Men’s Preview: UVM @ UMass

Well, this has been the week from hell.

Before I go any further, I’d like to announce that for every goal UVM scores this week – away to UMass and home to Dartmouth on Tuesday – I will be donating $5 to HOPE Works, a local shelter for victims of sexual violence. Even if we repeat that 11-1 romp in Amherst a few years back.

Now, back to the hockey…

It’s no secret. Amherst is terrible. Their last winning season was a decade ago when Jonathan Quick willed them into the national quarterfinals. New head coach Mike Carvel has had a very spotty start to his career at Mullins, with the team’s two lone wins being home wins against pathetic Army and Colorado College. Oh, and they’ll be playing a back-to-back when the Cats come calling – they play Merrimack Friday night. This team is extremely young (with only 3 seniors), so maybe the future’s brighter than the present, but who knows.

In goal, the Minutemen have rotated between freshman Ryan Wischow and sophomore Nic Reynard. Reynard may have the seniority on Wischow, but he’s been worse (and that’s saying something, as Wischow’s SV% is a mere .907), so I’d expect Wischow in goal on Saturday.

Defensively, UMass is a dumpster fire with and without the puck. With the puck, they’ve gotten no more than three points from a single defender, and without it their shot margin per game is the sixth worst in the country. Shane Bear leads the D with three points and brings championship experience as a member of Brooks Bandits, a team that won the AJHL last season. But other than him, none of these names raise an eyebrow. William Lagesson and Ivan Chukharov are both drafted, so that’s something, I guess.

Amherst’s offense this season has been led by a pair of juniors in Patrick Lee and Dominic Trento. Both have six points so far this season, although Trento’s have all been assists. Freshmen Jonny Lazarus and Griff Jeszka have both shown promise in their first years of college hockey, with 5 points and 4 points respectively. But again, there’s no real top-end talent; most of these top-quality players for Amherst would be middle-six for even a UVM or UNH.

Game is Saturday. Don’t have a whole lot to say other than that this is one of the most winnable games we’ll get all season.

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