Up To The Minute ▲ Boston College’s Couturier Transfers To UMass

The Massachusetts hockey team added an established Hockey East defensemen for the future as Boston College blueliner Josh Couturier announced he is transferring to UMass.

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Preview ▲ UMass Begins Homestand With Games Against #4 Boston College, Vermont

Boston College Eagles 15-4-3 (8-1-3) Hockey East 2nd

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Massachusetts Minutemen 7-12-4 (2-7-4) Hockey East T-8th

If the Massachusetts hockey team is going to make a run in the second half of the season it has to start now.  The Minutemen will not have to play a game outside of Western Mass until February 13th against Northeastern.  Friday’s game against 4th ranked Boston College kicks off a five game homestand, followed by a game against AIC at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, and then capped off with a return to the Mullins Center to face Northeastern.  We heard a lot earlier on in the season that the team was in need of a good homestretch to reverse their fortunes.  That hasn’t really happened as the team is just 2-5-1 at the Mullins Center.  But considering that the team plays three of its final four regular season games on the road, they desperately need to do well now if they’re to stay out of the bottom portion of the league standings.

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Weekend Wrap-Around ▲ Lagesson Named To Sweden’s Preliminary World Junior Roster

Before jumping into the usual recap of the weekend that was, the big news today was that UMass defenseman William Lagesson was named to the preliminary World Junior Championship roster for his native Sweden.  This isn’t a big surprise since he played for the Swedish junior team last winter.  The last Minuteman to play in the World Junior Championships was Stephen Werner in 2004.

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Weekend Wrap-Around ▲ Hockey East Claims Three Of Top Four Spots In Rankings

Hockey East continues to show it’s the best conference in college hockey, boasting three of the top four teams in the country.  The latest USCHO polls has Providence continuing its reign as the #1 team in the country with Boston College just behind them at #2.  Lowell moved up to #4 after taking three points from Notre Dame.  Staying at #3 is UMass’ next opponent, 11-0-2 Quinnpiac.

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Recap ▲ Boston College Blitzes UMass 7-0

Boston College 7.  Massachusetts 0.

These blowouts were supposed to be a thing of the past.  Over the summer Massachusetts hockey coach John Micheletto re-tooled his defense, bringing in four players who are either already drafted, attended an NHL prospect camp this summer, or are projected to be drafted next June.  Or some combination of all three.  In net, Micheletto finally landed the high profile goaltender he’s been coveting, with the top Junior A player in all of Canada landing in Amherst during the offseason.  Yet, here we are a month into the season and UMass finds itself 56th in the country in goals against after giving up 23 goals in the last 4 games.  They are also 56th in penalty kill with opponents scoring a third of the time on the power play.  Players leave.  New players come in.  But the program continues to be dogged by major defensive deficiencies.

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Preview ▲ Minutemen Travel To #3 Boston College For Tuesday Tilt

Massachusetts Minutemen 4-1-1 (0-0-1) Hockey East T-8th

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Boston College Eagles 5-1-0 (0-0-0) Hockey East T-10th

The Massachusetts hockey team is looking to get back on track after picking up their first loss of the season to #13 Yale over the weekend at the Capital City Classic.  But the specific challenges they faced against the Bulldogs could prove to be even tougher against the #3 Boston College Eagles on Tuesday.  Yale came into their game with UMass carrying over a strong defensive team from last season, but playing in their first game of the year.  BC through six games this season has already proven that they’re just as good defensively as Yale and maybe even better.

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Weekend Wrap-around ▲ Plevy Named Hockey East Co-Rookie Of The Week

For his role in helping the Massachusetts hockey program gain an opening weekend sweep in Colorado Springs Minuteman freshman Austin Plevy was named Hockey East Co-Rookie of the Week today.  He shares the honor with UConn’s Max Letunov who, like Plevy, also had a hat trick in his collegiate debut.  In addition to the 3 goals and one assist in Friday night’s 6-3 win Plevy also scored the game-winner on Saturday.  Plevy and Mercyhurt’s Taylor Best, who has played one more game than Plevy, are tied for the national lead in goals.  Shane Walsh (3G, 2A) and Nic Renyard (45 saves) were named Top Performers by the league this week for their efforts this weekend.

graphic by Hockey East

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Weekend Wrap-around ▲ New Brunswick Splits Against Top Hockey East Teams

Time for the first Weekend Wrap-around of the season taking a look at what’s going on around the rest of Hockey East and in college hockey in general, as well as catch up on any other UMass news coming out of the weekend.

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Recap ▲ UMass Goaltenders Combine For 4-0 Shutout In Exhibition

The Massachusetts hockey team got much of what it wanted from its warm-up to the 2015-16 season with a 4-0 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers from the CIS.  The shutout was a combined effort as each of the team’s goaltenders turned away all the Tigers shots while playing a period each.  The team’s freshman class made solid contributions in net, on defense, and in the game’s scoring.

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Season Preview ▲ Hockey East Team-By-Team

A couple weeks ago I shared my ballot for the media preseason Hockey East poll where I picked Boston College to win it all and our beloved Minutemen to, unfortunately, finish last yet again.  But with the season nearly upon us it’s time to take a closer look at each team, see what each squad has going for it, and what challenges they may need to overcome between now and March (and for some, April).  This is Hockey East!

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