BOSTON, Mass. — After knocking off defending national champion #5/5 Trinity College, #6/7 UMass Boston is set to take on the top seed in the East, #4/4 Hobart College. The Beacons and Statesmen will play Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at The Cooler in the NCAA Quarterfinals.
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for students, $3 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are free. The doors will open at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Saturday's contest will mark the first time UMass Boston has played a team from the ECAC West since December 29, 2000. The Beacons have only played two teams from the ECAC West Conference (Elmira College and Hobart College) and haven't played either in the past 15 years.
UMass Boston does hold a 2-1-1 lead all-time over the Statesmen, with all four of the games coming in the 20th century. The Beacons defeated Hobart in 1985 and 1986, before the Statesmen handed UMass Boston a 4-1 loss in 1997. In the fourth and final matchup, the two teams tied 6-6 on January 30, 1999 in their lone meeting at The Cooler.
SCOUTING THE STATESMEN:
#4/4 Hobart College is making their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance and second in a row, after winning the ECAC West Regular Season and Conference Championships. The Statesmen had to wait for the NCAA Tournament Selection Show to learn their fate, as the six-team ECAC West does not have an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Last season, Hobart fell to SUNY Oswego 6-1 at The Cooler in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Statesmen are 3-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and are 1-1 at home. They reached the Frozen Four in 2006 and 2009, but lost to St. Norbert College in overtime in 2006 and Neumann University in 2009. In two prior matchups against ECAC East/New England Hockey Conference teams, Hobart split with Norwich University. This season marks just the second time that they had reached the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons (08-09).
This year's team is enjoying one of, if not the most successful, seasons in program history. Sixteenth-year head coach Mark Taylor has already led the team into a tie for first for most wins in a single-season, as the team's 21 victories are tied with last year's team and two other Statesmen sides that made the NCAA Tournament. The Statesmen have played a tough schedule, including games against NCAA Tournament sides SUNY Geneseo (7-1 W), Salve Regina University (2-1 W) and Trinity College (1-1 T).
Hobart is incredibly similar to UMass Boston in terms of national rankings, as they sit in the top-10 nationally in nearly every category. They rank fifth in the country in scoring defense (1.85 goals against), tied for sixth in scoring offense (4.11 goals per) and second in penalty-kill conversion rate (90.5 percent). The team's power-play ranks in the middle of the pack at 18.1 percent rate (t-37th of 76 teams) and they take over 13.2 penalty minutes per game.
Offensively, seniors Mac Olson, Brad Robbins and Ben Gamache have led the way all season long. Olson was named the ECAC West Player of the Year and ranks second on the team with his 13 goals and 27 assists. Robbins leads the team and ranks tied for seventh in the nation with his 19 goals and Gamache has tallied a team-high 19 assists. Robbins also paces the team with his three game-winning goals, while junior defenseman Carl Belizario has posted a team-best four power-play goals. Overall, Hobart has five players with 20 or more points and 13 skaters with 10 or more points.
In net, senior Lino Chimienti and Frank Oplinger have teamed up to form one of the best goalie duos in the country. The pair have posted a 1.84 goals against average, a .939 save percentage and three shutouts. Both goalies rank in the top-11 in the country in save percentage and goals against average. They did not allow a goal in their two ECAC West Tournament games and have allowed two goals or fewer in 20 of their 27 contests.
SCOUTING THE BEACONS:
#6/7 UMass Boston is coming off of their two biggest wins in program history, after knocking off Babson College and Trinity College.
In last Saturday's win over the Bantams, UMass Boston received goals from their second, third and fourth lines and the team combined to block 17 shots. Senior goalieBilly Faust (Alta Loma, Calif.) had the best game of his collegiate career, as Faust stopped all 37 shots, to post his program-record setting fourth shutout in a Beacon uniform. With their win, UMass Boston tied the 2014-15 team for the second-most wins in program history with 22.
Faust has backstopped UMass Boston's improved defense that ranks ninth in the nation in goals against average (2.10) and eight in penalty kill rate (88.2 percent). The senior goalie has posted new career-highs in wins (15) and goals against average (2.04), while also recording a .929 save percentage (19th in D3). Faust has given up three goals or fewer in 22 of his 23 appearances and has posted a program-record three shutouts on the year. One of the biggest pieces to their success has been avoiding penalties, as the Beacons ranks tied for seventh in Division III with their 8.5 penalty minutes per game. Offensively, the Beacons rank just head of Hobart with their 4.31 goals per game (fourth) and seventh overall in power-play rate (24.5 percent). Matt Lemire(Townsend, Mass.) sits fourth in the nation with his 43 points, while Colin Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) and Frankie DeAugustine (Pittsburgh, Pa.) are tied for 15th with 35 points apiece. Lemire leads the team with 29 assists and 43 points, while DeAugustine tops the side with his 15 goals and eight power-play tallies. It hasn't been a three-man effort though, as six Beacons have posted 20 or more points and 13 players have 10 or more points.
STAT TO KNOW:
Hobart is the exact opposite of Trinity College statistically, as they outscore their opponents more and more as each period goes by. They are just +12 in first periods on the season, but are +23 in the second and +27 (42-15) in the third. UMass Boston is a little more balanced, as the Beacons are +18 in first periods, +23 in the second and +20 in third periods.