Former UMass hockey players Sheary, Hanley, Kostka and Allen sign NHL deals

Conor Sheary reached a two-way deal with the Penguins Wednesday. (Collegian File Photo)

Conor Sheary reached a two-year deal with the Penguins Wednesday. (Collegian File Photo)

While big-name players like Phil Kessel and T.J. Oshie find themselves on the move just two days into the NHL free agency period, four former Massachusetts hockey players have landed deals in the last 48 hours.

Former UMass captain and 2014 graduate Conor Sheary inked a two-year entry-level deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday while former teammates Joel Hanley and Conor Allen and 2008 graduate Mike Kostka signed one-year, two-way contracts with the Canadiens, Predators and Senators respectively.

Playing for the Penguins’ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton AHL affiliate, Sheary led the team in 2014-15 with 45 points in 58 games. This came after the Melrose, Massachusetts native accumulated 104 points over four years with the Minutemen — placing him eighth most in program history.

Hanley also agreed to his first NHL contract after spending the past season with the Phoenix Coyotes’ AHL affiliate Portland Pirates. The defenseman finished with two goals and 20 assists over 78 games with the Pirates.

Allen, who signed with Nashville on Thursday, has spent the past two seasons as part of the New York Rangers’ organization. In 145 games for the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack, the defenseman scored 11 goals. He’s played seven games in a two-year span with the Rangers and has yet to record his first NHL point.

Allen spent three years at UMass before joining the Rangers organization following the 2012-13 season.

Unlike the other three former Minutemen, Kostka has made his rounds in the NHL, appearing in 70 games over three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks and the Rangers. In 2014-15, Kostka played in seven games for New York and recorded one assist.

In the case of Hanley, Allen and Kostka, their two-way deals allow for different salaries depending on how much time they spend in the NHL and the respective organization’s minor league system.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at achiusano@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.

Maxie Esho to play on Grantland’s “The Basketball Tournament” team

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Former Massachusetts small forward and NBA hopeful Maxie Esho will play on team Grantland in this year’s edition of the Basketball Tournament, an “open-application, single elimination, winner-take-all basketball tournament.”

In its inaugural playing last year, The Basketball Tournament had a field of 32 teams and a prize of $500,000. The 2015 tournament, which starts August 2nd, will feature 96 teams and a prize of one million dollars. The final will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Grantland’s team also features fellow UMass alumni Luke Bonner and his brother, San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner. Former Boston Celtics fan favorite Brian Scalabrine is also a member of the team, along with several other ex-NBA players.

Last year, The Tournament was won by the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni, a team of former Irish basketball players. They defeated Team Barstool of Barstool Sports 72-68 in a dramatic championship game.

You can register to be a fan of the team on Grantland’s tournament page.

By ross gienieczko Posted in Misc.

UMass men’s basketball’s Atlantic 10 matchups announced

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

On Tuesday, the Atlantic 10 conference released the home and away pairings for next season’s conference play. For the University of Massachusetts, 10 of its 18 matches will be part of a home-and-home series. The opponents for these series’ will once again be Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and Fordham. For fans of the Minutemen who may have been disappointed by the lack of “big” home games this past year, they will get their chance this upcoming season to welcome high-quality opponents to the Mullins Center. Derek Kellogg’s squad will welcome Virginia Commonwealth University and George Washington back to Amherst, while some notable games away from home include trips to Davidson and Dayton. The following is a complete breakdown of UMass’ conference schedule, along with how the Minutemen fared last year against each opponent. Exact dates will be released at a later time.

Home:

  • VCU (0-1)
  • George Mason (1-0)
  • Fordham (2-0)
  • La Salle (2-1)
  • Saint Joseph’s (0-2)
  • St. Bonaventure (1-1)
  • Saint Louis (1-0)
  • George Washington (0-1)
  • Rhode Island (1-1)

Away:

  • Rhode Island
  • Richmond (0-1)
  • Dayton (1-0)
  • Duquesne (1-0)
  • St. Bonaventure
  • La Salle
  • Davidson (0-1)
  • Saint Joseph’s
  • Fordham

Steven Iacobellis tabbed as UMass hockey’s next captain

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts hockey team has found its replacement for Troy Power as captain of the Minutemen.

