Hockey Falls To UMass Lowell, 8-2
The UMass hockey team was unable to recover from letting up three in the first and three quick goals in the second period, suffering an 8-2 setback to UMass Lowell at the Mullins Center on Sunday night. With the setback, the Minutemen fall to 3-5-1 overall, 2-5-1 in Hockey East, while the River Hawks improve to 3-5-1 on the year, 2-4-1 in conference play.
Quick Hits: At #20 Merrimack - In its lone game in a weather-altered weekend schedule, UMass dropped a 4-2 decision at #20 Merrimack, the Minutemen's 11th contest of the season against a ranked opponent. - Junior Branden Gracel scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season in the loss, his first career short-handed goal. Since mid-November he is averaging 1.31 points per-game, trailing only Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau and Stephen Whitney in Hockey East. Twelve of Gracel's 26 points on the year have come against ranked foes. - The Minutemen are now tied for third nationally with six short-handed goals and have scored the most by a UMass squad since the program had seven in 2003-04. - Thirty-two of the Minutemen's 71 goals this season have come in non-5x5 situations, an average of 1.28 goals per-game which ranks fourth nationally. - UMass was a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill at Merrimack on Sunday and has allowed just one power-play goal over the past six games, holding its opponents to a 1-for-30 clip (3.3%) on the power play over that span. The Minutemen now have an active streak of 14 straight successful kills, dating back to Jan. 26 at Vermont. - Sophomore netminder Kevin Boyle made a season-high 37 saves in the loss to the Warriors, just the third time this season the Minutemen have been out-shot. - Junior Michael Pereira collected his 11th assist of the season at Merrimack on Sunday and now has seven points in the past five games (4g, 3a). - Senior Eddie Olczyk added his second goal of the season and third of his career, assisted by linemate Zack LaRue. It marked LaRue's first assist of the season and second of his career.
A Fine Line - The line of Michael Pereira, Branden Gracel and Conor Sheary has skated together in 10 games, the past 10 straight, and has combined for 33 points during that span on 15 goals and 18 assists. - During that 10 game span, the Pereira-Gracel-Sheary line has provided 50% of the team's goals and 41% of the squad's points. Gracel has a team-high 13 points (6g, 7a) during that stretch, followed by Pereira (5g, 6a) and Sheary (4g, 5a). - In the victory over #2 Boston College, the Pereira-Gracel-Sheary line contributed six points. The trio teamed up for eight of the Minutemen's 14 points in the convincing 5-1 win over #11/9 Boston University. - Gracel currently leads UMass in scoring with 26 points on 13 goals and 13 assists. He ranks seventh in Hockey East in points, is tied for fifth in goals and is tied for third in game-winning goals with three. Production From The Point - UMass has seen 16 of 71 of its goals come from defensemen thus far this season, including nine of 24 of its power-play tallies, one short-handed goal and one with an extra skater on. The defensive corps averages .80 goals per-game, good for second in the nation. - The Minutemen blueliners have combined for 16 goals and 34 assists in 25 games. - Seven of nine UMass defensemen that have dressed have at least one point on the year. Pereira Picks Up Pair Of Weekly Honors - Junior forward Michael Pereira was honored with a pair of weekly awards after helping the UMass defeat #11/9 Boston University. Pereira was tapped as both the Athletic Republic Co-Hockey East Player of the Week and Co-UMass Athlete of the Week. - It marked the second time this season was named UMass Athlete of the Week, while collecting his second career Hockey East Player of the Week accolade. - In the victory over the Terriers, Pereira notched four points on two goals and two assists and was named the game's No. 1 star.
