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**** Official Hockey East 2008-09 Season Thread ****


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No its not. I went there. And if I could graduate in 4 years......

It was huge you could have taken over first place entering next week's yawner with Bemidjidjijdijdijdijdijdijdidjijdijdijdijdijdidjidjdijdijdidjidjijdidjidjidjdijdijdidjidjdijdijdidjidid

http://islanders.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=383962

D Thomas Pock Claimed Off Waivers from NY Rangers

The New York Islanders have claimed defenseman Thomas Pock off waivers from the New York Rangers. Pock has played in 59 career NHL games and has scored seven goals with seven assists for 14 points.

Last season, Pock played in one game with the Rangers and went scoreless. He also played in 74 games with the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League and scored seven goals with 37 assists for 44 points. Pock finished tied for 11th among AHL defensemen in assists last season.

Pock has played in a total of 195 AHL games during his career, all with Hartford. He has scored 23 goals and 89 assists for 112 points and a plus/minus rating of +40. In 2005-06, Pock was named to the AHL

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http://www.collegehockeynews.com/news/2008/09/25_hea,espnu.php

Hockey East has reached a two-year live broadcasting deal with ESPNU. In 2008-09, ESPNU will air eight live games involving Hockey East teams, opening the season with Boston University at New Hampshire on Sunday, Oct. 19 at the Whittemore Center in Durham.

The schedule will conclude with Merrimack at Providence in late February at Schneider Arena in Providence. The ESPNU schedule features two games in October, November and February, along with one game in December and January.

"We are thrilled to move our long-standing relationship with ESPNU to a new level,” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna. “This agreement guarantees that our athletes and our programs will reach a new and greater audience during the regular season, as ESPNU has been delivering our game to fans in the post-season.”

Justin Kutcher, an alum of Boston University, will handle play-by-play duties for the broadcasts and Damian DiGiulian, a former assistant coach at Vermont, will serve as the color analyst in the eight-game package.

ESPNU will also provide live coverage of the 2009 NCAA Tournament Regional games. ESPN and ESPN2 also provide live coverage of the Men’s Frozen Four annually.

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http://umassathletics.cstv.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/092208aaa.html

Minutemen begin 2008-09 against Michigan State, North Dakota in nation's premier season-opening tournament.

Hockey season is just around the corner as the UMass men's hockey team prepares for the 12th Annual Ice Breaker Tournament at Boston University's Agganis Arena on Oct. 10-11. This is one of the premier season-opening tournaments as it features UMass, Boston University, Michigan State and North Dakota.

The Ice Breaker Invitational will be held in Massachusetts for the first time since its debut in 1997. BU will become the third Hockey East school to serve as the tournament's host, joining Maine (2001) and New Hampshire (2004).

This year's Ice Breaker format will feature an "East vs. West" competition, as BU and intrastate rival UMass will each face Michigan State and North Dakota. The Spartans won the 2007 NCAA title, while the Fighting Sioux have advanced to the Frozen Four in each of the last four seasons.

Michigan State and UMass will be the first two Division I teams to kick off their 2008-09 campaign when they face off on Friday, Oct. 10, at 4:30 p.m. before the Terriers take on North Dakota at 7:30 p.m. Day two of the Ice Breaker will feature the Minutemen squaring off against the Fighting Sioux at 4:30 p.m., followed by BU against the Spartans in the finale at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for the 2008 Ice Breaker Invitational are on sale now, and can be purchased by visiting the Agganis Arena ticket office at 925 Commonwealth Ave. or by Clicking Here.

Anybody want to go with me???

Edited by Lil Bit Special
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http://bceagles.cstv.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/092608aac.html

As the Eagles enter the 2008-09 season, they do so from a slightly different - and potentially more tricky - position than any of their rivals. After all, Boston College captured the ultimate prize in the Pepsi Center in Denver this past April.

BC can't do much to improve on that accomplishment, a feat the program sets in its sights each and every year. If lofty goals aren't set, after all, they can never truly be reached.

Yet head coach Jerry York has savored that ultimate triumph three times in his illustrious coaching career. The wise and veteran mentor seems to have a method established - a formula for sustained success.

Make no mistake. York would never lay claim to having a magical blueprint. Instead, he preaches consistency. He urges his troops to take great pride in their past work. He stresses the importance of utilizing the unique lessons learned during postseason play. He demands his players focus on what lies ahead.

"The biggest thing with our club is that we're not trying to defend the national championship," the coach clarified. "The trophy is in the case. No one can take it away. Now our goal is to earn another. That's always been our goal.

We take great pride in what happened last year and we certainly gained a lot of experience in our players. That will certainly help us this year, but this is a new team and, as always, we look to be as successful as we possibly can be."

With 15 lettermen back from last year's title team - eight forwards, five defensemen and the starting goaltender - York has every reason to be positive as the new season approaches.

The Eagles return three of their top four scorers from 2007-08. The returning players accounted for more than 60 percent of last season's goal total and for nearly 66 percent of the team's point total. This year's defensive unit features five of the six regulars from last year's NCAA Tournament run. Yet, York takes greatest comfort in the return of a seven-player strong senior class.

"I think it has the makings of an outstanding senior class," the coach said. "We have skill. We have toughness and we have leadership in our senior class. Now this is their chance to be the fourth-year guys. You can be leaders and real factors as freshmen, sophomores and juniors, but the seniors are the barometer of our team. I think it's an excellent group of players. We have depth on defense and depth with our forwards." These seniors - coupled with five juniors, four sophomores and nine newcomers - rightfully leave everyone hopeful looking forward. And, count the 800-plus win coach among that group.

"We feel very optimistic about our year. We think we've got a good base. We have a good nucleus of returning players, augmented by what we perceive to be an excellent freshman class," York said. "Now we have to mold our club. We have to instill certain values in our team. We're very excited about the possibilities this group of players brings to BC for the '08-09 season."

On Offense

Lettermen Returning/Lost: 8/4

Newcomers: 5

"We return nine forwards who are really dynamic offensively and who know how to play without the puck. I feel very, very optimistic about these nine players."

The Eagles return nine forwards, including three 40-point scorers - senior Benn Ferriero, junior Ben Smith and sophomore Joe Whitney. In addition, sophomore Brian Gibbons returns after a stellar 35-point freshman campaign. All totaled, the nine returning forwards combined for 220 points last year.

While this group promises to create lots of excitement and plenty of points, the Eagles will also look for five freshmen to help offset the loss of last year's four seniors - Joe Adams, Dan Bertram, Pat Gannon and Matt Greene - and Nathan Gerbe. Gerbe opted to pursue a professional career after finishing his junior season.

"Anytime you lose players whose play and work ethic allowed you to hang a banner, there's going to be a void," York said of his Class of 2008. "Yet there's a part of them that remains and sets the standard for those that remain in the program."

Brock Bradford, Andrew Orpik, Kyle Kucharski and Ferriero form the list of senior forwards. York clearly expects Bradford to reemerge this season after missing all but five games last winter because of an arm injury.

This year's team captain, Bradford had high hopes for the 2007-08 campaign, only to see his season derailed in the opener against Michigan. The Burnaby, B.C., resident had totaled 45 points in his sophomore season. He appeared poised to top those totals last winter.

"Brock is coming off a junior year that was shortened by his arm injuries," York said. "This year will be a big year for him to recuperate from his injury and, as our captain, lead our club."

