Friday Recap

Well after UMass’ successful special teams so far this season was the focus of my own and the media’s game previews going into last night, it was easy to see what led to the 1-0 home loss to the Northeastern Huskies.  UMass’ special teams totally failed them.  The Minutemen had four power play opportunities in last night’s game, including five straight minutes in the waning moments of the third period thanks to a major penalty by the Huskies.  UMass had a grand total of 9:46 with the extra man advantage.  Despite all this they managed just six shots on the power play and could not manage any goals.  Even worse, the lone goal of the game was scored shorthanded by the Huskies on a fluky play where a confused Husky got on the ice late on a line change, setting up an easy breakaway.

Northeastern goaltender Chris Rawlings deserves a lot of credit for last night, keeping the Minutemen off the board completely.  Especially impressive was his glove work in the game.  Still, you would hope the Minutemen have the weapons to at least convert once on their 31 total shots and ample power play opportunities.  Rawlings made some top notch saves but it seemed like a good portion of shots also ended up right in his chest protector, which he absorbed them, giving up minimal rebounds.  It’s also easy to keep UMass from scoring when two of its biggest scoring threats, Mike Pereira and Branden Gracel, both end the game with zero shots on goal.

The game cost the team more than just points in the Hockey East standings as both Troy Power and Darren Rowe were hurt and had to be helped to the locker room.  Their status is uncertain, but the injuries looked serious enough where you’d expect they could miss some time in the lineup.  Add their injuries to those of Shane Walsh, Evan Stack, and Emerson Auvenshine and UMass has a serious depth problem, despite their large roster.  Expect to see Zack LaRue and/or Andrew Tegeler in the lineup tonight if Walsh and Stack are not yet ready to return.  Rowe’s slot is a little easier to fill since Mike Busillo is available and in my opinion has played well enough to start every night anyway.  Coach Micheletto did say after the game that he was unhappy with the type of hits that sent them out.  I didn’t get the best look at them but fans both in the Mullins Center and watching at home said they were pretty dirty.

Whether the Huskies took liberties with their hits or not, it’s very important that UMass play with their heads tonight and not let emotion control their play.  It’s easy to want to retaliate for cheap hits in kind or want to seek revenge for your injured teammates, but this game is too important for that.  A sweep at the hands of a team they’re now tied with cannot happen.  Not only would it allow the Huskies to jump ahead in the standings but they’d also take the all important tie-breaker.

Fear The Triangle – Kevin Boyle
Boyle had yet another great game and gave his teammates every opportunity to come back and win.  While not tested a ton, as the Huskies only generated 18 shots against him, he still made some key saves on the night.  Boyle’s 1.53 goals against average is now tops in Hockey East and 4th best in the country.

UMass was the better hockey team for most of the game says the Boston Herald game story but Rawlings was the best player.

In the Gazette recap Micheletto says he was happy with how the team played despite the loss.

In the Republican story the coach says the team is capable of scoring, but just didn’t last night.

The takeaways from College Hockey News accurately notes that the defense playing well in front of Rawlings also deserves credit.

Northeastern Preview

Northeastern Huskies 4-7-1 (2-6-1)  T-8th Hockey East


Massachusetts Minutemen 4-5-2 (3-5-1)  T-5th Hockey East

The gauntlet has been run. We knew early, even before we knew there would be a new coach this year, that the Massachusetts hockey team would have a challenging start to the season.  After the initial game against UConn, we knew that through Turkey Tuesday UMass had an exceedingly tough schedule.  How tough?  Hours after the team had tied #18 Quinnipiac UMass’ strength of schedule was sitting at #5 according to the RPI.  I would say a near .500 record of 4-5-2 through those games is respectable, though perhaps a little frustrating since the team had upsets of Boston College and Boston University within their reach if they held onto late leads.  Still, beating now #2 New Hampshire was big.  But this weekend the team will play their last Hockey East games before winter break and this is no time for a letdown.

The way Northeastern started the season it seemed like they’d be a factor in Hockey East.  Their first week of play saw home wins against Merrimack and #1 Boston College.  But since that time the only wins they’ve managed have come against college hockey’s nomad, Alabama-Huntsville.  They did manage a scoreless shutout with UNH, but other than that and UAH it’s been losses across the board.

