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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Men’s, women’s hockey prepare for 2013-14 season

Travis Daniels, captain of the men’s team

The University of Massachusetts Boston’s men’s and women’s ice hockey teams are ready to hit the rink this season with higher expectations than ever before. The men’s team is coming off of an incredible season where they were ranked ninth in the country and just missed qualifying for the NCAA Division III Tournament; the women’s team brings a mature, battle tested group that is ready to break out. 

For the men’s side, head coach Peter Belisle puts it best when he says, “the bar has been set.” Coming into the year, the Beacons are ranked second in the ECAC East Preseason Coaches’ poll, ninth in the D3hockey.com poll, and 12th in the US College Hockey online poll. Coach Pete Belisle, who was named New England’s Division II/III Coach of the Year last season, feels that his team is “not going to sneak up on anybody [this year]. It’s a good thing not to be seen as a team that is going to surprise. That is what we want.”

Although the team was hit with the losses of Rob Florentino, Tim Niedzielek, Mike DeGrazia, and Tim Richter, they do return leading scorer Travis Daniel, who will serve as the team captain. Along with Daniel, the team returns a strong crop of forwards that could, and should, be among the nation’s best. Kit Sitterly, Peter MacIntyre, and Frankie DeAugustine swept all three forward spots on last season’s conference all-rookie team, while Jeremy Finger, Derek Colucci, Mark Grinhaus, and Mike Kuhn bring a veteran presence to the lineup. 

The team’s young defensemen have high hopes as well, with Sam Boyd, Cody Dixon, and D-I transfers Dan Cornell and Nathan Milam expected to lead the way for years to come. Zach Andrews, coming off one of the best seasons in school history as a freshman a season ago, is expected to be productive once again as the team’s starting goaltender. As Coach Belisle states, “anything less (than matching the success from last year) would be considered a disappointment.” But he, as well as the rest of the team, knows it won’t be easy. National power Norwich owns the conference. They have won 16 straight regular-season championships, have gone to the National Semi Finals for four years in a row, and are ranked in the top five in both polls. Babson College, last year’s ECAC East tournament champions, are nationally ranked as well and are expected to challenge for the title once again. Castleton State and New England College both received votes in the national poll, illustrating the depth of the conference.

The women’s team may not have had a season that was equally as successful as the men, but that doesn’t mean they have high expectations of their own. Despite losing leading scorers Ali Greenberg and Emily LaRosa, and a leader in Jami Cudmore, Coach Colleen Harris feels that having a successful team “is to be expected.” Current seniors Sarahanne Cavolo, Courtney White, and Katie Loiselle are expected to step in for the departed seniors.

The trio should bring strong leadership to the team both on and off the ice. Juniors Emily Howard and Alyssa Sullivan are both scoring threats, while Alexandra Karlis gives the team a huge boost with her return from injury. There also a few underclassmen who Coach Harris feels will be able to do more than just chip-in. Casey Shaejbe was stellar last season in net, while defensemen Alexa Cappione will bring maturity. Like the men’s squad, the Lady Beacons received two Division-I transfers in goaltender Moe Bradley and Jenny Currie, both of who are expected to contribute. Coach Harris is also very keen on her freshman class. KC McGinley, Melissa Richard, Kaitlyn Morse, Kristen Embrey, Kat Armstrong, and Alexandra Kreuser supply the Lady Beacons with depth and a very bright future for the team in coming years. 

When it comes to motivation, Coach Harris and her team can look no further than the team they share the ice with. With the men’s team surprising many people last season, Coach Harris believes that her team is capable of pulling off something similar. “[Seeing] the success the men had at the same spot, we will be motivated,” said Harris. On top of that, the team was picked seventh in the ECAC-East Conference poll. That doesn’t phase Coach Harris, as she stated, “we’re the underdogs, but we like it that way. We can, and we will, surprise.”

It should be a great hockey season this upcoming year. Both teams are expected to be among the best in the ECAC-East, and have the players, the coaches, and the experience, and the leadership to do just that.