Ferriero is a proven commodity. He has tallied more than 16 goals in each of his first three collegiate seasons and more than 40 points in each of the last two. York is confident that Ferriero's best days are still ahead.

"Benn has had a remarkable three years for us," the coach said of his assistant captain. "But having said that, I believe his best hockey is still in front of him."

While Bradford and Ferriero are high-scoring skaters, the other pair of senior forwards - Kucharski and Orpik - completes the class with a more physical style. Each, however, has expanded his game over the past few seasons.

"Andrew and Kyle are big, strong, physical players who have really improved as they've gone through," York said. "Now they're both capable of creating a lot of offense for us with their size and strength."

Much like the senior class, the three juniors offer diverse skills to the forward lines. Ben Smith headlines this group. The Avon, Conn., product tallied 50 points - 25 goals and 25 assists - in 2007-08, nearly tripling his point total of the previous season.

This year, York expects the sturdy Smith to continue that progression.

"Ben Smith really became a nationally-recognized player last year with his 50 points. He'll spearhead the junior class," the coach said. "On top of his hockey abilities, Ben also has terrific leadership skills."

Matt Lombardi and Matt Price also figure to take another step in their development this winter. Price registered 11 points last season. Lombardi recorded four points while most often playing alongside Kucharski and Orpik on a checking line. Yet, the duo's point totals don't come close to telling their stories.

"Matt Price and Matt Lombardi were both the surprises of our club last year," York said. "From Christmas on, both really took steps forward and solidified their spots on our club."

The two sophomore forwards - Brian Gibbons and Joe Whitney - stepped into the line-up last October and immediately made their presence felt. Together, they combined for an astounding 86 points - 51 by Whitney and 35 by Gibbons.

"As first-year players, Joe and Brian really had remarkable impacts on our club. Right from the get-go they were valuable players for us, and they kept improving each week of the season," York said. "I like their dynamics and I like their hockey skill level. They've got great hockey IQs, and we expect them to be even more dominant players for us this year."

The coach's high praise is well founded. Gibbons totaled 13 goals among his 35 points. Often skating on the team's top forward line, the Braintree, Mass., resident led the 2007-08 Eagles with a plus-32 rating. Whitney was a force on the power play. He led all Hockey East players with 29 man-advantage points - five goals and 24 assists.

York also anticipates strong contributions from his new crop of forwards. Yet the veteran coach recognizes the transition period that faces each of these newcomers.

"I expect these freshmen to be contributors," the coach said. "Now, it's a question of how soon each can make that adjustment from the junior level to the college level."

This year's group - five strong - comes with solid credentials. Three join the Eagles from the USHL, one from the EJHL and one from the prep-school ranks. The latter two are brothers.

Barry Almeida, who hails from Springfield, Mass., gained All-USHL first-team honors after leading the Omaha Lancers to the Clark Cup championship. He registered 60 points - 22 goals and 38 assists - in 56 regular-season games. Almeida gained greater notoriety in the Lancers playoff run by scoring three game-winning goals, including the overtime winner that gave his team the title.

Paul Carey, from Weymouth, Mass., captured All-USHL second team and USHL All-Rookie Team honors with the Indiana Ice in 2007-08. Just like Almeida, Carey averaged better than one point per game. He finished the regular season with 66 points - 34 goals and 32 assists - in 60 games. Prior to playing for the Ice, Carey toiled for two years at the Salisbury (Conn.) School.

Jimmy Hayes rounds out the list of USHL recruits. The Dorchester, Mass., resident tallied 24 points - eight goals and 16 assists - in 29 games with the Lincoln Stars. Hayes spent the 2006-07 season and part of the 2007-08 season in the U.S. National Team Development Program. He participated in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp each of the last two summers.

Cam and Tommy Atkinson - the brothers - round out the list of Eagle forwards. Cam earned Prep Player of the Year and All-New England first-team honors at Avon Old Farms (Conn.) in 2007-08. He led all Founders League scorers with 63 points - 26 goals and 37 assists - in 28 games. Cam helped the Winged Beavers capture three New England Division I Prep School titles during his tenure.

Tommy, 18 months older than his brother and Avon's Most Improved Player in 2006-07, played the 2007-08 season with the Boston Junior Bruins of the EJHL.

On Defense

Lettermen Returning/Lost: 5/1

Newcomers: 3

"I like our three seniors on defense. They really have an understanding how we play defense. Of course we're going to be led by Tim Filangieri, a rock-solid defenseman ... Last year we were a more defensive group. This year we're going to see more goals from our blueline."

The Eagles return five defensemen from last year's title team. Together this quintet has played in 449 collegiate contests. All three seniors - Anthony Aiello, Tim Filangieri and Tim Kunes - have played in 98 or more games. Junior Carl Sneep has played in 82 career games, while sophomore Nick Petrecki played in 42 contests in his first collegiate campaign.

As has always been the case, York expects his senior class to anchor the defense. Filangieri, an assistant captain whom the coach calls one of the league's best defensemen, leads the charge. Classmates Aiello and Kunes have also earned their stripes through three years of in-game execution.

"Timmy Kunes and Anthony Aiello have both progressed and I think this is their year to log more ice time and more valuable minutes for us," York said. "We expect them to be more consistent and more valuable players for us this year."

Sneep is the lone junior on the blueline. The 6-foot-3-inch Minnesotan continued to develop his game last winter. This year, he figures to be a versatile and physical presence for the Eagles.

"Carl is probably our most improved player on defense," York said. "He's made great strides since his freshman year, and this year he'll see time on both special teams - penalty kill and power play."

Petrecki completes the list of blueline returnees. Another physical force, the Clifton Park, N.Y., product was effective at both ends of the ice in 2007-08. He contributed 12 points, including five goals, to the attack. York believes Petrecki's first-year successes will serve him well in the coming season.

"Late in the year (the 2007-08 season), Nick became one of our real go-to players despite his first-year status," York said. "I thought his last month of the season was very dominant. He's a very physical player whose skill level is getting better."

Three freshmen - Tommy Cross, Malcolm Lyles and Edwin Shea - join the defense and will compete for coveted ice time.

Cross figures to make the biggest impact early. A third 6-foot-3-inch defenseman, Cross played the 2007-08 season at the Westminster (Conn.) School. He also saw some action - nine games - with the USHL's Columbus Blue Jackets. The Simsbury, Conn., resident, who promises to bring some offense to the BC backline, also gained extensive international experience with various U.S. national and select squads.

Lyles joins the Eagles after three successful seasons at Deerfield (Mass.) Academy. Noted for his speed on the ice, Lyles hails from Miami Gardens, Fla.

Shea earned Defensive MVP honors with the Boston Junior Bruins in 2007-08. A three-time EJHL all-star selection, the Shrewsbury, Mass., native totaled 38 points - six goals and 32 assists - in 49 games last winter. Shea was also honored as the 2007-08 recipient of the John Carlton Memorial Trophy, which is given annually by the Boston Bruins to the outstanding student-athlete in Eastern Massachusetts high school hockey.

In Goal

Lettermen Returning/Lost: 2/1

Newcomers: 1

"Goaltending is one of our team strengths this year, no question. Last year we didn't know what we'd get from our freshman goaltender (John Muse). How it changes this year is that our team knows we're solid in goal."

