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Recruits — class of 2020

We have reached the 91% mark in collecting the names of recruits for the class of 2020, with 79 names in our database (last updated on July 7, 2016, with 2 Trinity recruits). You can go here to submit the names and other information about incoming recruits. We are nearing the end in terms of data collection for incoming recruits but are surprised that there is not at least one transfer. Several NESCACs  look to have strong incoming classes, with final rankings not to be established until we have more complete data. As always, we are most grateful for the cooperation and assistance we receive from so many, whether it is parents, other relatives, teammates, coaches, or others, in compiling this list.

 

NCAA decides not to revise OT rules after all

Proving just how conservative the NCAA is, it has decided to abandon a committee-recommended proposal to go to 4-on-4 play in OT. It was deemed to be too radical a change for immediate implementation. More talk and dialogue is required about a proposed change to the OT rules that the NHL has already abandoned for the more decisive 3-on-3 OT option followed by a shoot-out if needed. There is an option for conferences to adopt a 3-3 5-minute OT and then a shoot-out after a regular 5-minute OT.  Because it is optional and could extend games to 2 5-minute OTs and a shoot-out, it is unlikely to be adopted by any conference.

Here is the NCAA’s discussion of the minor rule changes that, in addition to the conference-based OT option, will allow more video challenges during the regular reasons and will require players and officials to wear helmets at all times except for during the national anthem. Does that mean that players will have to keep their helmets on for championship celebrations and photos?

Bowdoin names Jamie Dumont as new head coach

Update: Here is link to a good article from a local newspaper (the Lewiston Sun Journal), which implies that former Bowdoin HC Terry Meagher began to groom Dumont as a possible successor a couple of years ago by turning over various administrative responsibilities to him. It also notes that Dumont sees the incoming class of recruits as one of the strongest classes of recruits during his tenure. And a link to an article in the Maine Hockey Journal that says similar things and goes into more depth on Dumont’s coaching experience in Europe.

Bowdoin, opting to go with continuity and familiarity, named assistant coach Jamie Dumont as its new head coach and replacement for the now retired Terry Meagher. Dumont has served a total of 9 years as Bowdoin’s assistant hockey coach in 2 separate stints (2001-05 and 2011-16) and was the Polar Bears’ primary recruiter during both periods. In between his 2 Bowdoin stints, he was an assistant hockey coach for D1 Bowling Green and garnered extensive international experience as a coach at the professional level in Bolzano, Italy. Dumont is unusually well positioned to to hit the ground running for the Polar Bears as he knows all the existing players and the incoming recruits, Bowdoin’s style of play (with its emphasis on speed and frequent deployment of a 3-back system), the NESCAC world (and its idiosyncrasies and rules), and the larger Bowdoin hockey community. He has a record of success as, during his 9 seasons as Bowdoin’s sole assistant coach and primary recruiter, the Polar Bears finished in the top 4 on 7 occasions during the regular season and finished just outside of the top 4 in 5th place in the 2 seasons in which it did not crack the top 4 (2014 and 2015).  Bowdoin has secured 2 NESCAC crowns (2013 and 2014) and 1 regular season championship (2013) during his past 5 seasons.

Dumont is a 1998 graduate of Oswego State where he was  4-year member of the varsity and served as an assistant coach at Oswego after graduation. He is a Maine native (Lewiston, which is about 25 miles north of Brunswick) but played his high school hockey at longtime New England schoolboy hockey powerhouse Mount St Charles. The 42-year-old Dumont  is only the third Bowdoin coach since 1959 and the 9th coach in Bowdoin’s history.

Congratulations to Jamie Dumont in his new but familiar post. He is the rare direct promotion from within in the NESCAC world as, in recent years, NESCAC schools have tended to look outward for new head coaches, turning  to another D3 school (Middlebury’s Neil Sinclair (Skidmore)), a prep school (Tufts’ Patrick Norton (Tilton)), USNTDP (Trinity’s Matt Greason), or a D1 school (Hamilton’s Rob Haberbusch (associate coach for Army), Colby’s Blaise MacDonald (assistant coach at UMass and former head coach at UMass-Lowell), Wesleyan’s Chris Potter (assistant coach at Brown), Williams’ Bill Kangas (assistant coach at UVM), and Conn College’s Jim Ward (assistant coach at Princeton)). (Both Sinclair and Greason had served prior stints at their respective schools as assistant coaches but had done something else outside of the school during the years immediately prior to being named head coach; Amherst’s Jack Arena followed an idiosyncratic path, going straight from being Amherst’s team captain in 1984 to its head coach in the fall of 1984.)