The program announced via Twitter that Steven Iacobellis will be the next bearer of the ‘C’ for the 2015-16 season. He takes over the role left by the graduating Power, who was captain for the past two years.

In his 2014-15 sophomore campaign, Iacobellis recorded eight goals and 16 assists for UMass (11-23-2, 5-16-1 Hockey East). His 24 points ranked third on the team behind freshman Dennis Kravchenko (33) and Frank Vatrano (28).

Micheletto noted Iacobellis’ “unrelenting competitiveness and consistent productivity” as reason for his decision to name Iacobellis. The rising junior will be in charge of leading a young UMass roster that will be without graduating seniors Power, Oleg Yevenko and Zack LaRue, who served as captain and alternate captains respectively.

In addition, the departures of  Brandon Montour and Vatrano, who signed NHL contracts with the Anaheim Ducks and Boston Bruins respectively, will also leave key holes next season.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at achiusano@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.

UMass hockey lands forward Ryan Badger

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Per college hockey recruiting site Over the Boards, forward Ryan Badger of the Philadelphia Flyers USPHL team has committed to Massachusetts.

Badger, a 5-foot-10, 179 pound center from Hainsport, New Jersey, scored 23 goals and assisted on 39 in 46 games with the Flyers in 2014-2015. In his two years with Philadelphia, he totaled 41 goals and 121 points in 91 games.

Originally committed to Maine, Badger de-committed in June of 2014. Born in March of 1994, the 21 year old should make his debut with the Minutemen next season.

Stay with the Collegian throughout the week for more recruiting news, as National Letters of Intent are expected to be sent later this week.

Ross Gienieczko can be reached at rgieniec@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @RossGien

By ross gienieczko Posted in Misc.

Report: Derrick Gordon to transfer from UMass

Kristen Richard/Daily Collegian

Kristen Richard/Daily Collegian

Derrick Gordon is in the national news once again.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Gordon will reportedly be transferring from the Massachusetts men’s basketball team and will be eligible to play immediately.

After coming out as the first gay Division I basketball player on April 9, 2014, Gordon said that his sexuality had nothing to do with his decision.

“I appreciate everything that the coaches and my teammates have done for me,” Gordon told Goodman. “As far as me leaving, it has absolutely nothing to do with my sexuality. In fact, everyone could not have been more supportive with my situation.”

The 6-foot-2 guard started in all of his 65 career games for the Minutemen, averaging 9.6 points per game as well as 4.2 assists per game. Gordon was a key member to UMass’ return to the NCAA tournament in the 2013-14 season, and emerged as a leader both on and off the court this past season.

“This is just a personal decision for me to chase my dreams,” Gordon added. “I’m trying to put myself in the best situation to be successful, and I hope to go somewhere where I have the opportunity to expand my role and more importantly, win as many games as possible.”

Andrew Cyr can be reached at arcyr@umass.edu, and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.

Jake Massie commits to UMass

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

After losing both Frank Vatrano and Brandon Montour, the Massachusetts hockey team received a commitment Saturday afternoon from Jake Massie.

Massie, a 6-foot-2 defenseman from Quebec, Canada, is the #81 ranked draft prospect among North American skaters on NHL.com and a member of Kimball Union Academy. He is now the third player that has committed to UMass after playing for KUA, with goalie Steve Mastalerz and forward Dennis Kravchenko being the other two.

In 34 games at KUA this season, Massie recorded five goals and 15 assists, and is currently eligible to be drafted this year. While it is unclear whether he will play next year or two years from now in Amherst, Massie’s size and physicality will surely bring a boost to the Minutemen defense. He joins Williams Lagesson and Brian Scoville as defenders who have committed to playing at UMass for the future under coach John Micheletto.

If he does wait until 2016 to make his way to Amherst, he will be a part of a recruiting class that includes top forwards Ty Pelton-Byce and John Leonard.

Jason Kates can be reached at jkates@umass.edu and followed @Jason_Kates.