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Up To The Minute ▲ 2016-17 UMass Hockey Schedule Released

Massachusetts hockey fans can begin to map out their fall and winter weekends as the 2016-17 schedule was released earlier this week.  With the UMass Athletics website temporarily in transition the schedule is only available in Tweet form:

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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:

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View From Section U ▲ 2015-16 FTT Awards

It was a frustrating season but that doesn’t mean the players don’t deserve some recognition for their effort and accomplishments.  I did that somewhat in my season recap posted last night, where I had a few remarks for each and every player.  But now it’s time to honor those players who really stood out with their play this season.  All awards are chosen entirely by me and me alone except the FTT Player of the Year which goes the the player who has accumulated the most Player of the Game awards throughout the year.  So without further adieu, the envelopes please.

Fear The Triangle

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Recap ▲ Third Period Rally Falls Short As Minutemen Lose To #12 Yale In OT

The good news is despite missing some key players the Massachusetts hockey team did much better against 12th ranked Yale, a team that had beaten them 6-1 earlier in the season.  The bad news is the result was another UMass loss as Yale prevailed 3-2 in overtime.  The Minutemen overcame a 2-0 deficit and some dominant play by the Bulldogs through the first two periods to stage a 3rd period rally, netting two in the 3rd period and sending the game to overtime.  But an ill-timed penalty in the extra frame put the Minutemen at a disadvantage and Yale got the game winner just seconds after the Bulldog power play expired.

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View From Section U ▲ Minutemen Look To Reverse Second Half Struggles

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the challenges ahead for the Minutemen in the second half of the season in terms of schedule.  Half of their 16 games left on the season will come against teams at the top of the KRACH and USCHO rankings.  With the team currently at 6-8-4 on the season it’ll be a tough road for UMass to get back to .500 or better.  But it’s not just the opposing teams that the Minutemen have to contend with.  UMass has historically done poorly in the games that come after the holiday break.

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News ▲ Brian Williams Commits To UMass; Minutemen Face Team USA Friday

The Massachusetts hockey team picked up a commitment from forward Brian Williams (insert exaggerating newscaster joke here) today.  The news was first reported by Over The Boards on Twitter:

Williams later took to Twitter to announce his commitment as well:

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View From Section U ▲ 2015: The Year Of Walsh

Friday marks the last Massachusetts hockey game of 2015 and there is likely no one who will be more sorry to see the year end than Minuteman senior Shane Walsh.  To say the West Roxbury native had a breakthrough performance during the calendar year would be an understatement.  Walsh has not only gone from a grinder, third-winger type to one of UMass main offensive contributors since last January, but he’s now one of the top goal scorers in all of college hockey.  That transformation 12 months ago was nearly instantaneous and simply spectacular to watch, especially since he has a knack to score right when the team needs it most.  As the year comes to a close it’s worth taking another look at Walsh’s amazing exploits.

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Weekend Wrap-Around ▲ Lagesson Named To Sweden’s Preliminary World Junior Roster

Before jumping into the usual recap of the weekend that was, the big news today was that UMass defenseman William Lagesson was named to the preliminary World Junior Championship roster for his native Sweden.  This isn’t a big surprise since he played for the Swedish junior team last winter.  The last Minuteman to play in the World Junior Championships was Stephen Werner in 2004.

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Recap ▲ Boston College Blitzes UMass 7-0

Boston College 7.  Massachusetts 0.

These blowouts were supposed to be a thing of the past.  Over the summer Massachusetts hockey coach John Micheletto re-tooled his defense, bringing in four players who are either already drafted, attended an NHL prospect camp this summer, or are projected to be drafted next June.  Or some combination of all three.  In net, Micheletto finally landed the high profile goaltender he’s been coveting, with the top Junior A player in all of Canada landing in Amherst during the offseason.  Yet, here we are a month into the season and UMass finds itself 56th in the country in goals against after giving up 23 goals in the last 4 games.  They are also 56th in penalty kill with opponents scoring a third of the time on the power play.  Players leave.  New players come in.  But the program continues to be dogged by major defensive deficiencies.

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Weekend Preview ▲ Minutemen Head West To Open Season Against Colorado College

Colorado College Tigers 0-0-0 (0-0-0) T-1st NCHC

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

The Massachusetts hockey program travels to the foot of the Rockies to open the 2015-16 season.  The Minutemen taking on the Colorado College Tigers to kick off the season won’t be seen as one of the marquee opening weekend matchups, but it is a very interesting one.  And while I don’t know if I’d go as far as saying whatever happens this weekend will be a precursor to the entire season, it should at least give UMass fans a glimpse of what the team may be capable of in the early going.

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