Countdown: 34 Days ‘Til Dalhousie

Under 5 weeks until the Massachusetts Minutemen take the ice against the Dalhousie Tigers in an exhibition match on October 10th.  That game in 34 days will give us the first look at this re-tooled Minuteman squad.  34 is also the jersey number of goaltender Alex Wakaluk who is set to start his third year for UMass.

Wakaluk came to Amherst with some expectations after being named the MVP of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League where he put up a record of 28-15-3 with a save percentage of .930 in his final season there.  For his play he was a finalist for the RBC Canadian Junior A Player of the Year (an award won this past year by incoming goaltender Nic Renyard).  But it hasn’t been easy goings for Wakaluk in Amherst.  He’s struggled to keep the puck out of the net and as a result has only appeared in 5 games in his UMass career.  Still, the coaches thought enough of the work he put in and how he was able to battle through the struggles to name him the team’s Most Improved Player after his freshman year.  To get playing time this coming season Wakaluk will not only have to battle sophomore Henry Dill who played in 25 games as a freshman, but Renyard who is coming to Amherst expecting to battling for the starting spot from day one.

photo by Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics

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