March 3, 2008
BOSTON, MA - The University of Massachusetts Boston men's ice hockey team was rewarded for its 4-1 upset victory over then number 12-ranked Babson College, in the quarterfinals of the ECAC East Tournament, with a vote in the national USCHO.com Poll. The poll is compiled weekly and consists of 20 voters, including 16 coaches of Division III programs and two hockey writers.
The USCHO.com Poll ranked the top 15 teams in NCAA Division III this week and showed votes for an addition six teams as well. The Beacons last received national recognition, in the form of a national poll, when they were ranked ninth at the end of a three-week stay in the national rankings for the week of February 9, 1992.
UMass Boston is unbeaten in four of its last five contests and owns an 11-13-2 overall record, while compiling a 5-12-2 mark in league play. The team has its highest win-total since it finished with a 13-12-0 record in 1999-2000 and with the victory over Babson, notched its first playoff win since defeating Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, 6-1, on February 26, 2000 in Boston and its first road playoff victory since beating Babson, 6-2, on February 25, 1989 at Babson. The Beacons will travel to Northfield, VT on Saturday, March 8 to take on top-seeded Norwich University at 3:00 p.m. in the ECAC East Tournament semifinals.
UMass Boston has already raised eyebrows in college hockey circles this season with its play against opponents, who have appeared in the national poll as well as earning significant victories. The Beacons opened their season at home with a 4-3 loss to nationally-ranked Colby on November 16 and later came within 17 seconds of defeating Babson College in Boston, before settling for a 1-1 tie on December 5. UMass Boston captured its first championship in the 43rd Annual Codfish Bowl since 1997, with back-to-back 5-4 wins over Suffolk University on December 28 and Fitchburg State College on December 29. The Beacons took nationally-ranked Norwich University to the limit on January 19, before falling in the Cadets' only overtime contest of the year, 3-2. UMass Boston rebounded, three days later, with a 3-2 win at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, then registered a 2-2 tie on February 15 to snap a personal eight-game losing streak to Williams College that spanned nine years and upset nationally-ranked Middlebury College the following day, 4-3.
Second-year Head Coach Peter Belisle led UMass Boston to five wins last season, in his first campaign as a college head coach, and has already guided the team to more victories in the past two seasons than it had experienced in the previous six seasons combined. The mentor turned over the entire roster and stocked it with 17 talented freshmen to go with five sophomores and just three seniors out of 29 players. The Beacons are led by freshman forward Eric Tufman (Abington, PA), who has been named ECAC Rookie of the Week a league-high six times, while ranking sixth among the nation's rookies with 1.44 points per game with 36 in 25 contests, which is good for second among ECAC East freshmen. He is fifth among all ECAC East players in points, while ranking third in goals (18) and stands 10th with 18 assists. Sophomore forward Kris Kranzky (Glendora, CA) has been one of the team's most consistent players with 26 points in 20 games, while notching at least one point in all but four games and is 17th among ECAC East points leaders. His assist total of 19 is also the sixth-highest in the league. Freshman forward Matt Atsoff (Macomb, MI) has also been one of the team's top scorers with 26 points on 11 goals and 15 assists in 26 games to place 17th in the league among all players in points and third among ECAC East freshmen. UMass Boston has also gotten a boost from freshman defenseman Brett Calhoun (Tulsa, OK), who joined the team for the second semester and has picked up 10 points on four goals and six assists in 18 games to lead all UMB blueliners. Sophomore goaltender Ryan Donovan (Rexford, NY) is already among the best goalies in school history, in just two seasons, and ranks seventh in ECAC East with a .904 save percentage and has a league-leading 819 saves.