The Huskies are consistently hanging around 8th or 9th place among Hockey East teams in the major statistical categories.  Offensively they’re scoring 2.17 goals per game versus UMass’ 2.64.  Freshman Kevin Roy, a late addition to the roster after he bailed on Brown, is the top offensive player for the team with five goals and six assists.  The others at the top of the list offensively are all familiar names, such as Vinny Saponari, Cody Ferriero, and Ludwig Karlsson, who has three power play goals.  That’s almost all of them as the Husky power play is converting at just a 12.3% rate.

Chris Rawlings took a lot of heat for his play last year but so far his numbers are respectable at 2.35 goals per game and a .918 save percentage.  And it’s important to note that those numbers are with an extremely inexperienced group of defensemen in front of him.  Drew Ellement is the only upperclassman on the blueline as the rest consist of four sophomores and three freshmen.  UMass must try to take advantage of the youth at defense, though keeping in mind that even young Husky defensemen, like Josh Manson, have skill.

For UMass this weekend seems like a good time to showcase their improved special teams.  The Huskies’ power play or penalty kill do not really standout among college hockey currently.  However for the Minutemen the power play has been perhaps the biggest brightest spot so far this season, scoring on over 21% of their chances.  And when they’ve been down a man they’ve looked good as well, killing 86% of the opponents’ power plays and even netting a couple shorthanded goals.  The Minutemen have scored six more goals on special teams than they’ve let up, tied with BC for second best among Hockey East teams.

I’d also like to see the more veteran and skilled forwards on the UMass roster, namely Mike Pereira and Conor Sheary, have a breakout weekend against this youthful Northeastern defense.  They’ve played pretty well as of late, Pereira with six points in six games and Sheary with a five game point streak, but you get the feeling that there’s a whole other gear they haven’t quite gotten into yet this season.  In net I assume we’ll see Kevin Boyle twice this weekend.  Boyle played all three games against the Huskies last year, going 1-1-1 with two games going to overtime.

It would be nice for UMass to end league play in 2012 on a good note and give themselves the opportunity to stay within striking range of home ice before the New Year.  But to do so they’ll have to take three points at a minimum.  I think we’ll all give them a pass for losing some of the early games against top teams while breaking in a new coach, but to be taken seriously they’ll have to show they’re better than teams like the Huskies both at home and on the road.

Beer The Triangle

Of course tomorrow afternoon will be spent at the Hangar, as usual.  For Saturday, after years of being relegated to Pizzeria Uno’s prior to games at Northeastern I finally realized that Bukowski’s Tavern isn’t really that far of a walk from Huntington Ave.  Currently The Buk seems to have a lot of lighter ales on, which doesn’t work for someone like me who drinks darker beers when the temperature turns cold.  However the Slumbrew Saison looks interesting as does the Notch on cask.  Plus I can always go with a Brown Shugga in the bottle.

Like my preview above, both the Collegian and the Republican highlight UMass’ special teams ahead of this weekend’s series.  The Collegian preview mentions that the status of freshmen Shane Walsh and Evan Stack are still unknown.

USCHO’s focus of their weekly Hockey East piece is the Northeastern Huskies and their struggles, while also mentioning this past weekend when coach Micheletto went up against his previous team.

CHN takes a look at this weekend’s Hockey East action.

Recruit Update

Ben Gallacher – D – Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) – 2013 (transfer)
4 GP / 1 G / 0 A / 1 Pts / 15 PIM / –2
It didn’t take Gallacher long to make an impact after returning from suspension.  Sunday he scored his first goal of the season and it ended up being the game-winner for the Gamblers.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Omaha Lancers (USHL) – 2013
14 GP / 5 G / 2 A / 7 Pts / 25 PIM / +1
Gillespie scored a goal in this past Friday’s game for the Lancers, which is pretty good considering he was only in the game a little over eight minutes before getting a game misconduct for hitting from behind.  He ended up being +3 for the weekend.

Mark Hamilton – D – Salisbury School Crimson Knights (NE Prep) – 2013
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts
Salisbury is scheduled to play their first game on 11/28

Mike Iovanna – RW/C – Malden Catholic Lancers (MA High School) – 2013
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts
Malden Catholic’s first game is on 12/15

Dennis Kravchenko – LW – Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) – 2013 or 2014
14 GP / 8 G / 9 A / 17 Pts / 26 PIM / +6
Kravechenko had two power play goals for the Stampede this past Friday night.  Kravchenko is 4th in the USHL in points and 7th in goals.

