With 22 days until Massachusetts hockey takes on Dalhousie in their exhibition game it’s time to take a look at UMass’ #22 (a number near and dear to my heart). Wearing #22 this season is newcomer Carmine Buono. It’s hoped Buono will be a key part of the overhaul of the Minutemen’s defensive corps which struggled last year.
Buono played last season for the Powell River Kings of the BCHL skating alongside fellow UMass recruit Kurt Keats (you’ll learn more about him when there is 17 days ‘til Dalhousie). Buono has good size at 6’2”, 190 lbs and is seen as a two-way defenseman. Scout Jeff McCarthy labelled him as versatile and playing with “a mean streak”. I think given the problems at defense last year, a bit of an edge on the blueline would be a good thing. But Buono can move the puck as well, notching 2 goals and 24 assists last year.
His play with the River Kings was enough to gain the attention of both Hockey Canada and the NHL. He joined Keats on the Canada West team in the World Junior A Challenge. He was also ranked #188th among North American skaters heading into this past June’s NHL Draft. While he went undrafted he will have a chance to be picked this coming June after his freshman year at UMass. A solid year in Amherst would only help his draft stock.