Sophomore John Muse returns for his second year after an impressive freshman year that saw him log every minute - more than 2700 minutes in 44 games - in the BC net. Thrown right between the pipes on day one, the East Falmouth, Mass., product answered the call and played like a veteran - a talented veteran. He finished the season with 25 wins, a .921 save percentage and a league-low 2.20 goals-against average.

York is confident Muse will respond in kind - and then some - in 2008-09.

"Certainly John's confidence level has improved. He knows that if he continues to work hard and improve that he can be a real key figure in our club," York said. "His durability and his skills in the goal will both be better this year."

Junior Alex Kremer, who backed up Muse last winter, returns for a second season. He and freshman Chris Venti both figure to provide depth.

Venti, a Needham, Mass., resident, played his schoolboy hockey at Buckingham Browne & Nichols.

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http://www.boston.com/sports/hockey/articles/2008/09/29/maine_tabbed_no_9_in_hockey_east_poll_1222714929/

BOSTON—The University of Maine hockey team has been picked to finish ninth in the Hockey East conference in this year's preseason coaches poll.

The poll was released Monday at the Hockey East media day at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston.

Boston College was picked to finish first in the conference, followed by Boston University, New Hampshire and Northeastern.

Vermont was picked to come in fifth, followed by Massachusetts, UMass-Lowell, Providence and Maine. Merrimack was picked to come in last.

The Black Bears missed the Hockey East playoffs last year for the first time since 1998.dingbat_story_end_icon.gif

So...

1. BC

2. BU

3. UNH

4. Northeastern

5. VT

6. UMass

7. Lowell Tech

8. Providence

9. Maine

10. Some school down the road from Fuddruckers.

How are those heathens from Amherst ahead of Lowell Tech*?

*60's reference? I forget when the school changed from Lowell Teachers College to Lowell Tech to ULowell to UMass-Lowell!

BTW: There is an excellent Chinese restaurant across the street from Fuddrukcers on Route 114.

Edited by Gainzo
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How are those heathens from Amherst ahead of Lowell Tech*?

*60's reference? I forget when the school changed from Lowell Teachers College to Lowell Tech to ULowell to UMass-Lowell!

BTW: There is an excellent Chinese restaurant across the street from Fuddrukcers on Route 114.

I have no idea why Umass was ranked so high... they dont deserve it.

There is no reason why Lowell wont host a home playoff game this year.

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http://media.www.dailycollegian.com/media/storage/paper874/news/2008/10/02/Sports/Mass-Attack.Preseason.Begins-3465261.shtml

The Massachusetts hockey team begins its 132-day calendar season on Saturday with an exhibition game against New Brunswick.

Saturday is a big day for the Minutemen because it's also the first day of formal practice. So far this season they have only been doing on-ice conditioning and training, without being taught systems and technical strategies.

New Brunswick is a team made up of many athletes that have been part of a pro-hockey circuit, but they were filtered out because they weren't having success in the minor or junior hockey leagues. They are deemed ineligible by the NCAA, but they can still attend and play at Canadian colleges - usually at an older age, ranging from 21-25.

"[New Brunswick will] be a very mature team and this program historically has been one of the better programs in Canada," UMass coach Don Cahoon said. "They'll come in here further ahead in their development than we are."

The Varsity Reds typically begin practicing at the end of August or beginning of September and have already played eight games this season, winning five of them. The Minutemen are much further behind - taking on the team their first day of practice.

"I'll have to look by a lot of systemic type mistakes. I'm sure the effort will be real good and it will be a good challenge to get going and be able to identify your areas of strength and your areas of weakness," Cahoon said.

The Minutemen shouldn't have much trouble playing together on Saturday because they are returning seven of their top 10 scorers, six defensemen and all three goalies from last year.

"I have confidence in our guys," Cahoon said. "Things are going to fall in place systemically a lot quicker than they would if it were a younger team."

But the younger players will still need to learn the system. The Minutemen's co-captains (senior Cory Quirk and junior Brett Watson) and senior class provide the underclassmen with needed leadership. When the younger players see UMass' systems executed correctly they will heighten their awareness and make catching onto the system quicker.

This exhibition game will allow the team to realize what they need to work on to start to prepare for the weekend of Oct. 12 when they take on Michigan State and North Dakota in the Ice Breaker Tournament in Boston.

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http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/sports/article/434560The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds men's hockey team will have one of their top recruits in the lineup for the first time this weekend.

After an extended stay in camp with the National Hockey League's Phoenix Coyotes, centre Daine Todd has rejoined the V-Reds. He's practised with them the past two days for the first time since early in training camp.

UNB travels stateside to play the UMass-Amherst Minutemen at 7 p.m. (AT) Saturday in Amherst, Mass. The V-Reds face the Boston University Terriers at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Todd could have moved on to camp with the American Hockey League's San Antonio Rampage, but opted to come back to UNB.

"It's obviously welcome news for the program and our team," MacDougall said. "Daine had a very good camp in Phoenix and they wanted him to go to the AHL camp, but he made the decision to grow his game here and earn his degree as well."

Todd corresponded from Phoenix to keep up his schoolwork.

"He did very well," MacDougall said. "He was faxing assignments and tests back from Phoenix. I think that says something about him. He's at an NHL camp but he's still getting his schoolwork done."

Todd was with the Western Hockey League's Medicine Hat Tigers for five seasons, but double shoulder surgery limited him to five regular season and 22 playoff games in 2006-07.

Last season, the captain had 25-40-65 in 70 games, but MacDougall says there's much more to Todd than offensive numbers.

"He's got a great element of speed, he thinks the game very well, he competes very well, so he has a lot of attributes that Hunter Tremblay has. He moves the puck well but is also very responsible on both sides of the puck."

Todd was originally pencilled in for the top line between Tremblay and John-Scott Dickson. Fifth-year AUS veteran Jimmy Cuddihy filled that spot in Todd's absence.

"We've got good options with our centremen," MacDougall said. "Jimmy played very well there and I know Daine will play very well there."

The Minutemen return seven of their top 10 scorers from last season, six blueliners and all three goalies.

The Terriers have been ranked second in the 2008-09 Hockey East Pre-season Coaches' Poll. The Terriers received 80 points, second only to the 86 garnered by defending NCAA champion Boston College, the team UNB will be hosting Jan. 2-3.

BU returns eight of its top 10 scorers and five of its six regulars on defence.

"You certainly develop your game when you play top-level NCAA competition," MacDougall said. "We went on this road trip two years ago and lost two heartbreakers. UMass-Amherst have a veteran core back, so that will be a real good test, and Boston is ranked top 10 in the U.S. I think it's also good to get out on the road for team-building."

The St. Thomas Tommies, who've won two of six exhibition games, continue their pre-season slate Friday when they host the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers.

Game time is 7 p.m. at the LBR.

UPEI followed up a 5-3 exhibition win over STU with a 6-3 victory over the Universite de Moncton. The Tommies complete the pre-season next Saturday, Oct. 11, against the Acadia Axemen in Sussex.

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http://goterriers.cstv.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/100208aaa.htmlBOSTON -- Highlighted by an eight-game package from CN8 - The Comcast Network, the Boston University men's ice hockey team has announced its 2008-09 television schedule. The Terriers will also appear on the New England Sports Network (NESN) and ESPNU, as up to 28 contests this season will be televised or streamed live on GoTerriers.com via BU All-Access.

