The ice was gone at the Clark Athletic Center but the games continued. Dakota Keene was in the rink playing roller hockey the summer after his freshman year at UMass Boston when coach Pete Belisle spotted him and pulled him aside.
Keene wondered what was up but took the meeting. His coach had a question about one of his former teammates in junior hockey, Nick Albano, whom Belisle said was giving hard consideration to coming to UMB in the fall.
With that, he had Keene’s full attention.
“I didn’t know what he wanted to talk to me about,” said Keene (Portland, Maine), before a recent practice. “He asked me what I thought of Nick and I said, ‘Is there really a chance we could get him here? He could be a top defenseman here for four years.’ ”
The 6-foot, 180-pound Albano, a sweet-skating, puck-moving junior who is coming off a second straight All-American season, will be a top defenseman for a third year this winter. He has put the sting of his light Division 1 recruitment behind him as he prepares to lead the Beacons into a new season.