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News ▲ Marcou Returns To Amherst As Assistant Coach

The UMass hockey team announced today that former Minuteman James Marcou has been added to Greg Carvel’s staff as a volunteer assistant coach.  Marcou was a star player for UMass from 2007-2010.   During his time in Amherst he was a 2nd Team All-American, All-Hockey East selection, and a Hobey Baker nominee.  Despite only playing three years Marcou is fourth all-time in scoring in the program’s history with 130 points in 111 games.  His 96 career assists is more than any other player who suited up for the program.

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Carvel Era Begins ▲ Bamford Chooses Saint Lawrence Head Coach To Lead Minutemen

The state of the Massachusetts hockey program has fallen on such hard times in recent years that some have said it will take an act of God to turn the program around.  Well athletic director Ryan Bamford has chosen a Saint to elevate UMass hockey to the promised land that has mostly eluded the program in its history.  Today Bamford announced that Saint Lawrence head coach Greg Carvel is the new coach of Minuteman hockey, signing a five-year deal to oversee the program.

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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.

Monday Links; Dainton To Suit Up For Bluejackets

Dick Baker has the first of what will likely be many “Who’s in net for UMass?” articles.  This article centers on Jeff Teglia who hopes to build off last season and stay injury free to earn the spot in the crease.   He also spoke with redshirt freshman Steve Guzzo who missed all last season with a knee injury.

In alumni news, great to see Paul Dainton will be one of two goaltenders to dress for tomorrow’s preseason opener for the Columbus Bluejackets.

Greg Mauldin had a couple goals in an Avalanche intrasquad scrimmage.

Baker catches up with James Marcou who was unable to participate in Sharks camp as he is still recovering from a concussion dating back to last season.  I’m told he is pretty close to 100% though and hopefully will be cleared for full contact soon.

I did get an update on Alex Berry who was released by the Tampa Bay Lightning this spring.  He has gotten interest from other NHL teams but as of yet is still unsigned.  It is expected that he’ll catch on with an AHL training camp when they open.

Saturday Links

I wanted to share a few links before I pack up the car and head west to the football home opener.  Should be a good game as the Minutemen take on Rhode Island for perhaps the last time ever.  There’s few things I enjoy more than a fall afternoon spent at McGuirk hanging with the other UMass fans, grilling, drinking good beer, and watching football.

Dick Baker of the Republican has a couple good stories from the official first day of practice.  Toot Cahoon likes the depth he has on his team in the first one.  And then he has a feature on the towering Oleg Yevenko.  I had hoped to swing by the practice rink today while I’m out in Amherst to see how the players look but unfortunately there’s no practices scheduled today.

Greg Mauldin is one of 9 players who have to have a good training camp to make the Avalanche.

Unfortunately James Marcou is still trying to recover from the concussion that put him out of commission last season and wasn’t able to participate in Sharks training camp.

Fear The Fin expects Justin Braun to be last man out on the Sharks defensive corps and start the season in Worcester.

Mike Kostka is in Panthers training camp.

The USHL has started its pre-season schedule, so look for news on UMass’ two recruits, Kenny Gillespie and Shane Walsh, out there soon.

Fenway Tickets On Sale Tomorrow

If you’re interested in getting a seat at Fenway where you can actually see your favorite UMass players over the dashers, I suggest making some time around noon tomorrow to grab tickets for Frozen Fenway 2012. If the pre-sale that was made available to season ticket holders, UMass Alumni Association members and similar groups from the other schools is any indication sales seem to be going well. After waiting a couple days exploring other options, I had a very tough time finding decent seats in the grandstand or high loge of the UMass section for groups or 3 or 4 during the presale, indicating brisk sales.

Look for the the start time of the 11/11 game against Holy Cross to be moved up from it’s original 7pm start so it can be included in a doubleheader that will include the hoops team opening their season against Elon at the Cage immediately after.

Thanks to the reader who posted this mock 2012 draft which shows recruit Kenny Gillespie going to the New Jersey Devils in the second round.

The San Jose Sharks have a dilemma at defense.

Training camp rosters are becoming available. Greg Mauldin will be at camp for the Avalanche. Paul Dainton, who is currently in Traverse City with Columbus’ other rookies, will attend camp with the Blue Jackets. I assume Casey Wellman will be in Wild camp but they didn’t post a roster. I think we can say the same for Jon Quick. James Marcou is part of the Sharks rookie contingent in Penticton, BC. Glad to see he’s back on the ice after losing a lot of last season to a concussion. Adam Phillips’ brother Brad, who played at Notre Dame, will be attending Flyers camp.

Polls & Awards

UMass will be taking on the top ranked team in the country Friday night as Boston College takes over the #1 spot in the USCHO poll after Yale’s sweep at the hands of the capital region teams this past weekend.  Merrimack, Saturday’s opponent, checks in at #12.  UNH moves up to #6, BU checks in at #14, and Maine fell to three spots to #15.  BC tops the USA Hockey/USA Today poll as well.

Both of this weekend’s opponents are in the top 10 of the INCH Power Rankings.

No UMass players were award winners or top performers this week, but Chris Rawlings understandably was named Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his performances against the Minutemen.

Dick Baker has an interesting look at Northeastern’s style of play and how it led to their 3 point weekend.  Personally I really enjoy watching the Huskies and the toughness they show.  Coach Greg Cronin certainly has that program heading in the right direction, but in the second half of the season and the future.

The Collegian has a recap of Saturday’s hard fought tie as well as a feature on their bipolar special teams play.

I meant to relay this look by Hockey’s Future on the Sharks minor league system last week.  They have some good things to say about Justin Braun, James Marcou, and Matt Irwin.

The Road Trip page is updated with my Wisconsin recommendations.

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