Mike Miller and Peter MacIntyre have been close friends since they first attended the Lovell Hockey school in Hingham as seventh graders.
They were high school teammates at King Philip Regional, along with the Boston Advantage and the Boston Bandits of the Eastern Junior Hockey League.
Now the two are freshmen wingers on the men’s hockey team at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
“We’re competitive, always trying to push and support one another and we’ve had great chemistry over the years,’’ said Miller, “so when it came time for college we felt that if the situation was right, why not stay together.’’
UMass coach Pete Belisle, whose team is riding a five-game winning streak, said he is grateful they did.
“Peter has D-1 talent — size, great vision, and he can shoot the puck a ton,’’ said Belisle, “and Mike has that second gear where he just turns up the speed. He undressed two defensemen to score a beautiful shorthanded goal against Saint Anselm.’’
The 6-5, 205-pound MacIntyre (Norfolk), one of the top scorers in the Eastern Junior Hockey League last season, has six goals and three assists and was named ECAC East Rookie of the Week late last month. He is tied for second in scoring among Eastern Conference Athletic Conference East freshmen and scored three goals in a 9:56 span of the second period Nov. 20 against Framingham State.
The 5-8, 180-pound Miller (Wrentham) was tied for fifth nationally in Division 3 with two shorthanded goals and was fifth among conference freshmen in points (4 goals, 4 assists).
Both skate on the second power play unit that was ranked second in the nation.
MacIntyre and Miller are among 12 freshmen who have seen ice time for Belisle, whose team is 7-2-1 (3-2-1 ECAC East) and preparing to host the 48th annual Codfish Bowl early next month at the Clark Athletic Center.
The Beacons play Wentworth (5-4-1, 3-2 ECAC Northeast) Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. Fitchburg State (4-5-1, 3-3 MASCAC) takes on Johnson & Wales (5-7, 2-3 ECAC Northeast) at 4 p.m. The championship game is at 4 p.m. the following day.
UMass Boston, which last won the tournament in 2007, earned its first national ranking earlier this month (14th) from D3Hockey.com.
“We’d love to win the tournament for our seniors, who have been great to us. It’s something to shoot for and it’s something I’ve looked forward to ever since I was recruited to play here,’’ said MacIntyre, who, like Miller, played for two seasons in the EJHL after high school graduation. “Getting that hat trick was huge for me. I had been in a slump and coach lit a flame under me after the first period.’’
Miller has made an inspiring comeback following a serious leg injury that cut short his 2011-12 season with the Bandits.
“I thought it was just a bad bruise, but it didn’t feel right and it turned out to be a ruptured artery that required immediate surgery,’’ recalled Miller, who credits the power skating drills he took part in as a youngster with aiding his recovery.
“It was a little scary, but my skating is still the best part of my game and getting that shorthander for my first college goal [vs. St. Anselm] is something I’ll never forget.’’
MacIntyre admires the way his buddy has battled back.
“It’s similar to the injury that ended Cam Neely’s career, so what Mike has done is pretty amazing,’’ said MacIntyre. His former Bandits teammate, Mike Cox, a Needham High star, is having a solid freshman season at Wentworth with 4 goals and 6 assists.
Also lacing up for the Codfish Bowl is Johnson & Wales senior winger and sniper Jason Pietrasiak of Shrewsbury. “Jay’s a pure goal scorer who puts up the numbers every year, and you can’t leave him for one second in front of the net,’’ said Johnson & Wales coach Erik Noack.
Pietrasiak, who has 4 goals and 6 assists this season and ranks sixth in program history with 117 career points, has become a more all-around player.
“He can also take care of the defensive end,’’ said Noack, “and his forechecking led to the first goal in our overtime win over Stonehill just before the break.’’Marvin Pave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.