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Boston University Preview

#11 Boston University Terriers 13-9-1 (10-6-1) T-2nd Hockey East

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Massachusetts Minutemen 9-12-2 (6-9-1) 7th Hockey East

The Massachusetts hockey team will only have one game to focus on this weekend, which is a good thing because it’ll be a tough one but a win versus the Terriers is not outside the realm of possibility.  Boston University is still very talented and not easy to beat, the Minutemen know this with the weekend sweep at the hands of the Terriers in the beginning of the season.  But they’re not exactly untouchable either.  They’re just 1-2-1 in their last four and 3-4-1 since winter break.

Offensively these Terriers are pretty much what you’d expect.  Their 3.09 goals per game is good for third in the league, tied with Lowell and behind Boston College and New Hampshire.  Their power play is only middle-of-the-pack though, converting just over 16% of their chances.  BU has gotten production from all their classes, as shown from their leaders in goals scored so far.  Tops on the team is senior Wade Megan who has 12 goals on the season, tied for third best among Hockey East players.  Behind him is freshman Danny O’Regan who has 9 goals to go with 13 assists.  Those two both had two goals apiece against the Minutemen when the teams met for a home and home series in late October.

Defensively is where the Terriers, at least statistically, look a little more out of character.  However, I think that’s probably to be expected when you’re trying to break in two freshman goaltenders (see: UMass last year).  It’s important to note that Matt O’Connor and Sean Maguire haven’t done terribly in their debut seasons.  O’Connor has played more of the games, compiling a 2.90 goals against average and .910 save percentage.  Maguire has the better stats with a 2.34 GAA and .925 save percentage.  The two have been roughly alternating since early December and the Boston Hockey Blog reported on Twitter that Maguire would get the start.  BU has struggled on the penalty kill, sitting at 82% and 8th in the league.

Frankly, this is a vulnerable Terrier team.  It’s also a BU team could’ve been facing the prospect of losing a season series to the Minutemen tomorrow.  However in the last time these teams meet in the Mullins Center the Minutemen gave up a 2-0 lead and somehow could not find the back of the net despite 20 third period shots on O’Connor.  The result ended up being a 3-2 loss for UMass and now BU has a chance at a season sweep tomorrow night.  Hopefully pride and the fact that Vermont, Maine, and Northeastern are all breathing down their necks will give the Minutemen the motivation needed to upset the 11th ranked Terriers.  To do so they’ll need a consistent effort on offense.  The team as a whole has played good defense since winter break ended, with the exception of the Providence game at home when they gave up five goals.  But defensively UMass has been playing some of its best hockey of the season, even on special teams.  Scoring however has been hit or miss in that time.  They’ve been able to generate a lot of shots but some nights the puck finds the back of the net and the next opposing goaltenders look like world-beaters.  The finishers that are on the team, most specifically the first like of Branden Gracel, Mike Pereira, and Conor Sheary, will have to make sure Sean Maguire looks human tomorrow.

Beer The Triangle
Seems like a long time since I’ve been to the Hangar.  I wonder what they have on draft?  Since they tend to highlight Lagunitas I hope they have the Lagunitas Sucks on draft, one of the top beers from a favorite brewery.

A number of BU Twitter accounts have reported that BU will dress seven defensemen tomorrow night, with Ryan Ruikka in the lineup at forward.  The Boston Hockey Blog also tweeted that Evan Rodrigues will dress after missing last Saturday’s game against Providence due to injury.  Rodrigues has eight goals on the season.

The Republican has this profile on Darren Rowe as part of their preview of tomorrow.  Overall Rowe has been one of the better stories of the UMass season after getting very limited playing time last season.  While there are certainly still times on the ice where his defensive limitations prove frustrating for UMass fans, the fact is when he’s doing what he needs to on defense and combining it with offensive contributions he’s a very valuable part of the team.  And he’s done well in both aspects in recent games notching two goals and six assists in the last seven games while maintaining an even plus/minus rating.  I always thought Rowe’s skills weren’t totally maximized during his UMass career and continue to contend that he should’ve been moved to forward earlier in his career.  But he continues to do his best on defense while making the most of his offensive instincts during his senior season, shaking off a mid-season slump.  And the team has benefitted when he’s moving and shooting the puck well on the season.

