Gracel, Minutemen, Earn Hockey East Weekly Honors
Jan. 2, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. - Junior forward Branden Gracel and the rest of the UMass hockey team have been recognized for their efforts capturing the Ledyard National Bank Classic title with a pair of Hockey East weekly awards. Gracel, who was tabbed the Ledyard Classic Tournament MVP, has been named the Athletic Republic Co-Hockey East Player of the Week, while the Minutemen are the Hockey East Team of the Week.
Gracel posted a pair of multi-point efforts over the tournament's two games with one goal and three assists. The Calgary, Alberta, native had a hand in both come-from-behind victories as he assisted on the game winner vs. Bemidji State and scored the game winner against #8 Dartmouth in the championship game. Gracel also saw success over the dots last week as he won 40 of 57 draws for a 70.2% clip and now leads all of Hockey East in faceoff percentage at 61.8% for the year.
UMass captured its second ever in-season tournament title with the 2-0-0 week, its other coming in 2007 at the Lightning College Hockey Tournament. After erasing a 2-0 deficit to defeat Bemidji State in the opening game, the Minutemen went on to hand #8 Dartmouth its first home loss of the season after starting 7-0-0. UMass tallied two power-play goals against one of the top penalty killing units in the nation en route to its second win over a top-10 team this season and snapped the Big Green's streak of 32 consecutive kills.