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Recruit Update ▲ Makar, Murray Win AJHL Season Awards

The regular season is starting to wrap up for the UMass committed players just as it is for the college teams.  And with the final regular season games comes recognition.  A couple future Minutemen were honored by the AJHL this past week.  Brooks defenseman Cale Markar was named AJHL Rookie of the Year while UMass’ newest commitment, goalie Matt Murray, was named AJHL Top Goaltender.  Last season Nic Renyard won Top Goaltender as well as league MVP, beating out current teammate Austin Plevy who was the AJHL’s top scorer.  Shane Bear was a finalist for Defenseman of the Year but lost out to Brinson Pasichnuk, an Arizona State recruit.

Shane Bear – D – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016 (NLI Signed)
42 GP / 10 G / 32 A / 42 Pts / 56 PIM
Bear had a couple assists in his past two games.

Troy Conzo – RW – Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) – 2016 or 2017
55 GP/ 13 G/ 21 A / 34 Pts /  18 PIM
Conzo had a goal and two assists in three games this week.

Kyler Nachtigall – LW – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016 (NLI Signed)
57 GP / 15 G / 23 A / 38 Pts / 66 PIM
Nachtigall went scoreless this past week.

Jake Massie – D – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2016 (NLI Signed)
35 GP / 3 G / 5 A / 8 Pts / 16 PIM / -14
Massie had a goal and an assist this past week.

Jake McCarthy – D – South Shore Kings (USPHL) – 2016
26 GP / 0 G / 3 A / 3 Pts / 33 PIM
The playoffs have started for the Kings.  McCarthy was scoreless in his one playoff game so far after finishing the regular season with 3 assists in 26 games.

Ty Pelton-Byce – C – Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) – 2016 (NLI Signed)
46 GP / 12 G / 19 A / 31 pts / 10 PIM / +3
Pelton-Byce had two goals and two assists in four games.  He’s now second on the Bucs in scoring and 43rd in the league.  He has 7 points in his last 8 games.

Brian Williams – C – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2016
45 GP / 11 G / 11 A / 22 pts / 16 PIM / +4
Williams had an assist in his most recent games.

Niko Hildenbrand – RW – Fargo Force (USHL) – 2016
31GP / 6 G / 8 A / 14 pts / 30 PIM / +5
Hildenbrand had an assist this past week.

Justin Dixson – LW – Tri-City Storm (USHL) – 2017 (NLI Signed)
35 GP / 0 G / 6 A / 6 Pts / 10 PIM / -7
Dixson was scoreless in his one game this past week.

Colin Felix – D – St George’s (NE-Prep) – 2017
25 GP / 11 G / 20 A / 31 Pts
Felix ended the regular season with 31 points in 25 games.  St George’s will kick off the playoffs on Wednesday against St Mark’s.

Nick Jenny – D – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2017
44 GP / 2 G / 9 A / 11 Pts / 34 PIM / -1
Jenny was scoreless this past week.

John Leonard – LW – Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) – 2017
38 GP / 3 G / 3 A / 6 Pts / 6 PIM / -4
Leonard was scoreless in his most recent games.

Matt Murray – G – Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) – 2017
22-4-0 / .909 save pct / 2.67 GAA / 3 shutouts
Murray got a win, giving up 3 goals in 43 minutes of work in his one game this past week.

Cale Makar– D – Brooks Bandits (BCHL) – 2018 (NLI Signed)
52 GP / 8 G / 43 A / 51 Pts / 26 PIM
Makar had a goal this past week.  Here’s the Bandits’ release on him winning the AJHL Rookie of the Year with some quotes from his coach.  Makar is third among lead defensemen in scoring.

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

John Connolly of the Boston Herald wrote on Monday that UMass should “tread slowly regarding any abrupt decision on the future of Micheletto”.  I respect Connolly, a longtime college hockey writer in New England.  But he either hasn’t done his homework on the state of the UMass hockey program or is letting loyalties cloud his vision.  I could go on and on about why there needs to be a coaching change at this end of the season.  But I’ll sum it up with just three sets of numbers.  2-21-3, 39-86-13, 2,868.

2-21-3 is the team’s record over its last 26 games.  This squad was supposed to be Micheletto’s best.  Though inexperienced, if Micheletto was doing a competent job as a coach the team should improve as they get more games under their belt.  Instead you could argue they’re playing their worst hockey to close out the season.  The two wins in there have come against bad Atlantic Hockey teams.  In Overtime.

39-86-13 is Micheletto’s coaching record over four seasons.  Four seasons is more than enough time to judge if a coach is doing a good enough job.  A .330 win percentage isn’t cutting it.  His best season was his first, when he still only won 12 games.  The team has finished in last place two years in a row.

2,868 was this year’s average attendance at the Mullins Center.  And that’s with a few games where the announced number appeared very generous.  The casual fans have given up on the program and now the hardcore fans are losing interest.  The Pond Club has been mothballed and booster attendance is sparse.  UMass simply cannot afford to bring Micheletto back for another season.

