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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New Jerseys. Improved Results?

New Jerseys. Improved Results?

Anyone that has been paying attention to the men’s hockey team for the past five or six years can tell you that it hasn’t been pretty. The team finished last season with a record of 5-20-1, the most wins since the 99′ season. Since 2001, the Beacons have an overall record of 16-125-10.

Peter Belisle is the head coach and entering his second season at UMass Boston. Belisle is a passionate man who has approached this season with a whole new outlook. “Last year we started recruiting a little late, and we brought a couple kids in that made a difference and we won five games; but 5-20 isn’t very good. So we really needed to change the whole complexion, and the whole culture of this team.”

Belisle and Assistant Coach Jeff Pellegrini did everything they could this year to recruit some of the best talent around the country. “Our strategy this year was to try and recruit every good prestigious junior hockey program in the country, in Canada, and try to attract kids to come to UMass Boston,” Belisle said. They went out and did just that. Even with no seniors on the team last year, Belisle has only a handful of players returning from the 2006-07 squad. Key returning defensemen for the Beacons are Steven Ebbole, Wade Collins, Russ Peterson, and Andrew Ward, who were all solid players last year. Other key returns are Rocco Dabecco, Adam Larrabee, and Kris Kranzky. Kranzky, at 6’4, is a big kid who was their leading scorer last year, and according to both Belisle and Pellegrini, could potentially be a pro-prospect. Ryan Donovan returns as the goalie and, according to coaches, “was stopping sixty shots a game last year,” and gave the Beacons a chance to win every night.

Andrew Ward, last year’s captain, and Kyle Simpson are the two seniors returning and should prove to be key players on and off the ice once again. “We have such a big group of freshman this year,” Belisle said, “and I’m hoping that the veterans from years past can change the complexion of the program for the future.” Getting some veteran experience is a necessity with such a young team, and with two legitimate seniors, the underclassmen will have some guidance in approaching this season.

The style of play for this season is going to be much different than of years past. Belisle is looking for an “aggressive, intense, in your face hockey with a lot of speed, and a lot of contact.” Belisle’s intensity as a person translates directly onto the ice in his coaching. Says Belisle, “When they [opponents] come to Boston, I want them to know they’re playing tough kids.” Belisle is very anxious and excited to start the 2007-08 season, and for good reason. “We want to build an environment here, and obviously you got to win. I don’t think people want to go watch an 0-25 team, but if we put a competitive team on the ice, which I think we’ve done, we’ll be OK. Hopefully this will be the best season UMass Boston has ever had.” UMass Boston also has new uniforms to go along with the “new look Beacons” slogan that Pete Belisle keeps reiterating.

“There’s going to be guys flying around this year, and hopefully we can pack this stadium to capacity,” Belisle said. The UMass Boston men’s hockey team opens the season at home in the Clark Athletic Center, at 7:00 on Friday November 16 against Colby College.