In Andy Katz's blog on ESPN, he again noted that UMass was a team that impressed over the weekend with its win over Saint Louis to retain the No. 1 spot in the Atlantic 10.
Massachusetts: Derek Kellogg survived a difficult stretch at his alma mater and has come through to the top of the standings. The Minutemen, behind Hofstra transfer Chaz Williams, beat Saint Louis and won at Richmond this past week. UMass is in a three-way tie for first in the A-10 with La Salle and St. Bonaventure.
Greg M. Cooper/US PresswireChaz Williams has helped UMass tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 conference.
Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican has a story on UMass being able to bounce back this season from tough games. UMass has not lost back-to-back games this season and that, according to Chimelis, is a strong indication of UMass' growth over previous seasons.
Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican has an update on Paul Dainton returning to Springfield last night to make 37 saves in a 4-2 win over Worcester. One of the goals he allowed was against former teammate Matt Irwin who also assisted on the other goal.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on how the success James Ihedigbo and Victor Cruz are having in the NFL has served as an inspiration and a blueprint to pro-football hopefuls Julian Talley and Tyler Holmes. Talley and Holmes are currently in Florida working out to prepare for various NFL scouting combines.
Several Minutemen are have written "JABS" on items of their equipment to honor Minnesota High School player Jack Jablonski, who was paralyzed in a game on Dec. 30 after a hit from behind. His injury has spurred an outpouring for support throughout the hockey community with players from every level of the game, including the Minutemen, sending well-wishing messages on Twitter with the hashtag #Jabs.
UMass' sophomore defenseman Anthony Raiola, who attended Minnetonka, a rival of Benilde-St. Margaret's, where Jablonski played, organized the effort.
"I felt like as a Minnesotan and as a hockey player I wanted to make the guys aware of what's going on," said Raiola, who has been Tweeting to him from his @Razor5Guy handle. "We wanted to show him support from out here from some guys he doesn't even know."
Zach Schonbrun of Newsday has a story on Victor Cruz's appearance at a Modell's store in Times Square where he gave out salsa-dancing lessons, signed autographs and promoted a new t-shirt with "Cruuuuuuuuuuuuz!" on the front and salsa steps on the back - his trademark touchdown celebration.
Rich Hammond of the L.A. Kings has a feature on Jonathan Quick as he prepares to play in his first career All-Star game which is this Sunday. Coverage of the All-Star weekend begins tonight at 5 PM on the NHL Network. Sunday's All-Star Game will be televised at 4 PM on the NBC Sports Network (formerly VS).
Scott Cournoyer of the Daily Collegian has a look at the start of the second half of the 2011-12 season with the UMass hockey team riding a three-game winning streak heading into this weekend's home-and-home series with No. 11 UMass Lowell.
No matter if you are a Giants fan or a Patriot fan, if you are a UMass fan, then this year's Super Bowl will be a win for you. Congratulations to Victor Cruz and James Ihedigbo who will both be playing in the title game.
Jesse Morgan scored 20 points and the UMass men's basketball team was able to pull away late in the second half for a 79-68 win at Richmond on Saturday. The win moved the Minutemen into a tie for 2nd in the Atlantic 10 standings. UMass will host Saint Louis at the Mullins Center on Saturday. The game will be Big Y Day with $6 general admission tickets available with a Big Y card.
Behind a hat trick from Danny Hobbs and another 35 save effort from Steve Mastalerz, the UMass hockey team defeated Vermont 4-3 to stay perfect at home this season and took its second season series from a Hockey East opponent.
After breaking between semesters, the UMass Women's basketball radio show returns this evening at 5:00 on WMUA 91.1 FM. Be sure to listen to hear the latest on the Minutewomen from head coach Sharon Dawley.
Coming off a bye weekend, UMass is back in action this Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Duquesne. Tip-off in Pittsburgh will be at 7 p.m.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on Emil Igwenagu's performance on Saturday in the East-West Shrine Bowl. Playing mostly as a fullback, Igwenagu had a catch for 21 yards and a performance that helped increase his visibility in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Congratulations to UMass lacrosse alum Rory Pedrick, who was recently named an assistant coach at Plattsburgh State.
