Yale Preview; Gillespie Decommits

Massachusetts Minutemen 5-8-2 (4-6-1)  T-5th Hockey East


#15 Yale Bulldogs 6-3-2 (3-3-1)  T-5th ECAC

Massachusetts will look for a quick rebound from what was a completely wasted weekend with a rare non-Thanksgiving week Tuesday affair against #18 Yale.  The Minutemen are not the only team motivated to show they’re better than their most recent games however.  The Bulldogs surprisingly maintained their #15 ranking despite only gaining one point in this past weekend’s play as they got pounded by RPI 6-1 on Friday and tied Union 2-2 the next night.  Both teams will be looking to go into the winter break on a high note.

Prior to this last weekend’s struggles the Bulldogs were rolling on the season, with the highlight being a couple overtime wins out in the Centennial State against Denver and Colorado College.  They’ve been pretty balanced between offense and defense so far this year.  The Minuteman defense will have to look much better tomorrow if they want to shut down the likes Antoine Laganiere.  The senior forward has eight goals and six assists in just 11 games so far on the season, finding himself fourth in the country in goals per game.  UMass will also have to limit the chances of Kenny Agostino who has added six goals and seven assists on the  year.  The Yale power play has been converting at a rate of 17.5%.

Jeff Malcolm has been the better Bulldog goaltender so far this season, starting eight of 11 games and compiling a 2.45 GAA and .922 save percentage.  He did play both nights this past weekend so it’s unknown if he’d play again tomorrow.  Though he did not play the entire game on Friday as he was pulled after giving up five goals.  Yale may look to fellow senior Nick Maricic who has had a GAA of 3.91 and saved .855 percent of shots against in four games instead.  Yale does have a young defensive squad with only a single senior and junior among their regular defensemen.  Their penalty kill has been respectable, stopping 84% of their opponents extra man chances.

For UMass they’ll have to play much better in every aspect of the game if they want to pull off the upset.  And even that may not guarantee a win against a ranked team playing in their home barn.  I honestly don’t know what to say beyond that.  There’s way to much to address based on this past weekend’s performance to go into specifics.  This team absolutely needs to go into the break with a win.  Long term aspirations for this team get dimmer with each loss.  The third defeat in five days will make for a less than merry holidays for UMass players and fans alike.

Beer The Triangle
I had originally planned to make the trek down 95 to watch the team tomorrow, but sadly I’ll admit that their recent performances has made it tough to climb into the car mid-week to spend half a day on the road with a good chance of disappointment at the end.  However, for those who are making the trip, here are a couple places sure to add cheer to the visit to New Haven.  There are basically two beer bars I recommend around Yale.  Delaney’s Taproom is located on the northwest outskirts of New Haven.  I recommend trying some local City Steam if you haven’t before.  What I would consider the better of the two options is Prime 16, located right downtown and not too far from the Whale.  Get the Allagash Yakuza, you won’t be disappointed, and make sure to wash it down with one of their burgers.

So I recently learned that Kenny Gillespie, who first committed to UMass over two years ago, will not be coming to Amherst as planned next fall.  I don’t have any details to relay, however Chris Heisenberg’s recruiting site does confirm this information.  I wish Kenny luck wherever he ends up.

With Gillespie’s news UMass has now lost a player and a recruit within a week.  Honestly, I’m not too shocked by this as any coaching change will bring about attrition when it comes to the roster.  I’m honestly a little surprised it’s taken this long however.

The Republican has their preview of tomorrow’s game.  Interesting to note how rare this past weekend’s sweep was.  Maine was the last team to come in and take two from the Minutemen back in 2001.  Including that instance, UMass has only dropped two games at home in a single weekend four times since 2000.

Boston College has regained the top spot in this week’s USCHO poll, which has four different teams receiving first place votes.

No Minutemen were honored in this week’s Hockey East release, but you probably already guessed that.


Recruit Update

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Omaha Lancers (USHL)
3 GP / 0 G / 1 A / 1 Pts / 2 PIM / +1
Gillespie didn’t register any points in his one game for the Lancers over the weekend.  He’s still only playing about every other game for Omaha so far on the season and I’m not sure exactly why.

Shane Walsh – LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
7 GP / 1 G / 1 A / 2 Pts / 0 PIM / -3
Walsh notched his first goal of the season in a 4-0 win over Muskegon.

There’s not too much else out there in the world of UMass hockey, so I’ll leave you with a couple links.

How often have you see a 7 foot,  Stanley Cup winning pink bunny?

The talk around Hockey East today was this column in BU’s student paper calling for Terrier Coach Jack Parker to step down.  Aw, poor BU faithful for having to go a whole 30 months without an NCAA championship due to Parker’s incompetence.

