March 11, 2010
Info On Pregame Receptions In Boston
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Massachusetts (18-16-0, 13-14-0 HEA) at #4 Boston College (21-10-3, 16-8-3 HEA)
Friday-Sunday, March 12-14, 2010 7:00 P.M. (ET)
Conte Forum (7,884) Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Radio: 97.9 FM WPKX (Fri.); 100.9 FM WRNX, 1060 AM WBIX (Sat.-Sun.)
Streaming Video/Audio/Stats: www.UMassAthletics.com
UMass Squares Off With #4 Boston College In Hockey East Quarterfinals
After a weekend which saw the Minutemen defeat Maine on the road for only the fourth and fifth time in school history, the Mass Attack secured the seventh seed for the 26th Annual Hockey East Tournament. UMass will faceoff against the second-seed Boston College Eagles in a best-of-three series beginning Friday at 7 PM at Conte Forum.
Massachusetts finished the regular season tied for sixth in the Hockey East Standings with Merrimack, but were dropped to the seventh seed due to a head-to-head tiebreaker. UMass is in the conference tournament for the eighth straight season and 13th overall.
UMass finished the regular season with 26 points in league play - just two points out of third place in one of the tightest league races in history. The Minutemen's 18 wins were tied for the second most among Hockey East members, while its 13 wins in league play were tied for the third most.
The Eagles have won all three meetings between the two teams this season, including a 2-1 overtime victory on February 26 in Chestnut Hill.
Friday night's game at Boston College will be aired live on 97.9 FM WPKX (Pioneer Valley) with John Hennessey calling the play-by-play, Brock Hines calling the color commentary. The games on Saturday and Sunday (if necessary) will be broadcast on 100.9 FM WRNX (Pioneer Valley) and 1060 AM WBIX (Boston) with Josh Maurer joining the broadcast crew with rinkside reports and interviews. The pregame show will begin 30 minutes prior to the opening face-off. Links for streaming audio, live stats and an interactive game blog can be found at UMassAthletics.com.
Streaming video of all Hockey East play-off games will be provided by B2 Networks. Links for the live internet video action can be found at UMassAthletics.com and BCEagles.com.
The Hockey East Tournament Semifinals and Championship games will also be broadcast on 98.5 FM The Sports Hub in Boston on March 19-20. Those games will also be streamed live on www.985thesportshub.com
UMass In The Hockey East Playoffs
This is the 8th consecutive year that UMass has qualified for the Hockey East Tournament and the 13th time overall since joining the league in 1994-95. UMass is 9-20 in Tournament games. This is the second straight year that UMass has entered the Hockey East Tournament as the seventh seed.
UMass has reached the HEA Semifinals on three occasions (3 of the last 7 years) facing New Hampshire each time: 2007 (L, 3-2 OT); 2004 (W, 5-2); and 2003 (L, 5-4).
UMass reached the Championship Game once - in 2004 in an epic 2-1 three over-time loss to Maine - considered one of the best Hockey East games ever played.
Last season's match-up at Northeastern became the only Quarterfinal series for UMass to go the full three games. UMass won the opening game 2-1 thanks to a pair of third period goals before falling 4-1 in Game Two. A Matt Irwin goal with 35 seconds left in regulation forced Game Three to overtime before Northeastern's Alex Tuckerman advanced the Huskies to the HEA Semifinals, 3-2.
THE SERIES WITH Boston College
Boston College swept the regular-season series 3-0 after a a 3-1 win on Dec. 4 at the Mullins Center, a 7-1 win on Feb. 5 at the Mullins Center and a 2-1 overtime win on Feb. 26 at Conte Forum.
All-time, Boston College is 42-10-3 against Massachusetts and has won six of the last seven meetings.
UMass and Boston College first met in the Hockey East Tournament in 1995 - the Minutemen's first ever apperance in the playoffs. UMass won that play-in game 5-4 before losing to Maine in the Quarterfinals. The only other time UMass and Boston College have met in the post-season was 2005 where the Eagles defeated UMass 2-1 in overtime and 5-1 in two quarterfinal games. Boston College would advance to win the Hockey East Tournament title that season.
