UMass’ Micheletto Is Impressed With Men’s Hockey Speed And Work Ethic

UMass head coach John Micheletto was named the program’s 13th head coach on July 16, 2012! (Photo Credit: CollegeHockeyNews.com)

By Matt Noonan 

The UMass Minutemen concluded their season last March with two back-to-back losses to Boston College in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs.

After the Eagles dislodged the Minutemen, former head coach Don “Toot” Cahoon resigned a few months later, which paved the way for the former University of Vermont associate head coach John Micheletto to be named the program’s 13th head coach.

Once officially introduced on July 16, 2012, Micheletto began crafting his goals and objectives for the upcoming season, which he highlighted below in an interview that was conducted last Tuesday at the Hockey East Media Day.

Here is the transcript from his conversation with reporters:

On prior knowledge of the team: “The three games we played them [when I was an assistant coach at University of Vermont] – well, I know they beat us at Fenway [Park]. Like I say, I think the biggest thing that I was all impressed with is their speed and their work ethic and those are things that we’re going to try and capitalize even further this year. Again, in the early going just being on the ice a couple of times with the guys – their commitment level and willingness to try things and their ability to pick up information and assimilate it pretty quickly has been pretty impressive.”

On the team’s goaltending: “Well, I think the good thing from my perspective is that yet three guys prior to coming to UMass were all starting goaltenders and were all highly regarded, so it’s going to create a pretty impressive competition between the three of them. Kevin [Boyle] maybe saw a bit more of the work later in the season last year, but as with all of our guys I have encouraged the goaltenders that this is a clean slate for everybody and we’re making decisions moving forward. It’s not just I know about the guys from the past, [but] it’s about what you do from day one until we get on the ice against UConn on [Oct. 6] that will determine who will get in the lineup.”

On the team’s commitment this offseason: “I don’t know that I could say there was a change not really having a personal knowledge of the inner-workings, [but] I will say that I was impressed with their commitment level through the transition, what good of shape they came in [to camp], so that really indicated to me the dedication to the offseason program. I think where a lot of guys could have gotten a jaded view or lost their motivation or maybe not have committed as well [it’s] quite the opposite [because it] seemed to kind of bond the guys together and even more, and so it became even easier then once I took over because that base was already there.”

On the team’s veteran presence: “I think going being from what’s considered a young team being considered a veteran team or a more veteran team, you’re certainly hopeful that guys take that step forward in terms of their mental approach, in terms of their consistency, so like I say, 17 or 18 juniors and seniors is certainly a better equation for a coach than to have 17 or 18 freshmen and sophomores.”

On the team’s defensive unit: “I’ve been really impressed with our [defense] because they’ve got the ability to play at both ends of the ice. You’ve got Joel Hanley, you’ve got Conor Allen, you’ve got Adam Phillips, you’ve got Colin Shea, Oleg Yevenko, Darren Rowe, you’ve got freshmen added to the mix, [so] those are all guys that can get around the sheet pretty well, they can defend pretty well, we’re certainly going to ask them turn more pucks over for us this year, but they’ve also proven especially two years ago to be able to contribute offensively quite a bit. So from the style of play that we want to have an attacking style of play you need to activate your defensemen and have them be able to – don’t need them to lug the puck like Bobby Orr used to do, [but] you need them to be involved and I think all those guys regardless of how “offensive defensemen” they are they all have the capability of doing that and contributing a little bit.”

On the team’s offensive unit: “We’ve got the great majority of our top five scorers back from last year just losing T.J. Syner from last year to graduation, so the guys who were up near the top last year – the Conor Sheary’s, the Mike Pereira’s, the Steve Guzzo’s, the Troy Power’s – I would imagine those guys are going to be near the top again, but having said that we need to get more productivity out of maybe that middle tier to close the gap and get more 20 point scorers, more guys that are in that range because our depth is certainly going to be a strength of ours up front

Cahoon Resigns From UMass Men’s Ice Hockey

Don “Toot” Cahoon officially resigned on Tuesday as the head coach of the UMass men’s ice hockey team. (Photo Credit: Daily Collegian)

By NoontimeSports.com 

As noted in Wednesday’s Boston Herald, UMass men’s ice hockey head coach Don “Toot” Cahoon resigned from his post with the Minutemen.

Cahoon, who walks away after 12 years with the program, guided UMass to a 13-18-5 overall record last season, along with an eighth place finish, which earned the Minutemen a spot in the Hockey East tournament.

“It’s been an honor to coach and work with so many fine student-athletes over the last 12 years here at UMass,” Cahoon said in the college’s press release on Tuesday. “Their efforts and the efforts of the faculty, staff and community members will be fond memories of my time here at Massachusetts. I look forward to the continued growth and development of this program so that it will sustain itself at the most elite level within Hockey East. The privilege has been all mine.”

The Herald confirmed that Cahoon’s decision came about during a meeting with UMass athletic director John McCutcheon last week.

