Minutemen Head To No. 7 Northeastern For Hockey East Quarterfinals

Thu Mar 8, 2018

Quick Hits: UMass Advances To Hockey East Quarterfinals With a 2-1 Series Win Over UVM
-  As the No. 8 seed, UMass hosted a playoff series for the first time since 2007 last weekend, squaring off against No. 9 seed Vermont at the Mullins Center in a best-of-three Hockey East Opening Round matchup. The Minutemen took Games 1 and 3, 3-2 (OT) and 5-1 to win the series two games to one, Vermont forced Game 3 with a 4-3 OT Game 2 victory. It marked the first time UMass had won a postseason series since 2007, vs. Maine, in the Hockey East Quarterfinals.
- The Minutemen improved to 6-1 all-time in postseason games at the Mullins Center with the series victory and 17-18-2 on the year. UMass is now +12 from its 2016-17 wins total, marking the biggest one-year turnaround in program history (the previous was +11 from eight wins in 2001-02 to 19 wins in 2002-03).
- In Game 1 vs. the Catamounts, UMass rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period and completed the comeback with the game winner from freshman Philip Lagunov with 3.3 seconds to go in the first overtime period, defeating Vermont, 3-2.
- For the first time this season, though, UMass erased a two-goal third period deficit. Freshman John Leonard scored 59 seconds into the third period with the Minutemen's five-minute man advantage winding down. Classmates Oliver Chau and Cale Makar picked up the assists on the play.
- Makar added another power-play tally for the Minutemen at the 8:35 mark of the third, taking the puck coast-to-coast for his fifth goal of the season and second point of the night to bring him to 20 points on the year.
- Then, when it looked almost certain the teams would be playing a second overtime period, the Minutemen made one final rush up the ice. Lagunov redirected in a centering feed from Leonard with 3.3 seconds remaining in the frame, a play that went to a lengthy video review before the on-ice call of "no goal" was reversed.
- With a goal and an assist in Game 1, Makar posted his third multi point game of the season. Leonard's (1g, 1a) was his fifth.
- In Game 2, For a second straight night, UMass battled back from a 2-0 deficit, but Vermont managed the game winner 12 seconds into overtime, defeating the Minutemen, 4-3.
- Junior Austin Plevy, freshman Mitchell Chaffee and freshman Austin Albrecht provided the goals for the Minutemen in the setback. Chaffee's
tally marked his team-leading 13th of the year, matching the second-most goals by a freshman in UMass' Hockey East era, equaling P.J. Fenton's total from 2004-05.
- In Game 3, UMass used five goals from five different freshmen to knock off Vermont, 5-1, in the deciding game three.
- Freshman Mario Ferraro opened the scoring just 2:40 into the contest. The Minutemen quickly went up 2-0 in the first with freshman Jake Gaudet collecting a pass from junior Brett Boeing and Ferraro in the neutral zone and driving in on Catamounts' netminder Stefanos Lekkas for the tally at the 9:53 mark.
- UVM cut its deficit in half 4:53 into the second period. However, UMass responded by adding two more in the stanza. Albrecht gave the Minutemen back the two-goal cushion at the 9:38 mark. Freshman Oliver Chau made it 4-1 Minutemen 12:42 into the third.
- Leonard then capped the scoring for UMass with an unassisted highlight reel goal 13:09 into the third that brought the score to 5-1.
- With freshman Matt Murray suffering an injury in Game 2, sophomore Ryan Wischow made 30 saves in net for UMass in Game 3, his first start since Feb. 3.
- Leonard (1g, 1a), Gaudet, (1g, 1a) and Ferraro (1g, 1a) all had multi-point games in Game 3, their sixth, second and sixth of the season, respectively. 
- The Minutemen now have two defensemen with 20 or more points (Makar, 20, Ferraro, 22) for the first time since 2011-12 when Joel Hanley had 25 points and Michael Marcou added 21 points. It marks the 13th and 14th 20-point seasons by a defenseman in UMass' Division I era.