UMass last won at Conte Forum on Nov. 17, 2007 by a score of 3-2 thanks in part to 30 saves by Paul Dainton. In his career, Dainton has five 30+ save games against Boston College including a career-high 39 which he set on Nov. 22, 2008. In the Feb. 26 overtime loss at Boston College this year, Dainton made 31 saves.
Last Time Out: UMass Sweeps #17 Maine
The Mass Attack clinched a spot in the Hockey East Playoffs with a weekend sweep on Maine. The Minutemen jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Friday's game, chasing Black Bear goaltender Shawn Sirman. UMass had four players with multi-point games, led by Justin Braun's two goals and an assist, while Paul Dainton made 25 saves in goal.
Massachusetts continued to keep the tempo up in Saturday's contest, netting three goals in the first period and forcing Maine to again make a goaltending change. Braun kept his goal-scoring streak going, netting another two goals while co-captain Brett Watson netted his third goal in as many games and Paul Dainton made 35 game-changing stops to propel UMass into the playoffs.
Up Next: Hockey East Semifinals
The winners of each quarterfinal series will advance to the TD Garden in Boston for the 26th annual Hockey East Championships on Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20. The semifinals will be played Friday at 5 and 8 PM and the title game will be played on Saturday night at PM in Boston. All three games will be broadcast live on NESN.
Trends Over The Last 10 Games
The last 10 games have been a bit of a tough stretch offensively for UMass with the Minutemen going 3-7 in those contests. The Minutemen are averaging 2.1 goals per game and are just 6-for-49 on the power play. The first two periods have been especially tough on UMass as the Minutemen are being outscored 24-14 in those frames.
Defensively, UMass is allowing 3.6 goals per game and allowing teams to average 30 shots per game. On special teams, the defense has allowed the opposition to convert 14-of-47 power play chances (29.8%).
Power Play Needs A Boost
UMass has scored six power play goals in the last 10 games going 6-for-49. For the season, UMass is 13-5 when scoring a power play goal and 5-11 when failing to do so. UMass is 6-1 when scoring multiple power play goals in a game and 2-5 when allowing multiple power play goals.
Looking At How UMass Wins
When UMass wins this season, it's with big offensive outputs. The Minutemen average 4.1 goals per game, take 30.3 shots and are 25-of-92 (27.2) on the power play. Defensively, UMass holds opposing teams to just 2.0 goals per game and has allowed just 12-of-74 (16.2%) power play conversion against. First period scoring is an edge as UMass outscores opponents 18-to-9 along with a big third period advantage (27-to-10).
When UMass loses, those numbers flip-flop with the Minutemen averaging 1.6 goals per game and allowing 4.4 goals per game. The power play drops to 8-for-76 (10.5%) and opponents have converted 20-of-65 extra man advantages (30.8%).
STORY LINES Against Boston College
James Marcou, a 2008-09 All-American and front runner for this year's Hobey Baker Award, scored his 100th point at Vermont (11/24) after posting five assists. He is 8th in the country in points (46) and third in assists (36).
Boston College swept the season series against UMass, 3-0, this season, however in postseason meetings against the Minutemen, the Eagles are 2-1 all-time. Two of the regular-season meetings between the two clubs were close with Boston College winning the first game of the year 3-1 at the Mullins Center and 2-1 in overtime on Feb. 26 in Conte Forum.
As the 7th seed in the Hockey East playoffs last year, UMass faced second-seeded Northeastern in the first quarterfinal series to ever go three games for the Minutemen. UMass won the opening game, lost the second, and fell in overtime in the series finale.
Several UMass Division I individual records are close to being re-written. James Marcou broke the single-season assists (36) record and is closing in on the points records (47). Casey Wellman is closing in on the season goals record (26), points record, and power play goals for a season (10) record. He also needs 8 more power play goals for the career record (22).
The win over Union gave UMass its most wins in the first half of a season in program history (11).
For the second straight season, UMass earned a win over a defending NCAA National Champion with the 3-2 victory over Boston University. In 2008-09 the Minutemen defeated Boston College 4-3 in overtime. UMass is now 2-18 all-time vs. defending national champions. The win over BU was the first in eight games against the Terriers after they won a national championship.
