Advertisements

Recruit Update ▲ BC High’s Jayson Dobay Commits To UMass

 

One of the criticisms of the John Micheletto era at UMass was that he did not seem to make much of an effort to lure Bay State recruits to the state’s flagship university.  New coach Greg Carvel  talked about targeting local talented players when he was hired and just a few months into his regime he has landed his first in-state commitment.  Defenseman Jayson Dobay, who this past season played for BC High, announced his commitment on Twitter last night:

(more…)

Advertisements

Recruit Update ▲ Bear, Makar Win Brooks Team Awards

In my last recruit update I passed along the news that recruits Cale Makar and Matt Murray were named award winners for the AJHL.  Well recently the Brooks Bandits held an on-ice ceremony to announce their team awards and a couple of Minutebandits were winners.  Cale Makar was named co-Rookie of the Year while Shane Bear won Defenseman of the year.  You can view the ceremony here. 

(more…)

Preview ▲ UMass Returns To Hockey East Play With Trip To #11 Boston University

Massachusetts Minutemen 7-9-4 (2-4-4) Hockey East T-7th

at

#11 Boston University Terriers 10-6-3 (4-3-2) Hockey East T-4th

The Massachusetts Minutemen kick off the second half of Hockey East play with a pretty tough matchup as they travel to Comm Ave to take on the #11 Boston University Terriers.  It’s the first meeting of the year between the two teams.  It’ll be the second game of the week for both squads as UMass fell in overtime to #12 Yale on Tuesday while BU had a dramatic come from behind win at #5 Harvard on Thursday.  UMass will look to start the league home stretch with at least a point, but that’s going to be tough to do against a skilled Terrier team.

(more…)

Recruit Update ▲ Leonard, Buono Listed As Players To Watch By NHL Central Scouting

Happy Tuesday.  Time to take a look at how the future Minutemen are faring.  Before we do that though there was some news today concerning a current player and a recruit.  NHL Central Scouting released their preliminary Players To Watch for the upcoming season and freshman defenseman Carmine Buono and forward recruit and Amherst native John Leonard made the list.  They’re both listed as “C” prospects, meaning it’s projected they’d be picked in the later rounds.

(more…)

Up To The Minute: Sheary, Kostka, and Hanley Sign NHL Deals

Today was the first day of NHL free agency and a number of former Minutemen have new homes tonight.  Perhaps the highlight of the day is the two-way deal that Conor Sheary signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Penguins rewarded him for a strong rookie season in the AHL where he led the Wilkes-Barre Penguins in points for both the regular season and the playoffs.  His contract this past season was a strictly minor league deal with Wilkes-Barre so the signing with the big club is a significant milestone for Sheary.

(more…)

Recruit Update

Time for the weekly look at the recruits:

Ben Gallacher – D – Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) – 2013 (transfer)
17 GP / 2 G / 6 A / 8 Pts / 34 PIM / +8
Gallacher had an assist this past weekend and was a +5 over two games.  He also went the weekend without a penalty.

Mark Hamilton – D – Salisbury School Crimson Knights (NE Prep) – 2013
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts
Hamilton is back playing with the Knights.  I hope to have some updated stats soon.

Marc Hetnik – D – Vernon Vipers (BCHL) – 2013
38 GP / 1 G /6 A / 7 Pts / 34 PIM
Hetnik had an assist this past weekend.

Mike Iovanna – RW/C – Malden Catholic Lancers (MA High School) – 2013
12 GP / 5 G /7 A /12 Pts
Either Iovanna didn’t score in recent games of the Mass HS Hockey site hasn’t updated stats.

Dennis Kravchenko – LW – Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) – 2013 or 2014
31 GP / 14 / 17 A / 31 Pts / 74 PIM / +8
Kravchenko did not play this past weekend.

Patrick Lee – LW – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2014
42 GP / 18 G / 22 A / 40 Pts / 18 PIM
Lee had a goal and four assists in his last three games as the Bandits improved to 40-2-2

Casey Miller – C – Kimball Union (NE Prep) – 2014
15 GP / 4 G / 12 A / 16 Pts
Here’s an interesting look at KUA where Casey Miller is playing and where Steve Mastalerz played as well.

Willy Smith – LW – Springfield Pics (EJHL) – 2014
23 GP / 1 G / 5 A / 6 Pts / 8 PIM
Smith had a couple assists in a game against the Junior Bruins.

Frank Vatrano– LW/C – Junior Bruins (EJHL) – 2013
19 GP / 13 G / 9 A / 22 Pts / 22 PIM
From all accounts Vatrano will be enrolled in UMass classes for Spring semester.

College Hockey News takes a look at UMass’ big win over the past weekend and what it may mean long term.

Here are a few quotes from Matt Irwin on playing in his first NHL game.  And here’s what defensive partner Dan Boyle had to say.

Mike Kostka, hopefully, will be one of a few AHL All-Stars who will be unable to play as they’re currently on NHL rosters.  Kostka picked up another assist yesterday and is already becoming a fan favorite up in Toronto.