Here’s some additional coverage of Matt Anderson, who picked up his first NHL point/assist tonight for the Devils.

Dick Baker had this article about Anderson’s accomplishments framed around the legacy of Springfield hockey legend Gary Dineen.

And Collegian alum Andrew Merritt wrote this enjoyable piece on Anderson for the New England Hockey Journal.  I know I mentioned it the other night but, like Mike Kostka, I’m thrilled to see Anderson get his shot in the NHL.  I have followed the program for almost two decades and there are few better representatives of the dear old alma mater and the Minuteman hockey program than those two.

Oh hey Casey Wellman was traded again and is now in his fourth NHL organization since the beginning of last season.  Maybe sometime between now and when I retire at the end of the season I’ll do a View From Section U column expressing what I really think about Wellman.

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Up To The Minute–8/29

Time to get everyone up to date on the recent goings on surrounding UMass hockey and college hockey in general.  Look for previews of the coming season to start in earnest following the long weekend.

UMass made official the hiring of John Gobeil as Director of Hockey Operations.  Gobeil comes to Amherst from Vermont, where he had served in the same role for his alma mater during the past three years.  A full time Director of Hockey Ops is something that is commonplace across the rest of competitive college hockey and long overdue for the Minuteman program.  Welcome to the UMass family, John.  You’ll be out of the spotlight, but still making a significant contribution to the success of the team.

The official roster has been updated with incoming freshman K.J. Tiefenwerth, Evan Stack, Shane Walsh, and Connor Doherty.  I would point out that all other players are on the roster and expected to return.

Hockey’s Future had this excellent article regarding recent UMass alums making strides towards playing in the NHL.  Featured are Justin Braun, Matt Irwin, Casey Wellman, Paul Dainton, Mike Marcou, and his brother James Marcou.

Matt Vautour mentions hockey in this preview to the 2012-13 UMass athletic season.

Speaking of Matty V, I’ll be taking on him and other media members in a contest to correctly pick this season’s UMass and MAC football games.  The contest pits myself, Maroon Musket’s Bob McGovern, and UMass Football Blog’s Frank Smith against Matt, UMass hockey announcer Matt Goldstein, and the Republican’s Harry Plumer.  Looking at the first week’s picks I really need Northern Illinois to get the upset this week.  No worries though, Iowa always starts slow on the season.

Speaking of UMass football, I cannot wait to head to East Hartford tomorrow (have those words ever been written?) to watch the Minutemen kick off the FBS era against UConn.  I, and others, have been waiting a long time for this and still have vivid memories of UMass embarrassing the Huskies 62-20 in the last meeting.

Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy has been named an Associate Athletic Director in the wake of the school’s AD resigning for misconduct.

College Hockey Inc has a new leader.

Maroon & White Thoughts

It was great to see some UMass hockey last night, even if it was only an intrasquad scrimmage.  It was an entertaining game, played with two 12 minute periods with the third being 15 minutes of alternating power plays.  White won the game on a nice looking gamewinner by Conor Sheary who wristed a shot top corner for the goal.  The first goal was by Eddie Olczyk on a penalty shot (players did not serve penalties) against Kevin Moore that went five hole.  Branden Gracel scored a power play goal for Maroon.

There were a few players not dressed, the two captains Danny Hobbs and T.J. Syner as well as freshman goaltender Steve Mastalerz.  As far as I heard Hobbs and Syner should be available to play Friday at Northeastern.  It is too bad that Mastalerz is a little banged up did not have a chance to play.

The goaltending that we did get to see by Kevin Boyle and Jeff Teglia was very solid.  Both had 19 saves on the night.  I wouldn’t say they were challenged too much, though Boyle did have a nice sequence of point blank saves at one point, but both performed well and made the saves they had to.  The Sheary goal would’ve been tough to save, the Olczyk goal was against Kevin Moore on a penalty shot, and Gracel’s came from a pile up in front of the net.  Both looked good and I wouldn’t say from the short viewing experience that one has an advantage over the other.