MARCOU One Of Nation's Front Runners For Hobey Baker Award
James Marcou enters the weekend with 125 points in 109 career games. His 36 assists this season broke his single-season UMass record of 32 which he set last year. His 47 points last year were tied for the fourth-best single-season effort. His 92 career assists ranks 2nd overall at UMass, while his 125 points ranks 4th all-time. He needs 2 assists to move into first all-time at UMass with Rob Bonneau (94) and 29 points to move into 3rd with Warren Norris (154).
Marcou is the third leading career scorer among all Hockey East Players.
He became just the sixth All-American at UMass including the third in the modern era joining Thomas Pock (2004) and Jon Quick (2007).
Marcou 9th UMass Player To Get 100 Pts
With his career-high five assist night at Vermont (11/24), James Marcou became just the ninth player in UMass history to eclipse the 100 point barrier. He is the second player to do so in the past two seasons as Cory Quirk finished his career last year with 103 points.
Marcou is just the fourth player in program history to get 100 points as a junior - Pat Keenan, Rob Bonneau and Warren Norris each did so as well.
If Marcou keeps up his scoring pace, he could well move into second place next season. Bonneau ranks second all-time with 166 points, while Keenan holds the school record with 180 points.
Marcou's Five Helpers A Record
James Marcou's five assists at Vermont (11/24) was a UMass Division I record. In fact, no player since Ron Pozzo in 1957 has had five or more assists in one game. Pozzo holds the overall school record with six assists against Wesleyan in Jan. 1957.
Marcou One Of Nation's scoring Leaders
One of the front runners for the Hobey Baker Award this year, James Marcou's 46 points through 34 games ranks him 8th nationally following the wins at Maine. The junior from Kings Park, N.Y., is averaging 1.35 points per game. He now stands 10 points out of the national lead which he held for much of the season.
Marcou's 36 assists is 2nd in the nation overall and on second on a per game basis (1.06 apg). Marcou's 36 assists this season breaks the UMass single-season record which he set last year (32).
Marcou is also third in Hockey East in points, second in assists, and second in power play points (4-19-23).
THE S.W.ar.M. LINE
UMass' top line of T.J. Syner, Casey Wellman and James Marcou may be one of the fastest and creative playmaking trios in the country. Against RPI, the line accounted for eight of UMass' 15 points in the game. Against Maine, the line combined for seven points (3g, 4a) with each player scoring a goal. At Vermont (11/24), Casey Wellman tallied a hat trick in the second period alone, while James Marcou had a career-high five assists. In the comeback win over Union, the line tallied 8 points with two goals from Wellman and three assists from Marcou. For the season, the trio has 104 of UMass' 268 total points.
The line features the 2008-09 Hockey East Rookie Leading Scorer in Wellman and the league's regular-season third highest scorer Marcou.
In addition to time on regular shifts, all three are regulars on the power play, while Syner and Wellman also play on the penalty kill.
Take Him Out To Dinner
Casey Wellman a natural goal scorer, but he may have to take James Marcou out to dinner following the season. Of Wellman's 20 goals this year, Marcou has factored into 16 including all nine power play goals. A natural compliment of speed (Marcou), size (Wellman), and vision on the ice (both), the duo are one of the most dynamic pairs in all of college hockey.
Well, Well Mr. Wellman
Sophomore Casey Wellman enters the weekend ranking second on the team in points (41) with 20 goals and 21 assists. The Hockey East Rookie Scoring leader in 2008-09 has scored 9 of his 20 goals on the power play. His biggest goal of the year has been the game-tying goal against New Hampshire (11/13) with just 11 seconds left in regulation. At Vermont, he posted a hat trick in the second period alone - UMass first hat trick performance since 2007-08.
Wellman is the first Minuteman since Greg Mauldin (21g) in 2002-03 to score 20-or-more goals in a season.
In Hockey East, Wellman is 6th in overall points (41), 3rd in goals scored, is tied for 11th in assists, ranks 6th in power play points (9-9-18), and leads the league in power play goals (9) and tied for game-winning goals (5).
Nationally, he ranks 21st in points per game (1.21), is 15th in goals per game (0.59), ranks 12th in power play goals, and is tied for 5th in game-winning goals (5).
Wellman currently has 74 points in 73 career games with 31 goals and 43 assists.
Marcou, Wellman Semifinalists For Walter Brown
Junior All-American James Marcou and sophomore center Casey Wellman, both among the top leaders nationally in points, have been named semifinalists for the 58th Annual Walter Brown Award. Marcou currently ranks seventh nationally in points, while Wellman ranks ninth in goals scored.