Boyle Among Leaders In Hockey East Play - Sophomore Kevin Boyle has been stellar in Hockey East action this season as the netminder currently ranks second with a 2.08 goals-against average in conference play and is third in save percentage, .925. - Boyle posted his first career shutout this season against a Hockey East opponent, blanking Providence, 4-0 on Nov. 9. PK Sharp In Second Half - Since returning from the holiday break, UMass' penalty killing has been stellar, allowing just three goals in 40 opportunities over the nine-game span since the Ledyard Classic opener, 7.5%. Included in that was a stretch of 16 straight successful kills that spanned five games. - Over the past six games, the Minutemen have killed off 29 of 30 penalties, 96.7% on the PK. Facing The Best - According to the latest rankings, UMass is13th out of 59 Division I teams in strength of schedule, third among members of Hockey East - Outside of the always challenging Hockey East slate, the Minutemen went 3-3-1 in nonconference play. - UMass' nonconference foes currently hold a combined record of 76-58-24 (.556) with three of the six teams currently residing in the top-20 nationally (#1 Quinnipiac, #10 Yale and #17 Dartmouth). Quinnipiac is currently unbeaten in its last 21 with one of three ties coming against the Minutemen. Potent Power Play - With at least one power-play goal in 18 of its 25 contests, the Minutemen boast the No. 2 power play in Hockey East with a conversion rate of 18.5% (24 for 130), 22nd nationally. - UMass is tied for 10th in the nation in power-play goals with 24, fifth in power-play goals per-game (1.00). - Individually, Conor Allen and Conor Sheary rank tied for second and sixth in Hockey East for power-play points with 10 and eight, respectively. - Five Minutemen--Sheary, Adam Phillips, Darren Rowe, Joel Hanley and Rocco Carzo--are tied for seventh in the conference in power-play goals with three apiece. - Against UMass Lowell on Nov. 18, UMass extended its streak to nine straight games scoring with the man advantage. The streak, which came to an end against Vermont on Nov. 20, was the longest in the program's Modern Era. - The Minutemen had power-play tallies in seven straight contests from Nov.-Dec. 2003. - In 2011-12, UMass was 30-for-165 (.182) in 36 games on the power play to rank sixth in Hockey East. Just How Good? - UMass has faced three of the top-four penalty killing units in the nation this season in New Hampshire (2nd, 78-for-86, 90.7%), Quinnipiac (3rd, 112-for-124, 90.3%) and Dartmouth (4th, 76-for-85, 89.4%). - The Minutemen's power play unit has gone a combined 4-for-18 (22.2%) against those squads and snapped a streak of 32 successful kills for Dartmouth with two power-play tallies against the Big Green. Removing UMass from the equation, the rest of UNH, Quinnipiac and Dartmouth's opponents have combined for a 25-for-277 (9.0%) conversion rate on the power play against them. Career Year For Allen - With 15 points in 25 games, junior defenseman Conor Allen has surpassed his previous career best of 14 points (7g, 7a) in 35 games last season. - With five goals and 10 assists, Allen is currently tied for fourth in defensemen scoring in Hockey East. On the Minutemen roster, Allen is fourth in points. - Allen had a six-game point scoring streak that came to an end in mid-January, a career best and the longest streak by a Minuteman this season. Gracel Collects More Weekly Honors - After knocking off #2 Boston College on the road on Jan. 18, Branden Gracel was tapped as the Hockey East Athletic Republic Co-Player of the Week and UMass Athlete of the Week. He earned the awards for the second and third time this season, respectively. The Minutemen were named the Hockey East Team of the Week for the second time this season, as well. - In the 5-2 victory over the Eagles, Gracel totaled three points on two goals and an assist and was named the game's No. 1 star. The three points and two goals both matched career single-game bests for the junior. - UMass' win over #2 BC was the program's first against the Eagles at Conte Forum since Nov. 17, 2007. - The victory snapped Boston College's 18-game home unbeaten streak that dated back to Dec. 2, 2011. Gracel Rakes In Awards - Adding to his list of accolades following the Ledyard Classic, junior Branden Gracel was selected as the Athletic Republic Hockey East Player of the Month for December. Gracel became the third Minuteman in program history to earn Player of the Month recognition, and the first since October 2009. - Over six games in the month of December, Gracel totaled a league-best nine points on three goals and six assists while winning 85 of 131 faceoffs (64.9%) to help UMass to a 3-3-0 record. Beginning with a three-assist outing in a 6-3 win over Northeastern, Gracel logged his name on the score sheet in five of six contests, including three multi-point efforts. - He capped off the month by helping the Minutemen win the Ledyard Classic with a goal and three assists over the two games on his