Fourteen BU games have been picked up by television stations, as NESN will broadcast two Terrier games through its Hockey East package (vs. New Hampshire, 1/23; at UMass, 2/27) in addition to the first round and championship of the Beanpot on Feb. 2 & 9. ESPNU will televise two of BU's biggest conference road contests, first at New Hampshire on Nov. 19 and also at Boston College on Dec. 6.

The third season of BU Hockey on CN8 will debut on Oct. 25 when the Terriers take on Michigan, who visits Boston to make its first appearance at Agganis Arena. One week later, CN8 will broadcast its first of four Terrier road games when BU heads to Burlington, Vt., to take on Vermont on Nov. 1.

Other CN8 broadcasts include home tilts against Boston College (Dec. 5 & Jan. 17) and Massachusetts (Feb. 28) and road match-ups with New Hampshire (Jan. 24) and Northeastern (Feb. 21). There is also the potential of BU's second game at the Wells Fargo Denver Cup on Jan.3 being picked up by CN8.

In addition to the 14 national and local broadcasts, both of BU's contests at Maine on Feb. 13-14 will be televised by WABI-TV, the CBS affiliate in Bangor, Maine.

For the fourth consecutive year, BU will provide a live video webcast of games through BU All-Access on GoTerriers.com, allowing fans to view the action live or as part of a video archive. This year's package will include all but one of the Terriers' 20 dates at Agganis.

Other road contests throughout the season will be streamed live by the respective home schools, and links to access those streams will be provided on GoTerriers.com.

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http://terrierhockey.blogspot.com/2008/10/scott-cashman-1969-2008.htmlFor the fourth time in just two months, the Terrier hockey family has suffered a tragic loss. This time a former player, Scott Cashman, just 39 years old, died suddenly on Monday. His funeral will take plaece Friday in his hometown, Kanata, Ontario. The Ottawa Citizen traced his college and professional careers.

A four-year starter in goal, Cashman's career at BU (1989-1993) coincided with the program's return to the national prominence after two down seasons. Cashman, whose name is all over the Terrier goalie record book pages, played in 39 games as a freshman, second most ever in a season, as BU reached the Frozen Four, while being named Hockey East Rookie-of-the-Year. The Terriers reached the NCAA title game in two of the next three seasons.

Cashman was part of three Beanpot championship teams. and is the only goalie to win that event's Eberly Award (for highest save percentage) three times. In 2005, he was inducted into the Beanpot Hall of Fame.

Cashman ranks is third in both career minutes in goal and games played for BU, behind Sean Fields and John Curry, and second in career wins with 60, two behind Fields and one ahead of Curry.

The Guestbook for Scott Cashman is here.

http://www.uscho.com/news/college-hockey/id,15748/FormerBUstandoutnetminderScottCashmandeadat39.html

Oct. 2

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http://media.www.mainecampus.com/media/storage/paper322/news/2008/10/02/MaineSports/Black.Bear.Hockey.Aims.For.Improvement.In.08-3464738.shtml

Senior captains Marshall, Danis-Pepin look to guide promising freshman class

They've made repeat trips to the Frozen Four. They've played alongside All-Americans. They've also recently endured the inevitable down season that strikes even the most successful programs.

Seniors Jeff Marshall and Simon Danis-Pepin now take the reigns as captains of the 2008-2009 University of Maine men's hockey team, hoping to improve on last year's 13-18-3 record - 9-15-3 in conference play - which put them ninth in Hockey East and out of the playoffs.

With one last gasp near the end of the season, the Black Bears started clicking and nearly grabbed one of the final playoff spots, but too few games remained, and the season ended earlier than anticipated.

"Last year, finishing off the way we did, I think it really showed these guys really started coming together," said Marshall, who had five goals and six assists in his junior season. "We started really doing good things, and hopefully it will carry over to this year."

Marshall and Danis-Pepin join Matt Duffy and Chris Hahn as the four seniors on a young Black Bears roster. Fortunately, UMaine is an attractive program for promising prospects, and 11 new faces will suit up for the Black Bears this season to bolster a highly-touted sophomore class.

Coach Tim Whitehead anticipates the freshman class will make an immediate contribution to the team. Defensemen Ryan Hegarty and Will O'Neill, both of Massachusetts, are expected to bring their high-level prep hockey experience to the defensive lines. A pair of Swedish forwards, Gustav Nyquist and Theo Andersson, have also shown goal-producing potential in practice.

The sophomore class is believed to be loaded with talent, led by forward Tanner House and defenseman Jeff Dimmen, who saw significant playing time as freshmen. House's 10 assists is tops among returning players.

With a year of experience behind them, Coach Whitehead sees only improvement in the upcoming season.

"I'm really excited to see them take it to another level," he said.

Andrew Sweetland, a member of last year's freshman class, contributed significantly to the Black Bears' offense with eight goals and nine assists, but decided to leave school early and accept an offer to play professionally with the Florida Panthers.

A significant focal point heading into the season is the replacement of former goalie Ben Bishop, who also left UMaine early to turn pro. Bishop started all 34 games for the Black Bears last year as a junior. His backup, David Wilson, saw action in just four games as a sophomore. Early indications from Whitehead suggest shared time to start the season between Wilson and freshman Scott Darling.

UMaine's three leading scorers from last season - Sweetland, Wes Clark, and Bret Tyler - have all moved on, leaving a void that Marshall feels can be countered with a sound defense and a core of skilled returning players that will take on more significant roles.

"I think the offense is going to be there, but we have to take care of our own end first," Marshall said.

The Black Bears begin play with the Blue/White scrimmage Oct. 4, and then will travel to the University of New Brunswick for a pair of exhibitions.

Coach Whitehead anticipates a strong challenge from the New Brunswick team, as they will already be well into their schedule, having recently scrimmaged the New York Islanders rookie team.

"I think the exhibition games are going to be a very important barometer for us to go off of," Whitehead said. "I think we'll learn a lot about our team and what our strengths are and what our weaknesses are, and it will help us move forward in the right direction."

Whitehead recently added former Black Bear and NHL star Bob Corkum to his coaching staff, an addition he feels will be a valuable source of knowledge and an aid in recruiting. "Bob brings a lot of valuable experience to our program, and we're thrilled to have him on board."

Corkum is currently ranked 25th on UMaine's all-time scoring list, playing for the Black Bears from 1985-1989, and had a 12-year NHL career. Most recently, he served as the assistant coach of the Manchester Junior Monarchs of the Eastern Junior Hockey League.

The disappointing finish to last year's season left the captains feeling anxious to start the season on a positive note.

"Those points mean a lot at the end of the season, so I think in order to get our confidence level up, we definitely have to have a good start," Marshall said.

Danis-Pepin is encouraged by the aggressive attitude his teammates have brought to preseason practices.

"We're going to be a really tough team to play against," Danis-Pepin predicts. "We have a lot of strong guys, a lot of guys that aren't scared to go in the corners and play rough."

After the pair of exhibition games in New Brunswick, the Black Bears will travel across the continent to compete in the Alaskan Goal Rush Tournament on Oct. 17 and 18. The home opener at Alfond Arena will take place the following weekend when the Black Bears host Northeastern for a two-game set beginning Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.

