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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Too Much Bendel

Photo+by+Kevin+Ham%0A

Photo by Kevin Ham

There is no athlete at UMass Boston hotter right now than Kevin Bendel. The senior goaltender is winding down his Clark Center career with his best hockey ever.

In 2012, the Beacons have gone 6-3-1, including upsets of then-number one Norwich and number four Castleton State. Bendel has been stunning for the last five weeks. He has given up two or fewer goals in six of his seven starts over the stretch, and his goals-against average for the season is a fantastic 2.21. His success at this point in the season is a classic example of peaking at the right time, and he’s on fire as the Beacons are getting ready to attempt to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Bendel has a good explanation for his run. He said, “As of late, I’ve gone back to square one and worked on the very basic fundamentals of goaltending. Before the stretch I felt like I was not playing up to my own expectations, so I went back and watched the game tapes. In the tapes I found that I was making some very basic mistakes, so basic that I actually took it quite hard on myself. I corrected these mistakes in two ways. One: whenever I can, I get on the ice before practice and put myself through skating and technique drills. Also, at every practice I work on one aspect in particular that I felt I wasn’t performing well in.”

While Bendel didn’t shy away from praise about his hot streak, he was even faster to heap it onto his teammates. He said, “The guys are really buying into the system we are implementing while each guy is playing a specific role they have been asked to fill. Their willingness to put the team before themselves has made my job so much easier, and I can’t thank them enough for it.” He also mentioned some other members of the athletic department who have contributed to his success. He said “I just want to thank Ed Perkins, Katie O’Sullivan and the entire training staff for all of their efforts in helping us stay healthy and do this well thus far in the season, they’ve been great”.

The team has stepped up lately. They are averaging 3.3 goals per game this season, which is nearly a full goal more than opponents are averaging. They are also strong on the power play, with a 25 percent success rate and an even better 82 percent kill rate. Bendel added, “So many guys on the team have stepped up and have made a big impact over the past month. Guys like Travis Daniel, Jimmy Ennis, and Tim Richter have been scoring some timely goals for us, while others like Mark Grinhaus and Kyle Tejchma have been outstanding on our penalty kill.”

As much as other Beacons have contributed to this year’s success, there is no question that Bendel has been the number one stud. Coach Peter Belisle pointed out two components of his success: “Kevin’s work ethic and competitive nature are probably his strongest assets. […] He may not be the biggest goalie, but his compete level is so high, […] that’s why I think he’s been so successful.” Belisle also said, “We’re going to need him down the stretch if we want to make a run.”

The team has two weeks left until the ECAC tournament. They are hitting their stride at exactly the right time to be a dangerous team in the post-season. Bendel is now looking to leave a legacy as a Beacon legend. He said, “There have been so many great players before me who have left such great legacies that I’d be honored if I were even mentioned in the same sentence as some of them. I’d love to leave a great ‘D3′ championship legacy here at UMass Boston, but only time will tell.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the best team on campus this winter will perform when crunch time rolls around. Grab some popcorn and head down the Clark Center because this could be a dream season in the making.