Pedrick becomes Plattsburgh's top assistant after an impressive career with Division I University of Massachusetts under Coach Greg Cannella. While at UMass, Pedrick played in the NCAA tournament three times including a second-place finish after losing in the NCAA Final to Virginia in 2006. During the Minutemens run to the final, Pedrick netted goals in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final.
"We are incredibly excited to get a former Division I player from a great program to join our staff," added Plattsburgh State head lacrosse coach Ryan Cavanagh. "He [Pedrick] comes to Plattsburgh with a similar philosophy and will help the Cardinals to continue to be an up-tempo, offensive minded team."
Pedrick was second on the team in scoring in 2006 and was in the top five for three out of his four years. In all Pedrick netted 36 goals and 35 assists in 53 career games for the Minutemen. He was also named to the NEILA Scholar-Athlete team.
After attending UMass, Pedrick began coaching for True Lacrosse in Chicago, Ill. where he was a camp director and all-star coach. Pedrick has also coached at several lacrosse camps including Peak 200 and the Sean Morris Lacrosse Academy.
Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican takes a look at the season of Springfield native T.J. Syner who is one of 77 candidates on the Hobey Baker Award this year. The award honors the top collegiate hockey player.
Following the win on Saturday over Saint Joseph's to improve to 14-4 overall and 3-1 in the Atlantic 10, Andy Katz mentioned UMass in his weekly blog on ESPN.com.
Massachusetts:Derek Kellogg has an infusion of transfers and finally some maturity on this team. The Minutemen are atop the standings in the A-10 with Dayton and Xavier after dropping Charlotte and Saint Joseph's.
• What do we make of the Atlantic 10?
Is the league really good or really average? The jury is still out. Xavier lost to La Salle, which lost to Dayton, which lost to St. Bonaventure, which lost to Duquesne, which lost to Saint Joseph's, which lost to Charlotte, which lost to Saint Louis, which lost to Temple, which lost to Richmond.Who's on first? I don't know, third base? OK, actually it's a three-way tie atop the standings with UMass, Dayton and Xavier all at 3-1. The Musketeers, who have reeled off three in a row after their gigantic skid, seem to be finding their footing. But what to make of everyone else is the question for the league. Perennial tourney entrant Temple is all over the map. Saint Louis, which appeared to be making strides under Rick Majerus, has lost three of its last five. And UMass, winner of eight of nine, is finally turning things around under Derek Kellogg, but doesn't have much to hang a nonconference resume on.
A highlight reel fast-break dunk by Raphiael Putney garnered national attention following the UMass men's basketball team's 72-61 come-back win over Saint Joseph's on Saturday. As impressive as the dunk itself was, Chaz Williams' between-the-legs pass to Putney was equally as sensational making this a true high-flying highlight. It also warrants that the play was all started by a great blocked shot by Maxie Esho that allowed the Minutemen to get out on the fast break.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette looks at the success both the men's basketball team and the hockey team have been having at the Mullins Center this year. The hoops team is 9-0 in the building (10-0 overall at home with a win at The Cage), while the hockey team is 6-0-3 and the only team in the country to be undefeated at home.
UMass erased a 17-point deficit from the first half to improve to 10-0 at home with a 71-62 win over Saint Joseph's on Saturday. Chaz Williams led the way for the Minutemen with 22 points, while Raphiael Putney made national headlines for his highlight reel dunk that landed as the No. 8 Top Play of the Day on Sports Center.
Jon Rosen of Fox Sports West looks at Jonathan Quicks season in 2011-12 and his chances at being a finalist for the Vezina Award thanks to his stellar play in goal this season for the L.A. Kings.
With an NHL-leading six shutouts -- as well as five straight starts and 14 overall in which he yielded no more than one goal -- Quick is in the midst of posting the best season by a goaltender in Kings franchise history. His results would suggest serious consideration for the Vezina Trophy.
UMass' Victor Cruz once again put on a show for New York Giants fans - this time adding an on-side kick recovery to his resume - in Sunday's win over the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
UMass alum James Ihedigbo will be playing in his third career AFC Championship Game after he helped the New England Patriots defeat the Denver Broncos on Saturday. Ihedigbo made two appearances in the AFC title game with the New York Jets prior to joining the Patriots.
