Countdown: 32 Days ‘Til Dalhousie; Send Your Questions For UMail

The countdown until Massachusetts hockey’s exhibition game against CIS Dalhousie is at 32 days today.  That means it’s time to take a look at #32 for the Minutemen, sophomore goaltender Henry Dill.

A lot of the talk in the offseason has centered around incoming goaltender Nic Renyard who was named the top Junior A player in Canada last year while playing in the AJHL and many think he’ll be start in net right away.  But Henry Dill will likely have something to say about that.  Obviously due to last year’s defensive problems it’s tough to gauge Dill’s performance based on his statistics alone.  Dill did have a team best 7 wins last year, but his 4.13 goals against average and .869 save percentage is something that will need to be improved upon this coming season.

Dill’s UMass career got off to a pretty good beginning, winning both of his first two starts.  The second of those wins came behind a 42 save effort at Matthews Arena to win 3-2, perhaps Dill’s best performance of the season.  Later in the fall semester Dill had another strong game and another 3-2 win, this time stopping 37 shots against the Quinnipiac Bobcats in Hamden.  But as the season wore on the team’s defensive woes continued and Dill’s save percentage dipped Coach Micheletto would turn to senior Steve Mastalerz down the stretch and into the Hockey East playoffs.

Dill struggled at times last season, but had enough good games where it’ll be interesting to see how he performs with what should be an improved (though inexperienced) defense in front of him.  There may be a buzz around Renyard, but I think it’s safe to say Dill will be competing hard for the starting job just as he did last year as a freshman.

photo by UMass Athletics/Thom Kendall

The USHL teams announced their 30 man protected lists today.  There was one surprise as UMass recruit Ty Pelton-Byce, who dominated the Wisconsin high school hockey scene last year, was on the Des Moines Buccaneers list.  Pelton-Byce was drafted by the Muskegon Lumberjacks, whom he played a couple games for.  But somewhere along the way his rights were traded to Des Moines, where he’ll likely end up playing this coming season.  Everything else on the lists look to be as expected.

John Leonard is on Green Bay’s roster, since he’s already out there after moving on from Springfield Cathedral.  Colin Felix is on the Gamblers affiliate list as a protected future player.  Nick Jenny is listed on Omaha, where he’s expected to play this year, as is Jake Massie.  Brian Scoville, a likely future player in the USHL, was listed on Sioux Falls affiliate list.  And Justin Dixson is current participating in Tri-City’s preseason camp and was listed on their roster.

USCHO had a good article on Army player Derek Hines 10 years after he was killed in action.  I attended an Army-Air Force game the season after his death and the academy had painted Hines’ initials on the ice at Tate Rink.  I’ve seen too many college hockey games to count and have many memories to go along with them.  But few moments will match watching the Black Knights form a circle around the “DH” emblazoned on the ice in the moments before the puck dropped as the team captain rallied his troops to take on their hockey rivals.  Again, I implore you that you should attend UMass’ game at West Point on January 2nd if at all possible.  You won’t be disappointed.

I’d love to do an UMail segment where I get a chance to answer readers’ questions in the next week or so.  So please send me your questions on the upcoming season, the incoming freshmen, how I spent my summer vacation, my current beer recommendations, or whatever you’d like to know!  You can leave your question as a comment on this post, email it to me, Tweet at me, or post it on the FTT Facebook page.  Ask away!

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