Recruit Update: Leonard Named To Herald’s Dream Team

It’s been a little while so time to see how the recruits who are still playing are doing.  It’s very likely that we’ll see a few more recruits join this list in the coming months.  The team is losing 5 forwards, 3 defensemen and a goalie to graduation or early departure but only have 3 forwards, 2 or 3 defensemen (depending on when McCarthy arrives), and a goaltender line up for next fall currently.  So very likely that we could see a couple more forwards and maybe a defenseman added to next year’s incoming class.

One of those player will not be Caleb Jones.  Jones, son of NBAer Popeye Jones and one of the top players in the US Development Program, has passed over an offer from UMass, as well as ones from Boston University, Wisconsin, and Boston College, to play major junior hockey in the WHL.  In a twist of fate the team Jones is headed to, the Portland Winterhawks, is owned by Ben Gallacher’s father.  Sorry to see that happen, but it is good to see that the Minutemen continue to get considered by high quality recruits.

Jake McCarthy – D – South Shore Kings (USPHL) – 2015 or 2016
10 GP / 0 G /2 A / 2 Pts / 11 PIM
McCarthy had a tough season, held out of the lineup for most of the year due to injuries.  I have to assume that his arrival in Amherst will be pushed back to 2016

Kurt Keats – C – Powell River Kings (BCHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
52 GP / 31 G / 34 A / 65 Pts / 79 PIM
Keats finished the regular season 9th in the league in goals and 11th in points.  Keats had a hell of a series in the second round of the BCHL playoffs, grabbing seven points in the seven game series.  For that he was named the BCHL Player of the Week.  But unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep his team alive as Powell River ultimately fell.  He finished the playoffs with four goals and six assists in 13 games.

Austin Plevy – C – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
56 GP / 29 G / 63 A / 92 Pts / 93 PIM
Plevy finished the regular season as the league scoring champion and was 3rd in goals.  He’s taken up right where he left off in the playoffs, leading the league in goals with 6 and points with 16.  His Brooks team is in the middle of an exciting battle in the conference finals.  After dropping the first two games the Bandits and Camrose Kodiaks are now tied at two games apiece.  In the most recent game the Bandits were down 4-0 in the first but came back to win 5-4 in overtime thanks to a goal and three assists by Plevy.  Plevy leads all scorers in the playoffs with 7 goals and 14 assists in 21 games.

Nic Renyard – G – Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) – 2015
30-8-3 / .924 save % / 2.19 GAA / 5 shutouts
Renyard finished the year first in the league in wins and third in both save percentage and goals against average.  Unfortunately the regular season MVP had a tough playoffs where he was 3-4-0 with a .868 save percentage and 3.97 goals against average.  His Oilers were swept by the Brooks Bandits in the second round.  He was named his team’s MVP in addition to the league awards he won.

Ivan Chukarov – D – Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL) – 2015
55 GP / 12 G / 31 A / 43 Pts / 63  PIM / +38
The regular season has finished in the NAHL.  Chukarov had the 4th most points for defensemen in the league.  The Wilderness will take on the Coulee Chill in the first round.

William Lagesson – D – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) – 2015
48 GP / 1 G / 13 A / 14 Pts / 77 PIM/ +16
Lagesson had an assist this past week.  The USHL regular season continues through mid-April.

Joe Widmar – RW – Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) – 2015
56 GP / 18 G / 21 A / 39 Pts / 44 PIM/ -5
Widmar was scoreless this past week.

Shane Bear – D – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016
60 GP / 8 G / 35 A / 43 Pts / 77 PIM
Bear has four goals and seven assists in eleven playoffs games.

Troy Conzo – RW – Wenatchee Wild (NAHL) – 2016 or 2017
3 GP / 0 G / 0 A /0 Pts / 0 PIM / –2  Des Moines (USHL)
44 GP/ 4 G/ 5 A / 9 Pts /  20PIM / -4 Wenatchee (NAHL)
Conzo and the Wild will take on the Corpus Christi Ice Rays in the first round.