UMass and Saint Joseph's meet today for the 60th installment of the series on the hardwood with some early implications in the Atlantic 10 standings. Both teams enter the game coming off Wednesday wins and stand at 2-1 in the league rankings.
Steve Mastalerz not only posted the first shutout of his career last night at the Mullins Center - the freshman goalie posted the first shutout ever against Boston College since the series began in the early 1920's. UMass cruised to a 4-0 win over the No. 4 Eagles to win the regular-season series thanks to a pair of goals from T.J. Syner and a shorthanded goal from Peter DeAngelo.
Jonathan Quick has been named to the NHL All-Star Team becoming the first UMass hockey player to earn the distinction. The game will be played Jan. 29 in Ottawa. Quick is also the first L.A. Kings goalie to be selected in 30 years.
Kevin Zeise of InsideCollegeHockey.com has a look at UMass' recent success to close out the non-conference schedule and what that means as the second half of the season is underway with a full Hockey East slate.
Jeromy Miles is one of the best special teams players on the Bengals. I don't think he has much of a shot at being the future at safety, but he is certainly a contributor to this team. He is a restricted free agent this year, and will probably be back in 2013 for another year of dominance on coverage teams.
Sandra Constantine of the Springfield Republican has a story on Derek Kellogg being featured as the keynote speaker to 400 high achieving high school students on Tuesday at Western New England University.
The students were taking part in the 10th annual MassMutual Academic Achiever Conference sponsored by MassMutual and Western New England University.
Kellogg, who grew up in Springfield and played basketball at UMass under famed coach John Calipari, outlined his odyssey from growing up in the Hungry Hill neighborhood to becoming head basketball coach at his alma mater.
He described his first college basketball coaching stint at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. It only paid $9,500 a year, but Kellogg said he worked 14 hours a day.
"It is not about the money. It is about the ability to do what you want to do," Kellogg said.
"You be the champions. You be the leaders. You push for it," the coach urged the students, telling them to disregard statistics and material on the Internet that discourages them from thinking they can be successful.
Dave Hendrickson revisits last Saturday's Frozen Fenway 2012 win over Vermont with some extended quotes and observations from the games.
Toot and Fenway
While Cahoon has already commented in the preceding section on the event, he holds a special place among hockey people and Fenway Park. He's thrown out a first pitch, coached UMass to Saturday's overtime win, and ...
... well, let's let him tell it.
"I know there are 70,000 people that have said they were at Ted Williams' last game when he hit a home run, but I actually was," Cahoon said. "I was 11 years old and my dad brought me in. There might have been 14,000 people there because I know it was half empty.
"I can remember when Ted Williams hit [the home run], my dad jumping out of his seat, [yelling], 'He did it! He did it!'
"I love this park. I love this city. It's exciting for the team first and foremost and for the school, but on a personal level it's very exciting."
When asked once more about his Fenway notoriety, Cahoon turned humorous.
"It'll be something they put on my gravestone, I suppose," he said. "But I'd rather stay alive and not have that written real soon."
Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican has a story on youth hockey night for Friday's hockey match-up with Boston College. He also writes that because students are still on break, tickets for the game are still available when it would typically be sold out early.
Thanks to clutch free throws down the stretch, the UMass men's basketball team was able to hold off Charlotte on Wednesday night to remain a perfect 9-0 this season in home games with an 85-75 win over the 49ers. The Minutemen return to action on Saturday (4 PM) against Saint Joseph's.
A special night was made historic as senior Michael Marcou scored the game-winner overtime goal on Saturday using his Fenway magic to give UMass a 3-2 win over Vermont in Frozen Fenway 2012. Jeff Teglia earned his first career win as the Minutemen played in front of a crowd of over 38,000 fans - the largest to ever see a UMass hockey game.
Andy Katz of ESPN listed 12 games to watch this weekend including UMass' game at La Salle on Sunday at Noon.
UMass at La Salle (2 ET): That's right -- UMass at La Salle. Dr. John Giannini has the 11-4 Explorers playing much better than expected; the same can be said for Derek Kellogg and his 12-3 Minutemen. La Salle has won nine of its last 10, and its victory over Xavier really gave this team credibility. Massachusetts has won six in a row and is looking for a key road win in the A-10.