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To Be Held Nov. 12

Oct. 2, 2008

ORONO, Maine--The Friends of Maine Hockey is hosing a Women's Clinic on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008 from 6-7 p.m. at the Alfond Family Lounge at Alfond Arena in Orono.

Have you ever wanted to know what icing, cross-checking or a five-minute major was? Do you want to know what the ref's call was for? If so, now is your chance. The Friends of Maine Hockey is hosting a free "women's only" clinic to help you understand and enjoy the game of men's college ice hockey better. With video and your questions, University of Maine coaches will explain the rules of the game, strategy behind the plays, the referee's signals and penalty calls.

The clinic will be Wednesday, Nov. 12 from 6-7 p.m. at the Alfond Family Lounge at the University of Maine. Refreshments will be served. For reservations, call Ellen Woolley (732-5353) or Anne Britt (667-5989) no later than Wednesday, Nov. 5. Walk-ins are welcome, but space is limited.

Get answers to the questions you've been too afraid to ask. Download a flyer for the clinic below.

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http://www.ncaa.com/icehockey-mens/article.aspx?id=406738Oct. 2, 2008

ORONO, Maine - The Friends of Maine Hockey presents two bus trips for the 2008-09 hockey season. Sit back and relax and leave the driving to Cyr. Have fun and ride in comfort with your fellow Maine fans. The first trip is Nov. 14-15 for the Maine vs. Providence College games. The second bus trip is Jan. 24-25 for the Boston College games.

For the Providence trip, the bus will leave Orono at 11 am on Friday, Nov. 14 and make stops along the way to pick people up. The cost of the trip ranges from $212 to $257 depending upon occupancy at the hotel. The trip includes roundtrip motorcoach transportation, one night's lodging at the Radisson Hotel Providence Harbor, and tickets to both games. A $50 deposit is due at the time of booking to confirm your reservation and final payment is due by Oct. 15, 2008.

For the Boston College trip, the bus will leave Orono at 11 am on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 and make stops along the way to pick people up. The cost of the trip ranges from $218 to $299 depending upon occupancy. The trip includes roundtrip motorcoach transportation, one night's lodging at the Newton Sheraton, and tickets to both games. A $50 deposit is due at the time of booking to confirm your reservations and final payment is due by Dec. 12, 2008.

For reservations and information contact Cry Northstar Tours at 1-800-244-2335 or 207-827-2010. Please make check payable to Cry Northstar Tours and mail to Cry Northstar Tours, P.O. Box 368, Old Town, ME 04468. A Bus Trip Flyer can be downloaded below.

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http://www.ncaa.com/icehockey-mens/article.aspx?id=406720Oct. 2, 2008

AMHERST, Mass. - The game time for the Nov. 25 meeting between UMass and Vermont in the Mullins Center has been moved to 7:30 p.m. to better accommodate CN8 TV. The game time was originally slated for 7 p.m.

The Minutemen will open the 2008-09 season this Saturday with an exhibition against New Brunswick at the Mullins Center Practice Rink. The regular-season gets underway next Friday and Saturday against No. 12 Michigan State and No. 4 North Dakota at the Ice Breaker Tournament in Boston.

The Nov. 25 game against Vermont is one of five UMass games slated for television this season. The Minutemen will be shown on four different networks, COX Sports, CN8, NESN and ESPNU during the year. CN8 is available throughout the region on Comcast Cable systems and will also be streamed online.

UMass will make one more appearance on CN8 on Feb. 28 at Boston University.

The Minutemen will make a national appearance on Sunday, Feb. 1 at Maine (4 PM) on ESPNU. The Feb. 27 game against Boston University (7:30 PM) at the Mullins Center will be televised by NESN as part of NESN's Friday Night Ice package.

The Minutemen's first television game of the season will be on Saturday, Nov. 1 at Providence and will be carried by COX Sports which can be viewed in Rhode Island.

All home UMass hockey games that are not televised can be watched online through UMassAthletics.com's All-Access Streaming Video with Donnie Moorhouse and Brock Hines calling the action. Most away games will also be available through All-Access or the B2Networks Streaming Video.

The Mass Attack will begin the season at the prestigious Ice Breaker Tournament on Oct. 10-11 against Michigan State and North Dakota. The Spartans are ranked No. 12, while the Fighting Sioux are ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll. The Spartans won the 2007 NCAA title, while the Fighting Sioux have advanced to the Frozen Four in each of the last four seasons.

The home schedule will begin with a special Halloween-night game, Friday, Oct. 31, against Hockey East rival Providence at 7 p.m. The Hockey East schedule will be as tough as ever with a pair of visits from both Boston University and Maine along with a Nov. 22 meeting against defending NCAA National Champion Boston College, Other highlights of the home schedule include non-conference tilts between Cornell and St. Lawrence.

Season tickets and single-game tickets can be ordered by calling the Mullins Center Box Office at 866-UMass-TIX (866-862-7784). Season tickets for the 2008-09 season are priced as follows: Adults ($170), Seniors/Faculty/Staff ($150), Youth ($115).

Single-game tickets are $15 for reserved seats, $12 for general admission, $10 for Seniors/Faculty/Staff and $8 for Youth and graduate students. Single-game tickets can also be ordered online by going to www.TicketMaster.com.

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BOSTON - When the Boston University men's ice hockey team hits the ice for its 88th season in October, its aspirations will be like those of any other Terrier squad in recent years - to be in a position to succeed in March and get the program back to the Frozen Four.

While the past few years have fallen short of expectations, there are reasons to believe that fortunes may change in the 2008-09 campaign.

Five regulars return on defense, including two-time All-American Matt Gilroy, who will serve as co-captain of the Terriers along with a fellow senior, forward John McCarthy.

McCarthy and three other senior forwards (Chris Higgins, Jason Lawrence, Brandon Yip) have been mainstays in the lineup since early on in their freshman season and overall, the team returns eight of its top 10 scorers from a year ago.

"We have the capabilities to be a very strong team, but it will only be if we act like a team," said head coach Jack Parker, who enters his 36th season at the helm of the BU program. "If we are a bunch of individuals, which sometimes crept up last year, we'll never get to where we need to be."

Despite having its season come to an end last spring in the Hockey East semifinals, the Terriers still want to pick up where they left off. BU was playing its best hockey of the year entering the league playoffs, but a slow start put the team in a position where it had to win the league tournament to advance to the NCAAs. spacer.gif

"Historically, we've always gotten off to slow starts and then come on stronger," said Parker. "Last year's early-season struggles hurt us more than ever though. We were able to recover in the league, but our non-conference losses were too tough to overcome in the long run."

Gilroy, McCarthy and junior Brian Strait, this year's assistant captain, led their teammates through an offseason that promoted team-oriented effort, helping to create a mindset that this year's Terriers will be ready from the get-go.

"Our objective is to become a team - as soon as possible," added Parker. "Our captains have been helping us do just that."

This hungry BU squad has added one of the nation's top recruiting classes with highly-regarded newcomers at each position, including goaltending, which seemed to be the team's Achilles' heel throughout the 2007-08 season. Over the past two years, the Terriers have struggled to combine a strong offense with a strong defense for an extended period of time.

"Hopefully, as the season goes on, other teams aren't talking just about our offense or just our defense," said Parker. "I'd like to think that we can be equally successful on both ends of the ice."

It appears that the Terriers won't be sneaking up on anybody this season, however, as they were picked second in the preseason Hockey East coaches' poll.

