Mass. College Hockey: Catching Up With NU Head Coach Jim Madigan

Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan is optimistic about the Huskies upcoming season! (Photo Credit: HockeyEastOnline.com)
Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan is optimistic about the Huskies upcoming season! (Photo Credit: HockeyEastOnline.com)

By Matt Noonan 

During last week’s Hockey East men’s ice hockey media day, Noontime Sports caught up with Northeastern University head coach Jim Madigan, who has high hopes for the Huskies this season. Madigan chatted about the team’s outlook and goals for the upcoming campaign in an interview we’ve provided below.

On starting a new season: “I think if you polled most of the coaches at this time of the year, we’re all excited. I think we’re all looking forward to a new beginning and so are our players. We’ve got a lot of younger freshmen and sophomores, but with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement on campus and our older guys have come back and led the way (with) off ice training last spring and beginning of this year. It’s a new league with the addition of Notre Dame, another quality opponent of course and (we) can’t wait to get going.”

On building on the past two seasons: “Certainly you know the league much better and I knew the league, but from a different perspective from watching in the stands, but now you’re there every day. The biggest thing is that each and every night you have to get your guys to play hard each and every night and that’s an easy thing to say, but the way this league is set up and built there’s no easy night.

“The biggest thing for me with our staff and players is having gone through a little bit of transition with the personnel, we have players that understand the culture that we want to create here at Northeastern for Northeastern hockey. We’ve got players who’ve bought into the direction and the philosophy that we’re going in college hockey. We are all on the same page where we want to get to and when you don’t make the playoffs two years in a row, I think that sends a clear message that we weren’t good enough and the only way we’re going to be better is if we work harder because the other teams are going to continue working hard, so we’ve got to work harder, we’ve got to work smarter and we’ve got to dedicate ourselves a little more.”

On playing 60 minutes of hockey: “So playing 60 minutes of hockey is something that we didn’t do last year and will be an emphasis on this year. Before I touch on the goals, we need to be better defensively. We gave up the most goals in Hockey East last year and that’s an area we need to be vastly improved on and we will be and it’s just not our goaltender (with that) responsibility, (but) it’s team defense. I think our team defense has to improve, it’s been the emphasis since the beginning of training camp beginning two weeks ago and that falls with our goaltender and our defense and our forwards.

“I like our offense. I believe we’re going to have enough offense to score goals and last year there was times of the year where we didn’t score, but there were enough games where we had chances and the ability to score enough goals to win, but we just couldn’t keep it out of our own net.”

On improving on defense: “Last year we played four first-year players. A sophomore transfer and then three freshmen defensemen, not all those defensemen were (on the ice) at the same time because of injuries, but they learned an awful lot last year (and) probably played more minutes than normally they’re used to playing, so they’ve grown from that and they’ve developed it and learned from that so I’m excited about them coming back and you can see it in these (past) two weeks of practice (and) how much more mature they are out on the ice.

“When you infuse a Matt Benning, who is an incoming freshman and a draft choice of the Boston Bruins two seasons ago, but now he’s with us, a 19-year-old freshman, who I expect to come into play and play some quality minutes. I like our blend of defensemen there and they are and have improved (with) their puck moving skills, so that our transition offense will be much better this year.”

On players to watch on offense: “If you look at last year, I think one of the hottest players in the Hockey East was Cody Ferriero, who had I think 20 points in 20 games and I think it was – he had 12 goals and he only had one the first half, so we had 11 goals in his last 20 (games), so I’m expecting him to build on that and Cody had a good sophomore year, (but) it was interrupted because he missed the first seven games and then he got hurt and missed the last nine games of the season, so in 16 games as a sophomore he had nine goals. If you project that (equation it’s) a goal every two games, but he’s a 17 goal scorer, which is where I think he is, he’s a 15-20 goal scorer and he’s looked really good. He’s a senior and he wants this year to be really good and he’s got a freshmen brother that he’s trying to show the way for in a leadership capacity and that’s also a good thing.

