NORTHFIELD, Vt.—For only the fourth time in 15 tries, UMass Boston men's hockey has advanced to the ECAC East Semifinals, as they continue their pursuit of their ever conference title. Second-seeded UMass Boston will square off against in-state rival Babson College Friday night at 7 p.m. at Kreitzberg Arena, with a spot in Saturday's championship game on the line (7 p.m.).
BROADCAST INFORMATION AND LINKS
Tournament passes for both the men and women are $15 each. Men's and women's tournament passes are separate and include admission to either the three men's game or the three women's games.
Single session ticket prices for Friday include both men's games and are $10 for adults and $3 for students.
On Saturday there are two separate admissions. Tickets for two women's semifinal games are $10 for adults and $3 for students and include admission to both games.
The arena will then be cleared between the second women's semifinal and the men's championship game. The men's championship game will be a separate admission and will be the same prices as Friday.
The Beacons and Beavers are quite familiar with each other, after playing twice this season and having square off in six postseason games over the years.
Babson has won four of the six postseason matchups including the two team's only matchup in a Championship game back in 2009. The seventh-seeded Beavers handed the eighth-seeded Beacons a 4-3 overtime loss at New England College, after the two teams combined to upset three of the four top seeds en route to the title game.
This season UMass Boston took three out of four points from their ECAC East travel partner, including a 7-5 win at the Babson Skating Center January 25. The following day, the two teams squared at the Clark Athletic Center Ice Arena, with UMB jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, before Babson scored the equalizer with less than three minutes to play in regulation.
Freshman Derek Colucci (North Scituate, R.I.) paced the Beacons that weekend with two goals and two assists, while junior Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.) recorded five assists. In net, Zach Andrews (Coral Springs, Fla.) made 58 saves on 65 shots, to outshine the Babson duo of freshman Jamie Murray and Zeke Testa.
UMass Boston comes into the contest ranked #11 in the country and will be looking for just their second 20-win season in program-history, after tallying a 19-5-2 record thus far. Babson College comes in at #12 in the country with a 15-6-5 record.
SCOUTING THE BEACONS
UMass Boston earned a spot in the semifinals by ending their four-game postseason losing streak with a 5-2 win over the University of New England Saturday afternoon.
Max Reavis (Omaha, Neb.) and Daniel led the Beacons with three points apiece, while Andrews recorded 20 saves on 22 shots.
With the three points, Daniel became the first Beacon to reach the 40-point mark since Joe Rotondo ('97) in 1996. The junior forward leads the Beacons with 40 points, 28 assists and five game-winning goals and is tied for second in the nation with 1.08 assists per game. Last week, Daniel was named a Second Team ECAC East Selection, after previously being named a Joe Concannon Award Semifinalist.
Daniel is joined on the top-line by senior forward Mike DeGrazia (Novi, Mich.) and Reavis. The trio have combined for 35 goals and 99 points this season and form three-fifths of the Beacons top power-play unit, with senior Tim Richter (Naugatuck, Conn.) and Rob Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) joining them.
The second-line has been just as good, as Peter MacIntyre (Norfolk, Mass.), Kit Sitterley (Mooresville, N.C.) and Frankie DeAugustine (Pittsburgh, Pa.) all were named to the ECAC East All-Rookie Team. MacIntyre was named the ECAC East Rookie of the Year and currently sits second amongst freshman in the nation with 19 goals, 32 points and 1.28 points per game.
Florentino leads a talented defensive corps that has combined for 153 of 156 possible games this season. The senior from West Roxbury, Mass. was the Beacons lone ECAC East First Team selection, after pacing the Beacons defenseman and finishing third in the nation amongst blue-liners with 1.08 points per game.
In net, Andrews has grown with each, earning a program-record 17-5-2 mark in 23 starts as a freshman. The freshman has posted a 3.09 goals against average and .891 save percentage, along with one shutout this year.
The Beacons biggest strength this season has been their offensive firepower, as UMass Boston sits third in the nation in scoring offense with 4.73 goals per game.
SCOUTING BABSON COLLEGE
The third-seeded Beavers are looking to get back to the ECAC East Championship Game for the fourth time in five years, after being knocked out in the quarterfinals a year ago.
Saturday the Beavers dominated Skidmore College in a 7-1 victory to advance to the ECAC East Semifinals. Junior Troy Starrett finished with two goals and an assist in the win, while Connor Berto and PT Donato added three points each.
Babson has ridden their strong defense all year long, with the Beavers defense ranked 15th in the nation, allowing just 2.23 goals per game.
Senior goaltender Zeke Testa has been a big part of that, as he's posted a 7-2-4 record, 1.89 goals against average and .932 goals against average. Testa ranks eights in the country in goals against average and ninth in save percentage. He was recently named ECAC East Goalie of the Year, despite serving as the backup for much of the year to Jamie Murray. The senior goalie has a postseason win over the Beacons on his resume, as he made 25 save on 27 shots in a 4-2 quarterfinal victory in 2010.
Offensively, Donato paces the Beavers with 23 assists and 26 points overall. Berto has recorded a team-high 16 goals and is tied for the team-lead with two game-winning goals, while junior defenseman Ryan Heavey is tied for the team-lead amongst blue-liners with 16 points. Heavey was named to the ECAC East Second Team for the second time in three years, after recording 13 assists in conference contests.
KEY TO THE GAME: SPECIAL TEAMS
Special teams have been a huge part of both team's success, as Babson ranks first in the nation in combined special teams (59.4 percent) and UMass Boston sits third (58.0 percent).
Babson's power-play ranks seconds in the nation at 28.9 percent on the power-play and they're tied for fourth in penalty-kill conversion rate at 88.5 percent. The Beacons aren't far behind, as they are fifth on the man-advantage (27.8 percent) and 27th on the penalty-kill (82.7 percent).
During the two regular season matchups, UMass Boston went 1-for-3 on the power-play and held Babson to a 2-for-5 showing.
SCOUTING THE OTHER SEMIFINAL MATCHUP
In Friday night's first semifinal matchup, top-seeded Norwich University will take on fourth-seeded Castleton State College at 4 p.m..The Cadets have won nine ECAC East Tournament Titles as well as three National Division III Tournament titles. On the other side, Castleton State is looking for the first title, after falling 11-1 to Norwich in last year's ECAC East Championship Game. In two contests this year, Norwich won both games with a 2-1 and 6-1 win.