Fear The Triangle Player Of The Year

Regular readers know that in each game recap I write I pick a player of the game.  I haven’t always gone with the player that scored the most points or had the game winning goal.  Instead I’ve tried to pick the person whose play was key to giving UMass a chance to win.  Sometimes it was based on numbers or effort or perhaps something intangible.  Last year I decided to add up who received the most FTT Player of the Games for the season and award them my Player of the Year, with James Marcou being last year’s recipient.

photo by Karen Winger

So I’m happy to announce that the 2nd annual Fear The Triangle Player of the Year award goes to captain Paul Dainton.  You hear the term “backstop” thrown around a lot when talking about goaltenders, as you should considering a backstop is generally thought of as something that prevents an object from passing a certain point.  And Paul Dainton has done a lot of that.  3,226 times to be exact, a UMass record.  But backstop also means to support or bolster.  And Dainton has done a lot of that in his years at UMass as well, especially this season.  Dainton had a very solid season for the Minutemen, which desperately needed a strong presence in net given how many freshmen would be seeing time at defense in front of him.  With a GAA of 3.06 and save percentage of .908 Dainton actually improved upon his numbers from last year despite the youth of the team and losing Hockey East Defenseman of the Year Justin Braun. The 879 saves he made is the third highest single-season total.  Dainton did what he could to keep UMass in the games on the ice, but he did that off the ice as well.  His poise and quiet leadership served as model for his teammates in the locker room and helped keep together a team that had to withstand a host of challenges.  Paul Dainton came to UMass four years ago a relative unknown to the Hockey East circles.  But it didn’t take long to realize he was going to have an impact on UMass hockey when he helped lead UMass to the Lightning Classic championship and a top five ranking as just a freshman.  There have been a lot of ups and downs since those December games in Tampa three years ago but he has been in net backstopping UMass through it all.  Dainton leaves UMass not only as one of the program’s best players but also as one of its most beloved.

Here is the FTT Player of the Game final tally for the 2010-11 season:
Paul Dainton 6
Chase Langeraap 4
Mike Pereira 4
Conor Sheary 4
Danny Hobbs 3
Adam Phillips 3
Joel Hanley 2
Darren Rowe 2
Jeff Teglia 2
Conor Allen 1
Rocco Carzo 1
Doug Kublin 1
Kevin Moore 1
T.J. Syner 1

No UMass players were named award winners or top performers by Hockey East this week.  Dainton and T.J. Syner were both mentioned in the Milestones section.

With the season now ended for some teams polls are no longer relevant.  Here’s the only one that matters, the pairwise.  Boston College, UNH, and Merrimack are all in, Maine and BU are longshots but still could make it with the right scenario.

Some UMass mentions in this piece on the youth in Hockey East.

Dick Baker hits on a theme you’ll see me repeat when I post my season recap in the next couple days regarding the leadership of this senior class carrying beyond this year.