Considered two of the top players in college hockey today, this marks the third year that Marcou is a semifinalist and the first for Wellman. Marcou is one of the top candidates for the Hobey Baker Award as well, while Wellman, who led Hockey East in Rookie Scoring a year ago, is one of the top offensive threats in the league and the nation.
NOLET A Finalist For LOWES SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Senior Martin Nolet has been named a finalist for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award as announced on Feb. 4. Fans can vote online for Nolet at www.seniorclassaward.com. The online vote counts for 1/3 of the ballot, while the other 2/3 is determined by NCAA Division I coaches and national media members.
Nolet and fellow senior Brett Watson were both on the initial list of 20 nominees for the award as UMass is the only team to have two on the initial list.
The award is given annually to the collegiate hockey senior who exhibits character, community service, classroom excellence and is a major contributor on the ice.
WATSON A Nominee For Humanitarian Award
Senior captain Brett Watson is a nominee for the Hockey Humanitarian Award which acknowledges the accomplishments of personal character, scholarship, and the giving of oneself off the ice to the larger community. The Humanitarian Award is meant to be seen as a true measure of a person's worth, not just as an athlete, but as someone who embodies those values that merit our recognition.
Watson is nominated primarily for his work off the ice as part of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, but also for his unselfish play on the the ice, hard work in the classroom, and leadership by example. Watson is a three time Hockey East All-Academic Team honoree, has been given the team's Jack Canniff Unsung Hero Award each of the past three seasons, and is a two-time team captain.
A PAIR OF DRAFT PICKS ANCHOR BLUE LINE
Martin Nolet and Justin Braun started each game last season as UMass' top defensive pair - their first season as line mates. Nolet was a 5th-round draft pick by Los Angeles in the 2006 draft (144th overall), while Braun was a 7th-round draft pick by San Jose in the 2007 draft (201st overall).
Both players have been key on special teams as they are both on the top power play and penalty kill units.
For the two seasons prior to 2008-09, Nolet started every game paired with captain Mike Kostka, while Braun was paired with David Leaderer.
BRAUN ONE OF HEA'S TOP D-MEN
Senior defenseman Justin Braun is not only one of the best defensemen for the Minutemen, but he is one of the best in the entire league. Braun plays on the top power play and penalty kill lines and is one of the team leaders in minutes played. He averages over 30 minutes of ice time per game.
The 2009 member of the Hockey East All-Conference Second Team was the 201st pick overall last season in the NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins who traded his rights to the San Jose Sharks.
He ranks 8th nationally in defenseman scoring (7-21-28). He is 2nd on the team in assists and career pts (85).
Braun had his first career multi-goal game (2g, 1a) at Maine (3/5) and then followed it up with another two-goal game the next night to lead UMass to the Hockey East Play-Offs in 2009-10.
Dainton Continues To Impress
Junior goalie Paul Dainton continues his year-to-year improvement and is establishing himself as one of UMass' best between the pipes. He currently ranks 3rd all-time at UMass with 39 career wins, fourth in minutes played (5,181 minutes), second in goals against average (2.64), fourth in saves (2,299) and second in save percentage (.910). The man ahead of him is none other than former All-American, NHL starter and Olympian Jon Quick.
He made a career-high 42 saves in the win over UNH (11/13) and 39 in the win over #2 Boston Univ. (10/16).
Blueliners Seeing Red, Hearing Fog Horns
Four of UMass' top 11 scorers this year are defensive players led by Justin Braun's 28 points (7g, 21a) and Matt Irwin's 22 points (7g, 15a). Martin Nolet has also figured prominently in the scoring column. Sophomore Michael Marcou has also been bitten this year by the scoring bug posting a career-best 7 goals and 3 assists in 29 games. As a freshman last year, he played in 20 games with one assist.
Ortiz Making A Difference
One of the top players, both in and out of the box score, has been Will Ortiz this season. Ortiz, a native from Framingham, Mass., has a career-high 13 goals and 13 assists as one of UMass' top scorers. However, it has been his play when he hasn't scored that has impressed coaches and fans. The senior has been skating at a torrid pace this season chasing after loose pucks, harrassing opponents defensively and generally giving the Minutemen a spark whenever he is on the ice. With 26 points in 34 games, this is his best offensive season since 2006-07 when he tallied 7 goals, 14 assists in 38 games. Ortiz also has a sense for the clutch goal as his school-record tying eight career game-winners lead the Minutemen - highlighted by 3 in 2008-09.
