With Media Day taking place tomorrow the Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association released their preseason poll late last night. UMass was picked to finish last in the conference.
Here’s the entire poll:
1. Boston College (20) 397 2. Boston University (7) 374 3. Massachusetts-Lowell (5) 344 4. Providence (2) 328 5. Notre Dame (1) 250 6. Vermont 237 7. Northeastern 217 8. New Hampshire 187 9. Connecticut 142 10. Merrimack 119 11. Maine 87 12. Massachusetts 48
As you can see by the sizable gap in points between the Minutemen and 11th place Maine, most media members picked UMass 12th. I was one of them. The coaches will likely do the same thing tomorrow. I don’t think you can blame them. This is a UMass team that finished in the cellar last year, lost their top two players, allowed the second most goals in the country, and have only a handful of upperclassmen. The Minutemen will have to transform into a completely different team this season to avoid another disappointing season in Amherst. But, with so many new and young faces, I guess anything is possible.
The media also picked their All-Hockey East Preseason Team:
F Tyler Kelleher (Jr., New Hampshire) F Danny O'Regan (Sr., Boston University) F Kevin Roy (Sr., Northeastern) F Alex Tuch (So., Boston College) D Matt Grzelcyk (Sr., Boston University) D Ian McCoshen (Jr., Boston College) G Thatcher Demko (Jr., Boston College)
We’re under two weeks to go until UMass takes on Dalhousie in the exhibition game. The countdown today features #13 Ivan Chukarov. Chukarov is one of the heralded incoming defenseman for the Minutemen. The Illinois native, listed at 6’3”, 190lbs will have the most size of anyone on the current roster. He was picked by the Buffalo Sabres in 7th round of this past June’s NHL draft despite not being listed by Central Scouting beforehand and spent part of his summer attending the Sabres’ prospect camp.
Before that Chukarov played for the Minnesota Wilderness of the NAHL and was a big part of their championship season. After scoring 12 goals and notching 31 assists in 55 games he was named the Midwest Division Defenseman of the Year and was also picked for the All-NAHL team. He also finished the year with 63 PIM and had a +38 rating. In the playoffs he had 6 assists in 12 games as the Wilderness won the Robertson Cup. The hope is that Chukarov together with other freshmen William Lagesson, Carmine Buono, and Callum Fryer will help UMass make immediate improvements on the blueline. Chukarov especially should help toughen up the defense while still be offensive minded enough to do well in Coach Micheletto’s system.
photo by NAHL