Erik Matuszewski of Bloomberg.com has an extensive piece on the meteoric rise of Victor Cruz with the New York Giants. As he closes in on a new contract negotiation, Matuszewski points out:
Cruz has emerged as one of the Giants' most valuable and popular players. His No. 80 jersey is the team's second-best seller for the season behind Manning and the 13th-best seller in the league last month, according to NFLShop.com. Cruz is ninth on the ranking of rising sports stars issued today by Irvine, California-based Brand Affinity Technologies, which calculates consumer appeal based on performance, media exposure, popularity and other indicators among more than 45,000 athletes and celebrities.
A pair of double-double's by Terrell Vinson and Raphiael Putney combined with 20-points and nearly a triple-double from Chaz Williams paved the way as the UMass men's basketball team defeated Fordham last night in the Mullins Center in the Minutemen's Atlantic 10 opener.
Danny Hobbs scored with 37 seconds left in regulation with a 6-on-5 goal in a comeback which forced an overtime 4-4 tie at Providence on Thursday night. Conor Sheary, Michael Marcou and Patrick Kiley each scored goals for UMass which will now head to Fenway Park to take on Vermont on Saturday.
Dana O'Neil of ESPN.com takes a look around the Atlantic 10.
Hofstra transfer Chaz Williams is making a huge difference for UMass and Derek Kellogg. The Minutemen's up-tempo and pressing style has led to a nice cushion of 11 wins headed into conference play.
1. Xavier: Its spot at the top is shaky, but the talent provides the slim edge. 2. Saint Louis: Conklin and Mitchell have the Billikens looking for their first league title. 3. Temple: A lot depends on Randall and Eric for the long haul. 4. Saint Joseph's: The young Hawks have an outside shot at a tourney bid thanks to wins against Creighton and Villanova. 5. Massachusetts: Kellogg has the Minutemen rebuilding project headed in the right direction. 6. St. Bonaventure: Nicholson can't do it alone, but he can do a lot of damage for the Bonnies. 7. Dayton: As always, the Flyers will be a tough out at home. 8. Richmond: A young Richmond team could finish higher if it finds solid footing. 9. Duquesne: The high-scoring Dukes head into conference play on a three-game roll. 10. La Salle: The Explorers, who head into league play as the hottest team with wins in eight of their last nine games, are another team that could finish higher. 11. Charlotte: Braswell and Henry make for a good one-two punch. 12. Fordham: Double-double king Chris Gaston will keep the Rams in a lot of games. 13. George Washington: There's still a lot of work to be done in D.C. 14. Rhode Island: One word: oof.
Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican has a story on UMass defenseman Colin Shea whose older brother Edwin played for Boston College in the first Frozen Fenway and has given advice on the game to his younger brother.
In his blog, Criag Custance of ESPN.com looks at the potential goalies for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. UMass alum and current L.A. King netminder was a member of the 2010 team and is among the top-five players who could currently make the roster.
Steve Serby of the New York Post has a story on the amazing season that Victor Cruz has put together this year for the Giants.
"It's amazing, man," Cruz said. "It's something you dream of when you grow up and you hear all the chants that different stadiums have for different people. For me to have one in New York, it's just a surreal feeling. I get goose bumps every time I hear it."
New York gets goose bumps every time he takes a short pass from Manning and takes it to the house.
Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican looks at UMass' rise over the last few weeks in the RPI entering this week at 79th among 344 Division I Teams. That places the UMass basketball team sixth overall in the Atlantic 10.
On Monday, former UMass All-American and current L.A. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was named the NHL's Third-Star Of The Week after winning all three starts last week and is now 5-0-1 over his last six starts.
Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican looks at Thursday's game at Providence before facing Vermont at Frozen Fenway 2012 on Saturday. Baker calls the game against the Friars big because it is the first league game of the season's second half.
Matt Vautour also has a story in today's Daily Hampshire Gazette looking at the weather forecast for Saturday's outdoor hockey game along with events surrounding the event and the future of Frozen Fenway with quotes from Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on UMass hockey coach Don "Toot" Cahoon as he prepares the Minutemen not just for Frozen Fenway 2012 on Saturday, but also for the game at Providence on Thursday night.