Doherty Commits To UMass

It’s always nice to have a reason to post about UMass hockey two days in a row in the middle of May when usually nothing is going on.  And with a little luck I’ll be posting later this week or weekend with a brand new FTT feature, “Where Are They Now?”, where readers will get a chance to catch up with some of their favorite Minutemen of the past.  I’ll save the identity of the first former player spotlighted as a surprise, but I will tease with the fact that he did in fact wear the legendary triangle for his entire UMass career.

But today’s reason for posting is not to look back at a player who once wore the maroon and white, but one who will.  UMass has picked up a commitment from Junior Bruins defenseman Connor Doherty.  It’s evident by looking at the UMass roster that the name Conor/Connor was extremely popular about 20 years ago.  Doherty is a ‘93 birth date and a Holden, MA native who goes 6’2” 190lbs.  He had four goals and 14 assists in 35 games for the Bruins this year.   In the EJHL playoffs he had a couple of assists in four games.  Like his previous and future teammate K.J. Tiefenwerth, he was an EJHL All-Star this past year. The previous year in the empire league he was 2nd team All Conference.  Considering he was still playing in the Empire a couple seasons ago it appears he may be considered a late bloomer.  Overall there is very little about him out there on the interwebs.  It should be noted that UMass has had a lot of success with Junior Bruins in the past.  Guys like Greg Mauldin, Alex Berry, Topher Bevis, Matty Burto, Dave Leaderer, and Colin Shea all played for the Junior Bruins.  Conor Sheary played for them before moving on to Cushing Academy.  Incoming recruit K.J. Tiefenwerth was captain for the Bruins this past year and soon to be sophomore Andrew Tegeler, who I think will play a much greater role on next year’s squad, played for them as well.

Now, the real interesting part is that, according to the venerable Chris Heisenberg, Doherty is committed for next year.  If that’s true, some kind of shakeup has occurred with either the returning roster or the incoming recruits.  It was my understanding that despite  graduating three scholarship players the team really only had two scholarships/roster spots to offer (meaning the third scholarship would go, either as a whole or fractionally, to existing players).  UMass, according to Heisenberg, now has four players committed for this fall with Doherty, Tiefenwerth, Shane Walsh, and Kenny Gillespie.  When Tiefenwerth first signed on I speculated that maybe Gillespie would defer a year, but from the evidence I’ve gathered, that doesn’t appear to be the case.  So, in all honesty, I don’t know what’s going on with the roster.  Without consideration for the overall roster numbers, Doherty’s addition seems to make sense.  The top five spots on defense are likely set in Joel Hanley, Conor Allen, Colin Shea, Oleg Yevenko, and (despite his struggles this past season) Adam Phillips.  But that sixth spot is up for grabs.  Anthony Raiola did well as a freshman but played sparingly last year.  Mike Busillo played better than most expected in intermittent duty but whether he can be an everyday Hockey East player has yet to be determined.  Darren Rowe’s reemergence on the team was one of the better storylines for the season but question marks about his defense will linger.  Yet, with all this speculation, maybe the website is just wrong and Doherty is coming in in 2013.  We’ll see.

Since I just posted yesterday and it is May, there’s nothing else to pass along.  Make sure to check back in the next few days though went I debut the “Where Are They Now?” segment with a former Minuteman player.