Ice Hockey

 
Top-15 Battle As #11 Hockey Heads To #9 Yale Thursday

Paul Dainton

Paul Dainton

Nov. 18, 2009

#11 Massachusetts (7-2-0, 4-2-0 HEA) at #9 Yale (2-1-2, 1-1-2 ECAC)
Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 • 7:00 P.M. (ET)
Ingalls Rink (3,500) • New Haven, Conn.
Radio: 100.9 FM WRNX
Live Video/Streaming Audio/Stats: www.UMassAthletics.com

#11 massachusetts (7-2-0, 4-2-0 HEA) at #17 Vermont (4-4-1, 3-3-1 HEA)
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009 • 7:00 P.M. (ET)
Gutterson Fieldhouse (4,003) • Burlington, Vt.
Radio: 100.9 FM WRNX
Live Video/Streaming Audio/Stats: www.UMassAthletics.com

HELPFUL LINKS:
Game Notes | Listen Live | Watch Live | Live Stats | Live Blog

UMASS, YALE MEET FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1997 IN TOP-15 BATTLE
• For the first time since 1997, UMass and Yale face-off on Thursday night in a match-up of top-15 ranked teams. The Minutemen have won three of their last four games entering what will be a tough stretch heading into Christmas break. Yale is the first of five ranked teams the Minutemen will face with four of those games on the road.
• UMass ranks 8th nationally in scoring offense with 3.67 goals per game and has the 3rd best power play in the country at 27.9 percent.
• The power play will be key on Thursday night as the bulk of UMass' offense has come with the extra-man advantage. Yale has only converted 2-of-21 power play opportunities, while the UMass penalty kill has gone 11-for-11 since Oct. 30.

BROADCAST INFORMATION
• Thursday's game will be broadcast on 100.9 FM WMUA with John Hennessey calling the play-by-play and Brock Hines calling the color commentary. The pregame show will begin 15 minutes prior to the opening face-off. Streaming video and live stats for the game at Yale can be found at both UMassAthletics.com and YaleBullDogs.com.
• All UMass home hockey games will feature live video streaming and audio through the UMassAthletics.com All-Access Package. Road games featuring streaming video will be listed throughout the season.

 

 

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.

THE SERIES WITH YALE
• Thursday night will be the first time UMass and Yale have met since 1997. All-Time, Yale leads the series 12-5-0 with the first meeting occuring in 1910 in New Haven. The teams played fairly regularly in the early 1910's and 1920's with the series taking a hiatus until the 1970's. Yale won 4-of-5 meetings from 1971-1976 - the final year the two schools met on the ice until 1995. In 1995 and 1997, UMass won both meetings 4-0 and 7-4 resepctively.

UMASS SPLITS WITH NEW HAMPSHIRE
• An overtime goal by David Boehm and a career-high 42 save effort from Paul Dainton gave dramatic effect to UMass' 4-3 overtime win against New Hampshire last Friday night in the Mullins Center. The Wildcats, however, took the Saturday night encore meeting 4-2 thanks to a pair of second period goals that made the difference.
• Both games were extremely clean with UMass committing just three minor penalties on the weekend and New Hampshire posting four. The lack of power plays hurt UMass to some degree as the Minutemen boast a 30 percent conversion rate on the man advantage which accounts for the bulk of UMass' goals this year.

UP NEXT: VERMONT
• The annual pre-Thanksgiving tilt with Vermont is renewed as the Minutemen return to league play. The Catamounts are coming off a Frozen Four appearance in 2009 and are tied for second in Hockey East with seven points (3-3-1) in the early goings of league play. Overall, Vermont is 4-4-1 with a 2-0-1 record in the friendly confines of Gutterson Arena. Tuesday will be the first game for Vermont since Nov. 15 (11 days) where the Catamounts won 3-2 at Boston College for a split weekend.

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 road games at Providence (10/30, 1/30) will be aired on COX Television which is available throughout Rhode Island, while the March 6 game at Maine will be carried by WABI-TV.

