Countdown ▲ 16 Days ‘Til Dalhousie

As of today there are just 16 days until fans get their first look at this year’s Massachusetts hockey team in their exhibition game against Dalhousie of the CIS.  Besides the #16, junior Steven Iacobellis will have something else on his jersey this coming season.  A captain’s “C”.

When announcing his captaincy Coach John Micheletto cited Iacobellis’ competitiveness and consistency as traits that made him a good choice to lead the team.  His production has certainly been consistent, finishing third in points in each of his first two seasons in Amherst.  His 10 goal, 11 assist effort as freshman earned him recognition as the team’s Rookie of the Year.  He followed it up last year with an eight goal, 16 assist contribution.  Iacobellis played a huge role in UMass’ highest profile win of the season, the 5 overtime victory in the playoffs versus Notre Dame, scoring two goals in that game.

Iacobellis doesn’t get a ton of publicity, but he plays a big role for the team.  When he missed a couple games in early February his absence on the ice was noticeable.  He’s unlikely to be tops for goals or points on this team this season, but he’s someone who makes the players with him on the ice better.  His skill moving the puck and heads up play creates scoring chances for his teammates.  At the same time he’s smart with the puck and rarely turns it over, evidenced by the fact that he was the only Minuteman to have a positive plus-minus rating last season.  On the ice and in the locker room UMass will need that steady production and leadership from Iacobellis this season if they’re to be successful.

photo by Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics

NESN had this story on former Minuteman Matt Irwin coming back to Massachusetts to play with the Bruins.

Legendary UConn soccer coach Joe Morrone passed away this morning.  Before he was coaching at UConn though he was a three sport athlete at UMass in the 50s, playing soccer, lacrosse, and hockey.  Morrone coached the Huskies to the 1981 National Championship and the soccer stadium in Storrs is named in his honor.

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