Awards & Polls; Mastalerz Named Hockey East Rookie of the Week

Congratulations to freshman goaltender Steve Mastalerz who shares the Hockey East Rookie of the Week award with Trevor Van Riemsdyk who scored a couple goals against UMass on Friday.  As I mentioned in my recap, I was impressed with Mastalerz’s play.  He had solid positioning and made some nice saves, but I think it was his ability and focus to cover up loose pucks that really stood out.  This is the second time he has been honored by the league, gaining Defensive Player of the Week honors in January.

Joel Hanley, Danny Hobbs, and Conor Sheary were all named Top Performers for their play over the weekend.  It was especially nice to see Hobbs have such a strong weekend.  He had been so close to a breakout game recently.

Boston College is again atop both the USCHO and USA Hockey/USA Today polls.  As much as it pains me to say, UMass fans should hope they’ll be in the same place next Monday because it will likely mean BC wins their games which would allow the Minutemen to keep that third tiebreaker over Northeastern if needed.  For those scoring at home, please note that a full 40% of the top ten consists of Hockey East schools as Boston University moves up a spot to #4, Lowell drops a spot to #8, and Maine remains at #10.  This weekend’s opponent, Merrimack, checks in at #12.

Here’s the current UMass playoff situation:
7th Providence, 23 pts. Games left vs Lowell, at Lowell
T-8th Massachusetts, 20 pts. Games left vs Mack, at Mack
T-8th Northeastern, 20pts. Games left  at BU, vs BU
Providence holds the tiebreaker over UMass with a 2-0-1 record.  UMass currently holds the tiebreaker over Northeastern. The teams went 1-1-1 during the season, they both have 8 conference wins which is the second tiebreaker, so UMass’ 2-1-0 record against BC gives them the edge (Northeastern went 0-3-0 against BC).

The Collegian has their recap of the weekend as well as a feature highlighting the play of Joel Hanley and Mike Marcou in the split.

The couple of commenters on BC Interruption’s playoff update seem to want nothing to do with UMass in the first round.

Congratulations to former captain Paul Dainton who was named this week’s AHL Rookie of the Week.  In typical Dainton fashion took to his own Twitter account afterwards not to beat his own chest for his honor but to congratulate Steve Mastalerz for his weekly award.

Unfortunately, Division I hockey will not be gaining a new program in the form of Minnesota State-Moorhead.

Lastly, I’m happy to welcome a new blog to the UMass sports realm.  Maroon Musket was launched today as a blog focused on UMass football and its rise from FCS champion to hopeful FBS power.  One of its writers mentioned to me that they hope to be the Fear The Triangle equivalent for football, which is nice to say, but in all honesty they’ll be much better.  The writers there are all products of the top notch UMass journalism program that has produced so many great media members across the country and I honestly can’t wait to see what these guys are doing as UMass takes the leap to big-time football.  The contributors consists of Bob McGovern and Mike Marzelli, both Daily Collegian veterans, and Marc Bertrand who is heard regularly on the Fleger Felger & Mazz and Bertrand & Gasper programs on 98.5 the Sports Hub.  I’ve had the chance to meet all of these guys in person and can vouch that they’re all diehard UMass fans despite graduating during a dearth of Minuteman sports success.  Personally I’m really excited for the new era of UMass football and having a central place for news and analysis will make it that much better.