UMass Hockey Alumni Playoff Update
May 29, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. - Over Memorial Day weekend, UMass hockey alumni Alex Berry and T.J. Syner won a championship, while last night former Minuteman netminder Jonathan Quick led the Los Angeles Kings past the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Two former UMass blueliners, Justin Braun and Matt Irwin, helped the Sharks take the defensive-minded series against the defending Stanley Cup Champions to the full seven games.
Berry and Syner were both among the top five scorers in the playoffs for the Reading Royals who captured the franchise's first Kelly Cup on Saturday with a 6-0 Game 5 victory over the Stockton Thunder for a 4-1 series win. In the championship series alone, Syner scored in four of the five contests and had at least one point in each of the five games to finish the series with four goals and six assists. Syner led all ECHL rookies with 21 points (9g, 12a) in 22 playoff games and was a +22.
Berry had four points (2g, 2a) in the Kelly Cup finals, including the game-winner in Game 2 vs. Stockton. He finished fourth on the squad in playoff scoring with 13 points on seven goals and six assists over 21 games.
Berry and Syner are the fifth and sixth Minutemen to win the Kelly Cup, the first since Will Ortiz was a part of the Cincinnati Cyclones' championship squad in 2010.
Last season two former UMass players won titles in their respective leagues, Mike Kostka captured the 2012 Calder Cup with the Norfolk Admirals and Quick led the Los Angeles Kings to the franchise's first Stanley Cup Championship.
Quick will return to the Western Conference Finals for a second straight season with the Kings and currently boasts an NHL-leading 1.50 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage in the playoffs with a record of 8-5 and three shutouts. The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner holds a career playoff GAA of 1.94 over 45 games with a .932 save percentage. Los Angeles awaits the winner of tonight's Game 7 matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings.
Irwin finished his first NHL season having appeared in all 11 of San Jose's postseason games. The Sharks' Rookie of the Year averaged 17:47 in time on ice per-game, had 13 blocks, 14 hits and one assist in the playoffs. Braun appeared in all 11 contests for San Jose, as well, and logged 21 blocks, nine hits and one assist, averaging 19:37 on ice per-game during the postseason.