As I said, they weren’t challenged too much.  I had hoped to see a little more action on offense.  The power play did not show much improvement and seems to have the same issues regarding moving the puck and getting in a good position to shoot as we saw last year.  Obviously, the offense was missing a lot with the two captains not dressed.  Mike Pereira was active all over the ice but didn’t seem to get many shots off.  Overall the defense was probably the star of the show, as they stifled the offense and looked much more physical than last year.  So physical in fact there was even a little altercation between Conor Allen and big Oleg Yevenko at one point and they had to be separated.  They did hug it out in the handshake line though, so I wouldn’t worry about problems between them.  In fact I think it shows that this team is taking this all very seriously.

On defense I thought Mike Marcou probably played the best which is a nice sign going into his senior year.  Yevenko looked good.  His skating was better than I expected and thanks to his reach had a couple of poke checks that disrupted the offensive transition.  For the other freshman I like what I saw from Emerson Auvenshine.  He may have been the most active player on the ice and I think he’ll contribute more than I initially expected.  Zack LaRue and Andrew Tegeler are both big bodies that can skate very well.

I didn’t expect the defense and goaltending to be the stars of the night, especially since most players were not hitting as much as would be expected against other teams.  But that was the case.  Hopefully with a full complement of players and some practices under their belt we’ll see improved offense in time for the game against Northeastern.

Here are Dick Baker’s thoughts on the scrimmage.

Mike Kostka is still doing well in his shot to make the Florida Panthers out of camp.

An average performance in Wild camp means Casey Wellman will start in the AHL.

Red’s Departure From UMass Official

Some UMass related links to pass along.

The New Haven Register is now reporting that assistant Red Gendron is heading to Yale.  The announcement will likely come later this week.  And everything I’ve heard points to his replacement at UMass being former Lowell coach Blaise McDonald.  I’ll likely have more on Red later in the week.  USCHO is also reporting the move.

Checking around the NHL camps, here is a feature on Mike Marcou and his time at Islanders camp.  Conor Allen is featured on a video from the Capitals website.  He does a great job of making the case for college hockey.

Casey Wellman has signed a one year, two way contract with the Wild.

Of course the big college hockey news of the week was the official unveiling of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.  That’s the last time I’m ever typing that out.  And no, I refuse to call it “The National”.  Although I may call it “Natty”.  The forming of the NCHC led to Northern Michigan jumping to the WCHA.  Of course everyone is still waiting for Notre Dame to make up their mind in this conference realignment.

Meanwhile, Minnesota State Moorhead is working towards upgrading their program to DI.

History On UMass’ Side

Much was made of the youth that made up a good portion of this past season’s roster for the Minutemen.  All in all UMass had 13 freshmen on the roster, not counting Stephen Guzzo who didn’t suit up due to an injury that occurred on the eve of the opener against Minnesota.  But this wasn’t the first time in recent history that UMass has had such a large freshman class.  And if history is any guide, it just may mean UMass is in for a historic season starting this fall.

UMass had 12 freshmen come to Amherst in the fall of 2001, Coach Toot Cahoon’s first real recruiting class.  That class featured guys like Peter Trovato, Tim Vitek, and Greg Mauldin, who put up 12 goals and 12 assists that season, nearly identical numbers to what Mike Pereira did last year as a freshman.  Of course as one would imagine that inexperienced team struggled during the 2001-02 season and finished with an 8-24-2 record.  Though in another similarity to this past year’s squad, 10 of those losses came by a single goal.  That next year however those 12 freshmen become sophomores and history is made.  The 2002-03 Minutemen turned a lot of those close losses into close wins and enjoyed the most successful year of UMass hockey in Division I to that point in time..  With a year under their belts the freshmen turned sophomores rolled into Orono for the Hockey East Quarterfinals and did the unthinkable, sweeping Maine at Alfond to earn their first ever trip to the Garden (nee FleetCenter).  There they pushed UNH in the Semis before falling 5-4.

The sophomore class wasn’t alone in that run however, because that 2002-03 team also featured a whopping 13 freshmen, featuring guys like Gabe Winer, Chris Capraro, and Stephen Werner.  Grand total there were 24 freshmen and sophomores on the roster that year.  If the current UMass roster were to stay as is (unlikely) then when you add in the projected freshman class for this fall of 9 players then UMass would also feature 24 underclassmen.  Of course when those sizable, talented classes of the early 2000s got yet another year under their belt is when things really got interesting.  In 2003-04 with the Winer class now sophomores and the Mauldin class now juniors the UMass squad came a Jimmy Howard glove save away from being crowned Hockey East Champions and earning their first trip to the NCAAs.

