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Recruit Update; Q&A With Ryan S. Clark

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
Shattuck won the Tier-I Under 18 National Championship this past weekend 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.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
46 GP / 8 G / 7 A / 15 Pts / 14 PIM
Walsh went scoreless in his one game this week.

Oleg Yevenko -D – Fargo Force (USHL)
52 GP / 4 G / 4 A / 8 Pts / 197 PIM
Yevenko is currently suspended and hasn’t played since March 27th.

Here is a  Q&A I recently did with Ryan S. Clark.  Clark is a Maine grad (but we won’t hold that against him) who writes for the Fargo-Moorehead Forum where he covers the USHL’s Fargo Force and Minnesota high school hockey.  His blog, Slightly Chilled, covers all levels of amateur hockey.  I started following him on Twitter when the Force’s Oleg Yevenko committed to UMass and was able to get his thoughts on UMass’ towering recruit and other topics.  Much thanks to Ryan for his contribution.

Fear The Triangle: Yevenko is currently serving a multi-game suspension and was suspended at least one other time earlier this season. Since media coverage of the USHL is sometimes scarce, would you be able to shed any light on what transpired that led to the most recent or earlier suspensions?

Ryan S. Clark:  Sure. From what I gathered from talking to scouts, he used an elbow and that was enough to warrant a 6-game suspension. He’s got four more games left in the suspension. Oleg’s been suspended quite a few times this season. He’s been suspended twice according to the league’s transaction’s page. NHL and college scouts have both said what hurts him is the fact that he’s so tall that when his elbows move around, they are usually within distance of someone’s chest or higher and there are times where it could be something simple that turns into something worse.

FTT:  Yevenko obviously plays on the edge in terms of his physical style. Would you say his toughness is an asset overall to the Force or do the penalties and suspensions make him more of a liability?

RSC:  It is an asset for sure. Fargo is a physical team and it is no secret that they’re going to make a game tough just for the fact that they like to check and get gritty with people. His toughness would also be an asset because he’s so physically imposing. Coach Jason Herter has said about penalties in general that they are part of the game and that these things happen. With Oleg they happen a lot as he’s set the record for most PIMs in a career by a Force player.

FTT:  How would you describe the strengths of his game?

RSC:  Aside from size, he can actually move the puck pretty well. His shot is also pretty strong too. His shot is a hard one that when accurate can be tough to deal with. Another strength of the game is his positioning. He uses his frame to make sure he can cover the ice and get into the passing lanes. He can also block a shot too.

FTT:  What are the areas you think he needs to work on as he sets his sights on college hockey in a top conference like Hockey East?

RSC:  Speed. He sees a lot of it in practice and in the league, but speed is so killer in Hockey East to where it can be your downfall. He just needs to get faster or continue his adaptation into handling speed when it goes against him. I haven’t seen him get burned at all, then again, he wasn’t going up against the Da Costas of the world every weekend either.

FTT:  Do you know what, if any, other schools were also looking at Yevenko?

RSC:  To my knowledge, I am not sure if others were looking at him. Most players tend to be pretty quiet about all that just because they don’t want to burn bridges. But from what I gathered, other schools were indeed looking at him.

FTT:  How are the Force’s chances to win the Clark Cup?

RSC:  They’d have to be good but they also have to be consistent. The Force have a ton of talent and everyone around the league knows that. They just have to be consistent when it matters. The thing that helps them is that entering last weekend, they were tied for the most road wins in the USHL with 19. Bad news is, they have an average home record. If they can win those home games they can be back in the Clark Cup Finals for a third straight year.

FTT:  As someone who covers both the USHL and Minnesota High School hockey, how would you compare the level of play of the two?

RSC:  Great question. In truth, they are different. The USHL is a faster, physical league that relies on talent and/or systems to win games. That and the defense and goalies on this level are far better than what you see in Minn. HS. Another thing about the USHL that makes it different is the skill level. Take a guy like Force forward Joe Rehkamp for example. He played at Breck in Minnesota and kid was easily the fastest skater in the state. He comes to the USHL where he uses his speed to kill but it hasn’t translated into a lot of goals like it did in high school.