This is the only response I have for “Scoops” Mazurek:

Recruit Update

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Omaha Lancers (USHL)
2 GP / 0 G / 1 A / 1 Pts / 2 PIM / +1
Gillespie registered his first USHL point over the weekend, an assist on the only goal in the 1-0 win for the Lancers.

Shane Walsh – LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
5 GP / 0 G / 1 A / 1 Pts / 0 PIM / -4
Walsh got his first point of the season the same night in a 4-2 for the Saints.

The Westside Warriors have an interview with Kevin Boyle up on their blog from last week.  It’s an intersting look into Boyle as a person and player as well as the current goaltending competition.  Worth a listen to. “Playing college hockey is my dream ever since I was a kid.”

Danny Hobbs was named the Ranger Prospect of the Week by The Prospect Park, a blog covering the Rangers and Islanders.  I can’t imagine that’s a fun get together with those writers congregate given how those teams have fared in recent years.  Still, it’s a very comprehensive blog and worth a look.

Not too much else going on so let’s take a look at how the UMass alumni are doing.

Jon Quick is picking up right were he left off last season, he’s 2-0-1 with a 1.57 GAA and .948 save percentage through three games for the Kings.

Casey Wellman has four goals in four games with the Houston Aeros of the AHL and is setting himself up for a return to the Wild.

Matt Anderson is one of the leaders in points for the Albany Devils with a goal and two assists in 5 games.

Greg Mauldin leads the Lake Erie Monsters in goals with 2 in five games.

Marvin Degon played a couple games for the P-Bruins but was sent down to Charlotte of the ECHL.

Mike Kostka has a goal in three games for San Antonio.

Matt Irwin has three points for the Worcester Sharks while Justin Braun has an assist in three games.  James Marcou has not played yet for them.

Paul Dainton has struggled for the Springfield Falcons so far, with a 1-2 record and 4.20 goals against.

Lastly, WordPress, which hosts this site, gives me the ability to see what people who end up on Fear The Triangle search for on Google or other search engines to find this place.  Most are what you expect; “UMass hockey”, “Fear The Triangle”, former or current players’ names, and a surprising number of “Fear The Triangel”s as well.  But a few are pretty strange.  Here are some examples:

“Fear The Trosngle”  Did the person sneeze while typing?

“Vermont hockey kicked out of Hockey East”  I hope not, those guys accounted for 1/3rd of last year’s wins.

“UMass Marching Band sucks”  SUD-ler.  SUD-ler. SUD-ler.

“Is the UMass Marching Band good”  See above.

“Doud Kublin”  Dude.

“Fear of triangles”  Apparently this a real phobia.  Must make it really tough to eat pizza that isn’t Sicilian.

“www.firekevinmorris.com”  I’ll let that one speak for itself.

“championship banner”  We need a banner.  A big one.

“משולש הפחד”  No idea.

“triangle beer blog”  You’ve come to the right place!  This is a blog by a beer guy with a hockey problem.

“UMass hockey boats on head”   This would seem like a really weird thing to search for, if not for this picture.

“maine vs. umass hockey east championship triple overtime”  Why do you want to see a grown man cry?

“players feel coach dean stork”  Hmmmm….

“zack larue vs joseph manno”  Fight! Fight! Fight!

“to root for something”  Root root root for the home team.

“3 things toot cahoon looks for in his recruits”  Having a name like Warner, or a close variation like Winer or Werner, helps.  Either being shorter than 5’7” or taller than 6’6”.  And the ability to skate through Mullinsish slush.

“when did the umass providence game end”  Honestly, not soon enough.

Recruit Update

Time for the weekly look at how the future Minutemen are doing.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Omaha Lancers (USHL)
1 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts / 2 PIM
Gillespie went without a point in his USHL debut.

Shane Walsh – LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
3 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts / 0 PIM / -5
Walsh has gone scoreless as the defending champion Saints have gone 1-2-0 to start the season.

Dick Baker of the Republican says UMass got the result they deserved in the season opener (mentioning Fear The Triangle as he does so).  Obviously, I disagree.  Well, not entirely.  They did get the result they deserve, since letting up at the end opened the door for Northeastern to tie it, which they took advantage of.  My point was more that good teams find a way to win.  They get the insurance goal, they come up with the big stop, they find a way to clear the puck with just seconds left.  As a whole, this team hasn’t learned what it takes to win.  I think they will, I just hope it will be sooner rather than later.  Regardless, there’s still a positives to take from Friday’s game, which I think I covered pretty well in my recap.

UMass comes in at #33 in the first edition of INCH’s power rankings.

Here’s a promo for Friday’s opener:

Cannot wait to get back in the Mullins for some hockey.

