UMass hockey: Minutemen picked 8th in Hockey East preseason poll

  • UMass defenseman Aaron Bohlinger (25) (top) collides with Minnesota’s Jack Perbix during NCAA Tournament action in March, 2022. Bohlinger was named a captain for the upcoming UMass hockey season, along with Ryan Ufko. JOHN TLUMACKI--THE BOSTON GLOBE VIA AP

Staff Writer 
Published: 9/12/2023 5:28:46 PM

After winning a national championship in 2021, the UMass hockey team hasn’t been able to find the same success over the past two seasons. Their underwhelming finish to the 2022-23 campaign has landed UMass eighth in Hockey East’s preseason poll, one spot higher than they finished in the conference last year.

The Minutemen accumulated 54 points in the preseason poll, two points ahead of Maine in ninth place; the Black Bears finished tied for sixth in Hockey East play last year. UMass ended last year with a 7-14-3 conference record.

During some of his remarks at Hockey East media day in Boston on Tuesday, UMass head coach Greg Carvel pointed at leadership, including himself, as one of the reasons that the team struggled last year.

“Our big issue was the leadership and team chemistry. A lot of those things, just for a lot of reasons, I'll take a lot of blame for that. Poor coaching was a big part of that last year and we've tried hard to get better this summer,” Carvel said. “I'm optimistic, very optimistic. We have 13 new players, big freshman class.”

Boston University earned the top spot in the preseason poll with nine first-place votes and 109 total points.

O Captain, My Captain

Though the team has yet to hit the ice, UMass has announced a pair of captains for this year’s squad. Senior blueliner Aaron Bohlinger and junior defender Ryan Ufko will wear the ‘C’ for the Minutemen this year.

Bohlinger was with the Minutemen when they won their NCAA title in 2021, scoring his first collegiate goal in the championship contest against St. Cloud State. Last year as a junior, he posted two goals and seven assists in 25 games.

Ufko joined the team as a freshman ahead of the 2021-22 season, and was on Hockey East’s Honorable Mention All-Star team for the 2022-23 campaign. Last season, he earned the Minutemen’s MVP award after amassing 24 points (8G, 16A) in 32 games; Ufko also led the team in blocked shots (48) that season. 

“Ryan Ufko and Aaron Bohlinger are two veteran defensemen for us and I was meeting with them yesterday and realized that they're both 4.0 students. They're both way smarter than me, so I've got my hands full in conversations this year, but they've been through a lot,” Carvel said on the team’s two new captains. “They're real leaders in every way that we want our guys to live their lives in the classroom, on the ice, just real high quality people and so far they've proven to be extremely good leaders.”

Less than a month away

The Minutemen’s season opener is slated for Oct. 7 at home against AIC (7 p.m.).

UMass will then play Dartmouth on Oct. 8 in a road exhibition game, before ramping up the competition the following weekend. The Minutemen welcome Michigan to the Mullins Center for a pair of games Oct. 13-14, and then travel to Minnesota State Oct. 20-21 before opening Hockey East play against BU on Oct. 27.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

23 Service Center Road
Northampton, MA 01060


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy