So while the Massachusetts hockey team has been done for weeks and Kenny Gillespie is the only committed recruit still playing, there are still plenty of UMass alumni out there who are still competing at some of the highest levels of hockey.
Most prominent would be Jon Quick who is leading the NHL in shutouts with 10, almost single handedly dragging the Kings into the playoffs, and whom at least one Hockey News writer thinks should be this year’s Vezina trophy winner. Quick’s own teammates concur.
Justin Braun out in San Jose continues to play solid defense as the Sharks battle for a playoff spot. He regularly plays 19 minutes a game and had a great night a couple weeks ago against the Avalanche where he registered an assist and went +3 for the game.
Lots of Minutemen in the AHL currently. Mike Marcou has played a couple games for the OKC Barons, not registering any points yet. His brother James sounds like he’s ready to go after missing the season with concussion and neck problems, but given the lateness of the season will start it up again next fall. Still, great to hear he’s on his way back. It’s tough to keep those Marcous down.
Congratulations to T.J. Syner who was named UMass Winter Scholar Athlete with swimming’s Michaela Butler. Syner is still doing well with the Hersey Bears of the AHL.
Matt Irwin, a defensemen mind you, is second on the Worcester Sharks in points this season. He has 10 goals and 29 assists in 65 games. A stellar season for the AHL All-Star.
Greg Mauldin has had another strong AHL season, scoring 16 goals for the Lake Erie Monsters in 55 games. Unfortunately he could not convert his good play into an NHL callup.
Mike Kostka has been part of history for the Norfolk Admirals who keep on winning. Kostka is +20 on the season for the Admirals who have won an astounding 23 in a row (and counting).
Former UMass defenseman David Leaderer was just called up to the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL after a solid season with Cincinnati of the ECHL.
Chase Langeraap is finishing off his first full year in the ECHL, scoring 6 goals in 60 games for the South Carolina Stingrays.
Lots of players are having strong seasons overseas like Thomas Pöck in Sweden, guys like P.J. Fenton, Cory Quick, Chris Capraro, and Doug Kublin in Germany, and Nick Kuiper in Ireland.
Here’s a good site that has extensive coverage of where UMass alumni are currently playing.
Not all players are are getting accolades from playing, some are doing it off the ice. Scott Crowder was recently recognized by the university’s Isenberg School of Management for his contributions to the community. It doesn’t even mention his tremendous job in putting together an annual pond hockey tournament on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Also on the alumni front, I had the opportunity to talk to Alex Berry’s dad, Bob, at this past weekend’s Reverse Raffle. First of all Bob and his wife Shawn should be commended for their continued support of the Massachusetts hockey program, as displayed by their presence at the event. A lot of parents’ support of the team stops when their son stops playing or moves on to the pros, but that’s not the case with the Berrys, among others. Anyway, I’m glad to report that Alex continues to recover from the horrific injury he incurred while in training camp for the Portland Pirates. Who knows what exactly his future will bring but it’s great to hear he’s trending towards being back on the ice playing sometime in the future.
UMass recruit K.J. Tiefenwerth was named team MVP for the Boston Junior Bruins.
Far be it for me to come to the aide of Lowell, but it’s a joke that River Hawk coach Norm Bazin was not named Spencer Penrose Award winner for national coach of the year. Seriously. I’m speechless.
So tomorrow marks the semifinals of the Frozen Four. I did get two teams right from my original predictions. But with my winner out, much to my chagrin, I’m going to have to pick Boston College to beat Union for yet another title under the tutelage of Jerry York. I did realize something interesting today. The last time college hockey was played in Tampa was 2007. In that year the Lightning College Hockey Classic was played between UMass, Colorado College, RPI, and Notre Dame. Or, a team from Hockey East, the WCHA, ECAC, and CCHA. This weekend those same conferences have a representative again in Tampa. Of course Hockey East, in the form of UMass, took home the trophy in 2007 (seen above in the FTT header image). Will BC do the same? We’ll see.
UConn to Hockey East is a “done deal” according to….uh whoever this is. Also the governor of Connecticut, who likely has better things to worry about, thinks all games should be played in Hartford. Thus proving he’s an idiot. UConn playing all games in Hartford is akin to UMass playing all games in Springfield during the Triangle Era. It was bad enough as it was, can you imagine how much worse it could’ve been?
Lastly, I was extremely saddened to see the news that UMass softball coach Elaine Sortino is battling cancer. For those who are not familiar with Sortino her accomplishments in her 33 years at the helm of the Minutewomen are nothing short than legendary. She has built a softball powerhouse that’s able to compete with the national powers in the sport while heading at a regional flagship university where it snows for a good portion of the season. 22 Atlantic 10 titles, 20 NCAA regional appearances, 3 NCAA College Word Series. I, unfortunately, can’t say that I’ve had the chance to meet coach Sortino but I know enough of her strong reputation to know she’ll take on this challenge with the same determination she displays every day. Certainly the thoughts of myself and the rest of UMass nation are with her as she battles.