Recruit Update ▲ Makar Grabs Four Points In Brooks’ Opening Weekend

We’re still a few weeks away from UMass taking the ice for their first game, but the season has already started for some of the future Minutemen.  So let’s take our first look at where the current recruits are playing this season and how they’ve done so far.

Shane Bear – D – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016
2 GP / 0 G / 2 A / 2 Pts / 4 PIM
Bear starts his third season with Brooks where he had 8 goals and 35 assists in 60 games last season.  Bear has been named an assistant captain for this year.  He’s off to a good start with a couple assists in Brooks’ first two games.

Troy Conzo – RW – Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) – 2016 or 2017
2 GP/ 1 G/ 1 A / 2 Pts /  0 PIM
Conzo starts his second season with the Wenatchee where he was traded from Des Moines of the USHL last Fall.  He had 4 goals and 5 assists in 44 games for Wenatchee who were playing in the NAHL at the time.  But this offseason the team joined the BCHL (the only American team in the league) and Conzo moved along with them.  He’s off to a good start with a goal and an assist through two games.

Kyler Nachtigall – LW – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016 (NLI Signed)
2 GP / 0 G / 2 A / 2 Pts / 2 PIM
Like Bear, Nachtigall also starts his third season with Brooks.  Last year the forward had 13 goals and 12 assists in 60 regular season games.  He really shined in the playoffs where he had six goals in 20 games.  He also has a couple assists in two games to start this year.

Jake Massie – D – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2016
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts
Massie had an eventful Summer.  In June he was drafted in the 6th round of the NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes and attended their prospect camp.  Then last week he had his rights traded to the Blackhawks as part of the Kris Versteeg trade.  Massie played for Tim Whitehead at Kimball Union Academy last year where he had 5 goals and 15 assists in 34 games.  This year he’ll be out in Omaha where he’ll play for the Lancers of the USHL.  The USHL just started their preseason games where Massie is scoreless after one game.

Jake McCarthy – D – South Shore Kings (USPHL) – 2016
0 GP / 0 G /0 A / 0 Pts / 0 PIM
McCarthy will look to rebound from a challenging year.  He started in the BCHL but a preseason injury cost him most of the season and his shot at playing in that league.  The Dedham native returned home and ended up playing a little bit for the South Shore Kings where he had two assists in 10 games.  The former St Sebastian’s star will return to the Kings this season.

Ty Pelton-Byce – C – Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) – 2016 (NLI signed)

0 GP /0 G / 0 A / 0 pts
Pelton-Byce was one of the elite players in Wisconsin High School hockey last year where he accumulated 74 points in 24 games and picked up a number of accolades.  Like a number of other UMass recruits, this year he’ll be leaving home and heading to the USHL.  He’s scoreless so far after one preseason game with Des Moines.

Justin Dixson – LW – Tri-City (USHL) – 2017
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts
Another recruit heading to play his first season in the USHL.  Last year Dixson played for the Anaheim Jr Ducks U16 where he had 17 goals and 18 assists in 18 games.  Over the Summer he participated in the USA Hockey Select camps.  Dixson so far is scoreless in two preseason games.

Colin Felix – D – St George’s (RI-HS) – 2017
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts

Felix will likely also be in the USHL at some point as his rights are owned by Green Bay and he attended training camp there this past summer.  However he’s not on the roster, so I’m assuming he’s returning to St George’s where he had 2 goals and 16 assists in 23 games last year.  Felix also spent time at the USA Hockey Select camps this summer.

Nick Jenny – D – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2017
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts / 0 PIM
Jenny will play alongside Jake Massie with the Lancers this season.  Last year the defenseman had 7 goals and 21 assists in 32 games for the Ohio Jr Blue Jackets (same program that produced current UMass goaltender Henry Dill).  One preseason game into his USHL career and Jenny is doing very well, scoring a goal and notching two assists.

John Leonard – LW – Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) – 2017
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A /0Pts
Leonard was considered one of the elite players in Massachusetts high school hockey last year, if not the very best, while playing for Springfield Cathedral.  He accumulated 70 points in 23 games for the Panthers, but the Amherst native also is USHL bound this year.  Leonard did well playing for USA Hockey in the international U18 Ivan Hlinka tournament last month scoring a goal and an assists in four games.  He’s scoreless so far in the two preseason games for the Gamblers.

Cale Makar– D – Brooks Bandits (BCHL) – 2018
2 GP / 0 G / 4 A / 4 Pts

Makar is the latest to commit to UMass from the Bandits program.  He’ll be playing his first full season with Brooks after coming over from the Calgary Flames Midget AAA team last year where he had 7 goals and 16 assists in 34 games.  He was added to the Brooks roster very late in the season and impressed during the playoffs where he had 7 points in 20 games.  Makar is off to a great start so far with 4 assists in the first two regular season games.

Brian Scoville – D – Cushing Academy (NE Prep) – 2018
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts
Scoville is another player who participated in the USA Hockey Select camps this summer.  A stay-at-home defenseman, Scoville only had 1 point in 33 games for Cushing Academy last year.  He’ll stay in prep hockey this coming year, but will do so for Winchendon.

That’s all I have for now.  Be sure to check back every Tuesday for updates on the future Minutemen.

We’re down to 18 days until UMass’ exhibition game.  He wore #17 the last two years but with Zack LaRue graduating junior Brennan Baxandall will be wearing #18 for the Minutemen this season.  Earlier in the countdown I talked about the versatility of Maddison Smiley who played at both defense and forward last season.  Baxandall did so as well.

After going scoreless as a freshman Baxandall remedied that quickly last season, picking up two assists in his first game of the season against Michigan State.  He would pick up a couple more assists during the season and then in late January scored his first collegiate goal in a tie against Merrimack.  Baxandall doesn’t have a flashy game but overall played solid last year and will likely continue to see regular minutes this coming season, potentially at either forward or defense.

photo by Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics

Jeff Cox of SBN College Hockey ranked the incoming freshman classes for Hockey East.  He has UMass’ class ranked 7th in the league.  Overall I think this a very fair assessment.  Cox follows the incoming players much better than me, but based on what I know of the classes I would’ve guessed UMass’ to be ranked right in the middle of the pack.  Between last year and this year UMass is getting the job done recruiting and Coach Micheletto and his staff are bringing talented players to Amherst.  The trick is to see if those well regarded recruits can be translated into wins.

ISS Hockey has UMass defenseman William Lagesson as the 16th best college freshman this season.

A couple wrap-ups from the Bruins’ participation in the Buffalo prospects tournament where Frank Vatrano excelled.  The first is from the Bruins’ site itself while the second comes from Kirk Luedeke with his thoughts on the B’s prospects, including Vatrano.

I leave you with the following Tweets to remind you that HOCKEY IS COMING SOON!

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