That said, Minnesota HS hockey is very good. There is talent there and it is a great place for recruiters to go. MNHS is like any high school sport where you have a balance of power and the power is pretty much with the schools in the Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul and its suburbs.) Schools like Eden Prairie, Edina, etc. are in locations where kids can train year round and go against the best competition whether it be in the fall with the Elite League or the regular season. Then there are outstate schools like Duluth East, Moorhead and Roseau that get respect and work hard too. They also have kids in the Elite League but they are few and far between compared to the Cities schools. There is talent that can make the jump from HS to college, but most of them need the USHL or any junior league for that matter to make the transition.

FTT:  UMass recruit Kenny Gillespie is playing for Shattuck St Mary’s in Minnesota. Have you seen him play at all and what do you think of his game?

RSC:  I have not had a chance to see him play but I have been following Shattuck because how can you not? They don’t play the public schools, which is something most people outside Minnesota do not know. But know this, if you are playing at Shattuck that is saying a hell of a lot because they don’t just let bums walk into that place. If UMass or any school has someone that is at Shattuck right now, congratulations. You know that kid is going to come in with talent but more than anything, work ethic.

FTT:  UMass recruit Shane Walsh is playing for the Dubuque Saints of the USHL. Have you seen him play at all and what do you think of his game?

RSC:  I’ve seen him a few times this year and he’s not a bad player at all. He’s got some speed about him, which is a plus. The times I’ve seen him, he’s been good but just has had a hard time getting scoring chances. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Dubuque has some monsters and one guy you’re going to hear about if you haven’t already is John Gaudreau, a Northeastern commit. He’s uber talented. Going back to Walsh, he’ll be a good addition for UMass because he can play defense and he doesn’t make a lot of dumb decisions. He’ll be a hardworking forward for them.

FTT:  Lastly, how in the world does a Maine alum end up covering amateur hockey in Fargo, North Dakota?

RSC:  My goal is to cover the NHL and you can’t say you want to do it covering Texas HS Football like I was doing before I moved to Fargo. The Forum had an opening and I told myself that if I was serious about getting back into covering hockey I needed to make this move. Things have worked out to this point and that’s why I am here. Fargo is great and I enjoy being here. But I know there is an end all goal and that is the NHL. I grew up a hockey fan and I always knew I wanted to cover it. I covered the women’s team at Maine for two years and Hockey East women for a year at USCHO.com while I was a senior. My last two jobs got me out of hockey but I really missed the game and covering it. So I made a choice. I don’t regret it at all. Coming to Fargo has been the greatest experience of my career and I know it’ll lead to bigger things. There’s an old African saying, "You can’t hide the sun with your hand forever." My time will come, I know that.

The UMass Athletics site has another entry to Chase Langeraap’s blog following his first journey into pro hockey.

Staying in the ECHL, former UMass captain Dean Stork was named runner-up for the league’s Coach of the Year award.  Stork, in only his first year as a head coach, led the Greenville Road Warriors to the second best record in the league. 

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Recruit Update

The weekly recruit update is a day later than usual because I chose to go to the tremendously disappointing UMass lacrosse game at Harvard last night.  For those who missed it, UMass was up 8-4 in the 3rd quarter only to have the Crimson score 7 of the last 8 goals to take the win.  It was sad to see a UMass lacrosse team fold that way and be missing the usual fire we’ve come to expect from Greg Cannella coached teams.  One positive on the night was my first trip to Cambridge Common where I enjoyed a Pretty Things Fluffy White Rabbits (probably my favorite Pretty Things beer) and tried Long Trail’s Triple Bag for the first time.

Anyway, on to the future Minutemen.

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)
43 GP / 11 G / 42 A / 53 Pts / 66 PIM
Gillespie’s team didn’t play this past week.  This coming weekend Shattuck will be playing in the Tier I National Tournament in Simsbury, CT.  I’m going to do my best to juggle my weekend schedule enough to try to see him play.

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.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
45 GP / 8 G / 7 A / 15 Pts / 14 PIM
Walsh went scoreless in his three games this week.

Oleg Yevenko -D – Fargo Force (USHL)
52 GP / 4 G / 4 A / 8 Pts / 197 PIM
Yevenko had 16 PIM in his last game.  He’s still 2nd in the league in that category.

UMass isn’t mentioned but a blog I just discovered, Slightly Chilled, has an early look at the best recruiting classes in college hockey for next year.

Ryan Durling of Sieves The Day wrote a good analysis of how much scoring each Hockey East team is bringing back next year which, on paper, bodes well for UMass.