Gracel Named Co-Player of the Week, UMass Named Team of the Week

Branden Gracel was named Hockey East Co-Player of the Week for his two goal, one assist effort against #2 Boston College on Friday.  This is the second time Gracel has been named POTW.  He has already matched his last year point total with 21 and his 10 goals is well above the 7 scored last season.

The Minutemen as a whole were named the conference’s Team of the Week for their performance this weekend.  Steve Mastalerz and K.J. Tiefenwerth were both named Top Performers.

Despite falling to unranked UMass BC only dropped a spot in this week’s polls, thanks in part to the 9-3 drubbing they put on Northeastern on Saturday.

Mike Kostka made his NHL debut on Saturday, gaining an assist in the game.  I watched a good part of the game and he looked solid, playing on a pairing with Dion Phaneuf.  The Toronto Sun has this article on his journey to his first NHL game.

Matt Irwin made his NHL debut yesterday for the Sharks, finishing a +1.

Boston College Recap

On October 19th UMass brought a 3-0 lead into the third period against Boston College.  After giving up a couple early goals in the final stanza Darren Rowe scored for the Minutemen to put them up 4-2 with just over 10 minutes left.  But a couple Eagle goals late sent the game into overtime where BC would eventually get the win.  A couple weeks later against the Eagles UMass had a 2-1 lead early in the third but again couldn’t hold on and fell 3-2.  Last night UMass went into the third with a 2-1 lead, looking for their first win at Conte Forum since 2007.  So when UMass brought another 2-1 lead into the final period last night many Minuteman fans were expecting to see BC come back to tie it up, which is exactly what happened just over four minutes in when Steve Whitney scored.  What wasn’t expected was with under seven minutes left UMass would score three goals in just over three minutes and shock the #2 Eagles by the score of 5-2.

At the beginning of the game you never would’ve thought it would end with UMass taking a three goal win.  In fact it looked like the Eagles could’ve been up three goals after the first few minutes alone.  The officiating crew of Tim Bennedetto and Kevin Keenan rewarded BC with 5 minutes of power play time in the first 9 minutes of the game, four straight penalties called against the Minutemen.  The Eagles used that opportunity to pepper Steve Mastalerz, making his second straight start, with nine shots on those early power plays and 11 overall during that time.  UMass only had two shots on goal in that crucial first nine minutes of the game but when that time period was over it was the Minutemen who had a 1-0 lead thanks to a shorthanded goal by Steven Guzzo after Rocco Carzo stole the puck in the BC zone.  Special teams would strike again at the very end of the period when Branden Gracel, clearly the star of the team this season, scored on the power play.

Mastalerz stood on his head to keep the Eagles off the board in the first, facing 14 shots total and turning them all away.  Many in spectacular fashion.  In the second and third periods the defense in front of him stepped up and were able to limit BC to just 9 shots total in those two periods.  But Parker Milner played well on the other end during that time and stopped all 12 UMass shots in that second period.  Things were tense after the game was tied in the third but when Mike Pereira scored the go ahead goal with seven minuets left it was all Minutemen thereafter.  K.J. Tiefenwerth would score shortly after, no doubt feeling pretty good about helping defeat the school who pulled his spot on their team.  Gracel’s second goal of the night finished things off.

Obviously there were of positives to talk about from last night’s game.  The defense and Mastalerz played well for the second straight game, withstanding the early power play barrage and limiting chances in the final two periods.  Colin Shea really struggled in that first game against Providence last weekend but looked noticeably better last night, even adding a couple of assists.  Conor Sheary assisted on both Gracel goals and now has six points in his last four games.  Gracel continues to be on fire lately, with five goals and eight assists in his last nine games.

Last night was great to witness as a fan but I am extremely happy for seniors Kevin Czepiel, Darren Rowe, Eddie Olczyk, and Rocco Carzo.  These four guys had been a part of many hard fought battles and heart breaking losses at Conte Forum but it took what could perhaps be their last visit to finally experience a win there.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Steve Mastalerz
Obviously Gracel’s two goals and assist were huge for the Minutemen but the fact is if Mastalerz done not come up with those big saves and withstand the multiple BC power plays in those first nine minutes this game could’ve been a blowout by the end of the first.

Highlights from UMassAthletics.com

“Amazing Gracel” is the headline for the Herald’s recap.

Here’s the Republican’s game story.

The Collegian’s recap focuses in on the seniors.

College Hockey News’ recap highlights the line of Pereira, Gracel, and Sheary.

Here’s the Eagle point of view from BC Interruption.

A couple of former Minutemen will likely soon be making their NHL debuts.  Matt Irwin has made the opening roster for the Sharks.  And former UMass captain Mike Kostka will be dressed for the Maple Leafs in their first game.  The Toronto Globe and Mail has this great story about the 27 year old finally getting his shot in the NHL, with a few mentions of the alma mater.  Congrats to both!