Patrick Lee – LW – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2013
18 GP / 9 G / 10 A / 19 Pts / 6 PIM / 0
No points for Lee this past week.

Casey Miller – C – Kimball Union (NE Prep) – 2014
0 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts
KUA plays its first game on 11/28

Willy Smith – LW – Springfield Pics (EJHL) – 2014
6 GP / 0 G / 1 A / 1 Pts / 4 PIM
No points for Smith in his one game this past week.

Frank Vatrano– LW/C – Junior Bruins (EJHL) – 2013
8 GP / 5 G / 2 A / 7 Pts / 12 PIM
The Junior Bruins did not play this past weekend and are scheduled to play tomorrow night.

Kevin Boyle and Rocco Carzo are mentioned in CHN’s Joe Meloni’s “Three Things I Think”

Also from CHN, Mike McMahon catches up with former Minuteman coach Toot Cahoon and his transition to retired coach/media member.

It looks as if Martin Ouellette has earned the starting job in Maine and is likely to face the Minutemen on Friday.

Northeastern freshman Cam Darcy has left school.

Hockey East Preview #9: Northeastern Huskies

Hockey East Preview: #9 Northeastern Huskies

2011-12 Storyline: Northeastern sees significant success out of conference in 2011-12 but cannot win enough against Hockey East foes to gain the playoffs

2012-13 Storyline: Is the Huskies’ goaltending and defense strong enough to return them to the post-season?

Player To Watch: Ludwig Karlson

Player Missed Most: Anthony Bitetto

Newcomer To Keep An Eye On: Kevin Roy

Random Fact: Prized recruit Kevin Roy and his brother Derek were very late signees after being committed to Brown as late as mid-July

Beer The Triangle Favorite Local Brew: I like to try all the rare and crazy craft brews out there, but Harpoon IPA is one of my go to beers.  Love those Cascade hops.

Team Outlook:

Not much was expected out of the Huskies last year after a rough offseason and having to adjust to a new coach who had not been behind the bench that that capacity in decades.  But Northeastern ended up surprising most, especially in their non-conference schedule where they gained wins over the likes of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Minnesota.  They did have a bit tougher time in league and finished the season out of the playoffs after losing the tiebreaker to UMass.

Even with junior Steve Quailer leaving after last season, scoring shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the Huskies who return Vinny Saponari, Cody Ferreiro, and super soph Ludwig Karlson.  Added to that mix will be Kevin Roy, the USHL’s leading scorer who was added to the commit list late in the summer.

Defense and goaltending is where Northeastern’s success will ultimately be decided.  The biggest loss for the Huskies during the offseason was Anthony Bitetto signing with the NHL.  Luke Eibler deciding to transfer closer to home in Michigan didn’t help either.  Drew Ellement is the only defenseman with multiple year experience on the blueline.  They’ll also have to rely on sophomore Josh Manson who played solid in his freshman season, but after that it’ll be all freshmen or inexperienced players.

Husky fans were for the most part frustrated with the play of starting goaltender Chris Rawlings last season and were looking forward to the prospect of him moving on and handing the reigns to highly rated recruit John Gilles.  In the end though Rawlings ended up staying and that was enough for Gilles to bounce to Providence where he’ll have a chance to play right away.  As a result, you may find Rawlings hearing it from his own fans if he plays with inconsistency.

They’ll Finish Lower Because: The inexperience at defense is too much to overcome and Rawlings’ play continues to descend

They’ll Finish Higher Because: Rawlings returns to the type of play we saw in earlier seasons and the offense makes up for any defensive deficiencies

Fear The Triangle Fearless Hockey East Predictions
1. ??
2. ??
3. ??
4. ??
5. ??
6. ??
7. ??
8. ??
9.   Northeastern Huskies
10. Vermont Catamounts

Per his Twitter account, former Vermont recruit Dennis Kravchenko will be on an official visit to UMass in the next couple days.  I wrote about the prospect of Kravchenko following the UVM coaching staff to Amherst earlier and will write more about him in the next couple days.

College Hockey News highlights K.J Tiefenwerth in this piece on the recruiting classes of Hockey East.

They haven’t played a game yet, but North Dakota’s season is already getting off to a rocky start.

