View From Section U: Net Gains; Recruit Update

Coming into the season there was a lot of worry that the limited experience at the goaltender position could limit UMass’ ability to win.  Jeff Teglia had only played a handful of games last season and of course Kevin Boyle and Steve Mastalerz are in their first years in Amherst.  Certainly through the first seven games of the season it seemed that UMass would have to find a way to overcome some poor goaltending in order to gain success on the year.  In those games the Minutemen goalies gave up 4.14 goals per game and had two games, at Providence and at UNH, where the play in net was, frankly, horrendous.  They only saved 86.3% of shots during that time.  That UNH game that closed out that first seven game stretch and saw the Minutemen give up 7 to the Wildcats with neither freshman goaltender able to stop much of anything.

But since the debacle in Durham UMass has had significantly improved play in net from all three of their goaltenders.  In the last 7 games the team is .500, going 3-3-1.  But more importantly, the goaltending statistics have undergone a dramatic transformation.  The goaltenders since that point have only allowed 2.63 goals per game and have a save percentage of .910.  With three losses in a row the team itself isn’t on the kind of trend that fans are entirely happy about.  But it is good to see that all three goaltenders are making progress as the season goes along, perhaps a little quicker than could’ve been expected.

Of course none of this means the goaltending picture is any clearer as all three goaltenders have had their ups and downs so far this season and improved during recent games.  Coach Cahoon reiterated in yesterday’s radio show that he knows he can’t go with a three man rotation for the season and still expects to make some kind of move, either to make one player the starter or at least settle into a two man rotation, sometime after the Florida tournament.  However it’s nice to see all three guys are doing their best to made it a tough decision for him.

The weekly look at the future Minutemen.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2012
14 GP / 2 G / 3 A / 5 Pts / 23 PIM / +2
Gillespie netted his second goal of the season in an overtime loss to Dubuque and future teammate Shane Walsh.  In fact both goals for Gillespie have come against Walsh and the Saints this year.  It wasn’t enough for his coach Bliss Litter to save his job however, as he was fired today despite having a winning record.  Litter also coach Troy Power, Jeff Teglia, and Brett Watson and was discussed in last night’s UMass Hockey radio show.

Willy Smith – LW – Springfield Pics (EJHL) – 2014
11 GP / 1 G / 1 A / 2 Pts / 9 PIM
The EJHL is currently in the middle of an extended Thanksgiving break from games.

Shane Walsh – LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) – 2012
17 GP / 5 G / 6 A / 11 Pts / 0 PIM / -5
A rare pointless weekend for Walsh.

Cahoon mentioned that both Danny Hobbs and Mike Pereira are day-to-day in yesterday’s radio show.  He did say that Boyle is back skating and available for this weekend after recovering from an injury and an illness.

I want to extend my congratulations to John Sinnett who is being promoted from Hockey/Soccer Sports Information Director to Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations.  He replaces Jason Yellin who left for the bright orange pastures of Rocky Top earlier in the year.  As a fan blog written by someone with no journalistic training the athletic department certainly has no obligation to even acknowledge Fear The Triangle.  But Sinnett has been nice enough to extend to me some of the same access as the real media members, which in turn hopefully makes this a better blog for you, the readers.  So it’s good to see him get rewarded for that kind of extra effort and insight he has brought to his job.

A couple things to be aware of for Friday’s game against Harvard.  First, it’s Local Heroes night at the Mullins and all military, police, fire, ambulance, and teachers can buy $6 tickets.   Also, it’s Toys for Tots night, sponsored by the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, so don’t forget to bring a toy to donate (though I usually do just that two out of every three years).

UMass is 9th in College Hockey News’ Hockey East Power Rankings.  Can’t really argue with that.

Fear The Bee.

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  1. Will

     /  December 1, 2011

    somewhat surprised/worried that walsh is a -5. lowest on his team. thoughts?


    • He’s a pretty good defensive player from what I hear and the little I saw of him. I’m guessing he’s getting matched up with the opponents’ top line.


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