vezina with the same approach. Not to mention that Hasek guy.

The Army game at the Mullins mentioned a couple weeks ago has been confirmed for November 5th. Am I the only one who sees a perfect fit for a Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund fundraiser?

Pereira: Hidden Gem of the Draft?

The New England Hockey Journal, which somewhere along the way went all Radio Shack and got themselves rebranded to just plain Hockey Journal, has an interesting article on potential hidden gems that could wind up on the Bruins’ draft list.  Included on that list is Mike Pereira.  The story itself has a decent scouting report on Pereira, emphasising his speed and skating while listing strength and defense as areas he’ll have to work on at UMass.  As a Bruins fan, seeing Pereira go to the hometown team would be a huge thrill, though I’m not sure if the southern Connecticut native feels the same.  For all I know he could be an Islanders fan, or God forbid, a Rangers fan.  We’ll welcome him into the UMass hockey family in spite of such things of course.

Speaking of the Rangers, INCH has an interesting article stating that if you’re a college player with NHL hopes pray that the Blueshirts don’t call your name on draft day.  Sorry, Danny Hobbs.  They also break down the best and worst college picks by NHL team, highlighting the selection of Jon Quick for the L.A. Kings.

Countdown To The Draft

Just a few long (being the solstice and all) days until the NHL Draft.

The Greenwich Time did a Q&A with Mike Pereira from nearby West Haven where he talks about his decision to enter UMass and some general thoughts on college hockey.

Rocco Carzo is mentioned in this Hockey Future’s piece on potential NCAA draftees.

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The USHL has put out an official release to the news that broke last week regarding Adam Phillips’ committment to UMass.

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UAH Head Coach Danton Cole was named the new coach of the US NTDP, allowing the Michigan native to go return to his home state.  This of course means that Assistant Coach Red Gendron will be returning to Amherst for the fall after being seriously considered for both this job at USA Hockey and the vacancy at Brown.  While it’d be great to see Coach Gendron get a head coaching gig of his own, it’ll be good to have him back in Amherst where he’s played such a key role with the program, especially when it comes to the improved recruiting.  With as highly respected he is around UMass and college hockey in general I’m sure there’ll be on the horizon for him.

That aside, I can’t imagine this is a good thing for the UAH hockey program which will be entering this season conferenceless with the CHA disbanding and the CCHA not extending an invite.  Hopefully they can weather this storm as well, although you have to wonder how much more the odds can be stacked against that program and still make it.

Thank You Kevin Kessler; NHL Draft; Wicked Smaht

Wow, I think this is the third post of the week already. Ok, I admit it, I’ve pretty much been taken the last couple months off. Truthfully, the way the season ended was brutal, brutal, and by the end of it all I felt a little burnt out. But time has passed and the combination of some great off-season recruiting news plus interacting with the usual UMass hockey crew in addition to getting introduced to some additional members of the Minuteman hockey community at the Pond Club Golf Tournament this week has started the process of getting me back in hockey mode. With that I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to post a little at the same time so here we go.

Therefore, as we welcome in a towering defenseman to the UMass program yesterday, I want to make sure to thank a huge defenseman saying his goodbyes. I was able to get to this year’s Reverse Raffle following the season, a blast as always, but I didn’t make the season banquet the following day. If I had I would’ve noticed that Kevin Kessler was honored with the rest of this year’s seniors (as seen on the video available on UMassathletics.com) and thus he will likely not be playing out his senior redshirt season. So since I didn’t mention him with the other seniors following the season , here we go. To be upfront I’ll readily own up to the fact that the first couple years when Kessler played sparingly for the Minutemen, I was not a fan. I just found him to be immobile and frankly a liability on the ice. Move ahead to this past season where quality defensemen was not something UMass had a readily supply of. Kessler was called upon to play in some key situations in very key games and frankly, he played well with no complaints from yours truly. As Many would admit he’s not the most athletically gifted player on the ice yet he made up for it with effort and playing smart hockey. He developed into a player that was knowledgable enough to be in the right place at the right time and especially noticeable towards the end of the season is that he had no problem getting on the ice when a shot needed to be blocked or he need to go the extra mile when called upon for some other sacrifice. On top of that he added a physical dimension to UMass’ game which was blatantly lacking with the graduation of Alex Berry and Scott Crowder last year. Thanks Kevin for your hard work and good luck to you in the future in your post-UMass days.

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The Hockey East All-Academic Team was announced this week and UMass led the league with 13 players making the squad. Leading the way was redshirt defenseman Djan Lefebvre who posted a 3.88 goals against…..er grade point average for the year. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention captain Brett Watson and Dr. Martin Nolet who both posted a 3.0 in all four year careers at UMass.

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The NHL Draft is a little more than a week away. Incoming recruit Mike Pereira will likely hear his name called on Saturday the 26th when the 2nd-7th rounds take place. Matchsticks & Gasoline, an excellently named Calgary Flames blog (love the logo as well), has done a lot of work to writeup profiles for many draft prospects, including Pereira. I’m happy to be just one of the sources they’ve used in their work.

Speaking of the draft, I have absolutely nothing to back this up from the people in the know, but I think that Branden Gracel may have an outside shot at getting picked up in one of the later rounds as well given what he’s accomplished so far in juniors. It also would’ve likely been a big weekend for Joel Hanely as well until he unfortunately broke his leg in the beginning of his last junior season. Whatever happens, it’ll be fun to watch (especially if the Bruins can end up with Taylor Hall).