Northeastern Preview; UMass Preview Addendum

Massachusetts Minutemen 0-0-0 (0-0-0) Hockey East T-1st


Northeastern Huskies 0-0-0 (0-0-0) Hockey East T-1st

Let the season begin!  Sitting here watching the Bruins Stanley Cup banner go up is a great way to get into the hockey mood on this college season opener eve.  It seems very long ago that us UMass fans shuffled out of Conte Forum after the Eagles eliminated the Minutemen.  It’s even longer ago, all the way back to the third week of January, since UMass fans got to celebrate a win and there weren’t many of us present in Burlington that night to see it.  So not only am I psyched and hungry to see some UMass hockey, but I am flat out starved for a win.  And that’s just me, a fan.  I can only imagine how the returning players feel.

This will probably be an abbreviated preview since there’s not too much more to say than I already did in either my Northeastern season preview or my UMass preview from last night.  There are a couple pieces of news on the Northeastern side.  First is that they’re actually coming off a loss, dropping their exhibition game to St Francis Xavier on Sunday by a score of 8 to 5.  I wouldn’t get too excited over that result however.  Six of the goals were given up by their third string goaltender Clay Witt.  Chris Rawlings, tomorrow’s starter, only gave up one goal on 11 shots.  The more significant news is that the Huskies have suspended two of their better forwards in Cody Ferriero and Steve Quailer for incidents dating back to last season.  They’ll also be without freshman Ludwig Karlsson who is having clearinghouse issues.

Having two talented forwards out is an advantage for the Minutemen, one they cannot let pass by.  As I mentioned in my season preview after these three initial games the Minutemen get straight into a grueling stretch of games where points may be hard to come by.  That gives them that much more motivation to get  on the board with a win from the get go.

No news out of the UMass team tonight.  Nope, I have no idea who will be in net.  Though if I were a betting man, I’d say Jeff Teglia, only because I think Toot may give his returner the first shot at winning the job.  I’m guessing Steve Mastalerz will still be kept out due to whatever minor injury he’s fighting.

Not sure what else to say that hasn’t already been said or written since last March.  Time to stop previewing, forecasting, prognosticating, guessing, and time to watch some UMass hockey!

Beer The Triangle

I’ve already lamented about the lack of a good beer snob bar immediately surrounding Matthews Arena and having to settle for Uno’s.  I’m hoping to get into the city early enough to hit Bukowski’s which isn’t too far away.  I haven’t been there before but I liked their sister bar, the Lower Depths, when I stopped in following the Frozen Fenway press conference over the summer.  Looking at their beer list it appears they have a couple Jack’s Abby beers on, one of the state’s newest breweries.  I’m also a fan of their house beer, The Buk, which is brewed by Wormtown.  If anyone is heading there keep in mind that it’s cash only!

Amazing that I forgot anything in the lengthy preview I wrote last night, but I did.  I talked all about the players, but I didn’t talk about the coaching.  For the first time in a long time there was a bit of a shakeup on the coaching staff as Red Gendron left Amherst to take an assistant job with Yale.  Replacing him is ex-Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald which means both assistants have DI head coaching experience as Len Quesnelle is the former coach at Princeton.  Certainly Red will be missed, in terms of his abilities to coach and knowledge of the game, the great job he did recruiting, and how well he interacted with fans and boosters.  But, maybe it’s a good thing there’s a bit of a shakeup on the coaching staff.

Hanging around and talking with other UMass fans this offseason I think it’s safe to say that a good majority have lost faith in Toot Cahoon’s coaching.  Few have any qualms with him as a person or the job he does in turning out great student athletes.  But the product on the ice since the team made the NCAAs in 2007 has fans very concerned and frustrated.  Some of the most talented players the program has ever seen have put on the maroon and white in the past few years with little to show for it in terms of wins.  Unhappiness with the status of the program has escalated from just murmurs after losses to more outspoken criticism and even calls for Cahoon to be replaced.  Personally, I understand the frustration.  Hell, I’m experiencing the frustration up close considering how much this team dominates my life.  However, I stand by what I said before last season, that Toot should be given a chance to bring this current sophomore class through and see what they can accomplish.  That said, if this team, no longer able to fall back on the “lots of freshmen” reasoning for coming up short, doesn’t show progress and get some significant wins this season, I would not be surprised if there is full out rebellion among the fan base going into next offseason.  The pressure is definitely on to win and shake this reputation of underachievers that we’ve seen since 2007.

