Mass. College Hoops: Div. III Weekend Predictions

By Matt Noonan 

The college basketball season is officially in full swing and with numerous teams playing this weekend, here are some Div. III games to watch.

Men’s Basketball:

* Lesley University at MIT (Saturday) – The Engineers dropped their first game of the season last night to Rhode Island College, but can they rebound against a fast paced Lesley squad? Prediction: MIT 77, Lesley 56

* WPI at Husson (Saturday) – The Engineers are 6-0. The Eagles are 1-1. Will Chris Bartley be giving out free food at this one? Prediction: WPI 80, Husson 60

* Amherst College vs. Springfield College (Saturday) – Great matchup, two great teams and two great coaches. Charlie Brock and his Pride are off to a great start, but the Lord Jeffs maybe too much for the men sporting Springfield on their chest. Prediction: Amherst 68, Springfield 63

* Stevens at Williams College (Saturday) – Two undefeated squads walk into a gym in Williamstown and one departs with their perfect mark intact. Which one will that be? Prediction: Williams 64, Stevens 59

* Bridgewater State at Wheaton College (Saturday) – Brian Walmsley’s unit is off to a fast start, but can they keep the ball moving against the Bears? Prediction: Wheaton 68, Bridgewater 64

Women’s Basketball:

* Regis College at Tufts University (Saturday) – Both squads made it to the NCAA tournament last year, which is great. However, that won’t dictate the outcome of this contest. The Jumbos are on a roll, and I don’t know if the Pride can stop Hannah Foley or Kate Barnosky. Prediction: Tufts 70, Regis 49

* Middlebury College at Emmanuel College (Saturday) – Can a Saint beat a Panther? It’s possible, right? Prediction: Middlebury 60, Emmanuel 58 (UPSET)

* RPI at Williams College (Saturday) – The Ephs have earned some impressive early season wins against Salve Regina, Springfield College and University of New England. The Hawks enter the game having won four of their last five. Prediction: Williams 63, RPI 52

* Clark University at Coast Guard (Saturday) – The Cougars won the Worcester City Tournament against WPI. They’ve also won four games to start the season, too. Against the Bears, they’ll snag rebounds and score points. Prediction: Clark 66, Coast Guard 42

* Wheaton College at Smith College (Saturday) – The Pioneers only setback came against RPI. However, they did defeat Middlebury, 80-47, which is impressive, eh? Prediction: Smith 59, Wheaton 53    

Mass. College Hockey: 10 Games To Watch This Weekend

By Matt Noonan 

Every Friday, we’ll unveil 10 games to watch in the college hockey world in Massachusetts. And to kick off this weekly column, here is this weekend’s menu, which features some intriguing matchups.

Men’s Ice Hockey

* Boston College at Boston University (Friday/Saturday) – Eagles head coach Jerry York is a humble man. And even though he’s deflected questions about setting the NCAA record for wins, you know he’d like to earn wins 924 and 925 against rival Boston University. BC has won 10 consecutive games and is the No. 1 team in the country. Prediction: Eagles sweep the weekend series and provide York with his 925th win.

 * UMass at Northeastern (Friday/Saturday) – The Huskies desperately need wins, but so do the Minutemen. Expect both contests to come down to defense and goaltending. Prediction: UMass is 2-0 against Boston College this season, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they pick up their first two wins against Northeastern.

* Nichols College at Suffolk University (Saturday) – Despite earning a third place finish in the Worcester City Shootout Tournament, Kevin Swallow’s crew was able to rebound with an important ECAC Northeast conference victory against Wentworth on Thursday. Prediction: The Bison extend their current winning streak to three-games and hand the Rams a 5-2 setback.

* Amherst College at Wesleyan University (Friday) – The Lord Jeffs are one of the best teams in Division III. However, one can’t overlook an opponent, which is why this particular tilt could be interesting. The Cardinals outscored their last two opponents, 15-2, so expect their offense to continue their success later today. Prediction: Amherst’s goaltending should hold up in this one, so pick the men sporting the purple and white to beat the squad that has red on their sweaters.    

* Westfield State at Salem State (Saturday) – Losses to Amherst and UMass Dartmouth can easily be forgotten if Westfield State can pick u a conference road win on Saturday in Salem. Prediction: Even though it isn’t Halloween, Owls can still fly around Salem at night, right? Go Blue and White!