Irwin Finding His Touch
Sophomore blueliner Matt Irwin didn't just pick up where he left off his freshman campaign, he has carried his play to a whole new level to start the 2009-10 season. The Brentwood Bay, British Columbia native had an eight-game point streak in place until not registering a point in the Niagara series. The streak dated back to last season's Hockey East Quarterfinal series. Irwin is a pivotal part of not only the defensive unit but also as a member of the top power play unit. At UMass Lowell (1/16), he scored the game-winning goal with just 67 seconds left in regulation.
Watson A Face-Off Leader
For the season, Brett Watson leads the team in the face-off dot at 319-of-579 (.551). Watson's best performance of the year was at Niagara where he was 16-for-19.
Watson Becoming A Sniper
Known primarily as one of the top defensive forwards in the country, Brett Watson is known for shutting down offensive players, not for scoring goals himself. However, at Boston College on Feb. 26 Watson took matters into his own hands netting his first goal in 82 games - just the third of his college career. The last time he scored a goal was Jan. 18, 2008 against Providence.
After that game, Watson scored goals in both games at Maine (3/5-6) including a beautiful back-hander in the third game of the series which stood as the game-winning goal - his first career game-winning goal.
Rookies Making Contributions
Several rookies this year have jumped in making an immediate impact for the Minutemen. Rocco Carzo leads the freshman class in scoring with 6 goals and 6 assists. Kevin Czepiel, Eddie Olczyk and Darren Rowe have each seen significant action this season as well.
IN THE NATIONAL POLLS
UMass is receiving votes in both the USCHO.com Top 20 and the USA Today Top 15 polls after being out of both polls for the previous two weeks. UMass was the fifth team receiving votes (17) in the USCHO.com poll and the 8th team receiving votes (1) in the USA Today poll.
UMass had been ranked in both polls for six consecutive weeks (Nov. 9-Dec. 14) before dropping out of the top-15 of the USA Today poll. UMass had been ranked in the USCHO.com poll for 14 straight weeks.
Nine teams listed on the polls are featured on UMass' schedule this year.Six of the 10 teams in Hockey East are represented in the polls.
VS. RANKED TEAMS
UMass is 9-6-0 vs. ranked teams this year which is the program's best all-time record against ranked teams. UMass has 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).
In 2008-09, UMass was 6-12-3 against ranked teams. Of those, UMass faced six teams ranked in the nation's top-5 posting a 6-6-1 record. In 2007-08, UMass was 7-10-1 against ranked opponents including a 5-0-1 stretch against ranked teams through the holiday break. It was UMass best record ever against ranked teams.
All-time, UMass is 54-182-20 against ranked opponents including a 5-7-2 record at neutral sites and a 7-21-4 record against non-conference teams.
UMass posted its second ever win over a No. 1-ranked team on Friday, Nov. 14 in the 5-1 win over Boston University. The first came in 1994-95 with a 4-2 win over No. 1 Maine on Jan. 28. In the modern era, UMass is 2-12-1 against team's ranked No. 1.
FANS SET NEW ATTENDANCE RECORD
UMass averaged a school record 5,313 fans in 15 home games at the Mullins Center - a mark which ranks 12th nationally. In those 15 games, 79,690 fans came through the turnstiles.
With 4,934 fans per home game, UMass ranked 13th nationally in attendance last season.
UMass averaged a program-best 5,017 fans at home games in 2007-08 which was an all-time best for the program. Attendance has increased in each of the last four seasons.
A Mullins Center record 8,389 fans turned out to see UMass defeat Boston College on Nov. 22, 2008 - a mark that also ranks as the ninth-best UMass hockey attendance for all venues. Fans tied that record on Feb. 5, 2009 against Boston College as well.
CAHOON BECOMES ALL-TIME WINNINGEST COACH IN UMASS HISTORY
Head coach Don "Toot" Cahoon became the all-time winning head coach in UMass history on Dec. 12, 2008 with a 4-0 win over American International. The win over AIC gave Cahoon 121 career wins which surpassed UMass Hall of Famer Jack Canniff who had 120 wins in his career from 1967-79. He earned his 300th overall win as a head coach on Dec. 5, 2008 in a 5-1 win over Connecticut.