way to Tournament MVP honors. Gracel assisted the game-winner against Bemidji State and scored his third game-winner of the season in the championship against No. 10 Dartmouth as UMass handed the Big Green their first home loss of the year. For his efforts, the Calgary, Alberta, native was named the Hockey East Player of the Week for the first time in his career and also collected a co-UMass Athlete of the Week recognition. Minutemen Tapped As Hockey East Team Of The Week - UMass was tapped as the Hockey East Team of the Week on Jan. 2 after the Minutemen captured their 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 of the Ledyard Classic, 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. Shea's Short-Hander - Junior defenseman Colin Shea scored UMass' first short-handed goal of the season on Nov. 9 vs. Providence, becoming the first Minuteman blueliner to score with a man down since Justin Braun did so twice during the 2008-09 season with the most recent coming vs. UMass Lowell on Jan. 17, 2009. A Rare Sight - Senior Rocco Carzo's penalty shot goal against Boston University on Oct. 27, was the first of its kind for the Minutemen in more than a decade. Prior to Carzo's goal, Jeff Turner was the last UMass player to score on a penalty shot, Feb. 6, 2000, against UMass Lowell. - The last penalty shot attempted before Carzo's was taken by T.J. Syner against Bentley in the home opener last season, Oct. 14, 2011. Dominant At The Dots - UMass has seen success at the faceoff dots this season, winning 888 of 1649 (53.9%) through 25 games, good for third in the nation as a squad and first in Hockey East. - Minutemen occupy three of the top-seven spots in Hockey East for faceoff winning percentage. Junior Branden Gracel (60.4%, 293 for 485) is third, redshirt sophomore Steven Guzzo (58.5%, 168 for 287) is fifth and junior Eric Filiou (56.5%, 96 for 170) is seventh. Gracel is 12th nationally in faceoff winning percentage. - Junior Conor Sheary went 7-0 against New Hampshire on Nov. 2, including the offensive zone faceoff that lead to the game-winning goal. - Filiou won 10 of 11 faceoffs he took against Boston College on Nov. 4. - In addition to scoring twice against Vermont, Gracel also won 15 of 20 draws. In the Ledyard Classic, he won 40 of 57 draws for a 70.2% clip, while also adding four points in two games. - UMass won 40 of 64 faceoffs (62.5%) at Vermont on Jan. 26, led by a 13 for 14 (92.9%) night by Kevin Czepiel - The Minutemen have been 50% or better at the dots in 19 of 25 games this season. - Two of UMass' six goals at Northeastern on Dec. 1 were scored as a direct result of offensive zone faceoff wins.
Gracel Earns Weekly Honor - Becoming the second hockey player to earn the honor this season, junior Branden Gracel was named co-UMass Athlete of the Week on Nov. 26. - Gracel led the Minutemen to a 1-0-1 week with two goals and an assist. The native of Calgary, Alberta, logged his first career multi-goal game, which included the game-winner, in 3-1 victory over Vermont. He also assisted on a go-ahead goal in 2-2 tie versus #18 Quinnipiac.
Two Years And Counting - It has been over two calendar years since junior Conor Sheary has missed a game for the Minutemen, currently having played in 90 straight contests, including all 36 last season. - Not dressing for just one of a possible 96 games of his career thus far, the only contest Sheary has missed came on Oct. 30, 2010 at Providence.
HE-Men - UMass returns three of its top-four point producers from 2011-12, including juniors Conor Sheary and Michael Pereira who contributed 35 points (12g, 23a) and 34 points (17g, 17a) last season, respectively. - Both are among the top returning scorers in Hockey East this season as Sheary is tied for ninth on the list and Pereira is tied for 11th. - Among the league's top returning goal scorers, Pereira ranks fourth. Junior Mint? - UMass' 13-man junior class has produced 403 points in two-plus seasons as Minutemen. - As a group, they have logged 150 goals and 253 assists, led by Michael Pereira's 78 career points. Conor Sheary and Branden Gracel follow with 67 and 60 respectively. Pereira is UMass' active career goals (37) and points leader.
Packing 'Em In - The Minutemen have played 13 home games this season, four in front of crowds of 7,000+ to rank in the top-20 all-time for UMass hockey attendances. - UMass currently ranks 16th nationally in average attendance (4,425). - The attendance of 7,123 against Connecticut was the highest ever for a UMass home opener and the most for non-conference home game. - The crowd was the 20th-largest all-time for UMass hockey at the Mullins Center. - On Oct. 19, the Minutemen drew 7,678 against Boston College, the 10th-largest home crowd in program history. - Against Boston University on Oct. 27, the Minutemen drew 7,357 to the Mullins Center, the 13th-largest home crowd all time. - UMass ranked seventh nationally in average attendance last year (6,603), second among Hockey East behind Boston College (5th - 7,549).
