Keeping Score: Looking for Greg Carvel’s musings

Published: 1/27/2023 9:00:04 PM

Good morning!
Call it a glitch, a screw-up, or whatever, but something’s wrong at UMass information technology services, and it’s depriving UMass hockey followers of coach Greg Carvel’s weekly newsletter. “I was told it would be rectified by mid-January,” wrote Carvel. “I’m still waiting. I’m frustrated. I’m sorry.”

These weekly and bi-weekly missives are how Carvel lets off steam and debriefs everyone including himself about what’s happening on and off the ice. In November he wrote: “This is a demanding job, physically, mentally and emotionally [but] it’s a job that makes you feel you are alive and what you are doing matters.”

After a 5-0-1 start that included back-to-back wins against defending national champion Denver, the Minutemen reached a crossroads on Nov. 5 when they coughed up a 3-1 lead against Providence and lost in overtime.

“Every two or three years we’ll lose a game and it will simply haunt me,” Carvel wrote afterward. “Saturday night’s loss to Providence qualified as one of those games.”

Since then UMass is 4-10-2 and was on a five-game losing streak going into Friday night’s game at UMass-Lowell. The program began rolling snake eyes last spring when Josh Lopina and Matt Kessel both turned pro, and Garrett Wait suffered a career-ending knee injury. The 24-year-old Wait was a prolific scorer (42 points in 51 games), and his senior leadership is sorely missed.

“Lopina, Kessel and Wait were all supposed to be on this team,” wrote Carvel. “Inexperienced goaltending has been inconsistent. The senior class is providing no offense. Our young defensemen are not at the caliber we’ve been able to bring in the past.”

UMass has two games remaining against lowly UVM and Maine, and BU is the only team in the top 10 of the national rankings so there’s time to regroup. However it plays out, I can’t help thinking of the old saying “Man plans and God laughs.”

“It all adds up pretty quickly,” said Carvel. “It just reinforces the type of player we need to be recruiting. We will work it back.”

The UMass basketball team got a much-needed win against Richmond in front of 2,143 fans at the Mullins Center on Wednesday. The Minutemen (12-8, 3-5) were 2½-point underdogs but outscored the Spiders 12-0 in the final three minutes to win, 85-76.

The Minutemen made 11 of 23 treys and converted 24 of 28 free throws, but RJ Luis was the star of the game with a career-high 23 points. Not bad, considering that the previous week coach Frank Martin said of the kid: “RJ Luis is like all freshmen. He thinks the game is me, the ball, and nothing else.”

Sometimes that all-about-me attitude can be a good thing.

The game was televised on ESPN-Plus, and John Carroll worked alongside play-by-play voice Jay Burnham. “I coached about a dozen of these kids, they’re giving me PTSD,” joked the legendary NMH hoops coach.

The NMH boys’ hockey team scored two goals in the third period to tie Cushing, 3-3, on Wednesday at McCollum Arena. Trying to find the box score on either school’s website is like trying to solve a New York Times crossword puzzle, but this much we do know: Cushing went into the game ranked No. 5 in New England by the U.S. Hockey Report, and the Hoggers came out of it with a 10-6-1 record.

NMH is coached by Kevin Czepiel and the team is anchored by defenseman Jack Turowsky and forwards Jacob Fletcher and Jojo Dable — Nos. 0, 12, and 17 on the roster.

Turowsky hails from East Longmeadow and transferred from Pope Francis High School (formerly Cathedral) in Springfield. He and Fletcher split time with the Greater Boston Junior Bruins where Fletcher has 31 points in 31 games and Turowsky has 54 penalty minutes in 20 games. Dable, of Wellesley, had four goals and four assists in 10 games headed into Wednesday’s contest.

On Wednesday, NMH will host No. 3 Kimball Union Academy of Meriden, N.H. The Wildcats are coached by Tim Whitehead who coached Hobey Baker winner Paul Kariya at Maine. Intrepid scout Bob Weiss watched KUA beat Deerfield, 4-3, on Jan. 18 and said defenseman Jackson Kyrkostas (No. 11) played like a man amongst boys.

A good free website to find amateur players’ stats is It had Kyrkostas’s numbers up to 2021-22, when he had 10 goals and 31 assists in 28 games.

The puck drops at 3 p.m. at McCollum Arena. Wear thick gloves, heavy socks and an extra jacket.

Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo had just lost to Army in double OT and was sitting alone in the locker room when AD Chet Gladchuk Jr. came over and fired him. “Chet, why don’t you take some time to relax?” said Niumatalolo, according to

Niumatalolo was 109-83 at Navy, but in recent years was only 4-10 against Army and Air Force. “It’s been building,” said Gladchuk.

Gladchuk’s father Chet Sr. was a longtime UMass administrator, and the Gladchuk Field Hockey Complex was named in his honor.

NFL NOTES: Tony Romo compares the Bengals under Joe Burrow to the Colts under Peyton Manning: “Line up, put the running back behind you, read the defense, go through the progressions, get to the right play and the right coverage, and do it over and over and over again.” … Watching the 49ers grind down the Cowboys got uncomfortable, like watching a python swallow an alligator. … Greg Olsen has developed into a competent analyst with Kevin Burkhardt. “He doesn’t have a ton of cache, but as far as breaking down the game he’s as good as any of ’em,” said Sirius-XM’s Chris Russo.

SQUIBBERS: Mike Florio on Joe Burrow: “This guy looks like how a grown-up Macauley Caulkin should’ve looked.” … So long, Matt Barnes, who appeared in 429 games and notched a save his final three times out of the bullpen. … WFAN weekend host Danielle McCartan has put in for Sweeny Murti’s job covering the Yankees. Murti had been covering the Bombers since 2001 and left saying only, “It’s time.” … The Boomer Esiason Sports Minute times out at 25 seconds, or a New York minute. .… Memo to Tom Peabody: Nice job on the borderline hypocrisy. .… Spotted Bruce Landon at last week’s UConn-UMass hockey game. Landon went from tending goal for the New England Whalers at the Big E Coliseum to being a part owner of the Springfield Falcons and having a downtown street named for him. … MGM Springfield’s sports book opens for business on Tuesday. Bettors can use one of 18 kiosks or do it the old fashioned way and wager with a teller. … Bowen Yang played U.S. Congressman George Santos during SNL’s skit of FOX-TV’s NFL pregame show. “I didn’t even know you played football,” said Howie Long. “I’m sort of the first Bo Jackson,” replied the talented Mr. Santos.

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be reached at


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