Women’s Ice Hockey

* Maine at Boston College (Friday/Saturday) – The Eagles are flying high these days and have won four of their last five games. They’re coming off wins against Quinnipiac and Yale in the Nutmeg Classic Tournament and could certainly use a few more victories to keep pace with Providence. Prediction: Similar to the men’s ice hockey team, expect the Eagles to have no problem against the last place Bears.

* Boston University vs. Providence College (Friday/Saturday) – The Friars haven’t recorded a win since Nov. 10 against Connecticut. Boston University, though, has won three of their last four. The Terries demolished the Friars a few weeks ago, and could do that again this weekend. Prediction: I’m picking the Terriers to sweep their weekend series.

* Dartmouth at Harvard (Fri. Nov. 30)/ Russia at Harvard (Sat. Dec. 1) – Behind some superb defensive play, the Crimson have gotten off to a fast start in the ECAC. Their 7-1 record doesn’t seem like a fluke, but this weekend they’ll have two intriguing matchups against the Big Green and Russia’s Women’s National Team. Prediction: I think the Crimson shouldn’t have too many problems skating past Dartmouth, but the game against Russia certainly could be a challenge. Do you believe in miracles in Cambridge?

* Norwich University at Holy Cross (Sunday) – This is probably one of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend, and it will be played on a sheet of ice in Worcester. The Cadets are one of the top teams in the nation, but the Crusaders aren’t too bad either. Holy Cross is riding a two-game winning streak and will look to extend it with victories against St. Michael’s on Saturday and Norwich on Sunday. Prediction: Upset special anyone? I’ll take the Crusaders in this one.

* Wesleyan University at Amherst College (Friday/Saturday) – Despite dropping three consecutive contests to Elmira, Hamilton and Plattsburgh, the Lord Jeffs can secure their spot in this week’s D3Hockey.com rankings with victories against NESCAC foe Wesleyan. The Cardinals are 2-2 and coming off a tough loss to Holy Cross. Prediction: Could this be an upset waiting to happen? Both squads will see each other twice, and I think they split the series. 

Mass. College Hoops: Local D1 Squads Enjoy Early Season Success

By Matt Noonan 

The college basketball season is in full swing and below is a look at some of the local Div. I squads that have enjoyed some early season success.

Men’s Basketball

* Northeastern (4-3) began the year with a two-game winning streak, but ever since have been up and down. The Huskies dropped their last two contests to Charlotte and Maine, but will look to register their fifth win of the season against UMass next Tuesday. Joel Smith currently leads the squad with 126 points, while Reggie Spencer is the sole leader of rebounds with 47.

* Holy Cross (4-3) began the season with two impressive victories against Old Dominion and Morgan State. However, wins haven’t come easy for the Crusaders as of lately with losses to Providence and St. John’s. The Crusaders are currently 1-2 on the road and will look to improve their mark with two back-to-back contests against Hartford and Sacred Heart.

* UMass (3-2) snapped its two-game skid with a 64-63 victory against Sienna last night in Albany, New York, thanks to Chaz Williams, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark and scored the game-winning bucket with 3.3 seconds remaining. The Minutemen started their season with back-to-back victories against Harvard and Providence, but dropped two of their three contests in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament to North Carolina State and Tennessee.

Women’s Basketball:

* Harvard (5-2) is off to a good start and has won two of their last three contests. Christine Clark has been the spark for the Crimson thus far and currently leads all Ivy League players with 18.1 points per game. She’s been perfect from the stripe sinking all 23 shots, too. Harvard is currently riding a two-game winning streak and will return to the hardwood on Saturday when they visit Hofstra.

* Boston University (4-3) has been seesawing in the win-loss column. Setbacks to Michigan and West Virginia hurt, but the Terriers did secure wins against Boston College, Eastern Michigan, Rhode Island and Richmond. This weekend the Terriers will face their second ranked-squad of the season St. John’s. Chantell Alford leads the red and white with 133 points. She’s also chipped in 37 rebounds, 16 assists and 13 steals.

* Holy Cross (3-3) is currently on a two-game winning streak, and I wouldn’t be surprised if head coach Bill Gibbons is smiling about it. The Crusaders second and third wins came against Central Connecticut and UMass. Alex Smith has been the key to the Crusaders success thus far and currently leads the squad with 98 points.