Matty V covers the goaltending situation.

Dick Baker has a look at Brenden Gracel and Troy Power.

The trainers for the Portland Pirates “prevented tragedy” in regards to Alex Berry.

Providence will host a regional in 2013 as well as Manchester, NH, Toledo, and Grand Rapid, MI.

Preview: #2 Boston College

Hockey East Preview: #2 Boston College Eagles

2010-11 Storyline: Embarrassing showing against Colorado College ends Eagles’ repeat bid.

2011-12 Storyline: BC reloads and fights for the Hockey East championship despite losing its three top scorers.

Player To Watch: Chris Kreider

Player Missed Most: Cam Atkinson

Newcomer To Keep An Eye On: John Gaudreau

Random Fact: Gaudreau was originally slated to go to Northeastern but took the Green Line to Chestnut Hill after Greg Cronin jumped for the NHL.

Usual Beer The Triangle Pre-game Spot: Cityside

Boston College lost a lot of scoring.  Cam Atkinson, Jimmy Hayes, and Brian Gibbons alone accounted for over 45% of the team’s goals last year.  However, as always, Jerry York is probably not too worried.  Why?  He’ll have senior leadership from players like Paul Carey and Barry Almeida, young stars like Chris Kreider, Bill Arnold, and Pat Mullane, and a strong recruiting class with guys like John Gaudreau and Destry Straight.  It may take a little while for these players to get in the groove in terms of scoring, but by the end of the season they shouldn’t have a problem.

While BC lost a bunch of scorers all they lost on defense is Ulf Samuelsson’s son and even some BC fans think that may be addition by subtraction.  The defense will be led by Tommy Cross and Brian Dumoulin, but also features solid blueliners like Patrick Wey, Patch Alber, and Ed Shea.  This experience on defense will be key as BC looks for someone to fill John Muse’s place in net.  They’ll return junior Parker Milner to go along with a couple of freshmen out of the EJHL in Brian Billett and Brad Barone.

They’ll Finish Lower Because: Honestly, I’ll be very surprised if BC finishes lower than 2nd.

They’ll Finish Higher Because: Guys like Kreider and Arnold can make the jump to 25+ goalscorers.

Fear The Triangle Fearless Hockey East Predictions
1. ??
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

Northeastern will be without talented forwards Cody Ferriero and Steve Qualier for Friday’s opener.  The Huskies got pounded by St Francis Xavier in their exhibition match today.

Reports say that Notre Dame will join Hockey East on Wednesday.

News From Other Rinks

I’m taking a break from my weekly View From Section U to, frankly, think of my next topic.  As we turn the corner to August and the end of Summer I want to start to focus on next season.  However, I’m really hoping the online roster gets updated soon so I know exactly what we’re looking at come October and so I can properly preview the team to be.  I fully expect some players will not be returning from next year and I’ve already heard rumors of freshmen not making it to campus this fall due to unforeseen circumstances.  However, we’ll know all that eventually.

There’s really no UMass hockey news to pass along that I know of.  Toot has his slightly reformulated staff in place and is likely on the road recruiting.  Those that follow the current and incoming players on Twitter know that they’re hard at work training.  It’s always nice to see hashtags like #legsfeedthewolf coming from some of the soon to be freshmen.

But while things are quiet, for now, surrounding the UMass hockey program, there are some tidbits to pass along from the world of college hockey.

In alumni news, Jon Quick was highlighted as one of the top shootout goaltenders in the NHL.  It’s fitting that the only game I’ve seen of Quick in the pros was a shootout win against the Bruins in the season before last.

After lounging all summer and losing some prize players and recruits Northeastern has finally realized that they just may need to hire a new coach for the coming season.  The Husky program turns to Jim Madigan to continue to success they saw under Greg Cronin, but without the potential NCAA violations.  If I were a Northeastern fan this hire would scare the hell out of me.  Don’t get me wrong, I always love to see alums take over at their alma mater and Madigan’s history of scout shows he can judge talent.  But the guy has never been a head coach at any level and was last an assistant coach almost 20 years ago.  The Northeastern program scratched their way into the realm of relevance for Boston area hockey.  It’ll be interesting to see where they find themselves in a few years with this hire.  College Hockey News’ Joe Meloni has an interesting read on the hire.