There was another year in the last decade when UMass had a double digit sized freshman class and that was the 2005-06 season.  That freshman class couldn’t save UMass from a 13-21-2 season in their first go around.  But the next season, when those freshman became sophomores, it was their class that led the program to its high watermark.  It’s easy to point to sophomore Jon Quick as responsible for the the team making it to the NCAAs and a first round win over Clarkson, but lets not forget that fellow sophomore Cory Quirk also shared the team lead in goals that year with Mark Matheson.

So there have been three times in recent history when a large, impactful freshman class came into Amherst.  It’s tough to measure how much influence the 2003-04 class had since the class before it was equally large and talented.  But looking at the other two similar years to this past year, UMass had a dramatic increase in success as those large freshman classes become sophomores. From the 2001-02 season to the 2002-03 season the team went from 8 wins to 19 and improved from 9th place in Hockey East to 6th.  From the 2005-06 season to the 2006-07 season the team went from 13 wins to 21 wins and jumped from 8th place in Hockey East to 4th and home ice.

What does this mean for next year?  Well I think a strong and deep freshman class coming in could help in addition to the normal development of last year’s freshmen, especially since it seems to address some major needs like goaltender depth and the all-important size aspect.  Interestingly the squad that went on to win 19 games in 02-03 had a major question mark at goaltender just as the one that takes the ice this October has.  Mike Johnson graduated the prior year and the 02-03 squad featured rarely used sophomore Mike Warner with freshmen Mike Waidlich and Gabe Winer.  Not unsimilar to having sophomore Jeff Teglia fight for time with Kevin Boyle and Steve Mastalerz.  Of course Gabe Winer grabbed the reigns and played well enough to get to the Garden.  Will one of those three goaltenders do the same and we see history repeat itself?

Not too much other stuff going on out in UMasshockeyland.

Alex Berry was not extended a qualifying offer by the Tampa Bay Lightning which means he’ll be a free agent once the signing period starts on Friday.  He had an excellent season for the Norfolk Admirals so I’m sure he’ll hook on somewhere.

I meant to mention it in my Monday post but the draft day trade that sent Brent Burns from Minnesota to San Jose in exchange for a number of young players, including BU’s Charlie Coyle, is not good news for Justin Braun.  That’s another established blueliner that Braun (not to mention Matt Irwin) will have to battle against for ice time with the big club.

Likewise, the Wild acquiring Darroll Powe from the Flyers is another center for Casey Wellman to worry about in the system.  Wellman likely will have to make a legitimate case to be the Wild’s 2nd line center in order to see playing time in the Twin Cities.

Still looking for UMass players on NHL development camps but so far Danny Hobbs appears to be it.

Great to see former goaltender Dan Meyers has joined the coaching ranks, working with current UMass goaltending coach Mike Buckley.

Pereira Goes Undrafted

Despite a very successful freshman season in Hockey East, UMass forward Mike Pereira was not selected in this past weekend’s NHL draft.  Pereira did not dwell on the draft this year, telling Matt Vautour of the Gazette that he would be checking the coverage here and there during the day but wasn’t planning around it.  He did say that going undrafted last year motivated him, so it likely will again.  A strong sophomore effort would go a long way to helping the UMass team have a breakout season.  In fact, following the draft Pereira thanked his supporters on twitter and ended with the hashtag “#missionHEchampionship”.  Sounds motivated to me.  Maybe we can send the NHL scouts a thank you note in a couple years for replacing the chip on his shoulder.

Dick Baker had some interesting comments from assistant coach Red Gendron on what Pereira not being drafted means for the long run.  Interesting in what Red had to say and interesting that it’s Red that’s saying it.  Maybe the news of him going to Yale wasn’t as definite as first thought.

Hockey East did have a number of current and future players picked over the weekend, including Northeastern defenseman Jamie Oleksiak.  With Greg Cronin bolting for the NHL the college future of Oleksiak and some top Husky recruits is in question.

Former UMass commit Zack Phillips was picked 28th overall, joining John Carlson as first round picks who never made it to Amherst.

