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View From Section U ▲ Time For A Coaching Change

Let me start by saying that I think John Micheletto is a sharp, innovative hockey mind in the college game as well as a talented recruiter.  I have no doubt that he has spent the last three and a half years working hard to make UMass hockey successful in the competitive Hockey East.  I think he’s a well-intentioned individual who is trying his best.  I also believe that despite all those qualities he is not the right person to be head coach and after this current season, Athletic Director Ryan Bamford should look to someone new to lead the Massachusetts hockey program.

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Up To The Minute 8/10

It’s been almost two weeks since the last post so there’s a lot of miscellaneous UMass hockey stuff to catch up on.  So let’s get to it.

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Northeastern Recap

I’m getting straight to the point on this one.  Here are my key observations to last night’s 5-4 overtime loss to 10th place Northeastern.  With the loss the Huskies took the season series.  They now are just two points behind the Minutemen in the standings and hold the tie-breaker.  The overtime gamewinner was the first career goal by Josh Manson.  Bryan Mountain got the win after replacing Chris Rawlings in the 2nd.  Mountain was 0-6-2 coming into the game and had just one previous career win.  UMass gave up leads of 3-1 and 4-3 to end the 2nd.  Adam Frenier had the most unbelievable stats in the postgame broadcast.  Going into the game Northeastern was 0-11-0 this season when trailing after 2 periods, 0-21-2 going back to last season, and an astounding 1-40-6 looking back to the 2009-10 season.  That’s a less than 2% chance that the Huskies have come back in similar situations over the last four years.  But they did it last night.

I am extremely worried that this team looks worse now than it did in October or November.  Have I mentioned that I absolutely hate the month of February?  Granted, my father and grandfather were both born this month as well as a couple of our greatest presidents.  But I still would have no problem going straight from January to March.  Hallmark can invent another holiday to replace Valentine’s Day.  For whatever reason the shortest month of the year absolutely dooms Massachusetts hockey every goddamn year.  Right when a Boston College or, this year, a Merrimack gets better and their teams gel and they make a run into the postseason, the wheels fall off the UMass season.

Last night was some of the worst hockey the team has played all season.  The defense struggled all night, pretty blatant considering they gave up 45 shots to one of the weaker offenses in the league.  The goaltending of Steve Mastalerz was unfortunately inconsistent.  While the offense put up four goals, they still seemed disorganized.  And while I’m happy for the special team improvements from last year, there’s a point where this team has to score more 5 on 5 goals.  UMass has a +7 goal advantage on special teams but is –15 at even strength.

Outside of the ice conditions, which delayed the start of the game thirty minutes, everything was in UMass’ favor last night.  They led throughout.  They were at home.  They were playing the last place team who had just gotten swept at home.  And yet they blew it all and took the loss.  Now Maine comes into the Mullins Center this weekend with the chance to take over 8th place.  It makes you wonder how it’s come to this point where UMass is fighting just to barely make the playoffs.  But then again, this is February and we’ve now grown accustomed to exactly that at this time of year.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Mike Pereira
It’s unfortunate that Pereira has elevated his game right when the rest of the team is flat.  Last night he had a couple goals and an assist.  In the last six games he has seven goals and five assists.

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Republican Recap

Collegian Recap

College Hockey News Recap

Saturday Recap

This recap will be brief due to a couple of reasons.  First, I didn’t make it to the game so I don’t have any first hand observations to share, only what was relayed from Brock Hines and Adam Frenier through the radio broadcast.  Secondly, there’s not really much to say.  UMass went into the weekend with a chance to move into 6th place.  Instead they’ve dropped a place in the standings to 8th and are just barely holding onto that as Maine is just one point behind.  In fact there was a point last night where the scores at the time would’ve resulted in UMass in 9th place.

I don’t know if it was effort or execution that did the Minutemen in last night.  I do know that after a scoreless first a shorthanded goal, the 7th given up this season, gave Lowell a 1-0 lead just six and a half minutes into the period.  That would open up the floodgates for scoring as Lowell would score just a few minutes later on the power play and then the teams would trade goals after that for the next few minutes.  But in the end Lowell finished the second period up 3-2 and that’s the score that would hold until the end.  Lowell would outshoot UMass in the final two periods 26-18.  The Minutemen were not helped by six penalties taken in the last two periods either.