All-American team & other award winners named

Williams defenseman Zander Masucci was named to the all-American first team (east) to cap off his outstanding career for the Ephs while Trinity forward junior Sean Orlando was named to the third team.  Congratulations to these two outstanding NESCAC players. It was otherwise a bit of a down year for the NESCAC as the ECAC West and SUNYAC led the way with five all-Americans each, followed closely by the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) with four all-Americans.  Contrast this year’s modest NESCAC accomplishments with 2015 when 5 NESCAC players were named all-Americans and 2014 when 6 NESCAC players were named all-Americans.

The coach of the year award (the Edward  Jeremiah award) was shared by UMass-Boston Coach Peter Belisle and Geneseo Coach Chris Schultz. It’s hard to imagine better choices for the CoY award as UMass-Boston, with its underdog status as a commuter school and its turn-around record, scored its first-ever NEHC championship and Geneseo won the SUNYAC championship with a great late season run from the third seed while coping with the pain and grief associated with the brutal and senseless murder of d-man Matt Hutchinson in January.

The winner of the player of the award (the Sid Watson award) was Babson goalie Jamie Murray, who completed a brilliant four-year career for the Beavers. As has been true for 7 of the past 11 years, the PoY award went to a goalie. The runner-up for the Watson award was high-scoring Geneseo forward Stephen Collins.

NCAA QFs: Williams at Geneseo

Williams plays Geneseo Saturday evening in the D3 quarterfinals, with the winner earning the right to advance  to the Frozen Four the following weekend in Lake Placid and the opportunity to meet either Adrian or Wis-Stevens Point on Friday in the semifinals. Geneseo is the slight favorite based on its higher seed and its early season 3-0 win over Williams. Geneseo is making its fifth appearance in the NCAAs and Williams its first. Geneseo has recorded 3 wins in 8 of its post-season NCAA play-off games, with its greatest success happening in 2014 when it registered 2 wins before falling in the semifinals.

Here is an excellent Geneseo-oriented preview from a local newspaper. Critical to Williams’ success will be slowing down the Knights’ high-powered no. 1 line of juniors Stephen Collins (22-27-47) and Trevor Hills (22-18-40) and freshman Anthony Marra (9-27-36), which includes two of the top five scorers in all of D3 in Collins and Hills. Go here for Geneseo’s preview — click on on the link labeled “complete game notes” for details on each member of the Geneseo team and the team’s season. Go here for the Williams’ preview. Williams does not have a top line that is as potent as Geneseo’s but it does have a balanced offense, with several excellent scorers like Dave Italiano, Tyler Young, and George Hunkele and the no. 2 team defense, anchored by one of D3’s best goalies in freshman Michael Pinios (.940 save percentage) and NESCAC’s PoY d-man Zander Masucci.

Geneseo will be providing both a webcast and live stats at this link, with game time 7 pm on Saturday night.

Good luck to the Ephs as they seek to make history by advancing to the NCAA semifinals.

first round previews

Both games will be webcast; go here and click on “schedule”

Salem State at Williams (Saturday at 7 pm):

Salem State (22-5) is very much on a roll, with a 13-game winning streak, MASCAC regular season and play-off championships in hand,  a great goalie (Marcus Zelzer, with an 18-1 record), and a balanced and deep offense, as it prepares for Saturday’s first round game with NESCAC regular season champion Williams. In Salem’s only other NCAA appearance in 2014, it was quickly dispatched by Norwich in an 8-2 first round game. More detail from USCHO’s Tim Costello on Salem. Here’s link to another Costello piece on Williams (18-5-2) as it prepares for its first-ever NCAA appearance against an old foe in Salem, coached by an old friend, Bill O’Neill, to Williams HC Bill Kangas and many others in the NESCAC from the interlock days. Williams will have been idle for a full 2 weeks since its first round elimination by Tufts in the NESCAC play-offs when it takes the ice versus Salem on Saturday night.

UMass Boston at Trinity (Saturday at 7 pm):

After its first championship in either the NEHC or its predecessor (the ECAC East), UMass-Boston is primed for its first-ever NCAAs, with one of the best lines in D3 and a stellar regular season record (21-4-3). More detail here from USCHO’s Tim Costello.  Meanwhile, defending D3 champion and newly crowned NESCAC champion Trinity (21-5-1) is eager to defend its NCAA title, making its fifth appearance in the NCAAs and aware that it will not be able to sneak up on the field this year. One disadvantage for the Bantams is that Trinity is on spring break so some of Trinity’s home ice advantage will be lost.