Around the NHL, Casey Wellman, a restricted free agent, was offered a qualifying contract by the Wild and Danny Hobbs is attending New York Ranger Development Camp for the third straight summer.  Only a handful of camps have started or released their roster so far.  I’ll do my best to pass along news of any other attendees.

Lastly, a bunch of people have asked me about potential roster changes going into next season.  I’ve certainly heard some speculative talk regarding  players who might be looking to leave due to playing time or other reasons, but as of yet I don’t know of anything official.  The roster at UMassAthletics.com has been updated with everyone’s new class year (I think Joel Hanley and Stephen Guzzo were mistakenly switched), but so far there are no deletions from last year’s squad reflected.

Auvenshine Update; Westward Expansion

Though I was born on the North Shore, went to high school in the Rockies, and now live on the South Shore, I consider and will always consider Western Mass to be my home.  So to see the footage of a tornados rolling past landmarks I know well and the devastation they brought to the WMass and CMass towns was heartbreaking.  The UMass hockey community ranges near and far and certainly a good number of fans come from the areas affected.  Please know that my thoughts are certainly with all of you in this time of recovery and rebuilding.

Sorry for the lack of posting recently.  I’ve been busy with brewing and Bruins.  My first foray into homebrewing and several top notch beer events have kept my busy during the offseason as well as the Bruins spectacular run to the Stanley Cup.  I was lucky enough to be at last night’s game and have to say that it may have usurped UMass’ Hockey East Semifinal win over UNH in 2004 as my favorite memory in the new Garden.

While, rightfully so, the Bruins are dominating the local hockey landscape, there are some UMass and other related topics to discuss however.

First up are a couple of stories on UMass’ newest commit, Emerson Auvenshine, who will be at UMass this fall.  First is this piece from the website of the Bismarck Bobcats where he played juniors.  The piece expands upon some of the information that was shared to me when he first committed last month.  Dick Baker also checks in with a blog entry on Auvenshine.  Overall looks like the coaching staff has added a high energy player who is really happy about the opportunity to play in Hockey East.  He could end up being a valuable addition to next year’s roster.

Baker also has a short piece on next week’s golf tournament.  There’s still time to sign up, folks!  Click on the logo to the right for more info.  Your time on the links will help the UMass team on the ice.

Paul Dainton, Lord of the Ring. (Stick tap to reader Adam for passing this along).

Casey Wellman and his Houston Aeros fell short of the Calder Cup as the Binghamton Senators took the AHL championship in six games.

Former Providence player Alex Velischeck who left the Friars midseason to play in the USHL has found a college team to play for.  His old team.  The talented defenseman is returning to play in the Coffin for new coach Nate Leaman.

The Bangor Daily News is reporting that Notre Dame is considering joining Hockey East in the wake of a number of CCHA programs jumping ship to help form Big Ten Hockey.  The article also states that the league’s reluctance to have an odd number of teams could lead to an invitation to Miami as well.

Notre Dame has established itself as one of the best programs in the country.  Jeff Jackson has taken the team to great heights and as a result the school will be opening a brand new arena this fall.  Miami recently opened a new barn for their hockey program which has made it to the national championship game under coach Enrico Blasi.  Both these teams already share traits with current Hockey East schools.  Notre Dame is of course a catholic rival with Boston College while  Miami and UMass will soon be meeting each other regularly on the MAC gridiron.  Either one of these programs would be a huge addition for a hockey conference.  Adding both would solidify Hockey East as the far and away best conference in the country.

Yet, I personally would not want Hockey East to add either of these teams.  There are a lot of aspects of Hockey East that makes it great like the rivalries, the success, and traditions.  But one of the things that I really think makes Hockey East unique is the geography.  The conference’s footprint sits entirely within New England.  As a fan, the fact that it’s possible to jump in the car every weekend, drive a few hours, and watch them play each of their conference foes in enemy barns is priceless.  Only the ECAC can claim this benefit as well, and that drive from the North Country to Princeton is a lot longer than even Amherst to Orono.  Hockey East is unique in its current formation and I hate to have a couple of Midwest programs disrupt that, even if they are two very worthy programs.  Call me provincial, call me shortsighted, but that’s how I feel.  In a day and time where the Big East extends to Texas and the Atlantic 10 reaches to the banks of the Mississippi, Hockey East is a reminder of how college conferences should be.  Plus, in an era of skyrocketing costs, a bus ride cost structure helps keep DII schools like Lowell within arms reach of a Boston College.  Start adding in plane fares and its unknown if the smaller Hockey East schools would be able to absorb the higher overhead to their programs.