There were a number of lineup changes in last night’s game.  The most suprising was the healthy scratch of Conor Allen, probably UMass’ best performing defenseman on the season.  It’s likely Coach Micheletto was sending a message to Allen for grabbing two game misconducts in two games.  Personally I’m not sure if that was a fair decision.  The misconduct last Sunday against Merrimack for contact to the head was thought to be a horrible call by the fans and even press members in attendance.  The misconduct on Friday was out of frustration in the waning minutes of a blowout and hardly factored into the result.  With Allen out Anthony Raiola made the lineup for his 9th game this season.  Mike Busillo was sat again in favor of Peter DeAngelo.  Steve Mastalerz was in net for the game and sounded like he played well.

Whether the lineup changes made the difference last night, I don’t know.  I do know that this team is now fighting for their playoff lives and is probably playing its worst hockey of the season.  The team is 1-4-0 in their last five and have only three wins in the nine games played since the beginning of January.  For the second year in a row Lowell has not only won the season series with UMass, but swept them.  A new coach but the same February struggles and again the Minutemen will have to battle just to stay in the playoff race.  The next six days will be key as they’ll have to rebound to face Northeastern in a rare Tuesday game and then take on Maine who will look to overtake the Minutemen in the standings.  The season started with a lot of hope given a new coaching staff and the quality of players returning.  However through 27 games the team is again near the bottom of the standings and has a worse record than last year.  Maybe this season is just a temporary set back before future success.  But UMass fans have been waiting long enough for a winning team and it’d be nice to head into the offseason at least feeling good about the program’s future.  Micheletto and the players have just seven more games to do so.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Mike Pereira
Pereira had a goal and an assist on the night.  He now has nine points in his last five games, including five goals.

Here’s the Republican recap.

College Hockey News has their takeaways.

Pereira Named Hockey East Co-Player of the Week

For his dominating performance against Boston University this past weekend Mike Pereira was named Hockey East Co-Player of the Week.  Pereira had a couple goals to go with a couple assists in the 5-1 win on Friday.  Pereira shared the honor with fan favorite Joey Diamond of Maine.  Branden Gracel and K.J. Tiefenwerth were named Top Performers.

Hockey East has five teams ranked this week as Saturday’s opponent, Merrimack, has broken into the USCHO top 20.

Northeastern will be coming into the Mullins Center on Friday feeling good about themselves after they beat BU earlier tonight to advance to the Beanpot Final next week.

BU Recap

Given the fact that, except the Providence weekend, UMass had been playing better hockey since winter break ended and Boston University had been struggling as of late, there was a good chance the Minutemen could come away with a close win on Friday.  Instead the 7,000+ UMass fans were treated to a total thrashing of the #11 Terriers.  The star of the game was Mike Pereira who had one of his best performances in his college career.

The game was pretty even for much of the first period but it was Pereira who got things going with an excellent pass across the slot to set up Branden Gracel with just a few minutes left to give UMass the 1-0 lead.  The second period was all about defense for the Minutemen as the Terriers were able to generate just one shot on Kevin Boyle who played well in his first start in a few weeks.  In the couple decades of watching UMass hockey I cannot remember them ever holding a ranked team to a single shot in a period and that obviously speaks highly to the job that was done defensively on Friday.  The defense was just as good on the special teams where they kept BU’s power play off the scoreboard and limited them to three shots with the extra man.

One of those defensemen who performed well was Mike Busillo who returned to the lineup and appeared to score his first goal late in the second.  As it turned out the puck was tipped in by Kevin Czepiel, scoring his first goal of the season, and the Minutemen led 2-0 after two.  It was nice to see Busillo back in the lineup as he’s been a reliable defensemen all season, supported by the fact that the team is now 9-6-1 when he dresses and just 1-6-1 when he doesn’t.

The final frame turned into The Mike Pereira Show.  Five minutes in he made another quality pass that led to a UMass goal, this time to Conor Sheary who put home a one timer from the top of the slot.  Midway through the period Pereira had the wherewithal to grab a loose puck sitting in one of of the faceoff circles and turn and shoot the puck behind BU goaltender Sean Maguire in one motion.  Pereira would cap off his excellent night a couple minutes later while fore-checking on the penalty kill he pickpocketed Mike Nieto and streaked in for a breakaway goal.  BU’s Ben Rosen would pick up a short-handed goal late, just off a faceoff, ending Boyle’s bid at a shutout.  He did improve to a winning record of 8-7-2 however with the big win.