USCHO’s Tim Costello picks the visiting (and non-NESCAC) team to win each of these first round games by a goal.

preview: NESCAC final four

We have reached championship weekend with the anomalous situation of the NESCAC final four consisting of 1 top-four team (no. 2 Trinity) and 3 bottom-four teams (nos. 5 (Middlebury), 6 (Amherst), and 8 (Tufts)) and all but 4 of the league’s 12 all-stars sidelined for championship weekend. Each of the 3 bottom-four qualifiers has obvious flaws like losing records in conference play (Amherst and Tufts) or more ties (7) than wins (6) in conference play (Middlebury). Not the stuff from which champions are made. And to add to the intrigue, the only surviving top-four team, no. 2 Trinity, has a star-crossed post-season history of finishing no. 3 (2013) and no. 1 (2014 and 2015) in the past 3 seasons, without even reaching the NESCAC finals.

The only member of the top-four regular season finishers to survive and make it to championship weekend is no. 2 Trinity, with nos. 1 (Williams), 3 (Bowdoin), and 4 (Hamilton) all sidelined in the first round. The exact same situation occurred in the 2011 play-offs, which featured no. 2 Williams as the host and no. 5 Bowdoin, no. 6 Colby, and no. 8 Wesleyan as the other 3 semifinalists and which ended with no. 5 Bowdoin as the champion in a 5-2 win over Williams. If past is prologue, perhaps we could crown no. 5 Middlebury . . . Continue reading

preview: NESCAC quarterfinals

[note: all stats are for NESCAC games only]

No. 8 Tufts at no. 1 Williams (4:30 pm, Saturday, Feb. 27):

  • NESCAC play-off history:
    • Williams has played in the championship game 4 times but has yet to win a championship, falling to Amherst (2015), Bowdoin (2011 and 2013), and Middlebury (2000); Williams’ record in NESCAC post-season play is 11-17
    • Tufts has advanced to the semifinals only once but that was in 2015 and involved a 2-1 defeat of eventual D3 champion Trinity in the quarterfinals; Tufts’ record in NESCAC post-season play is 1-7
  • NESCAC play-off records between the teams: Williams and Tufts have met only once in the NESCAC play-offs, with Tufts falling to Williams, 4-3 (OT), in the 2012 quarterfinals
  • This season’s team records:
    • Williams (18-4-2; 14-2-2) (home conf record: 8-0-1)
    • Tufts (9-9-6; 5-8-5) (road conf record: 3-3-3)
  • This season’s record between the teams: A 4-0 Williams win in Williamstown on Jan. 29 and a 2-0 Williams win at the Malden Forum on Dec. 4, with Noah Klag (Williams) and Mason Pulde (Tufts) in net for both games
  • Key players:
    • Williams: David Italiano (F) (4-10-14), Roberto Cellini (F) (5-9-14), Tyler Young (F) (5-8-13), George Hunkele (F) (5-7-12), Zander Masucci (D) (6-7-13), Michael Pinios (G) (1.66, .938)
    • Tufts: Chad Goldberg (F) (6-4-10 in 14 games), Stewart Bell (F) (6-3-9), Clay Berger (F) (2-7-9), Brian Brown (F) (1-7-8), Brian Ouellette (D) (3-4-7), Sean Kavanagh (D) (1-6-7), Mason Pulde (G) (2.15; .946)
  • Key team stats: Williams has the best scoring defense in the league, surrendering a meager 1.5 GPG. It is not too shabby on the offensive end either, with the third-best offense (2.72 GPG), for a differential of 1.32 goals/game. It also has both the best PP (19.2% success rate) and the best PK (a dazzling 88.7% kill rate) so well equipped to deal with all possibilities. Finally, Williams is very disciplined, with the fewest number of PIM in the league (just 6.6 PIM or a huge differential with Tufts of 8.6 PIM/game). Tufts, in contrast, has middle-of-the-pack stats on both the offensive and defensive ends, scoring at a rate of 2.39 GPG (sixth in the NESCAC) while surrendering 2.33 GPG (tied with Bowdoin for no. 6 in the league). Of special concern for Tufts is that it is penalized for more heavily than any other teams, with 15.2 PIM (almost 5 minutes more than the next most penalized team). Tufts has a middle-of-the-pack PK (84.4%), but, because of the large number of PIM, gave up more PP goals than any other team in the NESCAC (14).
  • Summary: This should be Williams’ year to shine in the NESCAC post-season, with no detectable holes in its game, whether we are talking about offense, defense, goaltending, or special teams. It has balance and depth in scoring and two goalies (Pinios and Klag), who are at or close to the top of the NESCAC in key statistical categories. Further, it has been near-perfect in Lansing Chapman, with the only blemish being a 2-2 tie with Hamilton on the final day of the regular season after Williams had clinched the regular season championship. But hold the phone: Tufts, with an equally compelling goaltending duo in Pulde and Nik Nugnes, has the ability to shock in the NESCAC’s one-game elimination format as it did last year when it played no. 1 Trinity in the quarterfinals and eliminated the Bantams from contention for the NESCAC crown in a 2-1 game behind an extraordinary Pulde performance. The odds against a repeat performance by Tufts are long but never say never . . .

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