BUD LIGHT UMASS HOCKEY SHOW
• The Bud Light UMass Hockey Show is back in full swing with voice of the UMass hockey John Hennessy and head coach Don "Toot" Cahoon. The show airs on 100.9 FM WRNX and UMassAthletics.com. In addition to game previews and recaps, a pair of player guests will be on each week. Brock Hines also joins the show each week with his unique perspective on the team after serving as color commentator for 17 years. Fans can come by the show which is hosted live at The Hangar Pub & Grill on University Drive at 7 PM. Say hi to coach and the players and have some of the best wings in town! For a complete schedule of the show, check UMassAthletics.com where you can also submit your questions during the season to Coach Cahoon and have them answered live on the air.

UMASS ADDS 1060 AM WBIX IN BOSTON
• The UMass Radio Network has agreed to a deal with 1060 AM WBIX in Boston to carry the bulk of the Minutemen's basketball and hockey games in 2009-10. WBIX joins 100.9 FM WRNX in Springfield as the stations carrying UMass hockey this season along with 91.1 WMUA - UMass' student station which will carry selected games throughout the year.
• AM 1060, WBIX "The Business Station" is Boston's only all-business talk radio station. Based in Framingham, the station's daytime signal (40,000 watts) reaches north into southern New Hampshire, west into Worcester and south near Providence, Rhode Island. At night, the station can still be heard clearly throughout the Boston area.

STORY LINES vs. YALE
• UMass is looking to stay perfect against non-conference opponents after starting the year 3-0. Yale, however, will be a formidable test after winning the ECAC last season and making an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
• At No. 9 nationally, Yale is the first ranked opponent UMass has played since defeating No. 2 Boston University in the second game of the season. UMass will head to No. 17 Vermont on Tuesday before playing at No. 13 Quinnipiac (NESN) on Saturday afternoon.
• Despite a home-heavy schedule early in the year, UMass is 2-0 on the road with wins at Providence and at Niagara. Each of the next three games will be on the road.
• UMass started the year 4-0 for the first time since 2003-04 - the same season UMass finished as Hockey East Finalists.
• UMass's 3-0 start in Hockey East is its best ever.
• 12 of UMass' 33 goals scored have been on the power play ... 13 different UMass skaters have at least one goal, while 18 have posted at least one point ... 7 different players have scored game-winning goals.
• Michael Lecomte, Will Ortiz and Justin Braun each have active point streaks alive going into Thursday. Ortiz and Lecomte each have at least a point in the last four games, while Braun has at least one in three games.
• 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.
Brett Watson will once again serve as a team captain. Justin Braun will also wear the `C' on his sweater after being named an assistant captain midway through last season. James Marcou and Martin Nolet will both serve as assistant captains this year.
• Nine returning players dressed in 30-or-more games last season. Seven returners have played in over 60 games for their career led by Justin Braun's 114. Brett Watson and Martin Nolet have each played in over 100 games as well.

NOLET & WATSON NAMED LOWES SENIOR CLASS AWARD NOMINEES
• Seniors Martin Nolet and Brett Watson were both named to the Lowes Senior Class Award Nominee List on Wednesday, Oct. 7. They are two 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.

MARCOU ONE OF NATION'S FRONT RUNNERS FOR HOBEY BAKER AWARD
James Marcou enters the weekend with 93 points in 84 career games. His 32 assists last season was a single-season UMass record, while his 47 points were tied for the fourth-best single-season effort. His 67 career assists is t-4th overall at UMass, while his 93 points is 13th all-time. He needs one points to move into 12th and two to move into 10th all-time.
• Marcou is the active 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).

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. For the season, the unit has 29 of UMass' 91 total points.
• The line features the 2008-09 Hockey East Rookie Leading Scorer in Wellman and the league's regular-season scoring co-leader in Marcou.
• In addition to time on regular shifts, Wellman and Marcou are regulars on the power play, while Syner also plays on the penalty kill.

IN THE NATIONAL POLLS
• UMass earned a #11 national ranking in the USCHO.com Top-20 poll this week with 414 total votes after a 7-2-0 start to the season. In the USA Today/USA Hockey Top-15 poll, UMass was ranked #11 as well after receiving 141 votes.
• This is the second straight week UMass has been ranked in both polls and the fourth straight week in the USCHO.com poll.
• 12 teams listed on the polls are featured on UMass' schedule this year.
• Nine of the 10 teams in Hockey East are represented in the polls.

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 136-168-31 record at UMass in 10 seasons. Overall, in 23 years as a head coach, Cahoon is 316-341-67.