UConn Recap

Last night was an enjoyable way to kick off the season and the new era of Massachusetts hockey as the Minutemen defeated future Hockey East foe UConn 4-1 in front of the largest opening night crowd in school history.  It wasn’t the prettiest of games at times as both teams looked sloppy at times and general chippiness led to a total of 26 penalties, which really hindered the flow of the game.  But a win is a win and last night should provide some confidence for the team as well as some tape for Coach Micheletto to identify the areas that need to be worked on prior to next weekend’s big tilt against Boston College.

The Minutemen came out absolutely flying from the drop of the puck and dominated play early on.  UMass held an 8-1 shot advantage six minutes in when Colin Shea put home the first goal on a slap shot from the point.  UMass would continue to control play until there was 9:28 left in the first and the team picked up its first of many penalties of the night.  Tyler Helton would score for the Huskies on the resulting power play and it would take the Minutemen a while to regain the momentum and crisp play they had started the game with.  UMass would get the lead back toward the end of the period when Branden Gracel redirected a Steven Guzzo shot, but from then on the Huskies, and especially their goaltender Garrett Bratus, did their best to stymie any attempt to widen the lead.

The score stayed 2-1 UMass until the third period when two excellent individual efforts would seal the game for the Minutemen.  The first came at the start of the period when Guzzo was able to take the puck from the corner, skate to the front of the net with a Husky defender on him, and get the puck past Bratus while getting pushed down to the ice.  A few minutes later Darren Rowe, making the most of his opportunity to dress as the sixth defensemen, took the puck at center ice on a UMass power play and skated through and around the four Husky players untouched to put home the final goal of the evening.

Again, not the prettiest of games, but UMass showed tremendous effort and got the win.  I thought there were a number of players who did very well beyond the goalscorers.  Conor Allen played tremendous last night and it makes me confident that he has a huge role to play for this team this season.  He moved the puck extremely well and generated four shots.  On defense I counted at least two or three blocked shots by him all the while playing physical and smart.  There were a lot of UMass penalties but Allen didn’t draw a single one.  Oleg Yevenko also stood out to me as playing well on defense, looking a lot more confident out there as a sophomore and still skating pretty well given his size.

Overall I thought the Conor Sheary/Mike Pereira/Troy Power line looked pretty good.  Power seemed to have a tough time making the transition to the top line at first, but by the second and third periods was putting in really good shifts with his new linemates.  The fourth line of Peter DeAngelo/Kevin Czepiel/Eddie Olczyk played a good share of minutes and did a great job of disrupting the Huskies’ offense.

Kevin Boyle did well, giving up just the one goal and made some key saves, especially on the penalty kill.  He did look shaky at times but there were so many long stretches where he might as well been another of the 7,123 spectators that I’m guessing he had a tough time getting into a groove due to lack of action.  The one obvious area where UMass must improve next week is penalties.  A lot of the team’s 12 infractions came out of the after-the-whistle melees, but they simply cannot go around giving teams eight power play chances.  They got away with it last night but give BC eight power play chances and you’re probably looking at least a three goal hole to climb out of.  Adam Phillips, who played well otherwise, especially has to try to stay out of the box as five of the trips were his.

Overall, it was a great night at the Mullins Center.  The team gave the excellent crowd and their new coach a win and have a lot to build off of as they begin their conference schedule.  It was great to see so many students there, 4,200 was the number given on the radio and it seemed like a lot were making their first trip.  I can’t see how they wouldn’t have enjoyed themselves enough to come back next week which has a very good chance of being a sellout when defending national champion Boston College comes to town.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Steven Guzzo
Guzzo’s production last year as a freshmen was a nice surprise, but for UMass to be successful he’ll have to continue to put the puck in the net this season.  He did exactly that as it was his heads up play to drive to the net that put the game away for the Minutemen.  It was also his shot that Gracel was able to tip past Bartus on the game-winning goal.

Among the over 7,000 in attendance last night was none other than former coach Toot Cahoon, who I ran into after the game.  I think anyone who has been following UMass hockey knows what a classy guy Toot is and he showed that yet again by coming out to support the program and the players he brought to Amherst in the season opener.  Not surprisingly, I can safely say it was the most relaxed I’ve ever seen Toot after a UMass hockey game.

Based on what I saw last night in terms of demeanor and overall leadership displayed I would pick Rocco Carzo, Joel Hanley, and Conor Allen as this year’s captains/assistant captains.  We’ll see who coach Mick chooses soon.

Last night’s highlights via UMass Athletics

In the Gazette’s recap, Coach Mick says “unflappable” is a word the team must learn after last night.

Here’s the recap from the Republican as well as a piece on Mick’s first game as a collegiate head coach.

The Collegian has their game story as well as this interesting column as part of their season preview coverage, stating the time for UMass hockey to start winning is now.

One small benefit of the NHL lockout is that the Bruins writers are available to cover college hockey, as is the case with the Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa covering the team and last night’s game.

Former UMass captain Mike Kostka, who won a Calder Cup last year with Norfolk, is the feature of this piece from TSN.  Kostka is now with the Leafs organization.

Hockey’s Future has an excellent profile of Kevin Moore, including the story of the #freemoore campaign started before the final regular season game last March.

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.

Advertisements