UMass deserves a lot of credit for the total domination shown over a ranked team.  But it’s also important to note that this was a BU team that was already struggling, losing four of their previous eight including one to Northeastern.  For UMass this was exactly the type of game they needed as they begin the always grueling February stretch.  With the lack of a game last night they’re able to get a little more rest before a couple games against Merrimack and Northeastern next weekend.  The win combined with other results around the league gave the Minutemen a three point lead over Vermont in 8th and four points ahead of Maine who are trying to get back into the playoff picture.  Lowell and 6th place is still within striking distance, three points ahead and a big home and home just two weeks away.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Mike Pereira
Two goals, two assists on a couple nifty passes, and a +5 for the night.  Certainly a career night for him.

Highlights from UMassathletics.com

Dick Baker has the recap for the Republican.

The Collegian has their game story as well as a piece focusing in on the work of Boyle.

Here are the Takeaways from College Hockey News.

Sunday Recap

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the recap of tonight’s game because, quite honestly, it’s not worth my effort.  It’s also not really needed.  UMass lost by an 8-2 score because they looked like they would’ve rather spent their Sunday watching NFL football than than playing a Hockey East conference game.  This team flat out did not show up and the result was total and complete embarrassment at the hands of the River Hawks.

Usually I try to look for positives to build off of, even in losses.  This isn’t one of those times.  There is absolutely nothing positive to take from this game.  Even the two goals scored by the Minutemen were 5 on 3 gifts that should’ve been scored anyway.  The negatives were plenty.  UMass allowed a team that had scored just 13 goals in eight games, or 1.62 goals per game, to put eight total goals on the board.  Ridiculous.  Lowell came into the game absolutely reeling, losing four of their last five with the only win coming against last place Maine.  UMass made them look like the best team in the country.

I’m sure the first question fans will ask is why Jeff Teglia made the start tonight, his first since the end of January last year.  Originally I figured Coach Micheletto did not want Boyle to have to play three games in five days.  But in his post game press conference the coach says Teglia got the start because the staff thought he gave the team the best chance to win.  Honestly, I’m not going to make too much into the goaltending decision.  Teglia was not the problem tonight as the guys in front of him did absolutely nothing to help him out.  I was a little surprised to see Anthony Raiola out there instead of Mike Busillo, but again it wouldn’t have made a difference.  It wasn’t talent or inexperience that hurt the Minutemen tonight.  They just played like they didn’t care.

Thus ends an extremely disappointing weekend.  The Minutemen had a chance to gain some real points in the standings playing the 9th and 10th place teams in the league.  Instead they come away with just one point.  And even that lone point came only because of some last second heroics on Friday.  A lot of fans have tried to make the point that this team is much better than their record and they’d be fine once they started playing some of the teams further down the standings.  I wasn’t completely sold on that, especially since last year’s team found ways to beat Boston College and Boston University, but was optimistic that the wins would come once the schedule became easier.  Instead this team looks exactly as good as their 2-5-1 Hockey East record.

If UMass loses on Tuesday to a Vermont team now ahead of them in the standings, I think it’ll be time to rethink the expectations of this team.  The hope was Micheletto would be able to take over this veteran UMass squad and find success quickly by making minor adjustments.   After suffering one of the worst losses in the program’s recent history, one has to wonder if perhaps that was a bit too presumptuous.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Mike Pereira
Pereira was one of the few, maybe the only, player who appear to be ready to play tonight, scoring a goal on six shots.

Luckily for all of us there are no game stories available from this game currently.

Polls & Awards

Weekend wins against rivals Notre Dame and Boston University means that Boston College maintains their spot atop the USCHO rankings this week.  UNH jumped four spots to #5 this week while BU stays put at #11.  Lowell’s split against Maine drops them out of the rankings.  UMass’ success allows them to gain ground in the also receiving votes group, ahead of Northeastern and Merrimack and just behind Providence.  The team has yet to gain any votes on the USA Hockey/USA Today poll however.

BC’s successful weekend nearly gives them a sweep of the Hockey East weekly awards.  Kevin Boyle and Mike Pereira are named Top Performers for their play against Providence.  The release also notes that UMass’ seven straight games with a power play goal is the longest since 2003-04.

The Collegian has their recap of Friday’s win.