That’s not to say I’m anti-expansion.  I just think that expansion should be limited to the current footprint.  There are a few schools out there that could be worthy additions down the road, though none are ready to join anytime soon.  Quinnipiac could be an intriguing addition.  As would Holy Cross with a lot of effort put in to upgrade the profile of their program.  Hell, even UConn may make for a good rivalry for UMass if they ever decide to start a invest in their hockey program.  Perhaps future schools are not even on the radar as of yet.  Maybe old friend Thorr Bjorn down at Rhode Island decides to drop Ram football altogether in favor of Ram hockey.  Maybe that geographic footprint could be extended west to include a prospective program at Syracuse.  While none of these schools are a Miami or a Notre Dame, I think in the long run they’d be a better fit for the existing schools.

UMass alums should fill out this survey from the Alumni Association on the license plate project.  I’m ecstatic to see they’re reviving this idea with the survey being the first step in what will hopefully be a successful result.  I honestly don’t care how many plates are out there on the road at the end of it all, I just want one.  So I guess I’m being selfish.  But hey, I don’t charge for this site and you only rarely have to deal with advertisers and all that mess.  So do me this favor and just fill out the survey so I can roll in the Mullins lot with the maroon and white on the back of my car.

Recruit Update: Walsh Wins The Clark Cup

Congratulations to UMass recruit Shane Walsh who helped his Dubuque Fighting Saints win the Clark Cup, given to the USHL champions.  Walsh played a big role in the clinching game, assisting on the game winning goal and putting the icing on the cake with the 6th and final goal of the 6-1 win.  Lots of coverage of the Saints championship run can be found on their website.

Some news on Walsh, confirming something I had heard earlier in the year, is this report that Walsh will be spending another year in Dubuque to work on his game.  This really stems back to when he broke his leg last Spring in the EJHL playoffs.  It hindered his offseason workouts and as a result he got off to a slow start in the USHL.  Getting traded mid-season didn’t help that adjustment either, although it did give him a chance to be a champion.  I think with a USHL season under his belt and the ability to have a normal off-season of conditioning and development should pay dividends in the long run.

Here’s the last recruit update of the season:

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
39 GP / 20-16-1 / 3.02 GAA / .902 sv%
Boyle’s team was eliminated in the second round of the BCHL playoffs after he got injured. He did pretty well in the playoffs going 6-6-0 with a 3.00 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

Mike Busillo – D – Hartford Jr Wolfpack (AtlJHL)
41 GP / 8 G / 19 A / 27 Pts / 97 PIM
Busillo’s season is over as his Wolfpack were eliminated by Walpole in the first round of the AtlJHL playoffs. He had a goal in three playoff games.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Shattuck St Mary’s (MN)
49 GP / 13 G / 42 A / 55 Pts / 76 PIM
Gillespie’s season is over after Shattuck won the Tier-I Under 18 National Championship earlier this month in Simsbury, CT. Gillespie was the 12th leading scorer in the tournament, netting two goals and three assists in the six games.

Zack LaRue – C/F – Markham Waxers (OPJHL)
50 GP / 33 G / 36 A / 69 Pts / 26 PIM
LaRue’s season has come to a close as his Waxers lost in the first round of the playoffs. He had a goal and four assists in five playoff games, including a game winner and a shorthanded goal.

Joseph Manno – South Kent Cardinal (NE Prep)
24 GP / 16 G / 27 A / 43 Pts
South Kent was upset in the prep playoffs despite being the top seed.

Steve Mastalerz – G – Kimball Union Wildcats (NE Prep)
35 GP / 24-7-4 / 1.63 GAA / .923 sv%
Mastalerz’s season is over after KUA lost in the first playoff game 4-3 in overtime.

Andrew Tegeler – F – Junior Bruins (EJHL)
44 GP / 19 G / 21 A / 40 Pts / 38 PIM
Tegeler’s Bruins were eliminated in the EJHL playoffs.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
49 GP / 9 G / 7 A / 16 Pts / 14 PIM
Walsh had a goal and two assists in 10 playoff games as his Saints won the USHL championship.

