The Massachusetts hockey program got its fourth commitment in recent weeks on Monday when forward Justin Dixson committed to the Minutemen for the fall of 2017.
Dixson, a ‘98 birth year, is from Sunnyvale in Northern California. The 5’11”, 165lb forward played this past season for the U16 Junior Ducks, where he led the NAPHL in points with 35 in 18 games. His 17 goals were 3rd best in the league. He also had a chance this past year to play with the US NTDP team, where many elite players over the years have played their junior hockey. You may remember that 2016 recruit Ty Pelton-Byce also was offered the same opportunity this winter but had to pass due to Wisconsin high school hockey eligibility rules. Dixson has been involved in a number of USA Hockey camps and teams over the years. He was named to the NAPHL All-Star Team and even got a mention on the Anaheim Ducks webpage earlier in the season.
Dixson has signed on to play in the NAHL next season, though it seems like he would probably have a chance to play in the USHL as well even though he went undrafted last year. He joins Pelton-Byce and John Leonard as top level forward recruits due to arrive in Amherst after this fall.
Now onto the regular recruit update, including lots of letter of intent signings.
Mike Iovanna – RW – Boston Jr Bruins (USPHL) – 2015
14 GP / 2 G / 2 A / 4 Pts / 10 PIM Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL)
13 GP / 1 G / 1 A / 2 Pts / 4 PIM Boston Junior Bruins (USPHL)
Iovanna enrolled at UMass for the Spring semester. Iovanna is a former star and captain of Malden Catholic and helped lead the Lancers to consecutive Super 8 titles in 2012 and 2013.
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. His and the other Bandit recruits’ season is over as they fell in the AJHL championship series. As in the regular season Plevy had the most points in the playoffs with 32 in 20 games. His 11 goals were 2nd best.
Nic Renyard – G – Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
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. Renyard signed his National Letter of Intent to UMass this past week. Link includes some highlights and Coach Micheletto’s thoughts (sorry, I can’t embed that video format)
Ivan Chukarov – D – Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
55 GP / 12 G / 31 A / 43 Pts / 63 PIM / +38
Chukarov had the 4th most points for defensemen in the league during the regular season. The Wilderness are onto the next round of the playoffs. Chukarov has four assists in five playoff games. He too signed his NLI this past week. He also spoke to the Duluth New Tribune about his decision to join the Minutemen.
William Lagesson – D – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
52 GP / 2 G / 14 A / 16 Pts / 79 PIM/ +18
The Saints are onto the Eastern Conference finals. Lagesson had a goal in the first round series. He signed his UMass NLI this past week.
Joe Widmar – RW – Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
60 GP / 19 G / 22 A / 41 Pts / 46 PIM/ –10
Widmar finished the regular season second on Des Moines in total points. Unfortunately his Bucs did not make the playoffs. Widmar signed his NLI last week.
Ryan Badger – C – Philly Jr Flyers (USPHL) – 2015
46 GP / 23 G / 39 A / 62 Pts / 43 PIM
Badger was captain of the Flyers this past season and second on the team in total points.
Carmine Buono – D –Powell River Kings (BCHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
48 GP / 2 G / 24 A / 26 Pts / 91 PIM
Buono had the second most points for defenseman on Powell River. NHL Central Scouting has him as the 188th highest rated North American skater for the upcoming draft. He signed his NLI this past week.
Shane Bear – D – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016
60 GP / 8 G / 35 A / 43 Pts / 77 PIM
Bear had four goals and eight assists in 20 playoffs games. His playoff performance was enough to get the attention of the Calgary Herald.
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)
The Wild fell in the playoffs to Lone Star. Conzo did not have any playoff points.
Kyler Nachtigall – LW – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016 (NLI Signed)
60 GP / 13 G / 12 A / 25 Pts / 67 PIM
Nachtigall had six goals and four assists in 20 playoff games. He had two goals in the deciding game 7 of the conference finals.
Jake Massie – D – Kimball Union Academy (NE Prep) – 2016
34 GP / 5 G / 15 A / 20 Pts
Massie was ranked as the 8oth best North American skater in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings. He’s likely to be drafted in one of the middle rounds of June’s NHL draft. He is the top ranked defenseman in prep hockey.
Ty Pelton-Byce – C – Team WI 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 – Spfld 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. Masslive named him their WMass Player of the Year.
Nick Jenny – D – Ohio Jr Blue Jackets U18 (T1EHL) – 2017
32 GP / 7 G / 21 A / 28 Pts / 14 PIM
Jenny will likely look to catch on with a USHL or NAHL team next season.
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. Over The Boards reported that Scoville will be transferring to Winchendon next year.
The Manchester Monarchs (AHL) announced that they’ve signed Steve Mastalerz to an Amateur Tryout Agreement. Mastalerz likely would’ve signed shortly after the season ended if he wasn’t injured in the series against Notre Dame. Still, this should be a great opportunity for him to get his first exposure to pro hockey just a short drive from his North Andover home.
The Monarchs are about to kick off their AHL playoff run. A Calder Cup alumni update was posted on UMass Athletics.