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The golf tourney brought together a good group of diverse UMass supporters. Besides the many former player in attendance I posted about earlier in the week also there was Versus/NESN Announcer/UNH alum Andy Brickley, Bruins radio announcer/Maine alum Bob Beers, and even Hockey East official Tim Bennedetto. Another player who I forgot to mention earlier in attendance was Scott Crowder, who this past February organized the first annual Pond Hockey Classic. This coming year he’s not satisfied with only taking over Lake Winnipesauke, NH he’s going bigger and bringing pond hockey to Lake Champlain, VT.

UMass Gains A Big D-man For Next Season

It has been rumored for a while but hulking defenseman Adam Phillips has officially committed to play at UMass next season.  The 6’6″ Michigan native played for the Indiana Ice of the USHL last season, scoring a goal and 11 assists in 47 games, while ending up 0 on the season +/-.  While there he was teammates with John Parker who is on track to join the Minutemen in 2011-12.  Phillips made the difficult transition from center to defenseman during the year.

The season before while playing for the Soo Eagles of the North Ontario Junior Hockey League Phillips was scouted by the Detroit Red Wings according to this blog.

This incoming class keeps on getting better and maybe more importantly, deeper.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’ll be the tallest player to wear the maroon and white as the infamous Brad Norton, this biggest player I can remember, only reached 6’4″ and I don’t think Dan Juden was as tall as Phillips either.

Pond Club Golf Tourney Recap

A good time was had by all at today’s Pond Club golf tournament, especially me since I didn’t have to embarrass myself by showing how horrid my golf game is.  But there were many who showed up to show off their skills and support UMass hockey, including a good number of former players.  In addition to Pond Club guys like Steve Sullivan and Mike Merchant, other players in attendance included Tommy Pöck, Jon Quick, Peter Trovato, Cory Quirk, Jordan Virtue, Kevin Jarman, Matt Anderson, Alex Berry, Brett Watson, Mike Kostka, Chris Capraro, Topher Bevis, Keith O’Connell, Brett Watson and I’m sure a few more that I missed.  It was great to see everyone get together to support the program and enjoy themselves.

There wasn’t too much news that came out of the day.  The major bit of information I got was that unfortunately the rumored game at Madison Square Garden is not happening.  Putting a few pieces of the puzzle together it appears that it would’ve been a double header with Northeastern taking on Niagara and UMass playing Army.  Northeastern and Niagara will instead by playing each other in Hartford while the Black Knights will be visiting Amherst in early November.  That makes the non-conference schedule set with the two games at Minnesota to kick off the season, two at Wisconsin to end the calendar year, and home games against Yale, Quinnipiac, and Army.  UMass will also be taking on University of New Brunswick in an exhibition again before heading to the Twin Cities.  With other teams releasing schedules, I’ll do my best to put together a mockup based on the information available soon.

One other thing that I wanted to pass along was that former defenseman Dusty Demianiuk is currently battling and beating cancer in his hip.  I heard this a little while back but at the time it wasn’t public, but coach Cahoon mentioned it to the attendees at the post-golf barbecue.  If there’s a fighter who can overcome the odds, it’s Dusty.  After all he was able to make the journey from an underwhelming one dimensional type player when he first came to UMass to being one of the best defensive players by his senior year to beating out some great players to win the Be A Bruin contest a few years back.  I’m sure he’ll be in the thoughts of the UMass hockey community as he comes out on top once again in this fight.

I got some great feedback on Fear The Triangle today at the golf outing.  I admit I was a little surprised at just how widely read this thing is, but I just wanted to thank everyone for the nice words and as always thanks for reading.

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The Boston Herald is reporting that the TD Garden will be hosting the 2014 Frozen Four.

College Hockey News has the story on the mind boggling proposal to eliminate the ability to ice during a penalty kill.  At first I was shocked that the NCAA was so bull-headed to try to push this potential rule change through despite the fact that nearly every coach is against it.  But then I remembered that that’s pretty much how the NCAA works and there’s usually little rhyme or reason to why they do things (other than to put more money in their pockets of course).  I hate this idea of this change.  First off, why make such a dramatic change to a tradition rule that’s been a part of all levels of hockey for as long as memory serves?  The next person I hear complaining about icing during a penalty will be the first.  It’s part of the game!  So what in the world does this accomplish?  Are they trying to increase scoring and therefore make the game more “exciting?”  The game is fine as is.  This extremist rule change isn’t needed for the game today.  Secondly, this just seems dangerous.  Having guys stuck on ice during a kill with little chance to change could lead to injury.  How in the world do they think it’s constructive to just shove this down the throat of the college hockey community?  Oh wait, the NCAA, right…

Shea Commits To BC

So BC received a commitment last week from Brandon Shea, one of the top 14 year olds in the country.  Shea visited UMass in February as well as BU, Harvard, and Northeastern.  I think it’s great that UMass drew the interest of this kid enough for a visit, especially given the competition for him, but even years ago when he first got recognized on the amateur scene I was told he was more than likely BC bound.  Why?  Well his father, Colorado Avalanche scout Neil Shea, is a loyal BC alum and has had the heights as a target for Shea from the beginning.  Still, his visit combined with some of the recent commitments shows that the recruiting is still going well for Toot as of late.

As far as I know Brandon is not related to defenseman Colin Shea who will be entering UMass this fall.

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Martin Nolet continues to pile up the academic awards, most recently being named an Academic All-American.

That’s all there is for now.  Hopefully I’ll have some news following tomorrow’s Pond Club Golf Tournament.

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