Dominic Trento picks up where he left off last season for UMass hockey

By Jason Kates

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Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

Massachusetts hockey player Dominic Trento has gotten off to a great start this year, recording four points through the Minutemen’s opening three games.

But in the eyes of the Brockport, New York native, the credit shouldn’t all go to him.

“It’s obviously fun and nice to contribute to the team,” Trento said after Monday’s practice. “I can’t take much of the credit, it’s a team thing and I think as a whole our line has been clicking really well lately.”

In the last two games for UMass (3-0), Trento has found himself on a line with freshman Austin Plevy and sophomore Dennis Kravchenko, with the latter two combining for 15 points.

While Plevy and Kravchenko have received most of the attention, it’s easy to overlook the contributions being made by their third linemate.

In last Friday’s 5-2 victory over Sacred Heart, Trento assisted on the game-winning goal and added an insurance goal of his own.

On Oct. 10, he recorded another assist on a game-winner in the Minutemen’s 4-3 come-from-behind win against Colorado College.

After a rigorous offseason in which coach John Micheletto said Trento dropped some weight and lowered his body fat number, it appears to be paying dividends in the early stages of the year.

“I think you’re seeing that he’s being rewarded for a good summer,” Micheletto said. “You’re seeing his natural hand-eye coordination at the net front and his ability to utilize his body to get positioning. Those things are a really big part of his game and now with the added strength and conditioning, you’re seeing him have a lot more effect on the game consistently.”

He added: “We needed him to extend his abilities from last year, and so far it’s happened.”

Trento believes his success has been a result of the entire team’s start to the season. UMass has outscored opponents 15-to-8, including a 9-2 advantage in the third period so far.

“I think it has a lot to do with how the team’s playing really, as well as my linemates,” he said. “I think a lot of it comes with opportunity, and I’ve been getting a lot of it this year, so I’m just trying to make the best of it and so far I have.”

Regarding Trento’s recent ability to step up in key situations, Micheletto believes the forward’s capability to get into critical areas during crucial moments has been important.

“You’re not going to see that a lot from the fringe, so we’ll take as many clutch performances out of as many guys as possible,” Micheletto said. “Shane (Walsh) has done that in the early going and Austin and Dennis and now Dom, so it’s nice to not have to rely on a single or small group of guys, and keep extending our number of players to get the job done.”

Despite not playing much together, Plevy believes the chemistry between himself and Trento will continue to progress as the season goes on.

“Obviously the second time in Colorado was the first time we played together,” Plevy said. “It’s always tough to play with new guys that we haven’t practiced with much, so it’s been good the last two weeks getting a lot of practice time in.

“We started developing some chemistry and I think it showed Friday night. I think we had a pretty good game and our chemistry is definitely starting to build.”

Plevy recalled the opportunity he got to form a relationship with his fellow teammate.

“When I came out at the beginning of the year I lived in his house with him, so we got an early start,” he said. “Our relationship has been building, it’s still a work in progress but as the days go by we’re definitely starting to come together more.”

Dating back to last season, Trento has now tallied 12 points in his last 14 games. Micheletto attributed this carryover to an increase in the sophomore’s confidence, and compared it to the recent successes of Walsh.

“A little bit like Shane did the same thing last year, I think in addition to experience, confidence plays a big part of it for Dom,” Micheletto said. “He’s got a great approach to practice but the added confidence of getting on the score sheet has just allowed him to gain a little bit of momentum coming off of last year and into this year.”

Trento said he worked on becoming stronger and faster during the offseason, also rehabilitating an ankle injury he suffered.

After admitting he was unprepared for the rigors that came with Division I hockey, Trento said he worked even harder to improve his game.

“I worked really hard to come back in the best shape I could be just so I could stay healthy throughout the year,” he said. “I think last year I came in a little unprepared and didn’t know what Division I hockey was going to be like, so I think that has a lot to do with it. Its great being help to produce for the team because we keep winning games, you can’t beat it.”

While his contributions may be overshadowed, Micheletto is excited to see Trento’s game take off even more than it has.

“I think he’s on a good trajectory right now in terms of his improvement,” Micheletto said. “The things he is better at now from last year are things he just needs to continue to improve on. His defensive play has been excellent and I would expect him to play in key situations whether we’re up a man or down a man.”

 

Jason Kates can be reached at [email protected] and followed @Jason_Kates.