Under Cahoon's tenure, UMass made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance (2007) and played for the Hockey East Championship title in 2003-04.
Cahoon now has a 147-182-31 record at UMass in 10 seasons. Overall, in 23 years as a head coach, Cahoon is 327-355-67.
UMass is 8-7-0 at home this season and will play 15 home games in 2009-10. Of those, 13 are Hockey East games including 2-of-3 vs. New Hampshire, Merrimack, Boston College, and Vermont.
UMass was 9-8-1 last season at home in front of the Mullins Center crowd.
The Minutemen lost just three games at home during the 2007-08 season going 8-3-4 (.667). The loss to New Hampshire on Jan. 11 broke a 13-game home unbeaten streak which dated back to the 2006-07 season.
Over the last 76 games at the Mullins Center, UMass is 43-25-8 (.641) including a 14-3-4 mark in 2006-07. All-time, UMass is 130-122-27 in the Mullins Center including a 78-106-21 record among Hockey East foes. Under Don Cahoon, UMass sports a 86-68-15 record at home.
Road Heavy Schedule
UMass is 10-9-0 this season away from the Mullins Center with four more road games on the regular-season schedule. The Minutemen started the year 5-2-0 on the road including wins at Yale and at Vermont which snapped unbeaten records by both teams in their home arenas.
UMass' wins at Yale and at Vermont marked the first time since 2003-04 that UMass has won back-to-back regular-season road games. That season, UMass won at Providence and at Merrimack.
The loss at Quinnipiac upset UMass' bid to be the first time since the 1930-31 season where it pulled off the back-to-back road hat trick. That season, UMass defeated Bates (5-2, Jan. 10), Army (5-1, Jan. 14), and St. Stephens (6-3, Jan. 15).
Power Play Unit Putting Up Points
The top power play unit for UMass is James Marcou, Casey Wellman, T.J. Syner/Will Ortiz, Matt Irwin, and Justin Braun this season. The group has 27 of UMass' 33 power play goals including five from Irwin and nine from Wellman. Overall, the UMass power play is converting at 19.5 percent and has scored 33 of UMass' 98 goals. UMass has a power play goal in 19-of-32 games this season including a season-high four against RPI. In six games this year, UMass has scored three-or-more power play goals.
Third Period Scoring An Edge
UMass has outscored opponents 38-to-31 in the third period this year bolstered by a season-high three goals in the third period at Providence (10/30), at Quinnipiac (11/28), and in the comeback win against Union (12/29). The third period is the only regulation period where the Minutemen have outscored their opponents.
Good Start Equals Good Finish
A good first two periods of hockey usually bodes well for UMass. The Minutemen are 14-6 this year when leading or tied after the first period. They are 4-10 when trailing. A lead or tie after the second period is even more crucial as UMass is 17-2-0 (1-14-0 when trailing).
UMass' only win this year when trailing after the second period came against #18 Union when the Minutemen scored three third-period goals for a 4-3 win.
Saturday Night fever
Saturday has proven to be the most difficult time for UMass to record a win. The Minutemen are 5-8-0 on Saturday's, while posting a 13-8-0 record on Friday's or non-traditional game-days. UMass is 2-0-0 on Thursday's and 3-1-0 on Sunday's.
HARD TO BEAT WHEN SCORING 3'S
UMass is 17-4-0 when scoring three-or-more goals this season and 1-12 when failing to.
UMass was 15-4-0 last season when lighting the lamp three times or more in a game and 0-16-3 when they scored fewer than three goals.
FOUR-OR-MORE IS BEST
Over the last 77 games where UMass scores four-or-more goals, the Minutemen are an amazing 72-4-1. Before the overtime loss at Quinnipiac (11/28), UMass had not lost a game when scoring four goals since Vermont (1/25/08). Prior than that, the Minutemen had not lost a game when scoring four-or-more since March 14, 2003 against New Hampshire in the Hockey East Semifinals (5-4).
Best Start since 2003-04
With a 4-0 record, UMass matched its best start to a season since going 4-0 at the beginning of the 2003-04 campaign. That season, the Minutemen finished the year as Hockey East Championship Finalists with a 19-12-6 record.
