The Last Meeting
|#11/9 Boston University||1
February 1, 2013
Amherst, Mass. (Mullins Center)
Hockey Dominates In 5-1 Win Over #11/9 BU
The UMass hockey team tallied its fourth win of the season over a nationally-ranked opponent, handing #11/9 Boston University a 5-1 loss at the Mullins Center on Friday evening in front of 7,267 fans, the 15th-largest home crowd in program history. With the win, the Minutemen improve to 10-12-2 overall, 7-9-1 in Hockey East, while the Terriers fall to 13-10-1, 10-7-1 in conference action.
The Last Meeting
February 16, 2013
UMass Hockey Edged By #15/14 UMass Lowell, 3-2
On a night where all the scoring came in the second period, the UMass hockey team was edged by #15/14 UMass Lowell, 3-2, at the Tsongas Center. Following the setback, the Minutemen are now 10-15-2 overall, 7-12-1 in Hockey East action, while the River Hawks improve to 16-9-2 and 10-8-2 in conference play.
Quick Hits: Opening Weekend
- UMass will face the Terriers in a season opener for the first time in program history. It is the only league game being played in Hockey East in the entire month of October.
- The Minutemen's trip to UMass Lowell on Saturday night is their first non-conference meeting with the River Hawks since the 2004 Hockey East Quarterfinals.
- UMass is 7-12-1 in season openers in the Modern Era (since 1993-94). The Minutemen won last year's opener, John Micheletto's head coaching debut, 4-1 over Connecticut at the Mullins Center.
- UMass returns 18 total letterwinners from a year ago, 12 forwards, five defensemen and one goaltender. The Minutemen bring back their three leading scorers from 2013-14 in seniors Branden Gracel (34 pts), Conor Sheary (27 pts) and Michael Pereira (26 pts). Among the 18 returnees are 16 juniors and seniors. Three of UMass five returning defensemen played in 30+ games last season.
- In net, Steve Mastalerz played a career high 15 games in 2012-13, a total of 850:56 minutes. Upon returning from injury, Mastalerz posted a 2.45 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage in the second half of the season and finished the year on a high note, with a 3-0 shutout of Merrimack.
- UMass has added nine new faces to the roster for 2013-14, four forwards (Steven Iacobellis, Ray Pigozzi, Frank Vatrano, Brandon Wahlin), three defensemen (Brennan Baxandall, Ben Gallacher, Marc Hetnik) and two goaltenders (Mac Haight and Alex Wakaluk).
- The group is an experienced bunch and has combined for 1,244 career games in junior hockey.
- Three players in the group have won a combined four medals in international competition. Vatrano captured a gold medal with the U.S. National Development Team at the 2011 IIHF World U-18 Championship and took silver at the U-17 championships in 2010. Gallacher was a silver medal winner in the World Junior A Championships for Canada West in 2010 and Pigozzi captured a bronze medal at the World Junior A Challenge in 2011 as a member of Team USA.
- Two more players wore letters for their respective junior clubs as Baxandall served as Drumheller's captain in 2012-13 and was an assistant captain in 2011-12 and Hetnik served as captain for the Vernon Vipers in 2012-13.
- As a member of the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Wakaluk was MVP of the SJHL and was a finalist for the RBC Canadian Junior Hockey League Player of the Year in 2012-13.
- Wahlin finished his junior career as the all-time leading scorer for the Austin Bruins of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) with 109 career points (33 goals, 76 assists) in 115 career regular season games.
Career Years In 2012-13
- Seven returning Minutemen are coming off years in which they set or matched career highs in either goals, assists or points.
- Career highs in goals in 2012-13: Zack LaRue (2), Troy Power (2), Branden Gracel (14), Colin Shea (3)
- Career highs in assists in 2012-13: Mike Busillo (2), LaRue (3), Gracel (20), Adam Phillips (7), Shea (10), Anthony Raiola (1)
- Career highs in points in 2012-13: LaRue (5), Gracel (24), Shea (13)
A Fine Line
- The line of Michael Pereira, Branden Gracel and Conor Sheary skated together in 17 games in 2012-13 and combined for 52 points during that span on 24 goals and 28 assists. One of the top point producing line combinations in all of Hockey East last year, all three return for the 2013-14 season.
- In those 17 games, the Pereira-Gracel-Sheary line provided 52.2% of the team's goals and 40.9% of the squad's points. Gracel (7g, 11a) and Pereira (10g, 8a) had a team-high 18 points in that stretch, followed by Sheary (7g, 9a).
- Gracel is coming off a breakout junior campaign that saw him log a team-best 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) while also garnering Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star recognition.
Potent Power Play
- With at least one power-play goal in 22 of its 34 contests in 2012-13, the Minutemen owned the No. 3-ranked power play in Hockey East last season with a conversion rate of 18.5% (31 for 168), 25th nationally.
- UMass finished last season tied for 17th in the nation in power-play goals with 31, ninth in power-play goals per-game (.91).
