UMass hockey’s 2015-16 schedule released on Monday

Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts hockey team released its full 2015-16 schedule Monday evening following a series of teasers released throughout the day by the program’s Twitter account.

The Minutemen, who finished 11-23-2 last year, will kick off the new regular season with a weekend series on the road against Colorado College Oct. 9-10. UMass’ home opener follows the next weekend against Sacred Heart.

Highlighting the Minutemen’s nonconference schedule, UMass will play in its only regular season tournament  from Oct. 30-31 in Trenton, New Jersey. As part of the Capital City Classic, it will face Hockey East rival Maine — counted as a rare nonconference matchup — and either Princeton or Yale the following day depending on round one results.

Other nonconference matchups include faceoffs with Quinnipiac, Union, Army West Point and American International.

The Minutemen’s conference schedule begins Oct. 23 with a home game against New Hampshire. UMass will close its regular season with a home-and-home set against defending NCAA champions Providence.

Here is UMass’ complete 2015-16 schedule, including its head-to-head series results last year:

  • Oct. 3 vs. Dalhousie (Exhibition)
  • Oct. 9-10 @ Colorado College (N/A)
  • Oct. 16 vs. Sacred Heart (N/A)
  • Oct. 23 vs. New Hampshire (1-1)
  • Oct. 30 vs. Maine (1-3) *
  • Oct. 31 @ Princeton/Yale (N/A)*
  • Nov. 3 @ Boston College (0-2)
  • Nov. 6 @ UConn (0-2)
  • Nov. 7 vs. UConn 
  • Nov. 13 vs. Merrimack (1-0-1)
  • Nov. 15 @ Vermont (0-2)
  • Nov. 20 @ New Hampshire 
  • Nov. 21 @ Merrimack
  • Nov. 27 vs. Quinnipiac (1-1)
  • Nov. 28 @ Quinnipiac
  • Dec. 4-5 @ Notre Dame (1-4, 1-2 in Hockey East Tournament)
  • Dec. 11 vs. Union (N/A)
  •  Dec. 18 vs. U.S. Junior National Team (Exhibition)
  • Jan. 2 @ Army (N/A)
  • Jan. 5 vs. Yale (N/A)
  • Jan. 9 @ Boston University (0-2)
  • Jan. 15 vs. UMass Lowell (1-1-1)
  • Jan. 16 @ UMass Lowell 
  • Jan. 22 vs. Boston College
  • Jan. 23 vs. Vermont
  • Jan. 29-30 vs. Maine
  • Feb. 5 vs. Boston University
  • Feb. 9 vs. American International (1-0) **
  • Feb. 12 vs. Northeastern (1-2)
  • Feb. 13 @ Northeastern
  • Feb. 19 @ UMass Lowell
  • Feb. 26 vs. Providence (1-2)
  • Feb. 27 @ Providence

*denotes Capital City Classic tournament games, which will be played in Trenton, New Jersey

**denotes game will be played at MassMutual Center in Springfield

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

A first look at the new UMass football uniforms

Via a tweet from graduate assistant Steve Costello, UMass fans got a glimpse at the team’s new uniforms for the 2015 season. Though they aren’t drastically different, the new uniforms provide a cleaner, crisper look in my opinion, although there are still a few things I would have changed.

What’s new:

  • Italicized font on all three shirts. As Dan Malone of Mass Live noted, the change brings football in line with the font of most other UMass teams.
  • Pant stripes, again on all three sets. I like the color scheme of the stripes and think the pants overall are an upgrade. It seems like the maroon pants are closer to a true maroon color than the almost-red version the Minutemen have trotted out in the past. Thumbs up from me.
  • A new gray alternate kit, in the same color as the recently introduced basketball gray uni’s.

A few other general thoughts:

  • I love the all-white scheme as it is. The updated number font combined with a new black outline for the numbers is a big improvement. It works nicely with the stripes on the white pants. I think the all-whites are UMass’s sharpest look, and I hope they don’t mix and match with the maroon pants, as they’ve done in the past.
  • I also like the new maroon set. As I said, it seems like the maroon is a little darker and less red than before, although it’s tough to tell with only one image available so far. Overall, I like what they’ve done with the maroon and white sets.
  • The only negative for me is the gray third jersey. I don’t know what the fascination with gray is recently. It doesn’t add anything of value in my opinion, and I hope the grays are limited to one or two appearances this season.
  • In general, the uniforms are an upgrade. Subtle alterations can make a big difference, and that’s exactly what UMass has done here.

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

By ross gienieczko Posted in Misc.

UMass football’s Jovan Santos-Knox named to 2015 Bednarik Award Watch List

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts football team continued to garner preseason recognition Tuesday with the announcement that senior linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox was one of 80 defensive players in Division I football to be named to the preseason Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List.

The Bednarik Award is handed out to the FBS defensive player of the year at the end of the season, in honor of its namesake, who played linebacker at Pennsylvania in the 1940s.

The recognition of Santos-Knox comes after a junior season in which he was named to the All-Mid-American Conference First Team behind 143 tackles, ranking him fifth in the nation.

This offseason, Santos-Knox was also named to acclaimed college football writer Phil Steele’s preseason All-MAC First Team as one of five projected first-teamers for UMass and 10 preseason All-MAC Minutemen named overall.

Santos-Knox was the only MAC conference player represented on the Bednarik Watch List.

For a look at all the preseason award watch lists, released by Maxwell Football Club on Tuesday, click here.

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

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.