Newcomer Of The Year; Recruit Update

For the two years of Fear The Triangle’s existence and back when I just used to post my hockey thoughts over on UMasshoops.com I’ve been making an annual Freshman/Newcomer of the Year pick. I’ve done so to varying results. I’ve mostly picked well, like choosing James Marcou and Mike Pereira to make early impacts on the team’s fortunes. But I’ve picked poorly as well, like thinking DIII freshman stud Ryan Leary would be able to take his talents to Hockey East. For the most part I’ve been able to use the information I’ve gathered on incoming recruits to accurately show which newcomer will do best when arriving in Amherst.

This season is tougher than past ones to pick just who that player may be. That’s not because there’s a lack of talented players making their debuts for the Minutemen. In fact the depth in this class makes a selection tough. You have guys like Andrew Tegeler and Steve Guzzo, who should be good two way players for the team. You have a newcomer like Oleg Yevenko who hopefully will keep opposing teams from taking too many liberties with UMass’ stars. But my pick for Newcomer OTY is Zack LaRue.

Now before I get into the qualities that LaRue brings to the team, let’s address the situation in net first. There’s a legitimate chance that the most impactful freshman ends up being a goaltender. However since we have no idea if Jeff Teglia will capture the starting spot or whether Kevin Boyle or Steve Mastalerz has a significant edge over the other of Teglia, I can’t pick either of them. I’ve read up on both and after Saturday’s scrimmage have now seen Kevin Boyle play three times, but I still have no idea if they’re better than each other or Teglia.

So with that said there’s probably a better chance that LaRue ends up being the freshman the coaching staff can count on right away. LaRue brings a lot to the table. At 6’2″, 194lbs he brings some nice size to a squad that has lacked that in recent years. But he’s not some lumbering forward. The write-ups of his play specifically mentioned how well he moves on his skates and his speed. His skating is such an asset that he was considered a top forechecker and penalty killer in the OPJHL. He led the league in shorthanded goals.

In the OPJHL he put up 33 goals and 36 assists in just 50 games. Former Minutemen Kevin Jarman and Chase Langeraap put up similar numbers in their time in the league. Now those two came to Amherst with high expectations that they really did not reach until their senior years. But in their final years they were key parst of those teams. It’ll be LaRue’s challenge to prove that players can dominate in the OPJHL and contribute right away in the NCAA. I didn’t see anything Saturday that made me think he won’t be able to.

If LaRue doesn’t end up playing the most important role for the freshmen it will likely be that one of the new goaltenders grabs the job and has success or perhaps a young Andrew Tegeler is able to play as well as his older opponents. But even if that happens I think LaRue will still play an important role in regards to the fortunes of this year’s team and beyond.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Omaha Lancers (USHL)
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts / 0 PIM
Gillespie did not play in the Lancers’ season opener

Shane Walsh – LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts / 0 PIM
Walsh didn’t have any points in the first game for the Saints.

NESN previews this year’s Minutemen.

Dick Baker takes a look at the addition of size on this year’s squad.

Matt Vautour explores the importance of the freshmen turned sophomores.

Notre Dame will officially be announced as Hockey East’s 11th member starting in 2013-14.  Who will be 12?  That will be determined later.  I have some ideas for candidates but that’s a post for another time.  As for the Irish, as I said before I’m not entirely sold on the need to expand the league beyond the northeast footprint.  It saddens me a little to now have opponents in the league where you cannot drive to for the weekend.  But, such is life in the NCAA now where conferences are battling for supremacy and turning a blind eye to geographic fits.  The Irish program itself, currently #1 in the nation, is a great addition to the league.

Meanwhile, Bowling Green is off to the WCHA.

Unfortunately the Panthers had one last round of cuts to make and Mike Kostka was one of them.

Recruit Update

Time for the first recruit update of the hockey season.  However, first I thought I should address a question that has been asked of me and frankly one I’ve been asking myself.  Where are all the recruits?  As of now, at least according to the few recruiting resources available, UMass only has two players lined up to come to Amherst next fall, Shane Walsh and Kenny Gillespie, and none for future years.  This is by far the lowest numbers around Hockey East.  For example, Boston College already has 14 committed recruits, 7 for next year and the other 7 for future years.  Lowell has the second lowest next to UMass with 4.  Are players shying away from the school?  Is this a product of losing Red Gendron to Yale?  Is the word out that UMass is dropping men’s hockey in favor of a coed sailing team?

There are a few factors to consider before panicking.  First is the fact that UMass, due to early defections and other reasons, now have very imbalanced classes.  Currently the breakout looks as follows; 4 seniors, 4 juniors, 13 sophomores, 8 freshmen.  So UMass only has 8 upperclassmen in the first place.  And one of those, Kevin Moore, will not need to be replaced as UMass already has 3 goaltenders under scholarship for the next three years.  So all in all UMass only has three slots to fill for next year and have already done so for two of those.