- Ten of UMass' 11 goals in the three-game series against Vermont were scored by eight different freshmen. 
UMass In The Hockey East Quarterfinals
- UMass is playing in the Hockey East Quarterfinals for the first time since 2012, and the first time in the current Hockey East Tournament format.
- The Minutemen are 7-23 all-time in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. UMass has faced Northeastern just once in the postseason, falling two games to one at Matthews Arena to the Huskies in 2009.
Murray's Hockey East Honors
- Freshman goaltender Matt Murray was tabbed the Hockey East Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week on Jan. 22, marking the first career honor for the St. Albert, Alberta native, and the fourth different Minuteman rookie to earn the award this season as Murray joined previous honorees John Leonard (10/16), Oliver Chau (10/30) and Cale Makar (1/15).
 - Murray picked up second shutout of the year on Jan. 19 at the Mullins Center, stopping all 29 shots he faced in a 3-0 win over No. 8/9 Northeastern and was named the game's No. 2 star. It was the first time the Huskies had been shut out this season. Murray made a total of 57 saves over the two games against Northeastern.
- On Feb 12, Murray was honored as the Hockey East Player of the Week after he started all three games in net for the Minutemen in a 2-0-1 week, which included a 5-2 win over Merrimack, a 3-3 tie at Boston University and a 3-0 shutout of UMass Lowell. The St. Albert, Alberta native posted a 1.63 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage, making a total of 99 saves over the three contests.
- Murray totaled 38 saves as the Minutemen came from down two goals to tie the Terriers on the road and followed up the next night with a 30-save shutout over the River Hawks.
- Murray picked up his third different Hockey East weekly award this season on Feb. 26 when he was selected as the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week.
- In the final week of the regular season, Murray helped UMass secure home ice in a postseason series for the first time since 2007 by going 2-0-0 in net with a 1.01 goals-against average and a .965 save percentage over the two starts, making a total of 55 saves. He stopped 24 shots in a 3-2 road victory at UConn on Feb. 22 that snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Huskies.
- Murray followed up with his fourth shutout of the season to set a new UMass single-season record, totaling 31 saves in a 1-0 win over No. 7 Providence and was named the game's No. 1 star. The St. Albert, Alberta native broke the program's shutout record previously set by Jonathan Quick in 2006-07 and Markus Helanen in 2000-01.
- On the year, Murray currently holds a 2.70 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage over 24 games, a total of 1,336 minutes of play.
Makar Honored By Hockey East
- Freshman defenseman Cale Makar was selected as the Pro Ambitions Hockey East Rookie of the Week on Jan. 15, marking the first career award for Makar and the fourth time a member of the Minutemen has received a weekly honor this season.
- Makar brought his hot scoring touch back from his gold medal run with Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship, potting goals in each of his first two games back with the Minutemen to help UMass to a three-point weekend (1-0-1) on the road at Vermont.
- The Calgary, Alberta, native logged three points on two goals and an assist over the two games and was +2 with four blocks and a team-high 12 shots on goal.
- Makar opened game one against the Catamounts, a 2-2 tie, with his second tally of the season, which was his first career power-play goal. He followed up with his second career multi-point game in the Saturday matchup with two more special teams' points, assisting the game-opening shorthanded goal for the Minutemen and scoring a shorthanded empty net goal to put UMass up by two in the closing minutes of the 6-3 win.
- Makar was tabbed the No. 2 star of the game in the victory over UVM and is currently fifth in scoring for the Minutemen on the season with 20 points (5g, 15a) in 32 games and a is second on the team with a +9 rating.
Medal Collectors
- Freshman defenseman Cale Makar became the second Minuteman in program history to win gold at the IIHF World Junior Championship when Team Canada defeated Sweden, 3-1 in the Gold Medal Game on Jan. 5 in Buffalo, New York. The Calgary, Alberta native joined former UMass forward Stephen Werner (2002-06), who won a Gold Medal with Team USA in 2004.