“I’m also expecting real good things from Braden Pimm coming back and getting back to his sophomore production. (Another player is) Kevin Roy. People know how gifted (Kevin) is offensively and he’s ready for a breakout year. He was the freshmen point getter in all of college hockey last year up until seven games left, so I am looking for him to take it to the next level because quite frankly he has the ability to do so.

“(Other players to watch include) Adam Reid, who finished on a strong second half, Mike McMurtry, who will pick up from where he (left off last) year, so I think we have enough offensive guys coming back and then with the (addition) of five or six good freshmen who will play with those sophomore and juniors and seniors will help them out (to) make an impact.”

On playing at Fenway Park this winter: “From an institutional perspective it’s a great opportunity. If you look at where we’re located, we’re right beside the Red Sox, we’re a partner with the Boston Red Sox and now we’ve got the ability to go back in and play our second time in three years. It’s a wonderful experience for our kids and for our alumni and student body and our kids are going to embrace it. We had a real good game there two years ago against Boston College and unfortunately we came up on the short end of a 2-1 game, but we had 29,000 fans there and our kids walked away with a great memory, so we’ve got to turn that now into a great memory and two points, but when you look at it this year we’re going to play at two of the three best venues (in Massachusetts), Fenway Park and the Boston Garden. If they asked us to play at Gillette (Stadium), we’ll play at Gillette also, so we’re fortunate.”

Mass. College Hockey: Frozen Fenway 2013-14 Schedule

By NoontimeSports.com 

Yesterday, the Fenway Sports Management announced the full schedule of hockey games and skating events that will occur at Fenway Park this winter as a part of Citi Frozen Fenway 2014. Both high school and college hockey teams will be participating, but below is the schedule for the Division 1 and 3 games.

Saturday, December 28: Bentley University vs. Holy Cross, 6:30 p.m. (Men’s Div. 1)

Thursday, January 2: Harvard University vs. Northeastern University, 3:30 p.m. (Women’s Div. 1)

Saturday, January 4: Merrimack College vs. Providence College, 4 p.m. & Boston College vs. University of Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. (Men’s Division 1)

Tuesday, January 7: UMass Boston vs. Salem State,  4 p.m. & TBA, 7:30 p.m. (Men’s Division 3)

Thursday, January 9: Babson College vs. Norwich University, 7:30 p.m. (Men’s Division 3)

Saturday, January 11: UMass Lowell vs. Northeastern University, 3 p.m. & University of Maine vs. Boston University, 6:30 p.m. (Men’s Division 1)

Mass. College Baseball: NU’s Fonseca, McPhee On Winning The Beanpot (VIDEO)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Northeastern University athletic department’s YouTube channel, here is last night’s postgame interview with coach Neil McPhee and Rob Fonseca after the Huskies defeated UMass and claimed their first Beanpot crown since 2009.

Mass. College Baseball: NU Defeats UMass In Beanpot, 6-3

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Northeastern University baseball team captured its first Beanpot crown since 2009 as the Huskies defeated UMass at Fenway Park this evening, 6-3.

UMass jumped out to a 2-0 lead after three frames, but Northeastern rallied with four runs in the fourth, which included a home run by Rob Fonseca that reached the Green Monster to secure the lead for good.

Fonseca finished with two runs, two hits and one RBI, while teammates Michael FosterJohn Puttress and Pete Castoldi combined for four runs. Matt Cook picked up his second win on the bump, while Michael Foster recorded his first save of the season.

Rob McLam and Dylan Begin combined for UMass’ three runs, while Aaron Plunkett earned his fourth loss of the season.

With the win, NU improves to 24-17 overall, while UMass slips to 10-25.

Mass. College Hockey: Eight Hockey East Teams To Take Part In Frozen Fenway 2014

By Matt Noonan 

There’ll be hockey at Fenway Park next January as eight Hockey East teams will take part in two doubleheaders at Frozen Fenway 2014, according to the league’s press release this afternoon.

