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View From Section U ▲ Crunching Carvel’s Numbers

Ahead of coach Greg Carvel’s formal introduction as head coach of Massachusetts hockey I’ve been taking a look at some numbers, as I tend to do.  The story of UMass’ struggles in recent years was easily told through their statistics.  So let’s take a look at the Saint Lawrence Saints’ team statistics from Carvel’s four years in Canton and see what’s to learn from them.

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View From Section U ▲ FTT Hockey East Postseason Awards

Last week I posted my UMass team awards for the season.  As I write this the Hockey East banquet is taking place in Boston where the league will announce the major awards for the conference.  More on those in a bit.  The Hockey East media will announce their winners tomorrow afternoon.  Here is the ballot I submitted for the media awards.

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View From Section U ▲ 2015-16 FTT Awards

It was a frustrating season but that doesn’t mean the players don’t deserve some recognition for their effort and accomplishments.  I did that somewhat in my season recap posted last night, where I had a few remarks for each and every player.  But now it’s time to honor those players who really stood out with their play this season.  All awards are chosen entirely by me and me alone except the FTT Player of the Year which goes the the player who has accumulated the most Player of the Game awards throughout the year.  So without further adieu, the envelopes please.

Fear The Triangle

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View From Section U ▲ Season Recap

 

John Micheletto’s fourth season as head coach was extremely disappointing and frustrating, at least from a fan’s perspective, and it ultimately cost him his job.  It was thought the team’s fortunes could only go up after last season’s 11-23-2 record and last place finish in Hockey East.  Yes, the Minutemen lost some key players in the offseason, but we were led to believe that Micheletto was bringing in the best recruiting class in years, including revamping the defense with multiple NHL-worthy blueliners.  Instead the upgrade in skill couldn’t overcome what still a bad scheme put forth by the coach and for the second straight year the Minutemen had one of the worst goals against in the country.  When the offense faltered halfway through the season the wheels came off and the end result was a second straight year in the Hockey East cellar, a 8-24-4 record, and an end to the Micheletto era at UMass.

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View From Section U ▲ Thank You Seniors!

Since I started this blog many a year ago there are few things I look forward to more than writing my annual senior post.  It’s not because I’m looking forward to see them play their last games on the Mullins Center ice.  In fact it’s the exact opposite.  Not only have I watched these players from the stands or through choppy online streams for the past four years but these players’ names first pop-up on my radar when they’re 16 year olds playing in the old EJHL or some strange sounding town in British Columbia.  They play out their junior days, perhaps bouncing from league to league, and finally arrive in Amherst as freshmen.  Or perhaps they take more circuitous routes that have them wearing the jerseys of other college hockey teams before putting on the maroon and white.

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View From Section U ▲ Potential Coaching Replacements

Ever since I wrote my piece stating that UMass needs to making a coaching change at the end of the season I’ve had many people ask who would be my potential candidates to lead the program to success.  There are a few prospects that immediately come to mind.  There are a few that I wish they had looked at the last time around when the coaching position was open in 2012 and either they weren’t interested, then Athletic Director John McCutcheon didn’t consider them, or the timing just wasn’t right for either side.  I’ve already heard a lot of suggestions from readers and fans on who should be considered and I’ve done my best to take them into account.

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View From Section U ▲ Time For A Coaching Change

Let me start by saying that I think John Micheletto is a sharp, innovative hockey mind in the college game as well as a talented recruiter.  I have no doubt that he has spent the last three and a half years working hard to make UMass hockey successful in the competitive Hockey East.  I think he’s a well-intentioned individual who is trying his best.  I also believe that despite all those qualities he is not the right person to be head coach and after this current season, Athletic Director Ryan Bamford should look to someone new to lead the Massachusetts hockey program.

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View From Section U ▲ Minutemen Look To Reverse Second Half Struggles

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the challenges ahead for the Minutemen in the second half of the season in terms of schedule.  Half of their 16 games left on the season will come against teams at the top of the KRACH and USCHO rankings.  With the team currently at 6-8-4 on the season it’ll be a tough road for UMass to get back to .500 or better.  But it’s not just the opposing teams that the Minutemen have to contend with.  UMass has historically done poorly in the games that come after the holiday break.

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View From Section U ▲ 2015: The Year Of Walsh

Friday marks the last Massachusetts hockey game of 2015 and there is likely no one who will be more sorry to see the year end than Minuteman senior Shane Walsh.  To say the West Roxbury native had a breakthrough performance during the calendar year would be an understatement.  Walsh has not only gone from a grinder, third-winger type to one of UMass main offensive contributors since last January, but he’s now one of the top goal scorers in all of college hockey.  That transformation 12 months ago was nearly instantaneous and simply spectacular to watch, especially since he has a knack to score right when the team needs it most.  As the year comes to a close it’s worth taking another look at Walsh’s amazing exploits.

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View From Section U ▲ UMail

It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote a View From Section U piece and even longer since I did a UMail session.  I have some ideas for some future View From Section Us in the near future, so I’ll try to do a better job posting material beyond the usual previews, recaps, and recruit updates.  And the reader response for this UMail session was pretty good so maybe I’ll try to do another right before the stretch run in early February.  Without further delay, let’s get to the questions.

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