"The rest of the league obviously thought highly of us to vote us second," said Parker. "But it goes without saying that it all has to be played out on the ice."

GOALTENDING

There is no question that the Terriers' level of success in the upcoming season will be highly affected by the team's play between the pipes.

With probably the youngest goaltending trio in the country, the Terriers return sophomore Adam Kraus in addition to welcoming a pair of freshman netminders from western Canada.

"The position is obviously wide open," said Parker. "Despite the lack of experience, there is a lot of talent to choose from. It will be interesting to see who evolves - or how many evolve - as the goaltenders of record."

Kraus made two starts as a freshman, including a 5-4 win over Northeastern in the Beanpot consolation game. In addition to those two outings, he earned an exhibition start in last year's 3-2 victory over the U.S. National Under-18 Team.

After a standout season with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the British Columbia Hockey League, Grant Rollheiser (Chilliwack, B.C.) gained notice and ended up being the first collegiate goaltender selected in the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

One province over, Edmonton native Kieran Millan put up strong numbers for the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in 2007-08 and is also ready to challenge for the Terriers' starting job.

"Despite being young, the three of them all have a good deal of maturity," added Parker. "There is skill there, there is competitiveness there, and all three have a chance to win the job."

DEFENSE

In addition to Gilroy, the Terrier defense has the distinction of featuring each of the last three captains of the U.S. National Under-18 Team in Strait, sophomore Kevin Shattenkirk and freshman David Warsofsky.

Add in sophomore Colby Cohen, who joined with Shattenkirk to make an instant impact as freshmen - especially on the power play - and junior Eric Gryba, who has been a regular in the lineup since the beginning of his freshman year, and it's easy to see why expectations are high at the blueline this year.

"We should be in pretty good shape as far as overall skill. There's plenty of experience there, that's for sure," said Parker. "Obviously having a returning All-American in Matt Gilroy gives us a step up in talent on defense. He'll be the leader back there - no question."

Gilroy, who has posted a combined 55 points (17g, 38a) in his three seasons, and Strait form a pairing that's as good as any in college hockey. Gilroy is a talented puck-moving defenseman and Strait was the runner-up for Hockey East's Best Defensive Defenseman award last year as a sophomore while also adding 10 assists.

Shattenkirk and Cohen have been playing along side each other since their days with the U.S. National Team Development Program and finished 1-2 among Hockey East freshman defensemen in assists last year with 17 and 13, respectively. With the comfort level of having a year under their belts, there's no reason to think they won't take their game to the next level.

Towards the end of last year, Gryba started to find a balance with his physical style of play and he has matured into a steady defenseman.

"This is as good a group of offensive defensemen as we've ever had here," noted Parker. "But we have to keep reminding them that their position is defense. They are defense-men."

Offensive prowess aside, the Terriers' ability to defend played a big role in the team's late-season surge in 2007-08.

"The major reason why we wound up in second place in the regular season was because our defense came together as a group and played much better," said Parker. "They are all capable on the defensive end, and when they play hard, they play well. Hopefully they'll continue to take a step up.

"The guys in between - the two juniors (Gryba, Strait) and two sophomores (Cohen, Shattenkirk) - are the guys that are the most important," added Parker. "Those four have all improved with experience and certainly have the ability to be difference makers."

Warsofsky, a Marshfield, Mass., native, was a major player on offense for the U.S. National Under-18 Team last season, tallying 40 points, including 31 assists. He was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the fourth round of this summer's NHL Entry Draft.

"Warsofsky is highly regarded, and for good reason," said Parker. "He's very skilled and will certainly be seeing a lot of ice time for us."

A forward for his first three seasons with the Terriers, senior Steve Smolinsky - arguably the team's fastest skater - will make the move to defense this year due to the abundance of forwards on the roster.

Freshman Ryan Ruikka, a native of Chelsea, Mich., rounds out BU's defensive corps after helping the EJHL's Jersey Hitmen claim their first league championship last season.

FORWARDS

While the Terriers lost their top two scorers - and the top two point-getters in all of Hockey East in league play - to graduation in Pete MacArthur and Bryan Ewing, this year's offense has the ability to be every bit as good as last year's, thanks to experience in all the returning classes and a standout group of newcomers.

"Up front, we've got an awful lot going for us," said Parker. "We've got a bunch of guys back and we've added some pretty good skill. We should be more competitive as far as guys going in and out of the lineup due to others fighting for position and playing harder to battle for ice time."

Led by a strong senior quartet, the forwards will look to maintain the progress exhibited last year. After the 2006-07 squad finished 44th nationally in scoring offense at 2.54 goals per game, the Terriers made a huge jump to sixth in 2007-08, scoring 3.38 goals per game.

"We'll be as skilled, if not more, from top to bottom compared to last year," added Parker. "We probably won't have the top two scorers in the league, but we've got plenty of guys that can really create for us."

Higgins has been a constant in the Terrier offense ever since arriving on campus and has improved his goal total each season, capped by a 14-goal performance as a junior. Having totaled 32 points in each of the last two years, he's a candidate for a 40-point season and needs just 15 more points to reach 100 for his career.

Yip is also ready for a career year, as his most productive season thus far was his freshman campaign, when he tallied 31 points (9g, 22a) en route to Hockey East and New England Rookie of the Year honors. Twelve of his 23 points last season came in his last 14 games, so he'll look to pick up where he left off.

A steady two-way forward for the Terriers over the last three years, Lawrence has yet to put up big scoring numbers that he's capable of. He's recorded back-to-back 18-point seasons after putting up 22 as a freshman.

"While Higgins has had the most productive years for us from this senior class, it will be interesting to see how he, Yip and Lawrence will close out their careers scoring-wise," said Parker. "Yip has the potential to be a very strong scorer and Lawrence can certainly step it up and put more pucks in the net."

On of the team's top defensive forwards, McCarthy has established himself as a veteran presence on the team's third and fourth lines and added seven points (3g, 4a) as a junior.

"As a captain, McCarthy will be a big leader not just for our forwards, but for our entire team," said Parker. "He'll be getting more ice time than ever before.

"If one or more of our seniors are able to close our their careers with anything close to resembling the seasons MacArthur and Ewing turned in last year, we'll be in great shape," added Parker.

Also returning is junior Luke Popko, who is the team's top faceoff man and was named runner-up for last season's Hockey East Best Defensive Forward award.

In addition to the upperclassmen, two of the nation's top sophomore scorers are back to build off impressive rookie campaigns. Reigning Hockey East and New England Rookie of the Year Colin Wilson was drafted seventh overall by the Nashville Predators in this summer's NHL Entry Draft and classmate Nick Bonino is the Terriers' leading returning goal scorer after recording 16 tallies as a freshman.

Wilson finished third on the team in scoring last year behind Ewing and MacArthur with 35 points on 12 goals and 23 assists, and his 1.12 points per game average in league play was the highest among conference rookies.

"Wilson and Bonino had remarkable freshman seasons and we're all looking forward to see what they'll do when they get back out on the ice," said Parker. "They'll both center lines and help to make them very good lines."

Sophomore Joe Pereira found a regular spot in the lineup last season after a strong performance in the Terriers' 6-3 win over Cornell at Madison Square Garden and will look to take on a bigger role as a sophomore.

Now an upperclassman, junior Zach Cohen was in and out of the lineup as a sophomore but has worked hard to be in a position to compete for time with the younger talent at the position.

