Feb. 26, 2010
BOSTON, MA - The seventh-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston men's ice hockey team will travel to Babson Park, MA to take on second-seeded Babson College in the quarterfinals of the ECAC East Tournament on Saturday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m.
The Beacons are 10-12-2 overall on the season, while compiling a 6-11-2 mark in league play and in their last three games have beaten Williams College (4-3) on February 13 when it was ranked sixth in the nation and tied No. 13 Amherst College (1-1) to close out the regular season. UMass Boston is one of just two teams in ECAC East to have won a quarterfinals game in each of the last two seasons with New England College being the other. Babson sports a 12-11-2 overall mark and is 9-9-1 in ECAC East play. Just five points separate the two teams in the league standings. The Beacons defeated the Beavers, 5-4, in overtime on December 9 in Boston. UMass Boston opened a 4-1 lead with 12:33 to go in the second period, but Babson netted three unanswered goals, including a pair of tallies in the third period to knot the score at 4-4. The Beacons won the contest in overtime when junior defenseman Gentry Zollars (Pittsburgh, PA) scored his first goal of the year at the 3:26 mark. Junior forward Matt Atsoff (Macomb, MI) netted a pair of goals and added an assist for UMass Boston and senior goalie Ryan Donovan (Rexford, NY) stopped 35 shots to earn the victory. Freshman forward PT Donato (Arlington, MA) led the Beavers with a pair of goals and freshman goaltender Zeke Testa (Wellesley, MA) stopped 23 of 25 shots in the final 36:46 of action in relief. The Beacons are 3-1-1 against Babson in their last five meetings, including a 4-1 victory at Babson in the 2008 ECAC Quarterfinals when they owned identical seeds as this year and a 4-3 overtime loss to the Beavers in last year's ECAC East Championship game in Henniker, NH when UMass Boston became the first number eight seed to play for the league title.
The Beacons registered their highest point total in the ECAC East standings with 14 since they also racked up 14 following the 1999-2000 campaign. UMass Boston has earned a reputation over the last two seasons of being a formidable playoff squad, regardless of its seeding. The Beacons have a 3-2 record during that time, including their win over Babson in 2008 and their upset overtime victory at No. 15 Norwich in the quarters last year, followed by a 5-4 semifinals win over New England College. UMass Boston has more experience this year than in recent past seasons, including 22 players with experience in the tournament semifinals. The team also has great depth with 11 players netting four or more goals this season, the second-highest total in the league, next to Norwich. The Beacons are led by senior forward Kris Kranzky (Glendora, CA) with 23 points, 14 assists and four power play goals. He recently notched his 100th career point at Hamilton College on February 19 and ranks in the top 20 among league players in points (18th) and assists (17th), while placing 19th in goals with nine. Atsoff has emerged as one of the team's best scoring threats with a team-high 10 goals to rank 14th among league leaders. He's also been a good playmaker with 12 assists to give him 22 points on the year. Junior forward Vinnie Jacona (East Stroudsburg, PA) has been UMass Boston's top playmaker with 17 assists, which is the eighth-highest total in ECAC East and was nominated as a semifinalist for the Concannon Award, given to the best American-born college player in New England at the Division II/III level. Sophomore forward Bryan Albert (Redlands, CA) has registered a career-high 16 points on five goals, including three on the power play, to go with 11 assists, while junior forward Eric Tufman (Abington, PA) has collected 14 points (3-11), despite missing five games due to injury. Zollars has really stepped up his play this season with 13 points on four goals and nine assist to lead the Beacons' defensemen and place 13th among league blueliners in points. Sophomore Wayne Sands (Chalfant, PA) set a school-record for goals by a defenseman last year with 10 and has potted four this season - all on the power play, to go with three assists. Donovan has posted the lowest goals against average of his career this season with a 3.01 mark to stand sixth among ECAC East goalies, while owning a .893 save mark. The senior owns every cumulative season and career record in school history and owns four wins and a tie against nationally-ranked opponents as well as a school-record three wins in playoff action for his career.
Babson's hallmark this season has been its defense, allowing just 2.44 goals per game to rank 12th in the nation, while owning a 86.5% (109-126) penalty kill rate to place 10th among Division III teams. BC also has seven short-handed tallies on the year. Junior Terry Woods (Duxbury, MA) leads the Beavers with 29 points, 14 goals and 15 assists to rank among the league's top 10 in points (sixth) and goals (eighth), while standing 13th in assists. Donato is among five players with 16 or more points for Babson and five players with four or more power play goals. Sophomore Mike Hoban (Medfield, MA) has been one of the top playmakers for the Beavers with 13 assists to go with five goals, while senior Chris Wood's (Medford, MA) 11 goals puts him second on the squad. Senior defensemen Casey Fazekas (Montreal, QUE) and Liam Chatterton (Staten Island, NY) have combined for 27 points from the blue line with Fazekas netting four of his six goals on the power play and Chatterton assisting on 10 goals to lead all Babson defensemen. Testa has seized the starting goaltending duties for the Beavers, posting a 2.10 GAA to rank ninth in the nation, while owning a gaudy .929 save percentage for the fifth-best mark in Division III.