Recruit Update ▲ AJHL Goaltender Matt Murray Commits To UMass

Despite the obvious challenges surrounding the program right now coach John Micheletto has been able to continue to secure commitments from recruits to join the Massachusetts program.  And he continues to bring some pretty good talent to UMass.  Today’s commitment was from goaltender Matt Murray of the Spruce Grove Saints of the AJHL.  Murray would likely join the Minutemen for the 2017-18 season after Alex Wakaluk graduates.

Murray is a St Albert, Alberta native and is a little undersized by today’s goaltender standards at 5’11”.  Murray is in his second year for Spruce Grove.  This season he’s 21-4-0, 5th most wins in the league, with a .911 save percentage and 2.59 goals against average.  Last year, when he was splitting time in net, he had the best goals against average in the AJHL with 1.72 in 22 games, beating even the league MVP and current Minuteman Nic Renyard.  He had a .920 save percentage as well for the Saints as they won the AJHL championship.

NHL Central Scouting ranked Murray as the 27th best North American goaltender in their mid-term rankings in January, indicating that he could be a late round pick in this June’s NHL draft.  This past December Murray played for Team Canada West with fellow UMass recruits Shane Bear and Cale Makar.  Murray help lead the team to gold in the tournament with a .912 save percentage and 2.75 goals against average.

Just today Murray was named as a finalist for the AJHL Top Goaltender Award (won by Renyard last year).  Also nominated for AJHL awards were Bear (Outstanding Defenseman) and Makar (Rookie of the Year).

Here’s an article on Murray and the success he’s had with Spruce Grove from last month.

Shane Bear – D – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016 (NLI Signed)
38 GP / 9 G / 26 A / 35 Pts / 48 PIM
Bear has just exploded offensively in recent weeks with 3 goals and six assists in his last nine games.  As mentioned he was named a finalist for Outstanding Defenseman in the AJHL.

Troy Conzo – RW – Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) – 2016 or 2017
49 GP/ 12 G/ 17 A / 29 Pts /  10 PIM
Conzo had two goals and two assists in the past five games.  He scored the game winner in overtime this past Sunday against Prince George.

Kyler Nachtigall – LW – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016 (NLI Signed)
52 GP / 14 G / 23 A / 37 Pts / 66 PIM
Nachtigall had two goals and three assists in his last six games.  He even played defense for the Bandits recently as the team was down to four healthy defensemen.

Jake Massie – D – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2016 (NLI Signed)
30 GP / 2 G / 4 A / 6 Pts / 14 PIM / -10
Massie scored his first goal of the season on Saturday and then followed it up with another last night.  Here’s his first goal:

Jake McCarthy – D – South Shore Kings (USPHL) – 2016
24 GP / 0 G / 3 A / 3 Pts / 26 PIM
McCarthy had an assist in his most recent four games.

Ty Pelton-Byce – C – Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) – 2016 (NLI Signed)
41 GP / 9 G / 15 A / 24 pts / 10 PIM / +3
Pelton-Byce had a goal in his last four games.

Brian Williams – C – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2016
40 GP / 11 G / 9 A / 20 pts / 14 PIM / +6
Williams had two goals in his past four games.

Niko Hildenbrand – RW – Fargo Force (USHL) – 2016
27 GP / 6 G / 7 A / 13 pts / 24 PIM / +6
Hildenbrand is having a good impact with his new team.  Since joining the Force he has a goal and three assists in 5 games.

Justin Dixson – LW – Tri-City Storm (USHL) – 2017 (NLI Signed)
32 GP / 0 G / 5 A / 5 Pts / 8 PIM / -7
Dixson was scoreless in his most recent  games.

Colin Felix – D – St George’s (NE-Prep) – 2017
21 GP / 10 G / 19 A / 29 Pts
Felix has three goals and four assists in his last 5 games.

Nick Jenny – D – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2017
40 GP / 2 G / 8 A / 10 Pts / 28 PIM / 0
Jenny was scoreless this past week.

John Leonard – LW – Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) – 2017
35 GP / 3 G / 3 A / 6 Pts / 6 PIM / -5
Leonard was scoreless in his most recent games.

Cale Makar– D – Brooks Bandits (BCHL) – 2018 (NLI Signed)
47 GP / 6 G / 42 A / 48 Pts / 24 PIM
Makar has an astounding 11 assists in his last 6 games.  As mentioned earlier Makar was named a finalist for AJHL Rookie of the Year.

Brian Scoville – D – Winchendon (NE Prep) – 2018
24 GP / 3 G / 6 A / 9 Pts
Scoville is scoreless in his most recent games.

Masslive had this article on Frank Vatrano and his continued torrid scoring pace for Providence.



  1. RDW

     /  February 16, 2016



  2. Anonymous

     /  February 17, 2016

    AJHL=JV. The remaining 1500 fans are seeing that these guys are just not tough and strong enough, for the most part, to play at this level. And the fact they come here and not other places should make you wonder, at least given the current state of things here. Honestly, who’d want to walk into this mess? These guys had to have watched us on TSN last Friday.


    • Not sure I’d paint the AJHL with such a broad brush. In addition to the current AJHL guys UMass has gotten players like Branden Gracel and Paul Dainton from that league. Current staff probably relies on it too much but there are quality players there. The bigger problem is what the staff does (or doesn’t do) once they get to Amherst.


  3. Anonymous

     /  February 17, 2016

    There are some big names in the link below, but as a rule, the QMJHL, OHL and WHL are the main junior sources above the 45th and 49th parallel. Again, the fact they’re coming here and not going elsewhere under this regime, leaves me skeptical, at best.

    Click to access AJHL_Alumni_Active_in_the_NHL_dpj.pdf


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