Mass. College Hockey: Leftovers From WNEC’s 3-2 Victory Against Becker

WNEC Golden Bears logo. (Photo Credit: New England D3 College Baseball)

By Matt Noonan 

Western New England College’s men’s ice hockey team captured their fourth ECAC Northeast Hockey conference victory against Becker College on Wednesday, and below are a few leftover thoughts from the game.

Becker’s Power Play Struggles: After their win against Nichols College in the Worcester City Shootout Tournament last weekend, Don Kane told me that the Ice Hawks were focused on capitalizing on power play opportunities. Unfortunately, though, the Ice Hawks finished the game 1-of-7 with the extra skater.

WNEC netted two goals on five power plays, which proved to be the difference.

The Ice Hawks will have a few days to address this issue before they return to the ice on Saturday for a critical game against Wentworth Institute of Technology.

The Play Of Tim Carr: WNEC’s goaltender Tim Carr picked up his third win last night between the pipes. And despite allowing two goals, he made some fantastic saves with his glove and pads, which frazzled the Ice Hawks offense.

Through three games this season Carr has faced 102 shots and saved 98 of them. Expect to see more of the sophomore going forward, especially if his superb play continues.

Points In The Standings: With the win, WNEC improves to 4-0 in conference play and 5-2 overall. They also picked up two more points and now have eight in the standings.

Becker has defeated a conference foe (Nichols College) in tournament play, but that didn’t count toward their actual conference record. They have yet to register a win in the ECAC Northeast and desperately need one.

Graham’s Great Effort: One of the biggest takeaways from this game was the effort displayed by Becker’s David Graham. The senior forward was spotted all over the ice and assisted his team on numerous offensive rushes.

However, his biggest contribution came at 6:50 in the third period when he followed his shot from the far circle, which bounced off Carr’s pads. The puck then landed in front of the netminder, which allowed Graham the opportunity to rush the net and score his sixth goal of the season.

Other Notes: Becker and WNEC each fired 30 shots on net. The Ice Hawks recorded 14 penalty minutes compared to the Golden Bears’ 18.

Becker’s Greg Hussey saved 27 shots in the loss and now has a record of 2-4 between the pipes.

Springfield’s Brock Focused On Spreading The Word About ‘Be The Match’ Program

By Matt Noonan 

Earlier this week, Springfield College published a release on their athletic website promoting an important upcoming event called, “Be The Match” program.

The program is designed to find a bone marrow donor for Jon, who is a member of the Eastern Connecticut College men’s soccer team. He was diagnosed this past September with Aplastic Anemia and needs a life saving bone marrow transplant. And unfortunately for Jon, his family doesn’t have a match, which has forced him to look to the marrow registry for a donor.

Springfield’s men’s basketball team, which has taken the lead on this particular campaign, will be holding a marrow drive on Sunday, December 9 at the Flynn Campus Union Center. And according to head coach Charlie Brock, the team has been encouraging members of the college community over the past week to come out and support this incredible cause.

“We’ve got an interesting [group of] coaches and players and teams that have such a network and with the social media the way it is the word is out there all over the place, and we’ve gotten some local schools [nearby] that are going to be involved, [and they are] AIC, Western New England College and Westfield State,” said Brock.

“I have three kids and this could be anyone of mine, so immediately it hit home in that regard [because] it just came out of nowhere and leveled the kid where he can’t get out of the hospital, and the only thing that’s going to save him is a bone marrow transplant.”

In order to be an eligible match, one has to be between the ages of 18 and 44 and meet all the health guideline, too.

Yet, despite not being in the age bracket, Brock is focused on doing everything he can to find that exact bone marrow for Jon.

“My move so far has just been to contact as many people as possible,” Brock said. “We’ve got the athletic department involved and that includes 25 coaches and a bunch of different teams.

“We’re putting posters up on campus and the same thing is happening at AIC and WNEC with posters going up, so, we’re putting it up everywhere we can and see if we can get as many people to come to campus. [Also, we’re utilizing] social media to see if we can get as many people as possible to contribute in other ways if they can.

“The age limit is 18-44 and I don’t qualify and certainly not because I’m under 18, so I’m contributing in a different way monetarily and if we can get that that’s great, but just as much as we can spread the word that’s what we’re trying to do.”

We’ll have more from our interview with Coach Brock later this week, as well as information about the event, but if you’re interested in donating money or registering your name to the bone marrow list — HOP HERE for more information.