Captains Named - Head coach John Micheletto announced on Oct. 16 that Rocco Carzo and Kevin Czepiel will serve as the team's co-captains for the 2012-13 season. The senior forwards donned the "C"s for the first time on Oct. 19 when the Minutemen took the ice vs. #3 Boston College. Carzo scored twice in that contest, his first career multi-goal game. 44 Back For More - Junior Joel Hanley is coming off a stellar sophomore campaign that saw him post 25 points (7g, 18a) and record a +12 rating. - Hanley ranked fifth in defensemen scoring in Hockey East in 2011-12 and was third among the Minutemen in assists. He was one of three UMass players to see action in all 36 games last season, joining T.J. Syner and Conor Sheary.
Settling In - The Minutemen opened up the 2012-13 campaign by playing 11 of their first 15 games in the friendly confines of the Mullins Center. - Over the last 120 games at Mullins, UMass is 61-44-15 (.571) including a 14-3-4 mark in 2006-07. All-time, UMass is 147-142-35 in the Mullins Center including an 91-122-26 record among Hockey East foes. - The 2011-12 campaign got off to an especially good start as the Minutemen began 7-0-3 at home prior to their Jan. 27 loss to #11 UMass Lowell. The last such start to a season was in 2007-08 when the Minutemen were 4-0-3 to start the season before falling on Dec. 8 to #7 New Hampshire. UMass finished 2011-12 with a mark of 9-4-3 on home ice. - The Minutemen are currently 5-7-1 at home this season.
Staying Put - UMass will not venture very far from Amherst in 2012-13, with its furthest road trip just a shade over 300 miles, a single game at Maine on Nov. 16. - The Minutemen left the Commonwealth just once over the first two months of the season as their only other away contests during that span were at Boston University, Boston College and Northeastern.
Tiefenwerth Tabbed Hockey East Rookie Of The Week - Freshman K.J. Tiefenwerth was named the Hockey East Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week on Dec. 3. The honor was the first from the conference office earned by a Minuteman this season and marked the first weekly award of Tiefenwerth's career. - With a goal and two assists, Tiefenwerth helped UMass to its highest scoring output of the season, a 6-3 victory at Northeastern on Dec. 1. The points were the first three of his collegiate career.
Vs. Ranked Teams - The Minutemen opened up the 2012-13 campaign with five games against ranked foes over its first six contests and are now 4-6-1 against ranked teams this season, including winning three of the past four. - UMass was 7-9-1 last season against ranked teams with wins over #1 Boston College (11/15), #17 Yale (12/7), #13 Cornell (12/29), #4 Boston College (1/13), #1 Boston University (2/10, at #11 Maine (2/18) and vs. #12 Merrimack (3/2). In 2010-11, the Minutemen posted an 0-16-3 record against ranked teams. - UMass record of 9-8-0 in 2009-10 was the program's best all-time record against ranked foes. UMass had wins over #2 Boston University (Oct. 18), #9 Yale (Nov. 19), #18/17 Vermont (Nov. 24, Jan. 23), vs. #18 Union (12/29), a pair over #15 UMass Lowell (1/15-16), and a pair of wins at #17 Maine (3/5-6). - All-time, UMass is 65-214-25 against ranked opponents including a 6-7-2 record at neutral sites and a 10-26-5 record against non-conference teams. - UMass posted its fourth-ever win over a #1-ranked team, its first-ever on the road, on Feb. 10, 2012, 3-2 at Boston University. It was the squad's second over a #1 on the season. On Nov. 5, 2011, the Minutemen earned a 4-2 victory over Boston College in the Mullins Center. Previously, UMass had defeated then #1-ranked Boston University, 5-1, on Nov. 14, 2008 - also at the Mullins Center. The first came in 1994-95 with a 4-2 win over #1 Maine on Jan. 28. In the modern era, UMass is 4-14-1 against teams ranked #1.
UMass Adds Transfer Dongara - In addition to the squad's four freshmen, UMass has also welcomed a transfer to the fold, forward Rob Dongara who comes to Amherst from Northeastern and will sit out 2012-13 per NCAA transfer rules. - Dongara, who will have two seasons of eligibility with the Minutemen, skated in 36-of-38 games as a freshman at Northeastern in 2010-11 and totaled 14 points on six goals and eight assists. - Scored his first career goal in the Beanpot in short-handed fashion for the Huskies against Boston College in the Beanpot finals; it was such a great goal, it debuted to the nation as the #7 Play of the Day on SportsCenter.