Niagara, Canisius, Robert Morris, and Mercyhurst have had discussions with the CCHA about leaving Atlantic Hockey for the Midwest based conference.  I think this is a great idea.  These schools, especially Niagara, have shown sustained interest in putting more resources into their program but because of the rules of Atlantic Hockey are unable to offer the full allotment of scholarship allowed the NCAA.  The AHA just recently voted down the prospect of raising the scholarship limit this past spring.  I think some or all of this group jumping to the CCHA will do a good job of aligning like minded schools in regards to the goals for their hockey programs.

Former UMass grad assistant Darren Yopyk has taken a job as a scout for the Minnesota Wild.  Yopyk, who was also an assistant for Merrimack, has been coaching the Westside Warriors of the BCHL.  He coach incoming goaltenders Kevin Boyle there last season.

Pereira Goes Undrafted

Despite a very successful freshman season in Hockey East, UMass forward Mike Pereira was not selected in this past weekend’s NHL draft.  Pereira did not dwell on the draft this year, telling Matt Vautour of the Gazette that he would be checking the coverage here and there during the day but wasn’t planning around it.  He did say that going undrafted last year motivated him, so it likely will again.  A strong sophomore effort would go a long way to helping the UMass team have a breakout season.  In fact, following the draft Pereira thanked his supporters on twitter and ended with the hashtag “#missionHEchampionship”.  Sounds motivated to me.  Maybe we can send the NHL scouts a thank you note in a couple years for replacing the chip on his shoulder.

Dick Baker had some interesting comments from assistant coach Red Gendron on what Pereira not being drafted means for the long run.  Interesting in what Red had to say and interesting that it’s Red that’s saying it.  Maybe the news of him going to Yale wasn’t as definite as first thought.

Hockey East did have a number of current and future players picked over the weekend, including Northeastern defenseman Jamie Oleksiak.  With Greg Cronin bolting for the NHL the college future of Oleksiak and some top Husky recruits is in question.

Former UMass commit Zack Phillips was picked 28th overall, joining John Carlson as first round picks who never made it to Amherst.

Around the NHL, Casey Wellman, a restricted free agent, was offered a qualifying contract by the Wild and Danny Hobbs is attending New York Ranger Development Camp for the third straight summer.  Only a handful of camps have started or released their roster so far.  I’ll do my best to pass along news of any other attendees.

Lastly, a bunch of people have asked me about potential roster changes going into next season.  I’ve certainly heard some speculative talk regarding  players who might be looking to leave due to playing time or other reasons, but as of yet I don’t know of anything official.  The roster at has been updated with everyone’s new class year (I think Joel Hanley and Stephen Guzzo were mistakenly switched), but so far there are no deletions from last year’s squad reflected.

Red Leaving For Ivy Green?

Back from vacation means back to writing about UMass hockey.  I had a great trip down to the  mid-Atlantic area.  I got to visit three breweries (Dogfish Head, Ram’s Head/Fordham, Victory), see countless national treasures like the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, and hung out with a few of the original Section U inhabitants dating back to the triangle days.

So did anything happen hockey-wise in this area while I was gone?  Oh yeah, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup!!  What a run.  I’m definitely a college hockey fan first, as that’s how I first got into the game, but seeing the black and gold as the owners of Lord Stanley’s chalice is beyond thrilling.  New England is now the center of the hockey world, let’s hope that continues next fall when UMass and the rest of Hockey East return to the ice.

Of course there was some UMass news during last week as well.  USHR reported that Red Gendron will be leaving Amherst to take an assistant coaching position at Yale under Keith Allain.  Gendron does have a relationship already with Allain from when they previously coached for the US program.  From everything I’ve heard, this report appears to be true even though it’s not official yet.  I’ll be sorry to see Red go.  He’s done a lot for the program from recruiting many of the talented players on the ice to all the hard work he does for things like the annual golf outing.  He’s also been very friendly to fans and supporters of the program.  Whatever the future holds for him, I’ll be rooting for him (except of course when Yale comes to town this fall).

