AMHERST, Mass. – UMass junior forward Branden Gracel (Calgary, Alberta/ Fort McMurray (AJHL)) has been named a 2012-13 Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star, it was announced on Thursday night at the Hockey East Championship banquet. Gracel led the Minutemen in scoring this season and was among the top faceoff men in the nation.
One of five players who appeared in all 34 games for UMass, Gracel totaled 34 points on 14 goals and 20 assists, all career bests for the Calgary, Alberta, native who led the Minutemen in each of those categories. His 1.00 points per-game ties him for ninth in Hockey East, while his .59 assists per-game sits tied for 10th and three game-winning goals ties him for fifth. In 27 league contests, he logged a team-high 25 points on 10 goals and 15 helpers.
Over the dots, Gracel won 406 of 682 faceoffs for a .595 clip. He ranks ninth in the nation in faceoff percentage and first in Hockey East. After entering the season with four career multi-point games, Gracel had 10 in 2012-13. He was a team-best +7 on the year and contributed two power-play goals and one short-handed tally, as well.
Gracel collected several in-season honors over the course of his junior campaign. He was selected as Athletic Republic Hockey East Player of the Month for December after tallying a league-best nine points on three goals and six assists over six games, while winning 85 of 131 faceoffs (64.9%) to help UMass to a 3-3-0 record. Beginning with a three-assist outing in a 6-3 win over Northeastern, Gracel logged his name on the score sheet in five of six contests, including three multi-point efforts.
He capped off the month by helping the Minutemen win the Ledyard Classic with a goal and three assists over the two games on his way to Tournament MVP honors. Gracel assisted the game-winner against Bemidji State and scored his third game-winner of the season in the championship against No. 10 Dartmouth as UMass handed the Big Green their first home loss of the year. For his efforts, he was named the Hockey East Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
Gracel was named Hockey East Player of the Week for a second time on Jan. 21 after helping the Minutemen knock off #2 Boston College on the road with three points on two goals and an assist. Gracel will head into his senior season at UMass with 68 points on 25 goals and 43 assists over 100 career games, 33rd on the program's all-time scoring list.