Interesting to note that Maine will be without one of their best defensemen this coming Friday against UMass as Brian O’Connor received a game disqualification for cross-checking Scott Wilson in the face late in the game against Lowell.  The Black Bears may be without forward Joey Diamond as well as he sat out the second game against the River Hawks with an injury.

Mike McMahon has this interesting table that shows where Hockey East’s recruits are coming from.

Providence Preview

Providence Friars 4-3-1 (3-2-0) T-4th Hockey East

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Massachusetts Minutemen 2-4-0 (1-4-0) 8th Hockey East

Tomorrow will be an interesting game for the Minutemen.  To date they’ve faced a daunting Hockey East schedule and it has resulted in an unfortunate result of 1-4-0 in the conference so far.   But on Friday it gets, perhaps, not quite as intimidating.  To date the Hockey East teams that UMass has played have been traditional Hockey East powers currently ranked in the top 15 in the polls, not to mention teams that have a lot of recent success over UMass.  Providence does not fall into those categories.  But that’s not to say that the Friars should be overlooked.  However the point I’m trying to make is that few UMass fans thought the team would be competing with the likes of Boston College, Boston University, or New Hampshire this year.  Instead they thought or at least hoped it would be teams like the Friars, picked to finish in the middle of the conference, that would be the ones UMass could have to beat consistently to be successful.

That’s not to say it’ll be easy though.  It didn’t take Nate Leaman long to improve the Providence program, leading the Friars to the TD Garden last spring.  So far they’ve done about what you can expect from a talented, but young team.  They narrowly lost at BU, got a tie from Miami followed by a loss, swept Maine, and split with a surprising Vermont team.  Probably not the start to the season that the Friar team was hoping for, but not entirely unexpected.

This Friar team is young.  Of the nine players leading in points only two of them are juniors or seniors, and both of those are defensemen.  The team has been led by sophomore Ross Mauermann who has four goals and two assists so far this season.  A lot of attention has been paid upon freshman and first round draft pick Mark Jankowski who has three goals on the season, though two of those came in the season opener against Sacred Heart.  Providence has also gotten some good production from sophomore Shane Luke and freshman Paul De Jersey who have a couple of goals apiece.

The defensemen have also contributed on offense as senior defenseman Myles Harvey is averaging almost an assist a game so far.  Freshman blueliner John Gilmour has had two goals to go with three assists to date.  The Minutemen will also still have to deal with senior talent Alex Velischek on defense for the Friars.  In net UMass will get their first look at John Gilles, the Northeastern Husky recruit turned Friar goaltender.  Though it’s still early on the season he’s already been named Hockey East Rookie of the Week twice and garnered Defensive Player of the Week honors as well.  Those accolades are not a surprise when you consider the fact that he has a 1.80 goals against average thus far to go with a .932 save percentage.

The good news for UMass when facing Gilles is that the goaltender who is ahead of him statistically so far is Casey DeSmith, the backstop the Minutemen beat last weekend for their first Hockey East win.  Still, beating the Friars will not be easy.  They don’t have a ton of experience, but they believe in themselves and their coach.  But for the Minutemen, this is a bit of a referendum (apologies for the political terminology, I’m sure we’re all enjoying our respite from the negative ads).  UMass has a poor record so far in conference, but they’ve been in almost all the game against top notch opponents and nearly pulled off a number of high profile upsets.  If they’ve been *this close* from beating the likes of BU and BC, this veteran UMass squad should be able to beat an inexperienced Friar team at home, right?  We’ll see.

When first looking at the schedule I perhaps overestimated Providence and was initially very worried about this game.  Perhaps I put too much into how the Friars finished last year without accounting for just how many underclassmen they have to rely on to win this year.  But overall, those underclassmen have come through so far.  If anything you have to wonder where the production is from the likes of Tim Schaller (1G, 2A) and Derek Army (1G, 2A).  Point being, UMass cannot overlook this team.

For the Minutemen, they just have to build off what has gone right for them so far.  There has been a lot of switching of lines to find the right mix, but I thought the line combinations are starting to come together.  The Steven Guzzo/Rocco Carzo/Conor Sheary grouping looked very good last week and helped to get Sheary his first goal.  The other top line of Mike Pereira/Branden Gracel/Troy Power did very well with Power putting up a multi-point night against BC and Pereira getting his first point of the season.  On the other end of the ice the defense has looked very solid, when not fatigued, and the team may have found their starting goaltender in Kevin Boyle.