Oleg Yevenko -D – Fargo Force (USHL)
52 GP / 4 G / 4 A / 8 Pts / 197 PIM
Yevenko had 4 PIM and no points in his three playoff games. His Force were eliminated in the USHL playoffs by Walsh’s Saints.

A cup is not in Justin Braun’s future as his San Jose Sharks were eliminated by the Canucks last night on one of the flukiest goals you’ll ever see.  Braun played just one game in the playoffs, coming in the first round when he took on the Kings and Jon Quick.

Casey Wellman is still playing however after his Houston Aeros find themselves in the AHL’s Calder Cup Finals.  Wellman has picked up his play of a late, including two goals in their Game 7 with Hamilton.  The finals start on Friday.

Blake Kessel is leaving UNH early to play for the Islanders.  Probably a good thing for UMass but a bad thing overall for college hockey.

With the recruits done with hockey for the season and UMass alumni wrapping things up look for some more in depth coverage in the coming weeks on FTT as I begin to focus on the 2011-12 season.

I’ll also pass along any information I get at this year’s Pond Club Golf Outing next month.  There’s still time to for you hackers to sign up, just click on the logo to the right.

Recruit & Alumni Update

And then there was one.  With Oleg Yevenko’s Fargo Force getting swept at the hands of Shane Walsh’s Duquesne Fighting Saints in the second round of the USHL playoffs, Walsh is now the only UMass recruit still playing this season.  Here’s hoping that Walsh and the Saints bring home the Clark Cup!

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
39 GP / 20-16-1 / 3.02 GAA / .902 sv%
Boyle’s team was eliminated in the second round of the BCHL playoffs after he got injured. He did pretty well in the playoffs going 6-6-0 with a 3.00 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

Mike Busillo – D – Hartford Jr Wolfpack (AtlJHL)
41 GP / 8 G / 19 A / 27 Pts / 97 PIM
Busillo’s season is over as his Wolfpack were eliminated by Walpole in the first round of the AtlJHL playoffs. He had a goal in three playoff games.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Shattuck St Mary’s (MN)
49 GP / 13 G / 42 A / 55 Pts / 76 PIM
Gillespie’s season is over after Shattuck won the Tier-I Under 18 National Championship earlier this month in Simsbury, CT. Gillespie was the 12th leading scorer in the tournament, netting two goals and three assists in the six games.

Zack LaRue – C/F – Markham Waxers (OPJHL)
50 GP / 33 G / 36 A / 69 Pts / 26 PIM
LaRue’s season has come to a close as his Waxers lost in the first round of the playoffs. He had a goal and four assists in five playoff games, including a game winner and a shorthanded goal.

Joseph Manno – South Kent Cardinal (NE Prep)
24 GP / 16 G / 27 A / 43 Pts
South Kent was upset in the prep playoffs despite being the top seed.

Steve Mastalerz – G – Kimball Union Wildcats (NE Prep)
35 GP / 24-7-4 / 1.63 GAA / .923 sv%
Mastalerz’s season is over after KUA lost in the first playoff game 4-3 in overtime.

Andrew Tegeler – F – Junior Bruins (EJHL)
44 GP / 19 G / 21 A / 40 Pts / 38 PIM
Tegeler’s Bruins were eliminated in the EJHL playoffs.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
49 GP / 9 G / 7 A / 16 Pts / 14 PIM
Walsh went scoreless in the two playoff games in which he saw action.

Oleg Yevenko -D – Fargo Force (USHL)
52 GP / 4 G / 4 A / 8 Pts / 197 PIM
Yevenko had 4 PIM and no points in his three playoff games.

Very little UMass hockey or even general college hockey news as of late.  Greg Cronin was leaving Northeastern.  And then he wasn’t.  Meanwhile the man who took over at Princeton for Len Quesnelle, who took over for Toot Cahoon is now the first ever head coach for Penn State.

In alumni news, Jon Quick had some amazing games for his Kings, including a shutout and a 51 save effort, but he and his teammates were not able to overcome the 2nd seeded Sharks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Justin Braun saw one game of action for San Jose and hopefully will see more as the Sharks continue towards the cup.