“Actually, the way it went was that Toot and I sat down last week and had some heartfelt discussions and he presented some concerns that he had and I presented some concerns that I had, and at the end of the discussion we felt it was the right time for us to part ways,” McCutcheon said. “We’ve made a lot of progress. We’ve gotten to a good point. There are some good young men in the program. But, unfortunately, our won-loss record wasn’t what we wanted over the last four or five years. We want to get to the next level.”

Cahoon leaves UMass with a record of 166-225-42. His 166 wins are the most in program history.

He’s also compiled a record of 330-380-73, which spans over 25 years of coaching at Lehigh, Norwich and Princeton. He was also the Hockey East Coach of the Year in 2003.

Cahoon began his hockey career as a player with Marblehead High School’s boy’s varsity squad before spending four seasons with Boston University; he helped the Terriers earn back-to-back national titles in 1971-72.

Hockey East Quarterfinals: Boston College 3, UMass 2

By Dan Libon 

CHESTNUT HILL, MA – For the second night in a row, Boston College crept off their home ice with a one-goal victory, as the Eagles defeated University of Massachusetts (Amherst) on Saturday, 3-2 and clinched a spot in next weekend’s Hockey East quarterfinals.

“The quarterfinal series has always been extremely difficult,” BC head coach Jerry York said. “From our prospective, we played a lot better than we did [on Friday and] I’m very pleased with that.”

The Minutemen wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, as senior co-captain T.J Snyder found sophomore Conor Sheary at 2:54 in the opening period, which provided UMass with a 1-0 advantage.

Two minutes later, BC lit the lamp when freshman Johnny Gaudreau assisted junior Pat Mullane, who rifled the puck over the shoulder of UMass netminder Kevin Boyle for the Eagles first score of the contest.

The Eagles then doubled their lead four minutes after their first strike on a Minutemen power play when sophomore Bill Arnold deposited the puck into Boyle’s cage, which gave BC a 2-1 lead heading into the middle frame.

UMass eventually netted the tying goal when sophomore Joel Hanley redirected senior Michael Marcou’s shot toward the BC cage at 18:03 before the Eagles responded literally a minute later with goal by junior Brian Dumoulin. However, Dumoulin’s goal created a tad bit of controversy, as the UMass benched believed the play prior to the score was icing.

“It was disgraceful,” UMass head coach Don “Toot” Cahoon said. “If Snyder didn’t get hit from behind the net to get the puck then there should of been a huge embellishment penalty.”

The Minutemen had a few chances during the final session to even the score again, but instead, they couldn’t produce anything on various offensive series, which allowed the Eagles to earn the victory, as well as the series sweep, too.

BC will return to the ice on Friday, Mar. 16 when they face either University of Massachusetts (Lowell) or Providence College at the TD Garden.

Hockey East Quarterfinals: Boston College 2, UMass 1

By Matt Noonan 

CHESTNUT HILL, MA – It wasn’t the prettiest tournament victory, but somehow Boston College maneuvered past University of Massachusetts (Amherst) on Friday evening to earn a 2-1 win at Kelly Rink, as well as a one-game lead in this best-of-three series, too.

“It’s a playoff type hockey [game],” BC head coach Jerry York stated. “You could just feel the type of playoff intensity out of both teams… It was mostly five-on-five, no four-on-four’s, and it was a battle. Every shift was a battle out there.”

BC earned its two-goal cushion late in the second period when junior Pat Mullane and senior Tommy Cross netted back-to-back strikes, which provided the Eagles with a 2-0 advantage.

“We hadn’t really produced much offensively [at that point] in the game, so we were just trying to get pucks to the net,” said Mullane. “I thought it swung the momentum in our direction, which we carried through for the rest of the period.”

The Eagles attempted to increase their lead once the third period started, but the Minutemen’s physical play instead provided the necessary spark for UMass’ offense to register its only goal of the contest, as senior Danny Hobbs lit the lamp at 6:55 to cut the lead in half.

“It’s commendable that we played as hard and created as much opportunities we did for ourselves, and then it’s frustrating that we didn’t plays,” said UMass head coach Don “Toot” Cahoon. “[Overall] we played hard.”

BC began the contest tallying six consecutive shots on UMass freshman Kevin Boyle’s (16 saves) cage before a rare power outage halted the Eagles attack.

UMass returned to the ice after the 20-minute delay, and eventually recorded what appeared to be the first goal of the contest, but after a second look, the referees overturned freshman Steven Guzzo’s strike.

“The referees called that what they felt according to the book, and the book says if there’s any question then it’s a no-goal situation,” Cahoon said. “So, they called it as the way they saw it.”

“We got a good turn of events there when the refs looked at the video replay, and [revoked] the goal, [which] seemed to give us a little bit of life,” said York.

BC can clinch a spot in next weekend’s Hockey East semi-finals with a win on Saturday against UMass.

“They’ll play with plenty of passion and compete level [on Saturday], and we need to be able to push back and maybe get a few of those lucky breaks along the way,” said Cahoon.