Honestly, this is a huge game for the Minutemen.  It’s their only chance at points on the weekend and they really can’t afford to fall any further behind in the league.  Add in the fact that this game is at home against a young team that has only one win away from Rhode Island and UMass should be expected to be victorious tomorrow night.  Let’s see if they can turn narrow losses against elite teams into decisive victories against the not quite as experienced teams in Hockey East.

Beer The Triangle
The Hangar is supposed to be having a mini Lagunitas takeover.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was sitting at the bar at the Lagunitas brewery in Petaluma while on my NoCal beercation.  According to Stoney they’re expected to have the Pale Ale, Pils, Maximus, and their session Daytime IPA.  Seems like a good way to cap off a decent week of Lagunitas for me after grabbing some of their luxurious Brown Shugga on Sunday while pregaming at Publick House ahead of the BC game and even finding a Little Sumpin’ at Stars in Hingham before that.

USCHO’s Hockey East piece features Providence’s talented youth as well as the almost, but not quite, season for UMass so far.

The Gazette’s preview notes that Mike Pereira had a hat trick the last time he faced the Frairs.

UMass is focused on closing games says the Republican preview.

Providence’s Mark Jankowski is the focus of the preview out of the Collegian.

Via the UMass Athletics website is UMass Hockey: Behind the Scenes hosted by senior Eddie Olczyk.  “Pillows are for those people that are weak.”

UMass Hockey Behind The Scenes

 

Good luck to the Minutewomen Field Hockey team as they take on #1 Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament this weekend.  Go UMass!

Projecting The Lines

The roster is out and updated. I’ve done my best to quantify the potential impact of this year’s freshmen. So I figure it’s time to speculate on potential lines we’ll see this coming season. To be honest, it’s incredibly hard to guess what the lines will be. First, I have no idea what sort of combinations Coach Micheletto will want to use. When I projected lines last Spring I projected them to what I thought we would see based on Coach Cahoon’s history and tendencies. I have no idea what Coach Mick’s tendencies are. Does he like to split up his stars like Cahoon did or make one top power line? Does he always like to put right-handed shots on the left wing and vice versa or does he just put the best players together? I have no idea. We’ll find out. The second thing that makes it so hard is the fast that the roster is so large. There will be 17 forwards trying to be one of 12 that dress, nine defensemen for six slots on the blueline, and three contenders to start in net. Third, not only are the freshmen a big question mark, due to lack of playing time last year, a lot of the sophomore forwards are as well. Can an Andrew Telgeler or Zack LaRue come in and have a break out season? Definitely. I just can’t predict if it happens or who it may be. So with all that said here we go:

Pereira-Guzzo-Sheary
Carzo-Gracel-Tiefenwerth
Kiley-Filiou-Power
Olczyk-Czepiel-Tegeler

Hanley-Phillips
Allen-Yevenko
Shea-Raiola

Boyle/Mastalerz

When I was playing around with potential lines last Spring I had Rocco Carzo and Branden Gracel on the top line with Conor Sheary. This was driven by the fact that I thought Cahoon would continue to want two equally deep lines and therefore would split Sheary and Pereira, as he did in the second half of last season However, no longer having to project to the thoughts of Cahoon, I’m putting together the lines as I would. And I like the idea of those two together. I have Guzzo at center because I thought he was on the same page as Pereira quite a bit last year. This allows me to move Gracel down and pair him up with the senior Carzo where the two of them will help provide some experience to a line that also features freshman K.J. Tiefenwerth. This line will be successful only if Carzo evolves his game a little more offensively, going back somewhat to what we saw earlier in his career after having a solid season on the third line last year. Overall the first line above scored 39 of UMass’ 114 goals last year while Gracel and Carzo contributed 9 and Tiefenwerth netting 30 in juniors.

Pat Kiley and Troy Power stay on the third line with Eric Filiou replacing Carzo at center. However, given how he improved during the year, we could see Power on the second line this coming season as well. This line had 8 goals last year. For the fourth line I have Eddie Olczyk returning to an everyday role, never fully understanding why he went from 21 games his freshman year to just 16 last year, Kevin “Holyoke” Czepiel returns to center, while Andrew Tegeler will get the last wing spot. I think Tegeler has tremendous upside between his size and the skills he showed at times, but the fact is all these players, especially those on the bottom lines, will have to practice hard to get in the lineup. In no particular order Zack LaRue, Evan Stack, Shane Walsh, Peter DeAngelo, and Emerson Auvenshine will all be gunning to dress everyday as well. The fourth line of Olczyk-Czepiel-Tegeler had four goals last year. The returning players I have on the bench scored three goals, all by DeAngelo.