In the AHL Casey Wellman’s Houston Aeros have moved onto the second round where they’ll take on the Milwaukee Admirals.  Wellman had a goal and assist in the first round.  David Leaderer is still on the roster for Milwaukee but didn’t see time in any playoff games so far.  Alex Berry’s Norfolk Admirals were eliminated by the W-B Penguins.

Dean Stork coached his Greensville Road Warriors to the 7th game of the second round of the ECHL playoffs, but they fell there to the Wheeling Nailers.  Still, this season represented an amazing start to Storker’s head coaching career.

Nothing hockey related, but there’s a ton of action on campus this weekend.  Everything starts with senior night for lacrosse tomorrow as Garber Field is illuminated for a rare night game.  Tailgating is being encouraged before the game (though, I didn’t really need the encouragement).  UMass softball will have the second of a key series against Fordham at noon on Saturday which will lead into another tailgating opportunity before that evening’s spring football game.  All are great opportunities to head back to the valley and hang with old and new college friends.

Recruit Update

First off, a big congratulations and thank you to Athletic Director John McCutcheon and Chancellor Robert Holub for doing what others would only talk about.  UMass is set to announce it is upgrading its football program to FBS where they’ll play in the MAC.  It’s been a dream of mine, and many others, to see the school play at the highest level of collegiate football.  While I focus primarily on hockey (and beer) on this blog I’m also a season ticket holder for football, attending every game and have followed the team in its travels from Ann Arbor to Chattanooga.  This is tremendous news and will only make the athletic department, and thus the hockey program, better as a whole.

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
39 GP / 20-16-1 / 3.02 GAA / .902 sv%
Boyle’s team was eliminated in the second round of the BCHL playoffs after he got injured. He did pretty well in the playoffs going 6-6-0 with a 3.00 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

Mike Busillo – D – Hartford Jr Wolfpack (AtlJHL)
41 GP / 8 G / 19 A / 27 Pts / 97 PIM
Busillo’s season is over as his Wolfpack were eliminated by Walpole in the first round of the AtlJHL playoffs. He had a goal in three playoff games.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Shattuck St Mary’s (MN)
49 GP / 13 G / 42 A / 55 Pts / 76 PIM
Gillespie’s season is over after Shattuck won the Tier-I Under 18 National Championship earlier this month in Simsbury, CT. Gillespie was the 12th leading scorer in the tournament, netting two goals and three assists in the six games.

Zack LaRue – C/F – Markham Waxers (OPJHL)
50 GP / 33 G / 36 A / 69 Pts / 26 PIM
LaRue’s season has come to a close as his Waxers lost in the first round of the playoffs. He had a goal and four assists in five playoff games, including a game winner and a shorthanded goal.

Joseph Manno – South Kent Cardinal (NE Prep)
24 GP / 16 G / 27 A / 43 Pts
South Kent was upset in the prep playoffs despite being the top seed.

Steve Mastalerz – G – Kimball Union Wildcats (NE Prep)
35 GP / 24-7-4 / 1.63 GAA / .923 sv%
Mastalerz’s season is over after KUA lost in the first playoff game 4-3 in overtime.

Andrew Tegeler – F – Junior Bruins (EJHL)
44 GP / 19 G / 21 A / 40 Pts / 38 PIM
Tegeler’s Bruins were eliminated in the EJHL playoffs.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
49 GP / 9 G / 7 A / 16 Pts / 14 PIM
Walsh’s Saints had a first round by in the USHL playoffs but will take on Oleg Yevenko and the Fargo Force in the second round.

Oleg Yevenko -D – Fargo Force (USHL)
52 GP / 4 G / 4 A / 8 Pts / 197 PIM
Yevenko was suspended for the first round of the playoffs but is due to return against the Saints.

In alumni news Jon Quick and Justin Braun and their Kings and Sharks will play Game 3 tonight, with Quick coming off his first ever playoff shutout.  In the AHL Casey Wellman has a goal and an assist while his Houston Aeros are up 3-0 in their series over Peoria.  Alex Berry’s Norfolk Admirals are up 2-0 on the Wilkes-Barre Penguins but he appears to be out for injury or something.  David Leaderer hasn’t played for the Milwaukee Admirals who are tied 1-1 with the Texas Stars.

In the ECHL coach Dean Stork’s Road Warriors are tied at one apiece in the second round of the playoffs there.

It appears that Lowell has found their next coach.

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