I did similar number crunching myself, but only looking at scoring in conference games, so as to have an equal sample size to compare teams.  Of the players coming back next year (as of now), UMass has the 4th, 7th, and 10th leading scorers from this past year with T.J. Syner, Danny Hobbs, and Mike Pereira respectively.

Recruit Update

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
39 GP / 20-16-1 / 3.02 GAA / .902 sv%
Boyle has continued to play well in the second round of the BCHL playoffs, including a 39 save effort in Game 3, though his Warriors find themselves down 2-3.  In each of the two Westside wins Boyle has only allowed 2 goals, while he has allowed 3, 3, and 5 goals in the losses.  He has a 3.00 GAA for the playoffs.  He was injured in the last game unfortunately and his status is unknown.

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)
39 GP / 11 G / 37 A /  48 Pts / 50 PIM
Shattuck has been off these last few weeks.

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.

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.  He will be playing next week in the Beantown Classic next week.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
39 GP / 6 G / 6 A / 12 Pts / 14 PIM
Walsh didn’t have any points on the weekend.

Oleg Yevenko -D – Fargo Force(USHL)
49 GP / 4 G / 4 A / 8 Pts / 167 PIM
Yevenko was +1 with 2 PIM over the past weekend.  Yevenko is second in the league in penalty minutes.

Kevin Moore has another edition of One Moore Minute.  This one pits three American freshmen against three Canadian freshman in feats of skill and strength.  I’ve loving the old school Nintendo music.

The UMass Alumni Association will be awarding former assistant captain Peter Trovato the Distinguished Alumni Award for his charity work with the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund which he founded and oversees.  Congratulations Peter, well deserved.

Yevenko Commits; Recruit Update

Thanks (as always) to Chris Heisenberg the mystery of the 6’7″ recruit has been solved.  He is reporting that defenseman Oleg Yevenko has committed to UMass for this fall.  The Minsk, Belarus native is playing currently for the Fargo Force in the USHL.  He has four goals and four assists and is -1 in 47 games.  He was +13 last year for them.  Judging from youtube, he’s no stranger to dropping the gloves (there’s even one of him fighting former UMass recruit Luke Curadi).

Here’s a piece that Tim How, a good resource for Fargo Force hockey, wrote on him over the summer.  He won USHL Defenseman of the Week a few times last season, including this instance I found where Jeff Teglia was also honored as well.  Yevenko represented his country and was seen as a player to watch in the World Junior Championships First Division, which essentially plays a level below the one we’re used to seeing.  More on Yevenko as I can find it.

While the current Minutemen have extended their season the future Minutemen are already in playoff mode, approaching the postseason, or sadly have had their seasons ended.  Let’s take a look at how they’re doing:

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
39 GP / 20-16-1 / 3.02 GAA / .902 sv%
Boyle played a key role in his team making it to the second round of the BCHL playoffs with a Game 7 shutout of the Trail Smoke Eaters, stopping all 33 shots he faced.  So far in the playoffs he’s 4-3-0 with a GAA of 2.81 and .902 save percentage.  His Warriors will face the Vernon Vipers in Game 1 tonight.

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)
39 GP / 11 G / 37 A /  48 Pts / 50 PIM
Gillespie’s stats haven’t been updated (or he’s injured).

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.

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.  He will be playing next week in the Beantown Classic next week.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
36 GP / 6 G / 6 A / 12 Pts / 12 PIM
Walsh didn’t have any points on the weekend .  His Saints are playing the USA Hockey Program tonight.

 

The Boston Hockey Blog has Mike Pereira as one of their top rookies in Hockey East.

Recruit Update; Triangle Time

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
39 GP / 20-16-1 / 3.02 GAA / .902 sv%
Boyle’s Westside Warriors are currently down 2-1 to the Trail Smoke Eaters in the first round of the playoffs.  Boyle has started all three games, giving up 5 and 4 goals in the two losses and only allowing 2 in their one win.   He has a goals against of 3.66 and a save percentage of .881 in the playoffs.  Though to be fair he could use some help from his special teams as the Smoke Eaters have scored 7 power play goals on 13 chances, including four of four opportunities in last night’s loss.  Game 4 will be played tonight.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Shattuck St Mary’s (MN)
39 GP / 11 G / 37 A /  48 Pts / 50 PIM
Shattuck should’ve started playing after a few weeks off but Gillespie’s stats haven’t been updated.