- Last season the Minutemen compiled a streak of nine straight games with at least one power play goal, the longest such streak in the program's Modern Era. Previously UMass had power-play tallies in seven straight contests from Nov.-Dec. 2003.
Dominant At The Dots
- UMass enjoyed great success at the faceoff dots last season, winning 1172 of 2226 (52.7%) in 34 games, good for eighth in the nation as a squad and first in Hockey East.
- Individually, Branden Gracel finished his junior campaign 406-for-682 over the dots in 2012-13 to rank ninth in the nation in faceoff winning percentage (59.5%) and first in Hockey East. At the 2012 Ledyard Classic, he won 40 of 57 draws for a 70.2% clip, while also adding four points in two games.
- The Minutemen were 50% or better at the dots in 25 of 34 games in 2012-13.
Three Years And Counting
- It has been nearly three calendar years since senior Conor Sheary has missed a game for the Minutemen, currently having played in 99 straight contests, including all 34 last season and all 36 as a sophomore.
- Not dressing for just one of a possible 105 games of his career thus far, the only contest Sheary missed came on Oct. 30, 2010 at Providence.
- Sheary played in his 100th career game on Feb. 23, 2013 vs. Maine.
- UMass' nine-man senior class has appeared in nearly 1,000 career games combined with three members of the class (Branden Gracel, Conor Sheary and Colin Shea) having played in all 34 games last season.
- As a group, they have logged 165 goals and 278 assists, led by Michael Pereira's 85 career points. Conor Sheary and Branden Gracel follow with 76 and 65 respectively. Pereira is UMass' active career goals (42) and points leader.
- Three seniors have already hit the century mark in games played: Sheary (104), Pereira (101) and Gracel (100), while three more are nearing the milestone: Joel Hanley (97), Shea (96) and Adam Phillips (90).
Vs. Ranked Teams
- The Minutemen opened up last season with five games against ranked foes over its first six contests and went 4-9-2 against ranked teams in 2012-13.
- UMass was 7-9-1 against ranked teams in 2011-12 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 64-191-24 against ranked opponents including a 6-4-0 record at neutral sites and a 10-26-4 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.
Three Attend Prospect Camps
- Three current members of the UMass hockey team attended NHL prospect camps this past summer. Senior forward Branden Gracel participated in New York Islanders' mini camp and senior forward Conor Sheary and junior defenseman Oleg Yevenko attended New Jersey Devils' rookie camp.
- Gracel was among 26 camp invitees on Long Island and took part in a five-day mini camp loaded with off and on-ice workout sessions. In the Orange vs. Blue Rookie Scrimmage at Nassau Coliseum on July 11, Gracel centered the fourth line for the Orange team.
- Sheary and Yevenko opened up Devils rookie camp at AmeriHealth Pavilion on Monday, July 15.
- With 7.7 seconds to go in the team's July 18 scrimmage, Yevenko fought 6-5, 215-pound Seth Helgeson.
- In the final scrimmage of the week, Sheary scored for the white team at the 8:02 mark of the opening period during a power play portion of the scrimmage.
Minutemen In The NHL
- Four UMass hockey alumni earned spots on opening night National Hockey League rosters for the start of the 2013-14 season. Former Minutemen Justin Braun (2006-10) and Matt Irwin (2008-10) are entering their fourth and second seasons, respectively, with the San Jose Sharks, Jonathan Quick (2005-07) is back with the Los Angeles Kings and Mike Kostka (2004-08) is beginning his first year with the Chicago Blackhawks. The four, all active in the NHL last season, are among UMass' total of nine NHL alumni all time.
- During Matt Anderson's stint with the Devils last season in 2012-13, 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, all within the past decade.
- Irwin was named the 2012-13 San Jose Sharks' Rookie of the Year after registering 12 points on six goals and six assists over 38 games last season. He also appeared in 11 playoff games for the Sharks and had one assist in postseason competition.
UMass Pros Dot The Globe
- UMass currently has 23 alumni currently playing professional hockey around the globe in nine different countries: Austria, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, Russia, Switzerland and the United States.
- In addition to the four former Minutemen currently playing in the NHL, two more are active in the AHL (Conor Allen, Casey Wellman) and six are currently in ECHL preseason camps (Rocco Carzo, Danny Hobbs, Michael Marcou, Eddie Olczyk, Darren Rowe, T.J. Syner).
- Ten alums are currently competing in Europe: Alex Berry (Austria), Chris Capraro (England), Paul Dainton (Italy), P.J. Fenton (Germany), Mark Matheson (Austria), Greg Mauldin (Switzerland), Thomas Pöck (Austria), Corey Quirk (Denmark), Toni Soderholm (Finland) and Stephen Werner (Germany)
- Matt Anderson is in his first year in the KHL, playing with Moscow Spartak. He currently has eight points (6g, 2a) in 14 games.