Quickest 10 Wins In Modern Era History
UMass' 4-1 win over Merrimack on Dec. 12 gave the Minutemen their 10th win of the season and tied the program's fastest date to reach double-digits in the win column. The quickest calendar date which UMass reached double-digit wins was on Dec. 12 of the 2002-03 season - ironically the same date UMass reach 10 this year, just seven seasons later. If you go by games, UMass reached 10 wins the earliest in 1971-72 winning 10 of its first 12 games.
The 2009-10 UMass roster features players from 13 different states and Canadian provinces. From Massachusetts to California and Florida, UMass has a diverse group of players from across North America.
Six Minutemen hail from Massachusetts while four represent New York and Quebec.
Matt Irwin, Paul Dainton and Darren Rowe have the longest journey to get to UMass. Irwin and Dainton hail from British Columbia - a drive which would take over two days. Rowe's drive from Simi Valley, near Los Angeles, would also take roughly two days to complete.
HOCKEY'S A FAMILY LEGACY
For four Minutemen, hockey is truly a family tradition. Djan Lefebvre, Eddie Olczyk, Shawn Saunders and Brett Watson all grew up around NHL rinks as their fathers played professionally. Lefebvre's father, Sylvain, played 14 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Quebec Nordiques, the Colorado Avalanche and the New York Rangers. Olczyk's father, Ed, played 16 season's in the NHL, was head coach of the Pittsburgh Penquins, and currently serves as an announcer for NBC and NHL on Versus. Saunder's father, Bernie, played for the Quebec Nordiques, while Watson's father Jim and his uncle Joe both played 10 years for the Philadelphia Flyers as part of the franchise's only two Stanley Cup Championship teams.
Several Minutemen spent part of their summers working out at NHL Prospect Camps. Martin Nolet (Los Angeles), Justin Braun (San Jose), Casey Wellman (Nashville), Matt Irwin (San Jose), and Rocco Carzo (Philadephia) spent time in the camps as part of their offseason training.
BIG BROTHERS MAKING A DIFFERENCE OFF ICE
Often times, student-athletes gain the bulk of their notoriety through their accomplishments in sport. Five Minutemen, however, are trying to make a difference in young peoples lives off the ice as well. Paul Dainton, Brian Keane, Chase Langeraap, James Marcou and Brett Watson each volunteer with the Amherst Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program. Each Big Brother has a `Little' who they spend time with each week.
Each player had to go through an extensive background check that included visits to their dorm rooms and an interview process that took several months. They spend 3-4 hours per week with their Little Brother whose age ranges from 6 to 13 years.
Renee Moss is the Director of the program and says she is thrilled to have the guys involved with the project that really came to life two years ago under Mike Kostka through an independent study project. Kostka put together a successful Big Brother/Big Sister Bowl-A-Thon to raise money from the group last spring.
Brett Watson is also conducting a systematic evaluation of the local program, which will culminate in a list of recommendations about how to improve the program, and how to recruit more volunteers for his Commonwealth College Capstone Project.
MINUTEMEN EARN ACADEMIC HONORS
12 players earned Hockey East All-Academic honors in 2008-09 - The Minutemen had the third most honorees in the league. This was the fourth consecutive season the UMass had 10-or-more student-athletes honored on the team.
Martin Nolet was also named to the Hockey East Academic All-Star Team for having the highest grade point average among all league defensemen.
Nolet and Brett Watson were named to the Academic All-Conference Team for the third consecutive season.
LOOK FOR DAN MEYERS' MOVIE PICKS ON UMASSATHLETICS.COM
Known to the team as a movie fanatic, Dan Meyers has agreed to share his thoughts and movie critiques with fans with a blog on UMassAthletics.com. Meyers will pick out different movies and share his thoughts on them throughout the season.
Meyers' movie collection is a big bonus for the team when travelling on long bus trips.
UMASS FEATURED NINE TIMES ON TV
Nine regular-season games this season will be televised live including three on ESPNU and three on NESN. Over the summer, ESPNU and COMCAST Cable reached an agreement to add the channel to the regular cable line-up which means the Minutemen will be seen in over 55 million households.