Zack LaRue – C/F – Markham Waxers (OPJHL)
50 GP / 33 G / 36 A / 69 Pts / 26 PIM
Unfortunately 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.

Steve Mastalerz – G – Kimball Union Wildcats (NE Prep)
? GP / ?-?-? / ? GAA / ? sv%
As soon as I can find a site that has New England Prep stats that doesn’t cost $130 a year, I’ll do my best to update his stats.  I do know the prep regular season is over and the playoffs start soon.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
34 GP / 6 G / 6 A / 12 Pts / 12 PIM
Walsh didn’t have any points on the weekend .  His Saints still have the best record in the Western Conference.

I know I previously wrote that Joseph Manno committed to UMass for next fall.  I did so after two different sources indicated that it was so.  However since then I’ve yet to confirm it independently and am hearing maybe he committed and backed out or never committed in the first place.  Either way I’m very sorry for reporting that he was coming if that ends up not being the case.  While I stand behind my sources in this case as they both seemed solid, the last thing I want to do is spread incorrect information regarding the team.

Rachel Lenzi of the Portland Press Herald has a look at how the Hockey East standings could shake out.  Rachel covers the Maine hockey team and is a great resource to follow for news on the Black Bears this week.

Another Maine paper though is already talking about the playoffs even though there’s a weekend of hockey to play before then.  Cart. Horse.

UMass, and specifically it’s tough time in one goal games, is mentioned on NCAA.com.

USCHO also looks at how the Hockey East standings could finish.

As I wrote last year, the triangle jersey has become the UMass hockey fan’s rally cap, to be pulled on when things look dire and the team is in need of divine intervention.  Despite the struggles of this year I’ve refrained from my calling of triangles.  Sure I thought about it after Merrimack put up double digits on the team (something that didn’t even occur during the 90’s) or when they dropped the season series to Providence.  But for the most part this team, despite their lack of wins, was surpassing expectations.  Remember, they were picked to finish out of the playoffs, as low as last place in Hockey East by some around the league, but have spent most of the year sitting in 7th place.  They’ve slipped a bit and find themselves in 8th now and some really bad things would have to happen both at home and around the league for them to miss the playoffs.  But the chance is there and so it’s time to do our part to make sure UMass doesn’t miss the playoffs for the first time since 2001-02.

So get your hands on a triangle for this weekend’s games.  Pull them out from the back of the closet.  Pick them up from the dry cleaners.  Buy one on eBay.  Borrow from a friend.  Hell, you can even try to take the triangle right off Craig MacDonald’s back if you can find him.  But wear your triangles come this weekend.  Let’s see if the tri-cornered magic can guide our Minutemen into the playoffs, to the Garden, and beyond!

Recruit Update

Late post tonight as I was in Providence crossing another hockey arena off my list.  With my visit to Meehan Auditorium tonight to watch Harvard squeak by Brown 2-1 I’ve now been to all the DI college hockey rinks in New England except Sacred Heart.  I’ve also nearly completed visiting all the ECAC rinks except Colgate and Princeton. 

Surprisingly Meehan was a pretty good place to watch a game.  It doesn’t have nice amenities like multiple food stands, convenient bathrooms, or decent promotional giveaways (tonight was Brown paper clip holder night, seriously).  But there’s not a bad seat in the house and the standing room area is even better as you can see below:

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
39 GP / 20-16-1 / 3.02 GAA / .902 sv%
Another up and down weekend for Boyle.  First he allowed 3 goals in under 30 minutes of play then the next night he got a shutout, his first of the season.  That’s it for the BCHL regular season.  Boyle finished 12th in GAA and 14th in save percentage in the 12 team league.  His Warriors are a 4 seed in the Interior Conference and playoffs start Friday.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Shattuck St Mary’s (MN)
39 GP / 11 G / 37 A /  48 Pts / 50 PIM
Shattuck is in the middle of a stretch where they don’t play from February 10th until the 26th.

Zack LaRue – C/F – Markham Waxers (OPJHL)
50 GP / 33 G / 36 A / 69 Pts / 26 PIM
LaRue has had a goal and three assists in three playoff games so far for the Waxers.  His goal was a gamewinner.  His team is up 2-1 in the series.

 Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
32 GP / 6 G / 6 A / 12 Pts / 10 PIM
Walsh had a great weekend netting a couple of goals in three games.

