Boston College Preview

#3 Boston College Eagles 0-1-0 (0-1-0) Hockey East T-5th


Massachusetts Minutemen 1-0-0 (0-0-0) Hockey East T-5th

Massachusetts will start the 2012-13 season against the team that gave them their highest of highs and lowest of lows in the last season.  The highs were the win over then #1 Boston College in November and a shutout of the Eagles in January.  The low was the same low we’ve seen for the last three years, with the season ending at the hands of BC sweep in Chestnut Hill in the Hockey East quarterfinals.

Surprisingly the Minutemen have a win to their name to start the season while the Eagles do not, having fallen to Northeastern 3-1 last weekend. BC spotted Northeastern a 2-0 lead early and couldn’t solve Chris Rawlings enough to get back in it, despite outshooting Northeastern overall.  One thing that stands out is that the Eagles must’ve spent a lot of time on the penalty kill as they took 8 penalties and gave the Huskies seven power plays, though they killed all seven.

BC’s lone goal in the game came from senior Steven Whitney.  He’s one of many experienced upperclassman forwards that can score for the Eagles, along with captain Pat Mullane, Kevin Hayes, and Bill Arnold.  But a lot of eyes this season will be on sophomore Johnny Gaudreau to see how he builds off the 21 goal, 23 assist performance as a freshman.  Gaudreau did get an assist last weekend.  Most of BC’s freshman talent is at defense this year but Brendan Silk out of the US National Development Program is someone to keep an eye on.

The Eagles will likely get as far as their defense takes them this year as it’s really the weakest area for them, if having young, but very skilled players can be considered a weakness.  Michael Matheson and Colin Sullivan are two blueline freshmen who will need to make the adjustment to the college level quickly if BC wants to stay ranked among the top teams in the country early on.  They do return a couple experienced defensemen that UMass will have to contend with in Patrick Wey and Patch Alber.  At goaltender the team returns Parker Milner who rattled off 19 wins in 19 straight games last spring cumulating with the national championship.

Last weekend’s game against UConn gave UMass fans a lot to like, like Kevin Boyle allowing just one goal, a strong performance by the defense, and putting up four goals.  But there was some stuff to work on too, namely the amount of penalties and the inability to finish shots.  Playing an Atlantic Hockey team allowed UMass to make up for some sloppy play at times and still get the win.  It’s unlikely that extended times of poor play will allow them to be victorious when playing a top five team in the country though.

Overall I thought the lines worked pretty well last week.  I’d be surprised if there were a lot of lineup changes tomorrow.  Darren Rowe played well enough on both ends that he’ll likely dress for that 6th spot at defense again.  Maybe Boyle will play two weeks in a row, but something tells me he won’t.  Personally I’d like to see how Steve Mastalerz does in there, if healthy.  He had probably the best goaltending performance of the season last year when he shut out this same BC program in January, only one of two goaltenders to keep the Eagles off the scoreboard all year.

The teams have changed somewhat since last year, but I took a look back at the five games they played and here’s what I found.  Honestly, there weren’t too many patterns to be gleaned from them.  UMass was outshot in both their wins (averaging just 21 shots total) but lost the two games where they had the shot advantage.  They won the two games despite going 1 for 12 on the power play and also went 1 for 12 in total during the three games they lost.  They gave up multiple power play goals in both wins and losses.  Basically, there’s no statistical pattern I can find between the losses and the wins.

Tomorrow will be a big challenge for the Minutemen and the new coaching staff.  You almost wish that the Eagles were coming in here after having beaten Northeastern.  Instead Coach York has had all week to make adjustments and coach up his freshmen.  So UMass must make the most out of the advantages they’re afforded.  One of those is likely to be a large and hopefully charged up Mullins Center crowd.  The Minutemen will have to do their best to feed off the energy of the fans.  Combine that with proven knowledge they can beat this team, as they did twice last year, and the desire for some revenge at how last season ended and you just might have the makings for an upset.

Beer The Triangle
It’ll be a muted Beer The Triangle day tomorrow as time at the Hangar will be limited due to the doors opening at 5:30pm for the game.  Postgame is out of the question as well with a 9am Homecoming tailgate at Gillette the next morning.  I’m interested to see what will be on tap at the Hangar in the place of the Sierra Beer Camps that are likely kicked.  A Lagunitas Pale Ale isn’t a bad fallback just in case though.

