UNH coach Dick Umile’s 28-year career comes to a close

New Hampshire fought down to the final minute in back-to-back losses to Maine in Hockey East first-round play. But their loss to rival Maine ended the illustrious career of bench boss Dick Umile.

1. The legendary career of Umile ends, but memories never will

Minutes after Maine advanced past New Hampshire with a 3-1 win on Saturday, social media filled up with tributes to legendary New Hampshire coach Dick Umile. For 28 years, his smile and his well-recognized whistle graced UNH’s bench. It’s difficult in a short blog to even give Dick Umile his due. But I can certainly say he influenced many a career – of players, coaches and others, like myself. Personally, even though he has retired, I hope to see his face around rinks for many years to come.

2. The youth movement at UMass is legit

Massachusetts advanced to the quarterfinals with a three-game series victory over Vermont. But if there was one thing noticeable for the Minutemen, it was just how good this freshman class is.

Of course, stealing the show was Cale Makar on Thursday with his end-to-end rush that tied game one. In Sunday’s deciding game, John Leonard’s double toe-drag finished off the Catamounts. (If you haven’t seen them, do a quick YouTube search)

On Sunday, all five goals came from freshmen. Sure, there is a tough quarterfinal series ahead against white-hot Northeastern. But take note right now: this could be a very good UMass program for years to come.

3. Overtime is the friend of Merrimack

Two games, two overtimes victories paced Merrimack past defending champion UMass Lowell, which had reached the Hockey East title game five years in a row.

Merrimack proved they could win both ways, Friday coming from behind in the third and Saturday holding off the River Hawks after surrendering a two-goal lead.

The Warriors have now won five straight playoff overtime games and will head to Boston College where coach Mark Dennehy will face his alma mater and top-seeded Eagles in the quarterfinals.