Joseph Manno -RW – South Kent (NE Prep)
21 GP / 15 G / 26 A / 41 Pts
These stats come from a reader since USHR has priced themselves beyond my taste.  Not sure how often I’ll be able to update these.

The Collegian takes a look at the close contests UMass has been a part of (usually on the losing end).

Former Collegian editor Andrew Merritt has a must read about Greg Mauldin finally getting an extended chance in the NHL in the New England Hockey Journal.  Mauldin was even featured on the cover of this month’s edition.  A timely link as Mauldin will be the feature of my View From Section U column tomorrow.

Recruit Update

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
37 GP / 19-16-1 / 3.06 GAA / .902 sv%
Boyle had a couple wins this past week.  He stopped 25 of 27 shots in the first game and then picked up an overtime win stopping 28 of 32 shots.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Shattuck St Mary’s (MN)
39 GP / 11 G / 37 A /  48 Pts / 50 PIM
Gillespie had a goal and an assist in his last couple games.

Zack LaRue – C/F – Markham Waxers (OPJHL)
50 GP / 33 G / 36 A / 69 Pts / 26 PIM
The regular season is over for LaRue.  He ended up 21st in the OPJHL in points, 11th in goals, and 2nd in shorthanded goals with 6.  The Waxers will be facing Stouffville in the first round of the playoffs.

 Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
29 GP / 4 G / 6 A / 10 Pts / 8 PIM
Walsh had an assist this past weekend.

South Kent’s Joseph Manno did in fact have his official visit this past Friday.   No word on how it went but I did hear his decision will likely come down to UMass, Northeastern, and Providence.  Of course the prospect of the QMJHL looms as well.

Mike McMahon reports that there is no definitive timetable for the return of Merrimack star Stephane Da Costa, but that the injury is not of the season ending variety.  I have a feeling UMass will not be seeing him this weekend but be sure to keep an eye on Mike’s site for all of this week’s Merrimack news.

A couple good reads to prepare for this weekend.  First is a great piece on how former UMass assistant Mark Dennehy has turned around the Merrimack program from UMass alum Steve Buckley.

And Dick Baker has a good piece on the new and improved Lawler Arena.   I agree, the improvements are great and long overdue.  The $20 ticket prices are a bit much however.

It’s been a while since a UMass player was honored with a weekly award, but I’m happy to say that Fear The Triangle was named INCH’s Tweet of the Week!  For the record, I think very highly of Jerry York as both a person and a coach.  In fact I would make the case that he’s the best coach in the country.  I just found his response to the question after the Beanpot win to be hilariously simplistic.

I was disgusted to learn that David Branch, the commissioner of the CHL which actively poaches hockey players like John Carlson or Zack Phillips from colleges and touts a sham of an education option, played hockey for UMass.  He badmouths college hockey as a legitimate avenue to professional hockey even though that’s the route he took.  Can UMass retroactively bill him for the tuition he didn’t have to pay for while he played in Amherst, complete with inflation adjustments and late charges?

Recruit Update

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
35 GP / 17-16-1 / 3.07 GAA / .901 sv%
One way to avoid the up and down weekends Boyle has had this season is to only play him once.  He did and he won, though allowed four goals on 30 shots.  This recap includes a good picture of Boyle making a big save in double overtime.  The video isn’t worth watching though as it only shows goals and therefore Boyle just looks like a sieve.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Shattuck St Mary’s (MN)
37 GP / 10 G / 36 A /  46 Pts / 46 PIM
Gillespie had a couple of assists in his last couple games.

Zack LaRue – C/F – Markham Waxers (OPJHL)
49 GP / 32 G / 36 A / 68 Pts / 24 PIM
LaRue had a goal and an assist in his games last week.  The OJHL put out a release on LaRue’s committment.  Good to hear he’s sound defensively and a top penalty killer.  Sounds like a very similar player to T.J. Syner.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
27 GP / 4 G / 5 A / 9 Pts / 8 PIM
Walsh doubled his goal total for the year with a score in each of the win for his team this past weekend and even got a mention in the USHL weekly update.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that UMass is interested in Cathedral goaltender Zac Rondeau.  Well he’s also being looked at by NHL teams right now as well.

UMass gets a bench minor from INCH for their performance last weekend.  Great, yet another penalty to kill…

The Bruins Draft Watch blog mentioned Mike Pereira as a player who was overlooked in last year’s draft to watch for this coming draft in June.

