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Countdown: 23 Days ‘Til Dalhousie

Just over three weeks until we get our first taste of UMass hockey this season.  With 23 days left until the exhibition game it’s time to get reacquainted with #23, Maddison Smiley.  Smiley came to Amherst with the expectation of being an offensive threat from the blueline as a freshman, but for a number of reasons that didn’t quite happen.  Still, Smiley showed that his versatility could potential make a big impact on this coming season and the seasons to come.

Smiley had some injury issues early on in the season last year that caused him to play in just two of the first seven games.  When he got into the lineup he proved to be effective, but maybe not as impactful as expected given the high point totals he had produced in previous years with Brooks of the AJHL.  Starting in February though Smiley would begin to enter the lineup as a forward instead of defenseman and he seemed to embrace the challenge.  Smiley’s smooth skating and heads up playmaking seemed to fit well at the forward position.  It was as a forward that he would score his lone goal on the season, a key one, breaking a scoreless tie against eventual National Champion Providence in what would ultimately be a 2-1 UMass win.

With a number of highly regarded defensive recruits coming in this fall it seems logical to think Smiley would continue to get more opportunities at forward than defense.  He definitely did not look out of sorts in the position and could contribute offensively there while still bringing a defensive presence.  Smiley is skilled enough to give Coach Micheletto’s staff options and flexibility when filling out the lineup card this season.

photo by Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics

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