HARD TO BEAT WHEN SCORING 3'S
• UMass is 7-0-0 when scoring three-or-more goals this season and 0-2 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 68 games where UMass scores four-or-more goals, the Minutemen are an amazing 64-3-1. Before the home loss against Vermont (1/25/08), the Mass Attack had not lost a game when scoring four-or-more goals since March 14, 2003 against New Hampshire in the Hockey East Semifinals (5-4).

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.

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.
• Nationally, ranks fifth in power play goals (4), and ranks tied for eighth in points per game for defensemen.

WELLMAN AVOIDING SOPHOMORE SLUMP
• Sophomore Casey Wellman enters the weekend ranking secibd on the team in points with 5 goals and 7 assists. The Hockey East Rookie Scoring leader in 2008-09 has scored three of his four goals on the power play. In his first five games as a freshman, Wellman had one goal and four assists. His biggest goal of the year has been the game-tying goal against New Hampshire (11/13) with just 11 seconds left in regulation.

Power Play Unit Putting Up Points
• The top power play unit of James Marcou, Casey Wellman, T.J. Syner, Matt Irwin, and Justin Braun have been terriffic in the early going of the season. The group has 10 of UMass' 12 power play goals including four from Irwin and three from Wellman. Overall, the UMass power play is converting at nearly 30.0 percent and has scored 12 of UMass' 33 goals. UMass has a power play goal in 5-of-9 games this season including a season-high four against RPI.

It's About Quality, Not Quantity
• UMass has been outshot in 5-of-9 games, but the Minutemen have lost two games when they have outshot their opponent (vs. Providence, vs. UNH). The Minutemen have eclipsed 30+ shots six times including 48 in the loss to Providence. In the loss to Providence, UMass cranked out a season-high 21 shots in the period trying to find the game-tying goal.

Watson A Face-Off Leader
• For the season, Brett Watson leads the team in the face-off dot at 90-for-147 (.612). Watson's best performance of the year was at Niagara where he was 16-for-19.

Third Period Scoring An Edge
• UMass has outscored opponents 13-to-4 in the third period this year bolstered by a season-high three goals in the third period at Providence (10/30). The UMass defense has limited opponents to a .040 shooting percentage in the third allowing the 4 goals on 100 shots.

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 2 goals and three assists in five games played. Mike Donnellan has played in five games on defense paired with Matt Irwin. Kevin Czepiel, Eddie Olczyk and Darren Rowe have each seen significant action in the early portion of the season as well.

GEOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY
• 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.

PROSPECTIVE MINUTEMEN
• 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.

VS. RANKED TEAMS
• UMass is 1-0-0 vs. ranked teams this year after a 3-2 win over #2 Boston Univ. (Oct. 18).
• 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 47-177-20 against ranked opponents including a 4-7-2 record at neutral sites and a 5-20-4 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
• After seven home games, UMass is averaging 5,418 fans which ranks 11th nationally.
• 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. Against UMass Lowell (10/19/07), UMass set a new record for opening game attendance as 5,862 fans came through the turnstiles. 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 - a mark that also ranks as the ninth-best UMass hockey attendance for all venues. UMass had 7,212 and 8,291 fans pack the Mullins Center for the Boston University games (11/14; 2/27).

MULLINS MAGIC
• UMass is 5-2-0 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 68 games at the Mullins Center, UMass is 40-20-8 (.651) including a 14-3-4 mark in 2006-07.
• All-time, UMass is 127-117-27 in the Mullins Center including a 75-101-21 record among Hockey East foes. Under Don Cahoon, UMass sports a 83-63-15 record at home.

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 Mapel 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.

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.

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.

OFFENSIVE OVERVIEW
• 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.

DEFENSIVE OVERVIEW
• 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 who hails from Holyoke, Mass.

QUICK-LY MOVING UP IN THE NHL RANKS
• Former UMass All-American Jon Quick enters the 2009-10 NHL season as the top-ranked goalie in the L.A. Kings program. This past summer he was invited to the U.S. Olympic Training Camp as one of three prospective goalies for Team USA. Last season, his first full NHL season, Quick posted a 21-18-2 record, 2.48 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 44 games.
• This season, Quick is off to another strong start and recently signed a 3-year contract extension with the Kings for $5.4 million.

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