“We are excited about the return of hockey to Fenway,” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna in a statement. “We are particularly pleased that with these two doubleheaders, all of our men’s programs will have had the opportunity to experience Frozen Fenway, including the University of Notre Dame, our newest member.”

Hockey East Logo
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.com

The first doubleheader will occur on Saturday, January 4, 2014, as Merrimack College will face-off against Providence College, which will be followed by Notre Dame and Boston College.

UMass Lowell and Northeastern University will skate against each other in the first game the following Saturday, January 11, before Boston University and Maine face-off in the second game.

Boston’s Mayor Tom Menino, who was quoted in the release, expressed his excitement for the return of Frozen Fenway by saying, “Last year, more than 90,000 people came to Fenway Park to watch college or high school hockey or enjoy free public skating.”

Excluding the eight hockey games, there will be two free public skating days for the City of Boston residents, too.

Game times and ticket information for both doubleheaders will be announced at a later date.

For more information on the Hockey East – HOP HERE

Wheaton College To The Texas Rangers: Jared Barnes’ Baseball Journey

Photo Credit: NewEraMLB.blogspot.com

By NoontimeSports.com 

Jared Barnes loves baseball, and like many, he’s pursuing a dream of working in the sport he’s always loved.

Noontime Sports caught up with the former Wheaton College alum recently to talk about his love for the sport, as well as his current journey, which has landed him in Texas with the Rangers as baseball operations intern. Jared was so kind to share his story, along with provide insight on what it’s like to work in baseball, too.

1.) Going way back, way before Wheaton College, what was one of your first and fondest memories about the sport of baseball? Was there a moment from your youth that sticks out?

The first baseball memory that comes to mind for me is always my first trip to Fenway Park with my Dad in July of 1994. We sat five rows directly behind the Red Sox on-deck circle and it was my first real exposure to the game at the highest level. Ever since I think anyone who knows me can attest that baseball has been a pretty big part of my life.

It had always been my hope while growing up to play professionally, but unfortunately for many of us the game ends before reaching that point. Yet, a lot of my family memories are focused around the game of baseball. Family vacations were always spent at my baseball tournaments, and my Dad always devoted a lot of time to helping me workout and get better in the offseason. I had a lot of great experiences playing the game and was able to do so thanks to many sacrifices my parents made.

2.) What are some of your favorite memories about playing baseball for Wheaton College? Correct me if I’m wrong, but you were on the team that made it to the World Series in ’06, right?

I was a freshman on the 2006 team that went to the Division III World Series, and baseball-wise it’s tough to top that week. It’s an experience I will never forget and I was really fortunate to come in as a freshman and be a part of that team’s success. That’s something I will always be able to say I was a part of and is pretty special to me. It brought back a lot of memories watching Wheaton’s run to the national title game again this season, and was a really proud moment for a lot of the alums of the program.

Looking back though a lot of my favorite memories are the day-to-day occurrences that are a part of building a team and an identity each year. The bus rides, early morning sprint workouts, and lifelong friendships I formed with teammates are the special aspects of being a student-athlete, and I think anyone that played a collegiate sport misses some of that every day once it’s over.

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POLL: Will You Cheer For Kevin Youkilis?

Will you be cheering or booing Kevin Youkilis on Monday at Fenway Park? (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for Noontime Sports)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Boston Red Sox return home to Fenway Park on Monday, and will begin a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox.

Don’t consider this a regular season series because Bostonians and New Englanders will be forced to watch their team’s former first and third basemen, Kevin Youkilis, sporting black and white instead of red and white.

So, we’re curious… will you be cheering for Youk or booing him?

Don’t worry… we won’t share this with Mr. Bobby Valentine, we promise, but we’d like to know how you’ll react to Mr. Youkilis once his name is announced over the public address system.

Answer our poll questions below and feel free to leave comments, too!