The Jan. 2 Boston University game, the Jan. 10 game at Northeastern and the Jan. 24 meeting against Vermont in the Mullins Center will all be televised on ESPNU.
The Nov. 28 game at Quinnipiac will be shown on NESN, while the Feb. 5 Boston College game and the Feb. 20 Merrimack game, both in the Mullins Center, will be featured as part of NESN's Friday Night Ice game package.
Both games at Providence (10/30, 1/30) will be aired on COX Television (available throughout Rhode Island), while the March 6 game at Maine will be on WABI-TV.
From Maroon & White To Red, White & Blue
Following the 2010 Winter Classic, former UMass All-American Jon Quick was named to the U.S.A. Olympic Hockey Team for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Quick is one of three goaltenders chosen for the team which includes Tim Thomas of the Bruins and Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres.
Quick joins Thomas Pock, Justin McCarthy and John Lyons to represent the UMass hockey program in the Winter Olympics. Pock played for Austria in the 2002 Winter Olympics (Salt Lake City), while McCarthy and Lyons played for the United States in the 1924 Chamonix, France Winter Olympics (the first Winter Olympic games).
Quick had logged the most time in goal this season amongst all NHL goalies prior to the announcement and was 21-13-3 with a 2.62 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.
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 percent (.926), goals against average (2.40), and saves per game (28.96).
MINUTEMEN LOOKING FORWARD TO 2009-10 CAMPAIGN WITH VETERAN LINE-UP
With 21 letterwinners returning and six of its top 10 scorers coming back, the 2009-10 edition of the UMass hockey team looks poised to make this season one to remember. Included in the returning offensive leaders are All-American James Marcou and Casey Wellman, a pair of the top blue-liners in Hockey East in Justin Braun and Martin Nolet, and two seasonsed goalies in Paul Dainton and Dan Meyers.
Marcou finished the 2008-09 league regular-season tied with Boston University's Colin Wilson as the Hockey East scoring leader. Wellman led the league in Rookie Scoring. It was the first time in UMass history that the Minutemen had the league scoring leader and the rookie scoring leader.
With seven of the first nine games at the Mullins Center, a strong beginning to the season could set the tone early for the season. Five of those seven games are against Hockey East rivals including defending national champion Boston University and a pair of home games against New Hampshire.
This will be head coach Don "Toot" Cahoon's 10th season at UMass. He has guided the Minutemen to three Hockey East Semifinal appearances, a Hockey East Championship appearance and UMass' first-ever NCAA Tournament berth and win. He is the all-time winningest coach in UMass program history with 135 career wins.
Offensively, UMass was led by the top scoring line of Alex Berry-Cory Quirk-James Marcou which has attributed almost 35 percent of UMass point total. Marcou returns as one of the nation's top playmakers and finished the 2008-09 Hockey East regular season tied with Boston University sophomore Colin Wilson for the league lead in points. Quirk finished his career as just the seventh player to eclipse the 100-point barrier at UMass.
Sophomore Casey Wellman anchored the "speed" line with wingers T.J. Syner and Shawn Saunders/Will Ortiz. Wellman led the league in Rookie Scoring and ranked in the top-5 nationally. Syner returns for his sophomore season as a versatile player who also sees time on the PK units.
Junior Michael Lecomte anchored Chase Langeraap and Danny Hobbs/Chris Davis, while Brett Watson centered Briane Keane/Marc Conncannon and the graduated Chris Davis/Scott Crowder. These were two of the more physical lines last year, but the Minutemen will have to find players to step up to replace the phsyical play of Davis and Crowder and the size and scoring touch of Berry.
Defensively, UMass is anchored by two NHL draft picks in Justin Braun and Martin Nolet. Braun and Nolet paired together for most of last season. Sophomore Matt Irwin has been a tremendous addition to the blueliners adding size, power, and the ability to join the offensive rush. Doug Kublin and Michael Marcou are two of the more true defensive players, while Kevin Kessler rounds out the group. As a group, the D-men average just over 6-foot-1, 200 pounds.
In goal, UMass has the luxury of two very capable goalies in Paul Dainton and Dan Meyers. Both have fairly similar numbers and have been producing their best career seasons to date. Dainton has played the bulk of the minutes, but Meyers has proven capable of winning big games. Backing them up is the tandom of Kevin Moore who joined the team mid-way through last season and freshman Randy Wolcott.