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Stanley Cup Final ▲ Conor Sheary Claims The Cup

We knew coming into this Stanley Cup Final that another Minuteman would join goaltender Jon Quick on the Stanley Cup as this year’s championship featured the Pittsburgh Penguins and Conor Sheary versus the San Jose Sharks and Justin Braun.  Minuteman vs Minuteman.  Captain vs Captain.  The only question was who it would be.  In the end the Penguins, behind both its superstar players and its emerging rookies, ended up being the victors and claimed the Stanley Cup in six games.

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Recruit Update ▲ McElhenie, Boeing Land At UMass

UMass has secured commitments today from a couple of left-shooting centers for this fall.  The first came from forward Brett Boeing, who left Michigan Tech after his first semester this past winter.  Boeing will be eligible to suit up for the Minutemen for the 2nd semester this coming season and could make his debut at the Mariucci Classic in Minnesota.  The second came a few hours later from Luke McElhenie.  Both players played most recently in the USHL.

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Stanley Cup Final ▲ Sheary, Braun Step Up With Late Heroics In Game 2

Many UMass fans, including myself, were ecstatic that the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks would be playing for the Stanley Cup because it guaranteed that a Minuteman would be immortalized on Lord Stanley’s chalice by the end of the series.  It wasn’t expected however that the two former UMass captains playing, San Jose defenseman Justin Braun and rookie Pittsburgh forward Conor Sheary, would be having such a significant impact on the outcome of the series.

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Up To The Minute ▲ Lazarus Commits To UMass; Former Captains Battle For The Cup

Last week was a busy one on the recruiting front as UMass received four commitments for this coming season over the course of three days.  I covered three of the four in my most recent posts.  But on May 26th Coach Carvel and his staff secured another , this time from Jonny Lazarus, a right shooting right wing who played this past season for the Wichita Falls Wildcats in the NAHL.

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Recruit Update ▲ Conzo Off To A Hot Start In The BCHL

This week’s recruit update was pushed back a day so I could get my season preview out last night.  Here’s how the future Minutemen did this past week.

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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.

Polls and Awards; Farewell UAH

Boston College is your new unified top ranked team in the nation after they beat the Minutemen and Huskies over the weekend, retaining the #1 status in the USA Hockey/USA Today poll and vaulting to the top of the USCHO poll.  Interesting to see Ferris State getting first place votes after their sweep of Miami.

The Eagles and specifically Billy Arnold were also atop the Hockey East awards for the week.  No UMass players were award winners or Top Performers for the week.

In an opinion shared by myself and, it seems, many FTT readers, Dick Baker gives Toot Cahoon a thumbs down for changing up the lines for the Boston College game in a well thought out blog post.

Here’s the Collegian’s recap of the game.

Some alumni news to share.

Jon Quick is the hottest goaltender in the NHL right now.  After getting a shutout over Phoenix last week to earn his 100th NHL win he’s been unstoppable ever since, posting two more shutouts since then.  The effort earned him the NHL’s first star for the week.  The LA Times says he’s been humble while doing it.

Sitting at the British Beer Company in Walpole Saturday trying to forget a loss in perhaps the last ever football game with UNH, it was great to look up to the TV and see that the Sharks had brought up Justin Braun to play against the Bruins.  He finished the night even in 15 minutes of play.

Back in Worcester Matt Irwin had the gamewinner.

Dan Gordon is playing pro hockey on the Cape.

Sad news in college hockey today as the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers announced this will be the last season for the program at the DI level.  This is a disappointing product of challenging geography, a short-sighted administration, and the inability of the other college hockey schools to find a place for the Chargers who were left standing when the CHA disbanded and the conference realignment music stopped.  It’s still unbelievable that with all the upheaval, with all the shuffling, with conferences coming in and out of existence in the last couple years that no one found a slot for the UAH program.  It should be noted that the Chargers had won multiple national championships at the DII level and had more NCAA appearances than a number of other college hockey programs, including UMass.  But that wasn’t enough for the remaining schools and conferences and UAH was left to die on the vine.  There are not enough college hockey teams out there if you ask me.  It’s tough to see one with history and tradition, created in spite of its unique locale, disappear from the college hockey scene.

Edit – Here’s one of the more comprehensive reads on the demise of the Chargers.

Preview: #1 Boston University


Hockey East Preview: #1 Boston University Terriers

2010-11 Storyline: The 2010-11 season sees BU go without a trip to the Garden or the NCAA tournament.

2011-12 Storyline: Is experience the edge that lifts BU back to the top of Hockey East?