Connolly is an experienced enough writer that he should look at the above and come to the logical conclusion.  Why he doesn’t is a mystery.

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19 Comments

  1. Wow. I can’t believe that article I just read about being hesitant to get rid of Mick. It’s not like the team was lighting the world on fire with Vatrano and Montour.

    Anyway, how many of these commits won’t show if Mick is fired?

    Like

    • Impossible to predict

      Like

    • Rex

       /  March 2, 2016

      I think Mich gets a little overrated as a recruiter also. Montour was a great get no question, but Vatrano fell into his lap and was good friends with a few local kids on the team. I would guess they and the location to Longmeadow had much more of an influence on Frank choosing there than Mich. Sadly, I think Umass is in for a few more lean years at best while a new coach establishes himself here and can recruit some players here. Would love to see them pry away the Union coach or a top HE assistant.

      Like

      • I think he turned around a downward trend in recruiting for UMass but was then limited by his complete inability to coach them once they got to Amherst.

        Like

  2. Rex

     /  March 2, 2016

    I wholeheartedly agree with your take on him being unable to coach anyone up when they are here. He definitely got a couple higher end guys here, but the results still have gotten progressively worse. Attendance is disgusting as is the pond club. I used to go to most home games and contributed to the pond club. Now I barely check the games on my phone and only am here because of the potential change. Outstanding job by the way in this tough time for the program and hats off to you for sticking with them. If the change is made as everyone suspects I will be back, but will need to see a complete overhaul of the program to be fully invested. Nothing to do with the players either, plenty of good talent and all seem like great kids.

    Like

  3. Anonymous

     /  March 2, 2016

    the writer does not care if umass performs well….that is why he is hesitant to let coach go….hockey east is about winning games and competing at the highest level….umass needs to find a coach with a history of winning for sure…someone with fire in his belly that will translate to his players, fans, alumni etc….what is the latest re; potential coaches who could show interest in umass or vice versa? has anyone heard anything?

    Like

  4. Rex

     /  March 2, 2016

    I can see the writers point from afar, but once you actually take a good hard look at what he is done in 4 years its a no brainer. The lack of fan support/pond club and attendance at the mullins really gets to me. Just a few years ago they packed the rink for big games and it was a really great atmosphere, now its just embarassing. They have the facilities to compete, hopefully Bamford gets them going in that direction again.

    Like

  5. Enough

     /  March 2, 2016

    Not so sure about the recruiting either. Neither Vatrano or Montour were commited academically, they were not staying. Pleavy was a Merrimack recruit who Mick made a backroom deal with to come to Amherst. There continue to be hard feelings between the coaches on that one.
    Pleavy was supposed to be a hotshot, seems very pedestrian under Mick’s watch.
    To that end, when Mick is shown the door, there will not be any crying from the other HE coaches. Not well liked at all.

    Like

    • “Plevy is pedestrian under Mick’s watch”.

      Yes, but how would he be with another coach? He had 4 goals and 4 assists in his first four games. Then as he got more integrated into Mick’s “system” he had 5 goals and 8 assists in the next 29 games.

      Players get worse the more he coaches them.

      Like

      • Rex

         /  March 2, 2016

        I thought Plevy looked great early on. The entire team threw in the towel 2nd half of year so really tough to judge. Will be interesting to see how they play this weekend knowing mick is all but gone.

        Like

      • Enough

         /  March 2, 2016

        We are agreeing, right? He scored his goals against the sisters of the poor, then Mick coached him down.
        Either that or the constant yelling results in losing the player(s)

        Like

        • Rex

           /  March 3, 2016

          haha, yes we are agreeing to a point. I think Plevy is a very good player and would have scored those goals against anyone.

          Like

  6. Rex

     /  March 2, 2016

    Whats the Plevy story?

    Like

  7. Enough

     /  March 2, 2016

    Hey Rocks, on another front, what is up with John Leonard? 3 goals in 38 games?

    Like

    • Tough transition from HS hockey to USHL. He wasn’t due in Amherst until
      2017 so another year out there will do him well.

      Like

  8. Enough

     /  March 2, 2016

    Pleavy was commited to Merrimack. There are a couple of kids on UMass team that played with Pleavy in Juniors. All of a sudden Pleavy left Merrimack and appeared at UMass. There has been much ore player movement in recent years than is the past, but this was viewed as underhanded. I know that MD was furious and made a point of letting Mick know.

    Like

    • Anonymous

       /  March 2, 2016

      Love to see MD take micks old job and show him how to run a hockey program. I know he wouldnt, wishful thinking. I saw Leonards stats, USHL is quite different than high school hockey. I am sure he will adapt and be a better player for it.

      Like

  9. Anonymous

     /  March 5, 2016

    arguably the best postseason goalie performance in the history of umass and this coach still cannot win….needed to end it with the power play chance and instead almost give up another short handed goal,,,,we had the ot pp and still did not get it done…..renyard was simply incredible….

    Like

  1. Up To The Minute ▲ Bamford Comments On Micheletto Decision, Coaching Search | Fear The Triangle - UMass Hockey Blog
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