Minutemen In The NHL - UMass hockey alum Matt Anderson made his National Hockey League debut on Jan. 29 with the New Jersey Devils, becoming the third Minuteman to play in his first NHL game this season. - In 2012-13, Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings), Justin Braun (San Jose Sharks) and Mike Kostka (Toronto Maple Leafs) are currently active among the NHL ranks. - During Anderson's stint with the Devils, there were five Minutemen active in the NHL at once, the highest number in history. The program has had four on two occasions, first in 2010-11 and then again to start this season. In addition, Brad Norton, Greg Mauldin, Thomas Pöck and Casey Wellman round out the list of UMass hockey alumni who have seen time in the NHL, nine players in total, all within the past decade. - Kostka made his NHL debut in the Maple Leafs' season opener and helped the Toronto down the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1, in the teams' season opener on Hockey Night In Canada. Kostka saw 23 minutes of ice time in the contest, the second-most of any player for Toronto, and picked up an assist just four minutes, 51 seconds into his NHL career. - Matt Irwin made his NHL debut in the Sharks' season opener, a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames and was on the ice for 19:06, including 51 seconds on the power play. He also registered two shots and two hits in the contest. In back-to-back games, Jan. 24 and 26, he earned his first two NHL points with an assist against Phoenix and a goal against Colorado. Marcou Named ECHL All-Star - UMass hockey alum Michael Marcou earned a selection to the ECHL All-Star team. Marcou, who finished his career with the Minutemen in 2011-12, is in his rookie season. - With the Road Warriors in 2012-13, Marcou has totaled 22 points on six goals and 16 assists over 47 games. - Marcou is the fifth former UMass player over the past three seasons to earn an all-star selection in his respective league, joining Matt Irwin (AHL) and Jonathan Quick (NHL) who were both all-stars in 2011-12 and 2010-11 all-stars Matt Anderson (AHL) and Justin Braun (AHL).
Quick Wins Cup - Former Minuteman Jonathan Quick was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy after leading the Los Angeles Kings to the franchise's first Stanley Cup Championship following the squad's 6-1 series-clinching victory over the New Jersey Devils back in June. Quick, the first UMass player to win the Stanley Cup,became just the third American to collect the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. - Quick allowed only 29 goals in the Kings' 20 playoff games, including just seven in six games in the Stanley Cup Finals as he stopped 125 of 132 shots. He was 16-4 in net during the postseason with a 1.41 goals against average and a .946 save percentage. - The Vezina Trophy finalist started a personal-best 69 games during the 2011-12 regular season and posted 35 of the Kings' 40 wins. Quick logged an NHL-leading 10 shutouts and ranked second in the League with a 1.95 goals-against average and fifth with a .929 save percentage. All three marks were franchise single season records, as well. - At UMass, Quick led the Minutemen to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2006-07 while posting team single-season records with 19 wins, 37 appearances, 1,046 saves and 2,224 minutes played. He finished his sophomore season with a 19-12-5 record, three shutouts, a. 2.16 goals-against average (tied for 11th in the nation) and a .929 save percentage (fifth in the nation). That season, he became UMass' fifth All-American selection earning second-team honors. He still holds program career records for save percentage (.926), goals against average (2.40) and saves per game (28.96).
Kostka Claims Calder - UMass hockey alum Mike Kostka scored twice and added an assist as the Nofolk Admirals completed their sweep of the Toronto Marlies to capture the 2012 Calder Cup. Kostka, for a second straight game, scored the game-winner for Norfolk, who defeated the Marlies, 6-1, in the series-clinching game four. - Kostka, who turned pro following his senior season with the Minutemen in 2007, totaled six goals and six assists over 18 postseason games. The defenseman had 32 points on seven goals and 25 assists in 52 regular season contests with the Admirals in 2011-12. - Kostka became first Minuteman to win the Calder Cup since Matt Anderson took home the title with the Chicago Wolves in 2007-08. - All told, over the last five years, three different UMass hockey alums have played in the AHL's championship series with Casey Wellman leading the Houston Aeros to the Cup finals in 2011-12.