Player To Watch: Alex Chiasson

Player Missed Most: David Warsofsky

Newcomer To Keep An Eye On: Cason Hohmann

Random Fact: The last time BU went three consecutive years without making the NCAA tournament was 1989.

Usual Beer The Triangle Pre-game Spot: Sunset Cantina (aka “Mini-Sunset”)

Experience.  Is Boston University the most talented squad in the league?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But they are experienced.  They bring back their entire roster save for two players.  Granted, those were two key players, Joe Pereira led the team in goals while David Warsofsky was one of the better defensemen in Hockey East, but the Terriers should be able to make up for their absence and then some.  Alex Chiasson will likely be one of the superstars of the league.  He and Chris Connolly will be expected to shoulder the scoring load while sophomores Matt Nieto and Charlie Coyle build off their strong freshman seasons last year.

Warsofsky leaving early to join the Bruins hurts somewhat but up and coming defensemen Garrett Noonan and Adam Clendening will help solidify the blueline which also includes the talented Max Nicastro.  In net Kieran Millan returns for his fourth year.  While I’ve always thought him to be somewhat overrated, his experience alone will help BU contend for the league title, especially with so many other teams going in with question marks in net.

They’ll Finish Lower Because: Millan is unable to replicate the numbers of the past few years.

They’ll Finish Higher Because: A typo in the standings puts them at 0.1.

Fear The Triangle Fearless Hockey East Predictions
1. Boston University
2. Boston College
3. Merrimack Warriors
4. New Hampshire Wildcats
5. Maine Black Bears
6. Massachusetts Minutemen (preview 10/5)
7. Vermont Catamounts
8. Providence Friars
9. Northeastern Huskies
10. Lowell River Hawks

There you have it, my predictions for the season.  What do you think?  Solid?  Crazy?  The product of too many beers in front of the keyboard?  Look for my in-depth UMass preview on Wednesday.

USCHO has their Hockey East preview where UMass is picked to finish 6th and 9th, simultaneously.  Their team preview focuses on, you guessed it, goaltending.  For some reason they seem to have already come to the conclusion that Jeff Teglia will not even contend for the goaltending job since the success of the team lies in the hands of Steve Mastalerz and Kevin Boyle.  Hmm…you getting all that, Tegs?

INCH picks UMass 6th.

Dick Baker profiles freshman Zack LaRue.

Inside Hockey has some pictures from Saturday’s scrimmage.

Justin Braun will join Matt Irwin and James Marcou in Worcester to start the season.

However it appears that Mike Kostka has made the Florida Panthers roster out of training camp and will look to make his NHL debut.

I received some bad news about Alex Berry, who was in camp with the AHL’s Portland Pirates.  In practice on Saturday Berry sustained an injury that broke his arm and damaged his wrist.  The compound fracture of the bone ended up severing an artery and doing some nerve damage.  The good news is they got him sewn up and he has some metal in his arm to help him heal.  The bad news is it’ll likely be a lengthy recovery.  Certainly my thoughts go out to him and hope he heals quickly.

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.

Rivalry Poll Follow-up

So last week I wrote this post about UMass and its potential rivals in the college hockey world and invited readers to vote on the Fear The Triangle Facebook page for who they thought was best suited to be UMass’ main rival.  Here are the current results of the voting:

Maine – 20 votes
Vermont – 14
Lowell – 10
Boston College – 9
Other – 2 (Minnesota State and ?)

Those results include my vote, which I just cast.  For the reasons I outlined last week I’ve always wanted UMass to have its chief rivalry with Boston College.  I think the dynamics I mentioned; two largest athletic programs, play each other in all sports, and the state agricultural school versus private school in the city, work very well to building a rivalry.  But because UMass has had little success against BC on the ice and the Eagles are already part of one of the better rivalries in college hockey, I don’t think this will ever come to fruition.

For those reasons my vote went to Vermont.  While these teams haven’t played a lot of important games in recent time, they do have history going back further than most other choices on the list.  They also already have established traditions like the Turkey Tuesday game and if in fact they do play each other at Fenway this winter, it will only add to the connection between the schools.  A major consideration for choosing the Catamounts is that they don’t currently have a chief rival.  You can’t say the same for Maine.  While the Black Bears and Minutemen have had some thrilling games and have both gotten their licks in against each other, I’m sure if you asked a Maine fan who their rivals are they’d say UNH, BU, and everyone else.

Thanks to everyone who provided their feedback, either through comments and voting.  It was great to hear what other UMass fans and even some non-UMass fans thought on this subject.

The Sharks have a good profile and interview with Justin Braun up on their site.

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