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UMass men’s hockey ranked No. 1 for first time in program history

Erin Walsh
December 03, 2018 - 5:11 pm

The UMass Minutemen are off to a great start this season.

With a record of 12-1-0, UMass has found itself atop the USCHO Division 1 poll for the first time in program history. The poll has the Minutemen ahead of St. Cloud State by four first-place votes.

UMass took over the top spot after going 7-0-0 through the month of November, defeating Providence twice and Merrimack once in that stretch.

Sophomore defenseman Cale Makar has done his part from the back end by contributing 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) and emerging as one of the best players in the country. Senior forwards John Leonard and Mitchell Chaffee have contributed significantly to this Minutemen team, combining for 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) through 13 games.

Freshman defenseman Marc Del Gaizo and freshman forward Bobby Trivigno have both added nine points through 13 games. Trivigno earned Hockey East Rookie of the Week honors after tallying two goals against UConn on Friday.

Goaltending has also been a significant part in the success of this team. Sophomore goaltender Matt Murray has posted a 9-0-0 record with a .929 save percentage and a 1.99 goals against average. Freshman backup Filip Lindberg has also done his part, posting a 3-1-0 record with a .936 save percentage and a 1.73 goals against average.

There is no lack of talent on this team's roster.

The Minutemen have a few players who have been drafted into the NHL. Makar was selected by the Colorado Avalanche fourth overall in the 2017 entry draft while Leonard (sixth round, 2018) and Mario Ferraro (second round, 2017) were selected by the San Jose Sharks. Ivan Chukarov was also drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the seventh round of the 2015 draft.

Through his first two seasons at UMass, head coach Greg Carvel was 22-49-4 as he built up the program that now finds itself ranked as tops in the country.

The Minutemen have a pretty grueling schedule coming up, facing difficult opponents in Quinnipiac, Northeastern, Maine, Boston University and Boston College.

The No. 1 team will be facing Quinnipiac in a home-and-home series on Dec. 7 and 8 before ending out December against Yale on Dec. 11.