"Like the defensemen, I think the middle classes will make or break us, whether it's the Popkos, Perieras, Wilsons, Boninos or Cohens," said Parker.

Sophomore Victor Saponari played in a handful of contests as a freshman and gives the Terriers yet another option at the position.

This year's freshman class, headlined by second-round NHL pick Corey Trivino (Toronto, Ont.), is expected to make an immediate impact. Trivino was picked up by the New York Islanders after two standout seasons with the Stouffville Spirit of the OPJHL.

Two of the incoming forwards will be joining their older brothers on the Terriers, as Vinny Saponari (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Kevin Gilroy (North Bellmore, N.Y.) will give the team two sets of siblings and another pair with the same last name (Colby and Zach Cohen).

Saponari, who was selected by his home-state Atlanta Thrashers in this year's NHL Draft, was the third leading scorer for the U.S. National Under-18 Team and Gilroy was one of the top scorers in the EJHL this past season.

After a standout career at Noble & Greenough, Andrew Glass (Wrentham, Mass.) is a hard-nosed two-way player who was selected by the Washington Capitals in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Chris Connolly of Duluth, Minn., brings a solid scoring touch to BU after helping the Omaha Lancers claim the 2008 USHL Clark Cup title.

Ross Gaudet (Burlington, Mass.), a former Catholic Central League MVP at Austin Prep, gives the Terriers one more option at forward following a strong year with the Bridgewater Bandits of the EJHL.

Edited by Lil Bit Special
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SCHEDULE

Highlighted by 20 dates at Agganis Arena, including the Ice Breaker Invitational, the 2008-09 BU schedule will certainly be a challenge. Five of the six teams that have made an appearance in the Frozen Four during the last two seasons will visit Boston to take on the Terriers, including Michigan, Michigan State and North Dakota.

After a preseason exhibition against New Brunswick on Oct. 5, the Terriers will serve as host for the Ice Breaker, the nation's premier season-opening tournament, on Oct. 10-11. BU and Massachusetts will each face North Dakota and Michigan State in the classic-style tournament, with the Terriers facing the Fighting Sioux on the first day before closing out with the Spartans the following night.

On Oct. 25, the Terriers will host Michigan for the first time since the 1991 NCAA quarterfinals, while Holy Cross (Nov. 25) and St. Lawrence (Nov. 29) round out the home portion of the non-conference schedule.

BU will head west to ring in the new year at the Wells Fargo Denver Cup on Jan. 2-3 in what will be the team's lone non-league road trip of the season. The Terriers will face Rensselaer in the first round before taking on either host Denver or Holy Cross.

"This is certainly our toughest and most competitive non-conference schedule in quite some time," said Parker. "With teams like North Dakota, Michigan State, New Hampshire and Michigan all in the first few weeks, we'll get a good feel for where we stand by the end of October."

The Terriers will play 14 of their 27 Hockey East contests at home, beginning with their league opener against Merrimack on Oct. 17.

The other Hockey East home dates are Northeastern (Nov. 16, Feb. 20); Vermont (Nov. 21-22); Boston College (Dec. 5, Jan. 17); UMass Lowell (Dec. 12, Feb. 6); Maine (Jan. 10); Providence (Jan. 13, March 8); New Hampshire (Jan. 23); and UMass (Feb. 28). The regular-season finale will be a Sunday matinee, as the Providence game on March 8 is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

Seven of BU's final eight games before the holiday break will be at home, including a six-game homestand from Nov. 16-Dec. 5. After hosting UMass Lowell on Dec. 12, the Terriers will take a three-week break from the schedule before returning to action in Denver.

As usual, the Terriers will wrap up their non-conference slate at the Beanpot Tournment, which enters its 57th year. BU will face Harvard in the opening round on Feb. 2. The championship and consolation games will take place on Feb. 9.

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http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/sports/stories/5462186.html

BOSTON -- Tim Whitehead isn't going to think too much about the numbers.

With less than three weeks remaining before the start of the season, Whitehead's University of Maine hockey team is ranked ninth out of 10 teams in the Hockey East Conference men's coaches poll, released Monday at the Hockey East Media Day at TD Banknorth Garden.

But Whitehead put the Black Bears' No. 9 ranking in perspective.

"I've learned over the years not to put too much stock in those," said Whitehead, who will begin his eighth year at Maine. "Simply because we've been on the flip side of that where we've been overrated, when we as coaches knew we really weren't prepared to compete at that level.

"In this case, we hope we're a little underrated, and I hope we can surprise some people. But having said that, we anticipated the ranking that we got. That's where we finished last year and we lost some elite players early to pro hockey."

The Black Bears finished the 2007-2008 season 13-18-3 and 9-15-3 in Hockey East. Then goalie Ben Bishop signed with St. Louis and forward Andrew Sweetland with Florida.

Maine opens the season Oct. 17 against Alaska-Anchorage at the Alaska Goal Rush Tournament in Fairbanks, Alaska. Its home opener is Oct. 24 against Northeastern at Alfond Arena in Orono.

Boston College, the defending national champion, is the top-ranked team in the league, as well as the No. 1 team in the nation, according to the USA Today/USA Hockey men's preseason poll.

"We embrace the whole concept of challenging ourselves as much as we can, and we'd like to build on that," Boston College coach Jerry York said. "It's not unusual for us to be ranked high in the preseason so our players are accustomed to that and I don't think they feel that this is any different than any other year. So it's a good sign.

"But when you're not ranked," York added, laughing, "you've got to worry a little bit."

Behind Boston College in the Hockey East poll is Boston University, New Hampshire and Northeastern.

"It (Hockey East) is not easy to forecast," York said. "Whatever you think about generally does not happen. Those are the three teams to watch for regular-season honors, but someone will jump up and make that more of a race. It could be Maine, it could be Vermont, but I'm sure it will be more than just three teams."

Boston College, New Hampshire (seventh) and Boston University (10) are also among the USA Today/USA Hockey top 15 poll, and five Hockey East schools -- Maine, Massachusetts, UMass-Lowell, Vermont and Northeastern -- also received votes in the national poll.

"I think a team that's quite dangerous is Lowell," Northeastern coach Greg Cronin said. "They're just like us and only lost one guy, they've got their whole team back. They're going to be tough to handle. Another team, and they did well at the end, is Maine, and they should have finished higher than they did. They almost stole a series at BU, so I expect them to be very, very good and I expect Vermont to build on what they did last year.

"I think BC, BU and UNH will be in their traditional positions, but I think it's going to be an absolute dogfight for the next four, five and six down the line."

Maine won five of its final six 2007-2008 regular-season games but was eliminated from the Hockey East playoffs on the final day of the regular season. Whitehead hopes that his team's finish last season will carry over to the start of this season and, furthermore, when it comes to the Hockey East race.

"The guys really showed a lot of heart and stick-to-it-iveness to fight through an unusually tough season to really finish at our best," Whitehead said. "Unfortunately that wasn't enough, but it did give us and the returning players a lot of confidence to play through injuries and other unexpected events and really do something special.

"Hopefully this year, we'll be able to hit the ground running a little more, as far as wins and losses. But, quite frankly, we're not going to look past one week at a time, especially with a young team like this."

