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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Hockey Season Recap

UMass Boston 2016-17 Men’s Ice Hockey Team

The calendar is turning, and that means the end to another season of ice hockey for the University of Massachusetts Boston Beacons Men’s and Women’s hockey teams. Both of their seasons came to an end at the New England Hockey Conference tournament.

The men’s squad fell to rival Babson College, who avenged last year’s loss in the NEHC tournament title game in overtime. The women had a slightly deeper run, winning their quarterfinal game at home over Salve Regina University before falling at Manhattanville College in the semifinal. However, this did not pass without a brave and gritty effort that forced Salve Regina to earn their victory after coming back from their one-goal deficits on two occasions. On the scale of wins, losses, and ties, the men faced a struggle in inconsistency for much of the year, while the women had their finest season yet.

One thing they had in common, however, was that both will have individual accolades.

On the men’s side, they had the burden of expectations to follow after their historic NEHC tournament title and NCAA Frozen Four run last year. Those burdens may have played a part in the up-and-down play from the Beacons’ freshman goalie Jordan Bustard, who showed flashes of brilliance at times in his campaign. Another factor to consider was the improved competition in the NEHC, particularly from non-traditional powers New England College and Skidmore, who did more than hold their own against their league opposition. The Pilgrims were also a challenge to go against, finishing second in the league this year, behind the league regular season and tournament Norwich Cadets, who are the top-ranked team in the country and the favorite of this year’s NCAA tournament.

That aside, the Beacons still earned plenty of individual honors this year. Junior Assistant Captain Colin Larkin capped his campaign with the NEHC Player of the Year honors, and did so with a 20-goal, 39-point season, the former leading all Beacons, the latter in second. This is a rewarding gift for the star who will carry the ‘C’ captaincy on his sweater next season.

And who did lead the team in points? Why, that would be the NEHC Freshman of the Year Ryan Cusin! Cusin scored 40 points to lead all NEHC players and rank second nationally. He becomes the third Beacon to earn Conference Rookie of the Year honors, joining Larkin and Peter MacIntyre.

Further expanding on their accolades, Larkin and Cusin earned All-NEHC honors as well, with the former on the first team, and Cusin for the third squad. Larkin will soon join the first team with graduating defenseman Tyler Bishop, while Cusin will match up on the NEHC All-Rookie team with Nolan Redler, who notched 10 goals and 27 points for the blueshirts this year. With a mix of experienced playmakers and shining underclassmen, the Beacon men are bound to go nowhere but up next season as they look to get back into the thick of NEHC title contention with less pressure on their backs.

On the women’s team, Lindsay Berman’s second season behind the Beacon bench yielded one of the highest winning seasons in program history, as the team went on to win 19 games against eight losses. And while they couldn’t repeat the championship success last year’s 16-win team wielded, the former Northeastern standout Berman has synergized a youth movement that is fast becoming the nucleus of the young program.

Sophomores Kaleigh Beauregard and Emily Harris both tied for the team lead with 18 points each, freshman Julia Nolan not far behind with 16. All three figure are going to be the bedrock for taking this program even further heights next year. Further complementing the lineup will be returning senior goaltender Rachel Myette. She had the most successful campaign of any Beacon player this season, earning All-NEHC second team honors while winning 12 games against seven losses, a goals against average of 2.05, save percentage of .933, and two shutouts. With these numbers and all the players returning, the Beacons Women’s hockey team will have much to look forward to next year.
To summarize, this season had its ups and downs for both hockey teams, but despite this, they were rewarded handsomely for their contributions. With all the talent returning for both squads, it’s very probable that their team performances will help yield only more victories next season compared to this past one. No matter what the NEHC members will throw at them, be it current guards Norwich and Babson, or future members Suffolk University, Johnson and Wales University, and Salem State University, the Beacons have shown they have never backed down from a challenge, and their future in this great sport shouldn’t be any different.