Recruit Update

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
34 GP / 16-16-1 / 3.06 GAA / .902 sv%
These up and down performances for Boyle are just plain crazy.  On Saturday he gave up 5 goals in a loss but bounced back last night to pick up a win while only giving up 1 goal.

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Shattuck St Mary’s (MN)
35 GP / 10 G / 34 A /  44 Pts / 46 PIM
Gillespie had a goal and four assists in his last two games.

Zack LaRue – C/F – Markham Waxers (OPJHL)
47 GP / 31 G / 35 A / 66 Pts / 22 PIM
LaRue had a goal and an assist in an overtime win against Brampton last week.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
25 GP / 2 G / 5 A / 7 Pts / 8 PIM
Walsh played two games for the Saints this week and was held off the board.

I also have created a list of players who are rumored to be on UMass’ radar.  You can find it at the bottom of the Recruits page.  Again, these are just players who have been mentioned as potential UMass targets.  Information may be old or UMass may not even ever offer these players a scholarship.  In assembling this list I noticed that Nick Gordon who I had written about last winter committed to RIT.  Gordon played locally for Northfield-Mt Hermon and is now out in the USHL. 

USCHO writer Dave Hendrickson makes his picks for who makes it into the Hockey East playoffs with UMass as the 7th seed.

UMassathletics.com has footage of Justin Braun taking part in the hardest shot competition in the AHL All Star Skill competition.  He finished second.  Meanwhile Matt Anderson scored a goal in the 11-8 win for the Eastern Conference.  UNH’s Bobby Butler was named the game’s MVP.

Jon Quick was named the NHL’s #2 star for last week.

Recruit Update; KAEO Alex Kerfoot

Kevin Boyle – G – Westside Warriors (BCHL)
32 GP / 15-15-1 / 3.06 GAA / .902 sv%
Boyle continues to have Jekyll and Hyde weekends, performing well the first night and imploding the next.  This last weekend he picked up a nice win, saving 37 of 40 shots, and then barely made it to the 2nd period the next night allowing 3 goals in this limited time.  Though facing 18 shots in just over 20 minutes of play it doesn’t exactly sound like his defense came to play either.  Boyle also took time last week to visit a local elementary school with teammates

Kenny Gillespie – RW – Shattuck St Mary’s (MN)
33 GP / 9 G / 30 A /  39 Pts / 42 PIM
Gillespie had 7 assists in his last 5 games. 

Zack LaRue – C/F – Markham Waxers (OPJHL)
45 GP / 30 G / 34 A / 64 Pts / 22 PIM
LaRue had 3 assists in his three games this past week.  Here is a good article I found recently regarding LaRue’s committment to UMass and his progression towards become a DI recruit.

Shane Walsh -LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
23 GP / 2 G / 5 A / 7 Pts / 8 PIM
Walsh played two games for the Saints this week and was held off the board.

I’ve learned that UMass is interested in Alex Kerfoot a 5’9″ 150lb ’94 forward playing for West Vancouver in the British Columbia Major Midget League.  He is currently leading the league in scoring with 28 goals and 55 assists in 30 games.  He also had a brief stint in the BCHL at the beginning of the season before dropping down to the MML.  He recently scored the game winning goal in the league’s All-Star Game.  He was also named the league’s player of the month for October.

He was a late round WHL (the western equivalent of the OHL or QMJHL) draft pick of the Seattle Thunderbirds.  Here’s what T-Birds blog “A Bird Brain” had to say about him when he attended their training camp this past spring:

“Pleasant surprise. Small but not afraid to battle, Quick, good skater. has a nose for the puck. usually makes the right decision. Hopefully he can get bigger but lack of size hasn’t been a deterrent.”

I have seen another site (which I now cannot find) say that he’d be a good fit for the NCAA. 

Dick Baker had an interesting post about Paul Dainton’s family being able to catch his games up in Vermont, something they haven’t been able to do much.  In fact a lot of the Minutemen from up north, like Branden Gracel and Mike Lecomte, had their families in attendance.  I say the Daintons fly down from the Arctic Circle each game if it’s going to result in a weekend GAA of 1.00.

Puck Daddy had Jon Quick as their #1 Star for his shutout of the Bruins last night.  Quick is already 4th in terms of career shutouts for the Kings with 13.

Justin Braun has been named to the AHL All-Star team as an injury replacement.  He’ll be joining Matt Anderson on the squad.

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