- Makar finished the tournament with three goals and five assists for eight points and was +5 over seven games. He led all defensemen in scoring at the World Junior Championship and was the lone Canadian player to be named to the World Junior Media All-Star team. Following Canada's semifinal win over the Czech Republic, Makar was tabbed one of Team Canada's three Players of the Tournament, as voted by Canada's coaching staff, as well.
- UMass equipment manager Josh Penn also took home a medal from the WJC has he was on staff with Team USA, which earned bronze in the tournament.

Going Streaking
- With a pair of assists on the power play at #19 Union on Dec. 10, freshman Mitchell Chaffee capped a seven-game point streak, the longest streak for a member of the Minutemen since the 2014-15 season.
- During the seven-game stretch, Chaffee posted nine (4g, 3a) of his 14 points on the season and a +8 rating. It also included a three-game goal scoring streak (Nov. 24 to Dec. 1).
- Chaffee's Game 2 goal vs. Vermont in the Hockey East Opening Round on March 2 marked his 13th goal of the year, matching the most by a UMass freshman since PJ Fenton in 2004-05 tying the second-most goals by a freshman in the program's Hockey East Era, trailing only Stephen Werner who scored 16 goals as a rookie in 2002-03.
- Chaffee is currently third on the team in scoring with 23 points through 37 games on a team-high 13 goals to go along with 10 assists. He ranks tied for seventh in Hockey East in freshman scoring (23 points). He is tied for fifth nationally in goals among freshmen.
- Niko Hildenbrand's assist at Maine on Jan. 16 capped five-game point streak for the sophomore, a career best. Seventy six percent of his points this season have come in the 2018 calendar year (5g, 8a in 16 GP).
Top Of The Class
- As a team, UMass leads the nation in freshmen scoring in goals (65), assists (97), points (162), power-play goals (17), goals per-game (1.76), assists per-game (2.62) and points per-game (4.38).
- The Minutemen are 41 points and 25 goals ahead of Minnesota State (121) and Boston University (40) for the national lead in those categories.
- UMass' 65 goals are the most by a freshman class in the program's Hockey East era and second all-time to the 1993-94 freshman class' 162 goals. This current crop of freshmen second all-time in program history in assists and points, as well.
- In Hockey East, four of the top-10 in freshman scoring are Minutemen: John Leonard (t-2nd, 27 points), Oliver Chau (t-5th, 24 points), Mitchell Chaffee (t-7th, 23 points) and Mario Ferraro (t-10th, 22 points).
- Freshmen powered UMass to its first playoff series win in 11 years last weekend, scoring 10 of 11 goals in two games to one series win over Vermont.
Chau Chipping In
- Jump-started by a four-point weekend against Merrimack that earned him Hockey East Rookie of the Week recognition back in October, freshman Oliver Chau is currently second for UMass in scoring with 24 points on the season on nine goals and 24 assists.
- On Oct. 28 on the road at Merrimack, Chau posted a three-point effort with a goal and two assists for a new season high and third multi-point game of the season. He logged his first career multi-goal game with a pair of tallies in UMass' 6-3 win over Quinnipiac on Nov. 25.
- In Hockey East, Chau is tied for fifth in freshmen scoring with 24 points.
Wischow Earns Player Of The Week Honor From Hockey East
- Sophomore goaltender Ryan Wischow was named the Hockey East Player of the Week on Nov. 27 after leading UMass to a weekend sweep of Quinnipiac. It marked Wischow's first weekly honor of his career.
-  Wischow, who was the first UMass neminder to garner Player of the Week recognition since Jonathan Quick did so in 2007, posted a pair of wins as the Minutemen swept a weekend series against the Bobcats. He logged a 2.00 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage over the two contests, making a total of 79 saves.
