Hockey Opener Set for Thursday

Hockey Opener Set for Thursday

Nov. 9, 2010

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's hockey team will be looking for improvement when they begin their 2010-2011 season Thursday afternoon. The Corsairs play Becker at the Hetland Arena in New Bedford, with face-off scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Last season, UMass Dartmouth went 11-15-1 and won a first round Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference playoff match before falling at Fitchburg State in the semi-finals.

The Corsairs return a trio of seniors, who form their top line-Joe Hill (Newburyport, MA/Valley Jr. Warriors-EJHL), Jason Stahl (Londonderry, NH/Valley JR Warriors-EJHL), and Todd Bartelson (Pepperell, MA-UMass Lowell). Last year, Hill (29-50-79), Stahl (21-43-64), and Bartelson (15-13-28) combined for 32 goals and 47 assists for 79 points, with Bartelson leading the team in goals (14), Hill leading in assists (21), and Stahl leading in power play goals with four.

Senior Billy Manning (Middleboro, MA/ Bridgewater Jr. Bandits-EJHL) and juniors Mike Owens (South Boston, MA/Boston Jr. Bulldogs-AJHL), Rob Dudley (Douglas, MA/Middlesex School), and Paul Graham (Weymouth, MA/Northern Cyclones-AJHL) have combined for 44 goals and 48 assists for 92 points.

"The strength of our team is the number of veterans in the lineup, both at the forward and defense positions," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach John Rolli. "Only one of our top 12 forwards is a true freshman, and only one of our top eight defensemen is a true freshman. We expect our top line of Joe Hill, Jason Stahl and Todd Bartelson to be one of the top lines in the league this season. Other forwards to watch include Billy Manning, Mike Owens, Rob Dudley and (junior) Andrew Pontes (New Bedford, MA/Winchendon School) and sophomores Phil Bronner (Wilbraham, MA/Springfield Jr. Falcons-EJHL), Dave McDonald (Wakefield, MA/Valley Jr. Warriors-EJHL) and Nick Marquis (Londonderry, NH/Valley Jr. Warriors-EJHL).

Three seniors will lead the defense-Mickey Dudley (Douglas, MA/Boston Jr. Bruins-EJHL), Adam Horgan (Clayton, NC/Jersey Hitmen-EJHL), and Kyle Haas (Newburgh, NY/Northwood School). Juniors Cullen Lundholm (Plymouth, MA/Robert Morris), Mike Grzelcyk (Watertown, MA/Winchendon School) and Justin Pye (Medford, MA/Bridgton Academy) and sophomores Ricky Miller (Colorado Springs, CO/Northern Cyclones-AtJHL) and freshman Nate Dupere (Fall River, MA/Hebron Academy) will all contribute.

"Cullen Lundholm and (sophomore forward) Dan Dempsey (Norwell, MA/Lebanon Valley College) have previous collegiate experience, with Lundholm transferring from Robert Morris and Dempsey from Lebanon Valley, where he scored 11 goals as a freshman on a team that didn't win a game," said Rolli. "We are also expecting Nate Dupere and (freshman forward) Ryan Ruddock (Amesbury, MA/Eastern Kodiaks) to crack the lineup. Looking to crack the lineup will be Dempsey, Ruddock, and freshmen Justin Decowski (Hamilton, NJ/Northern Cyclones-AJHL), and Ethan Belisle (Chicopee, MA/Williston-Northampton School)."

Senior Collin Tracy (Medford, MA/Medford HS), who backed up Jon Dryjowicz-Burek and Jeff Green for the past three seasons, will start in goal. "Collin has waited three years to become the go-to-guy, and he will finally get his opportunity," said Rolli. Sophomore Nate Eagan (Hingham, MA/Hingham HS) and freshman Ben Vandervies (Hanna, AB/Golden Rockets-KJHL) will serve as backups.

Hill, who will serve as captain this season, says the Corsairs are ready to roll. "We're going to put last year in the past, and start off this year with a good effort," said Hill. "All the returning guys have improved, and we want to show the younger guys what it takes to win." "We've had a very good pre-season camp," said Rolli. "We have a very positive outlook for this year, and we feel that there is much to look forward to."