For defensemen I believe getting three solid pairings with players who compliment each other is the best methodology. Joel Hanley and Adam Phillips should be able to play decent defense, but at the same time both move the puck well and would be a significant scoring threat. Now befing on the first pairing would require Phillips to bounce back from a tough sophomore season that saw him miss a number of games as a healthy scratch. This pairing was a combined +10 last year. The second pairing of Conor Allen and Oleg Yevenko would be a bruising one and I think this would be a beneficial matchup of Allen, who at times was the anchor of the UMass defense last season, with the still developing potential of Yevenko. These two combined for a –2 last season. Lastly I have Colin Shea and Anthony Raiola in the last pairing, finished even combined last year, however truth be told it could also be Mike Busillo, freshman Connor Doherty, or Darren Rowe here. No matter who it is next to him, Shea’s consistency should help solidify the third pairing.

Just as last year, UMass fans have no idea who will be in net on opening night. Kevin Boyle had the best season statistically and ended up starting both playoff games against Boston College, doing fairly well both nights. Steve Mastalerz had a number of good games as well, including a shutout of #1 BC in January. I think the goaltending job will come down to one of these two and frankly I have no idea what the new coach’s thoughts are on goaltender rotations so it may be both. However, don’t be surprised if junior Jeff Teglia is in the mix again as well. It probably doesn’t hurt that he had his best games last season against Vermont and his now coaching staff.

That’s my guess for lines, feel free to share how you’d put them all together in the comment section.

The coaching staff is now complete as Dan Lupi will serve as Goaltending Coach this coming season. Lupi works with former goalie coach Mike Buckley at Buckley’s GDS Goaltender school. Lupi played in net for Assumption College, holding school records in a number of categories.

The Athletic Department posted this video with Mike Pereira and Conor Allen on their pre-season activities as they prepare for the season. The more I see of Allen the more I think he may become a candidate to be a captain or assistant this coming season:

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There are a couple jersey number changes reflected on the roster. Andrew Tegeler will go from #23 last year to #14 with T.J. Syner graduating while Troy Power takes #22 instead of #20. As for the freshmen, Shane Walsh will be #15, Evan Stack #20, Connor Doherty is #23, and K.J. Tiefenwerth goes with #28.

Not a big surprise but Danny Hobbs did officially sign with the Connecticut Whale, AHL team to the Rangers who held his draft rights. Hobbs’ hand injury suffered in the playoffs last year prevented him from joining the Whale after the season ended.

More details came out late last week surrounding the report on Boston University’s hockey program. I understand that there are similar problems like this that occur on campuses all across the country, but some of the quotes in that article are appalling. One of the players saying, “you don’t ask [permission for sex] when you are drunk” and a female student describing being groped without permission as “that’s just what [BU hockey players] do,” is, frankly, disgusting. I really hope this sort of stuff doesn’t go on with the UMass hockey team. While I totally realize at the end of the day these guys are college students and will do a lot of the same stuff we all did as college students, a lot of what is described in the BU report goes above and beyond the usual campus craziness. Say what you will about Toot Cahoon’s time here, but for the most part UMass has avoided this kind of negative press because he recruited character in addition to skill.

As most thought, Hockey East will be moving to a playoff format in the future that will have all conference teams making the playoffs. This will start next season when Notre Dame joins the league. I’m pretty neutral about this. I personally thought the current format makes the regular season that much more important and made for some excitement at the bottom of the standings down the stretch. But at the same time there’s nothing wrong with more hockey on more campuses come March.

Lastly, when I’m not trying to plan my next FTT post during the fall I’m usually planning tailgates. Some fellow loyal UMass fans and I have being doing our best to have the best tailgate at the football games. Or, at the very least, the tailgate with the best beer selection. So it was very cool to have our tailgate (and my homebrew) featured with others by Matt Vautour on Saturday when the Minutemen made their FBS debut. The Republican even gave us some pictorial love. Understandably, it will take a few years for the product on the field to reach the FBS level, but the action in the parking lots outside the stadium is already well on its way. I highly recommend catching a game or two this season if you aren’t already planning to.

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