Also in the USHR report was the statement that they’re “hearing” that Red will be replaced by former Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald.  Besides being colleagues in the Hockey East coaching ranks, MacDonald and Toot Cahoon were also assistants together at BU.  First off, I have not been able to confirm that the report that MacDonald is about to be hired is true, but makes sense that he’d be in the mix.  Secondly, I’m not sure I like this news.  I have a lot of respect for the job that Blaise did at Lowell.  Against all of the challenges that surrounded that program, even when it was on the verge of getting mothballed by the Board of Trustees, he was able to consistently recruit some top talent in the league.  However, he was just fired from that job because he was never able to get that talent to its full potential.  At Lowell he had a history of his very best teams underperforming regularly and sometimes dramatically.  Problem is, in recent years UMass has also suffered from that same charge of underperforming compared to its potential.  If Toot is going to bring in someone new to the staff, I would rather the person have a record of addressing some of the team’s recent deficiencies.

My ideal replacement for Red?  Hire alum and current ECHL coach Dean Stork and groom him to replace Toot in a couple years when he likely retires.

In other Hockey East coaching news, remember how friend of FTT Ryan S. Clark reported a couple months ago that Greg Cronin was leaving Northeastern for the NHL and Cronin vehemently denied the report?  Well Cronin was hired today as an assistant coach for Toronto.  Maple Leafs or Northeastern?  Hmm…lateral move at best.  It should be interesting to see if any recruits or current Husky players look to leave with their coach on the move.

UMass has lost out to Providence for the services of South Kent defenseman Anthony Florentino.  Florentino is a talented defenseman who has participated in past US national development camps previously.  This one hurts a little because he has some close ties to the Minuteman program and from what I’ve read is highly regarded.

Congratulations to Conor Allen, Mike Lecomte, Kevin Moore, Colin Shea, and Jeff Teglia who were named to the Hockey East All-Academic Team for this past season.  Lecomte was named to the team for all four of his years at UMass.

Stuff the ballot box!  Vote for Paul Dainton for UMass Play of the Year!

Speaking of voting, don’t forget to take the survey for which UMass license plate you like best.

With the Cup awarded, that means the NHL Draft is just around the corner.  Hockey’s Future has Mike Pereira as one of the top 10 draft eligible players in the NCAA.  Pereira will also be featured in a pre-draft article in the New England Hockey Journal that I’ll be sure to pass along when it’s published.

Dick Baker of the Republican caught up with Greg Mauldin and Justin Braun at last week’s Golf Outing.

Recruit & Alumni Update

And then there was one.  With Oleg Yevenko’s Fargo Force getting swept at the hands of Shane Walsh’s Duquesne Fighting Saints in the second round of the USHL playoffs, Walsh is now the only UMass recruit still playing this season.  Here’s hoping that Walsh and the Saints bring home the Clark Cup!

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 went scoreless in the two playoff games in which he saw action.

Oleg Yevenko -D – Fargo Force (USHL)
52 GP / 4 G / 4 A / 8 Pts / 197 PIM
Yevenko had 4 PIM and no points in his three playoff games.

Very little UMass hockey or even general college hockey news as of late.  Greg Cronin was leaving Northeastern.  And then he wasn’t.  Meanwhile the man who took over at Princeton for Len Quesnelle, who took over for Toot Cahoon is now the first ever head coach for Penn State.

In alumni news, Jon Quick had some amazing games for his Kings, including a shutout and a 51 save effort, but he and his teammates were not able to overcome the 2nd seeded Sharks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Justin Braun saw one game of action for San Jose and hopefully will see more as the Sharks continue towards the cup.

In the AHL Casey Wellman’s Houston Aeros have moved onto the second round where they’ll take on the Milwaukee Admirals.  Wellman had a goal and assist in the first round.  David Leaderer is still on the roster for Milwaukee but didn’t see time in any playoff games so far.  Alex Berry’s Norfolk Admirals were eliminated by the W-B Penguins.

Dean Stork coached his Greensville Road Warriors to the 7th game of the second round of the ECHL playoffs, but they fell there to the Wheeling Nailers.  Still, this season represented an amazing start to Storker’s head coaching career.

Nothing hockey related, but there’s a ton of action on campus this weekend.  Everything starts with senior night for lacrosse tomorrow as Garber Field is illuminated for a rare night game.  Tailgating is being encouraged before the game (though, I didn’t really need the encouragement).  UMass softball will have the second of a key series against Fordham at noon on Saturday which will lead into another tailgating opportunity before that evening’s spring football game.  All are great opportunities to head back to the valley and hang with old and new college friends.