Hockey East men's preseason poll (Total votes in parentheses)

1. Boston College, 86

2. Boston University, 80

3. New Hampshire, 78

4. Northeastern, 62

5. Vermont, 58

6. Massachusetts, 48

7. UMass-Lowell, 46

8. Providence, 34

9. Maine, 28

10. Merrimack, 20

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AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass ice hockey team used four power play goals, two by senior Alex Berry, in a 6-0 win over New Brunswick in exhibition action on Saturday night in the Mullins Center Practice Rink.

Goalies Paul Dainton and Dan Meyers combined for the shutout. Sophomore James Marcou added a pair of assists, while senior captain Cory Quirk notched a goal and an assist. The Minutemen open the regular-season next Friday at the Ice Breaker Tournament in Boston against No. 12 Michigan State.

UMass held a commanding 39-to-21 shot advantage for the game and converted 4-of-8 power play opportunities. Dainton made 12 saves, while Myers made nine. Each saw 30 minutes of action. Reds goalie Travis Fullerton made 33 saves in the loss.

Berry started the scoring with a power play goal at the 17:05 mark of the first period. He added a second just four minutes into the second period.

Almost a minute and a half later, freshman Casey Wellman added a third power play goal to put UMass up 3-0. Senior Scott Crowder ended a three-goal second period with a short handed score with just 1:12 remaining.

Cory Quirk scored a power play goal 1:38 into the third period and Michael Lecomte added another at the 16:58 mark to round out the scoring.

The Mass Attack will begin the season at the prestigious Ice Breaker Tournament on Oct. 10-11 against Michigan State and North Dakota. The Spartans are ranked No. 12, while the Fighting Sioux are ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll. The Spartans won the 2007 NCAA title, while the Fighting Sioux have advanced to the Frozen Four in each of the last four seasons.

The home schedule will begin with a special Halloween-night game, Friday, Oct. 31, against Hockey East rival Providence at 7 p.m. The Hockey East schedule will be as tough as ever with a pair of visits from both Boston University and Maine along with a Nov. 22 meeting against defending NCAA National Champion Boston College, Other highlights of the home schedule include non-conference tilts between Cornell and St. Lawrence.

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Players to Watch

Note: This is a "watch" list, and not an "honorable mention" list. These are other players we deem most intriguing to keep an eye on, and not necessarily the next best group.

F - Aaron Palushaj, So., Michigan - Had 10-34--44, and emerged with Miami's Carter Camper as top freshmen in the CCHA a year ago.

F - Lee Jubinville, Sr., Princeton - Emerged for Princeton last season, becoming ECAC Player of the Year and a Hobey finalist, as Princeton went to the NCAAs.

F - Tim Crowder, Sr., Michigan State - Fellow wouldbe seniors Tim Kennedy and Justin Abdelkader decided to split, leaving Crowder as the top returning scorer.

F - Matt Beca, Jr., Clarkson - Clarkson lost a lot from last season, but with two-way players like Beca, could have the horses to remain in the NCAA picture.

F - Joe Whitney, So., Boston College - Scored the OT winner against Miami that put BC in the Frozen Four last year.

F - Colin Wilson, So., Boston University - The highest pick among college players in last June's NHL Draft, decided to stay in school when Nashville could not assure him an NHL spot.

F - Garrett Roe, So., St. Cloud - Petered out near the end of last season, after putting up big numbers.

F - James vanRiemsdyk, So., New Hampshire - Decided to stick around in college, the highest NHL pick to do so. Really picked up his game towards the end of last season, has the potential to be dominant.

F - Brock Bradford, Sr., Boston College - Was on fire after returning from a broken arm, only to soon break it again. If he's healthy, he'll put up numbers.

F - Benn Ferriero, Sr., Boston College - If everyone stays healthy, BC's offense will be potent.

F - Dion Knelsen, Jr., Alaska - Gets lost in the shuffle, but the 5-foot-9 Knelsen could emerge nationally if Alaska (with third head coach in three years) can win games.

F - Ryan Duncan, Sr., North Dakota - 2007 Hobey Baker Award winner, has put up the numbers in the past, now he must lead.

F - Colin Greening, Jr., Cornell - Riley Nash is a first-round pick, but Greening has the size and skill to be a solid NHL player.

F - Joe Colborne, Fr., Denver - First-round pick in June, he is big but plays with finesse. He'll be part of a young by extremely talented corps.

F - Mark Olver, So., Northern Michigan - This could finally be the Wildcats' year to return to the NCAAs.

F - Jordan Schroeder, Fr., Minnesota - Along with Aaron Ness, gets a lot of hype, as do most freshmen that enter Minnesota. But some think he has a higher upside than Ness.

D - Joe Charlebois, Sr., New Hampshire - A startling plus-26 last season, he went from consistent to dominant on the backline.

D - Lane Caffaro, Sr., Union - Union had its best ECAC season last year, getting a first-round bye, but still hasn't won a playoff series.

D - Tim Filangieri, Sr., Boston College - Just one of many excellent BC defenders.

D - Alex Biega, Jr., Harvard - First team preseason all-ECAC pick.

D - Josh Meyers, Sr., Minnesota-Duluth - Once feared on the power play, his numbers dropped last season along with the team's, but no reason he can't regain that form.

D - Matt Taormina, Sr., Providence - A strong season with 36 points from the backline. The Friars lost their last four games to fizzle out what had the earmarks of a breakthrough year. Could this be the one?

G - John Muse, So., Boston College - A national championship goaltender who could easily be on the top two teams, but edged out by Lerg and Bachman.

G - Alex Kangas, So., Minnesota - Gave Minnesota some stability at the goaltending spot, finally, but how long with that last?

G - Brian Foster, Jr., New Hampshire - He must fill the shoes of Kevin Regan, and do it well if UNH will finally fulfill promise.

G - Marc Cheverie, So., Denver - The offense looks potent, so a lot is riding on Cheverie to take the reins from Peter Mannino and run with it.

G - Billy Sauer, Sr., Michigan - Came into his own last season, with a tremendous year and strong NCAA tournament, until bombing out with a bad performance against Notre Dame in the NCAA semifinal. Which Sauer will be there this year?

G - Brad Thiessen, Jr., Northeastern - With a maturing supporting cast, if Thiessen continues to dazzle, Northeastern may finally break through.

G - Andrew Braithwaite, Jr., Merrimack - A very good goalie on a bad team, last season.

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http://www.lowellsun.com/hockey/ci_10637507

LOWELL -- The UMass Lowell hockey team, a year older and more experienced and ready to unveil several promising freshmen forwards, plays St. Francis Xavier of Canada in an exhibition game Sunday at Tsongas Arena.

The game begins at 3 p.m., and admission is free.

The River Hawks were one of the youngest Division I hockey teams in the country last year, often skating as many as 17 freshmen and sophomores. They finished with a 16-17-4 record and took second-place Boston University to the limit in the first round of the Hockey East Tournament.

The River Hawks lost only one regular player from last year's squad.

Among the returning veterans is junior Kory Falite (18-14-32), a second-team Hockey East All-Star who led the league with 15 goals. Sophomore defenseman Maury Edwards (8-11-19), who made Hockey East's All-Rookie team last winter, is among the returning defensemen.

Among the newcomers will be highly-touted freshmen forwards David Vallorani and Matt Ferreira, and defenseman Michael Budd.

The River Hawks open their 2008-09 season next Saturday at Colgate.

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