Still, all other Hockey East teams have more than one recruit lined up for 2013 or later.  Should we be worried that no one is lined up already for those four spots that open after the current juniors graduate?  Let’s take a look at when the current freshman class committed.  The earliest was Kevin Boyle, who first committed to UMass 30 months before he ended up on campus.  The least was Emerson Auvenshine who committed less than 4 months before his freshman year.  On average the freshmen committed 9 months before the start of their UMass career and actually Boyle’s 2+ years is driving most of that, because the second longest is Zack LaRue who committed last December.

Looking at last year’s freshman class, on average the players committed 13 months before their freshman year.  Eric Filiou committed the earliest, 29 months before coming to Amherst.  Adam Phillips was the shortest at less than three months.  Phillips of course was one of the bigger (no pun intended) impact players last year, which suggests that earlier commitments do not necessarily translate to success.  Mike Pereira who performed the best of the freshmen last year committed 21 months before putting on the maroon and white.

So recruiting wise, even though there are only two players in the fold, things still seem OK.  Walsh and Gillespie are two quality players lined up for next year, and we’re still 24 months from the start of the 2013 season, which is a much greater time period than the team usually take to get recruits to commit.  And when that happens, I’ll do my best to pass along the details.

Now onto the update for the current recruits.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Omaha Lancers (USHL)
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts / 0 PIM
The USHL is still in the midst of their pre-season, but so far so good for Gillespie.  One game.  One shot.  One goal.

Shane Walsh – LW –  Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts / 0 PIM
The official stats say Walsh has 0 points in 2 games but this story says he has a goal.  Oh well, I guess it’s preseason for the official scorers as well.

Adam Phillips was featured on INCH’s A-Z.

Paul Dainton made his NHL Pre-season debut tonight when he started the 2nd period of the game between the Bluejackets and Thrashers Jets.  As I write this there are 12 minutes left in the third and Dainton has saved 14 of 15 shots with his Jackets up 5-1.

***Dainton ended up getting the win, saving 17 of 18 shots.  Congrats Paul!

Here’s a good read on Jon Quick’s status as the #1 goaltender for the Kings going into training camp.

The first preseason poll is out and RIT is picked to finish first in Atlantic Hockey.  RIT got more good news when it was announced they’ll be hosting both Michigan and Penn State in coming years.  Congratulations.  Getting the Wolverines to leave the friendly confines of Yost for a non-conference game is near impossible for any team, much less for an AHA team.

Tomorrow I’ll be starting my Hockey East previews.

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.

Syner & Allen Off To Camp

I believe I said last week that the coverage of the development camps coming from the NHL teams themselves has frankly sucked.  Sure enough, despite the fact that they’re not on the official Washington Capitals Development Camp Roster, it turns out both T.J. Syner and Conor Allen are attending the camp.  Thankfully the Washington Post appears to be on top of things.

Sounds like Adam Phillips was on the receiving end of a cheap shot at Flyers camp.  (Flyers?!  Cheap shots?!?)  I’ve seen a few other recaps of his performance at camp but they all say the same thing:  “Plays well, needs to add weight”.  Nothing we didn’t already know.

I suspect a number of former Minutemen will be at the San Jose Sharks camp later this month, but for some reason in the past they’ve kept the goings on there, including the roster, from the general public.

Here’s a video found of 2012 recruit Kenny Gillespie (#19) scoring a goal for Shattuck St. Mary’s from this past February.  Nice to see him use his 6’2” frame to get in front of the net and then put the loose puck in the net off the backhand.

The Iron Mountain Daily News out of Michigan reports that Boston University and Boston College were both invited to the new hockey conference being formed out west, but said no.  I can’t imagine either school would seriously consider leaving the already strong Hockey East, with its natural rivalries and easier logistics, to be with a group of Midwest and Rocky Mountain schools they have little in common with.  The report also states that Notre Dame is looking for a league smaller than Hockey East’s 10 team league.  I wonder if Western Michigan coach Jeff Blashill, who turned the Broncos into an NCAA team this year, jumping to the Red Wings will hurt WMU’s chances of gaining an invite to the new league.

NHL Updates

A few NHL related UMass news to pass along tonight.

First, Mike Kostka has signed a one year deal with the Florida Panthers.  Hopefully playing in the Panthers system (not exactly tops in the NHL) will afford him a chance to make his NHL debut.

Secondly, sticktap to a FTT reader who informed me that T.J. Syner has received an invite to attend the Washington Capitals Development Camp.

Lastly, Adam Phillips has received an invitation to attend the Philadelphia Flyers camp.  Joining him there will be none other than former Notre Dame goaltender Brad Phillips, Adam’s brother.

Last minute addition to this post:

Recruit Kenny Gillespie was included on NHL Central Scouting’s watch list for the 2012 draft.  Gillespie is considered a “B” level prospect.

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.