 - Wischow stopped 47 shots in UMass' 6-3 win over the Bobcats in the Saturday contest after opening the weekend with 32 saves in a 2-1 win on the road at Quinnipiac.
- Wischow's performance against Quinnipiac capped a stellar month of November for the netminder, which saw him go 3-0-0 over four games with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage, making 126 saves.
Stellar Homecoming For Leonard
- After stealing the headlines following a three-point effort in his first game at the Mullins Center, Amherst native John Leonard was named the Hockey East Rookie of the Week and the UMass Student-Athlete of the Week on Oct. 16.
- Leonard helped UMass to a 2-0-0 weekend with the first two multi-point games of his career.
- He registered two goals and three assists over the two contests for a five-point week, starting the weekend with a pair of helpers in a 5-4 win at Union. He followed up with a three-point night against AIC, factoring in all three of the Minutemen's goals with two goals and an assist, including his second game winner of the season.
- Leonard earned his second Hockey East Rookie of the Week accolade of the season on Feb. 12 after leading the Minutemen in scoring with four points (2g, 2a) over three games in a 2-0-1 week against league foes Merrimack, BU and UMass Lowell.
- Most recently, Leonard was selected as the Hockey East Player of the Week and UMass Student-Athlete of the Week on March 5 after leading UMass in scoring last week with four points on two goals in four assists, helping the Minutemen defeat Vermont in a best-of-three Hockey East Opening Round series. The Amherst, Massachusetts, native had multi-point games in both of UMass' victories over UVM.
- He currently ranks sixth nationally among freshmen in points-per game (0.87) and has a team-leading 27 points on 12 goals and 15 assists thus far this season. Leonard is tied for second  in Hockey East in freshman scoring and is tied for 11th overall in points in the league at 27.
A Baker's Dozen
- With 13 freshmen on the roster, UMass has the largest freshman class in all of Division I hockey this season. Air Force and Alaska Anchorage follow, each with 12 freshmen.
- The class is comprised of eight forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders. The group hails from three different countries with five from the United States, seven from Canada and one from Finland. Amherst native John Leonard is the closest to home, while Eetu Torpström, at 3,962 miles from Kuopio, Finland, is the furthest.
League Imports
- Though new to the Minutemen, two additions to the UMass roster for 2017-18 are not only veterans of college hockey, but of Hockey East.
- Redshirt sophomore Josh Couturier, who sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules, suited up for the Maroon and White for the first time this past fall. As a freshman at Boston College in 2015-16, Couturier saw action in 33 games and contributed six points for the Eagles on two goals and four assists. He passed his freshman year total of six points 14 games into the season and currently has two goals and 13 assists on the year through 37 games.
- In the offseason, UMass also added graduate transfer Niko Rufo to its 2017-18 roster, eligible to play immediately. Rufo, a forward from Stoneham, joined the Minutemen from Providence College and is in his final year of collegiate eligibility.
- At Providence, Rufo tallied 10 points on four goals and six assists in 56 games over four seasons, with a career-high 18 games played in both 2015-16 and 2016-17. He appeared in 11 games during the Friars' national championship season in 2014-15.
- Rufo equaled his season career high in a Friars' uniform (2g, 2a in 19 games in 2016-17) in just the third game of the season for the Minutemen. He is tied for sixth on the team in scoring currently with 17 points on eight goals and nine assists, having surpassed his career points (10) and goals totals (4) from Providence in just 13 games.
 Firsts On Firsts On Firsts
- In UMass' season opening weekend at Arizona State all 13 freshmen dressed for at least one of the two contests with 12 seeing their first collegiate action.
- Six freshmen collected their first collegiate points in the season opener at Arizona State: Austin Albrecht (assist), Marco Bozzo (goal), Mitchell Chaffee (goal), Mario Ferraro (assist), John Leonard (assist) and Cale Makar (assist).
- Redshirt sophomore Josh Couturier assisted on the squad's final tally in game one for his first point in a UMass uniform.
