Braun, Irwin, Kostka and Quick mark the largest contingent of UMass hockey alums in the NHL postseason at one time.
April 30, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. - With the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs opening up tonight, four UMass hockey alums will begin their quests to hoist the Cup over the next two days. Justin Braun, Matt Irwin, Mike Kostka and Jonathan Quick make up the largest contingent of former Minutemen in action in the postseason at one time.
Quick is making his fourth postseason appearance and will be attempting to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a repeat of last season's playoff run that saw the Kings capture the Cup and Quick take home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. The Kings kick off first round action tonight against the St. Louis Blues.
Braun has reached the postseason for the third time in his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks and is joined this year in the playoffs by former Minuteman and recently-named Sharks' Rookie of the Year Matt Irwin. The Sharks square off against Vancouver in game one tomorrow night, Wednesday, May 1.
Rookie Mike Kostka has helped the Toronto Maple Leafs return the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2004 and the 2008 UMass grad will be looking to win his second championship in as many seasons. His 2012 postseason heroics were key in the Norfolk Admirals' Calder Cup victory over the Toronto Marlies. The Maple Leafs play the Bruins in the first round with game one of that series set for Wednesday.
Four more Minutemen are a part of teams still alive in postseason action in the AHL and ECHL. Casey Wellman's and Paul Dainton's, Hershey Bears and Springfield Falcons, respectively, both currently hold 2-0 series leads in the AHL Eastern Conference Semifinals. Alex Berry, T.J. Syner and the Reading Royals have reached the ECHL Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Royals currently lead that series, 3-2 over the Florida Everblades.
Justin Braun (UMass Years: 2006-10) & Matt Irwin (UMass Years: 2008-10) - San Jose Sharks