Kyler Nachtigall – LW – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016
60 GP / 13 G / 12 A / 25 Pts / 67 PIM
Nachtigall has four goals and four assists in 11 playoff games so far for Brooks.

Jake Massie – D – Kimball Union Academy (NE Prep) – 2016
34 GP / 5 G / 15 A / 20 Pts
There’s a very good the Quebec native will be drafted in this upcoming June’s NHL Draft as he’s ranked as the 81st best North American skater by Central Scouting.

Ty Pelton-Byce – C – Team Wisconsin U18 (Elite)/Madison Memorial (WI HS) – 2016 (NLI signed)
21 GP / 12 G / 12 A / 24 Pts / 8 PIM  Team Wisconsin U18
24 GP /35 G / 39 A /74 pts  Madison Memorial
Pelton-Byce’s season ended with a state tournament semifinal loss.  He was held to only two assists in the two state tournament games.  He was named his conference’s Player of the Year.  He was also named first team All-State.  He was recently the All-Area Player of the Year.

John Leonard – F – Springfield Rifles (Mass Selects)/Springfield Cathedral (MA HS) – 2017
14 GP / 21 G / 11 A / 32 Pts  Springfield Rifles
23 GP / 43 G / 27 A /70 Pts  Springfield Cathedral
Leonard’s season is over as Cathedral was upset in the Super Eight semifinals.  Leonard did have two goals in that game though.  SB Nation College Hockey named him their High School Player of the Year.  They also named him to their All-State team.  ESPN Boston named him their “Mr. Hockey”.  This week the Herald named him to their Dream Team.  Next up for Leonard?  Lacrosse.

Brian Scoville – D – Cushing Academy (NE Prep) – 2018
33 GP / 0 G / 1 A / 1 Pts
Cushing bowed out of the prep playoffs in the quarterfinals.

Next year’s schedule is starting to to get out.  The Thanksgiving weekend home and home with Quinnipiac will be repeated.  The Minutemen will also host the other team from New Haven, Yale, for a game in January.  The other games we know about are the rumored game against UConn at Gillette Stadium as part of the Winter Classic festivities.  The team will likely play a non-conference game at Lowell as part of the Alumni Cup series.  When the Liberty Classic in NJ was first announced a couple years ago UMass was pegged to play in it this year.  But it appears their spot has been taken by Vermont instead.  Probably better that way as the tournament hasn’t really drawn a lot of fans and has already been moved from the Devils’ home in Newark to Trenton.  There’s a rumor that the team will be travelling west to play a couple games against a NCHC foe that I’m still working to confirm.

Correction: UMass will in fact be in the Liberty Classic tournament this year. I guess there’s some bad information out there.

Yesterday was of course April Fool’s Day.  Some spoof stories are good, some are not.  I thought this Collegian effort about Micheletto calling on the NCAA to eliminate third periods was a home run.

Troy Power’s blog is finished, but Frank Vatrano is chronicling the beginning of the pro career for UMass Athletics.  Here is his first entry while his second was just posted today.

New England Hockey Journal has a profile on Conor Sheary that includes this line, “Although the UMass program benefits from its inclusion in Hockey East, its successes during the past four years have been underwhelming, making it a little tougher to catch the eye of next-level talent evaluators, who are oft times focused on the powerhouse team lining up against the Minutemen.”  Ouch.  Sheary is seeing a lot of success and scoring in the pros.

NEHJ also has this piece by Collegian alum Andrew Merritt where he lists his Top 10 college games of the last 20 years.  He lists a UMass-Maine game in the 2004 Hockey East Championship as his top game.  That must be some kind of mistake since I don’t remember UMass playing in a game like that.  It’s not as if it was so gut-wrenchingly painful I would choose to wipe it from my memory rather than regularly finding myself on the floor in a fetal position muttering “damn Jimmy Howard’s glove” over and over.

Former UMass Graduate Assistant Chris Hall who has gone on to be an assistant coach at Colby under Blaise MacDonald had this interesting post breaking down the circumstances of all the goals scored in the NCAA regionals last weekend.

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