Beating Milner is key tomorrow so says the Collegian.

The Republican preview says Coach Mick is thinking big picture.

The Gazette has their BC preview as well as the details of Micheletto’s contract.  His base salary will be $210K with the ability to make another $58K if he reaches all his bonuses that range from APR scores to winning the national championship.  Former coach Toot Cahoon had a base salary of $247K and received about $4K in bonuses in 2011.

College Hockey News takes a look at the weekend ahead in Hockey East.

Missed this last week but Inside College Hockey picked UMass to finish dead last this season.

Last week I mentioned that I was growing increasingly frustrated with people posting comments, especially critical ones, anonymously and had hoped that requiring people to post their name and submit their email would put an end to that.  Nope.  So starting today in order to post comments you’ll need to use your Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress account to log in.  I didn’t want to do this and still would love to have people use the site to discuss the hockey program and FTT posts within the comment sections.  But hopefully now that discussion will be of a little higher quality.


View From Section U: If You Can Play, You Can Play

I want to take the opportunity of my first View From Section U column of the season to publicly express my support for the You Can Play project.

For those who may not be aware, the You Can Play campaign was started by the family and friends of Brendan Burke, the former Miami RedHawk team manager who tragically died in a car crash in 2010.  Though he passed away at the young age of 21 he had already become a pioneer at the time of his death and the You Can Play iniative carries on Brendan’s mission; to fight against homophobia in sports.  The message is simple, if you can play, you can play.  Really, I think that says it all and to me it’s something that goes beyond just sexual orientation.


As I said, it’s a simple message.  Therefore I don’t think I need to go on and on about why I think it’s important and worthy of my support.  The message speaks for itself.  I will note however that I happen to work in Canton, Mass, Brendan’s hometown, and I quite regularly will see the BB shamrock logo seen in the above video on cars around the area.  When I see them I instantly think of Brendan and his courage.  The courage it took to tell his father Brian Burke, the gruff general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the rest of his family that he was gay.  The courage it took to come out to his team, not knowing how such an admission would go over in the tough guy environment of a hockey locker room.  And the courage of going public with his story and taking on the role of an advocate for equality in sports.

My admiration for that courage and my belief in the values of equality and respect is what spurred me on to use my soapbox of Fear The Triangle to officially show my support for You Can Play.  While doing so I would like to call on the team and players that connect me to the sport of hockey, the UMass Minutemen, to do the same.  I’ve always been proud of the fact that hockey players from different locales and from different ethnic backgrounds have been able to come to Amherst and not only play hockey here but excel at it and become the very faces of the program.  And why shouldn’t they have done well at UMass because after all if they could play, they could play.  I would love to see UMass Hockey join these other college programs and professional players and organizations and support the You Can Play campaign to support equality and respect in sport.

I really enjoy this article by the Republican’s Harry Plumer about Kevin Czepiel being named one of UMass’ captains this year.  Part of the reason is that I love when UMass is able to bring in the local hockey talent from the valley.  It’s become a bit of a joke now but believe me when I decided to call Czepiel  with the moniker “Holyoke” in posts and social media early on in his freshman year it was because he does a great job representing that blue collar town in Western Mass as a total blue collar hockey player.  I think it’s really important for the UMass hockey team to not only represent the campus, but the entire surrounding area at the same time and Czepiel does a great job doing both at the same time.  Also interesting in that article is the fact that he was also recruited by Clarkson, Union, Providence, and Merrimack, something that did not come out when he was first recruited.

The USHL had this official release regarding transfer Ben Gallacher committing to UMass.  But at the same time I won’t have to update his stats from junior hockey for a while as the league suspended him ten games for a repeated cross-check in this past Saturday’s game.

I think I missed passing along the initial rankings, but CHN’s Scott McLaughlin has UMass as 7th in the league after this past weekend of Hockey East play.

Do yourself a favor and read this heartfelt tribute to former Merrimack coach Chris Serino by Mike McMahon.  Just want to reiterate that thoughts are with Serino’s family, including sons Anthony and Nick, two former UMass student-athletes.

The Boston Herald also had this in-depth bio piece on Serino.