- On night two at Arizona State, freshmen provided two of the four goals for the Minutemen, with Jake Gaudet opening the scoring with his first of his career and John Leonard collecting the game-winner for his first career tally.
- Freshman Oliver Chau notched an assist in game two for his first career point and redshirt senior Niko Rufo logged a goal and an assist at Arizona State on Oct. 7 for his first career multi-point game.
- Freshman Matt Murray made his collegiate debut in net at Arizona State on Oct. 7 and earned his first career win. He collected his first collegiate shutout on Oct. 27 vs. Merrimack.
- Chau picked up his first collegiate goal early in the second period at Union on Oct. 13 and George Mika netted his on the power play midway through the third. To date, 65 of 100 UMass goals on the season have been scored by freshmen, including 55 of the last 83 goals.
- Freshman Philip Lagunov's assist on Niko Rufo's goal at Union on Oct. 13 marked his first collegiate point. He scored his first collegiate goal on Jan. 6 at UMass Lowell on the power play.
- In UMass' weekend series against Merrimack on Oct. 27-28, three rookie defensemen, Makar, Eetu Torpström and Ferraro registered their first collegiate goals, while Couturier picked up his first as a member of the Minutemen.
- Albrecht scored the game winner against #8/7 Providence for the Minutemen on Nov. 9 for his first career tally.
- Gaudet picked up his first three assists of his career in back-to-back nights of UMass' sweep of Quinnipiac (11/24-25).
- Junior Brett Boeing scored his first in a UMass uniform on Dec. 5 at UConn.
History Made At The 2017 NHL Draft
- It was a historic weekend for UMass at the 2017 NHL Draft as the Minutemen saw incoming freshmen Cale Makar and Mario Ferraro become the two highest draft picks in program history. Makar was selected No. 4 overall by the Colorado Avalanche and Ferraro was taken 49th overall by the San Jose Sharks.
- Makar became the first Minuteman to be selected in the first round. His No. 4 selection tied for fourth all-time in Hockey East history, as well. Prior to the 2017 NHL Draft, current Anaheim Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour had been UMass' highest draft pick going in the second round, 55th overall, to the Ducks in 2014.
- Makar amassed 135 career points on 35 goals and 100 assists over 111 regular season contests with the Brooks Bandits over the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and added 37 points (9g, 28a) in 46 career postseason games with AJHL titles with Brooks in 2016 and 2017. His laundry list of honors includes: 2016-17 AJHL Top Defenceman, 2016-17 AJHL Most Valuable Player, 2016-17 AJHL Playoff MVP, 2016-17 AJHL All-League Team, 2016-17 Western Canada Cup Top Defenceman and All-Tournament Team, 2016-17 RBC Cup Top Defenceman and Most Valuable Player (the first player to ever be named RBC Cup MVP in back-to-back seasons), 2016-17 CJHL Most Valuable Player and 2016-17 RBC National Junior A Player of the Year.
- Ferraro played his final season of junior hockey in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Des Moines Buccaneers and totaled 41 points on eight goals and 33 assists over 60 regular season contests. He garnered USHL First All-Star Team and USHL All-Rookie Team accolades after tying for first among USHL defensemen in goals and ranking second in points and assists.
Minding The Net
- Ryan Wischow is the lone returning goaltender for the Minutemen, but brings a wealth of experience into his sophomore season after seeing nearly 70% of the time in net for UMass in 2016-17.
- As a freshman, Wischow played in 27 games, starting 26 of those, for a total of 1461 minutes and logged 700 saves.
- The Green Bay, Wisconsin, native recorded a 31-save shutout in his collegiate debut against Colorado College on Oct. 7, 2016 to become the first goaltender in UMass' Division I history to post a shutout in his career debut.
- On December 13, 2016, Wischow made a career high 52 saves at Princeton, the most saves for a UMass goaltender in a regulation game since 2001.