Noonan: It Should Be An Exciting Final Few Weeks Of D3 Hockey

By Matt Noonan 

A few intriguing questions and thoughts facing a few Division III hockey teams – both men and women – heading into the final few weeks of regular season.

* Let’s begin in the ECAC Northeast Conference where Suffolk University is currently in first place. The Rams, who ended the month of December on a three-game winning streak, have won three contests in January, but have also dropped three non-conference tilts to Stonehill College (4-2), Tufts University (7-4) and New England College (7-0). Yet, the Rams rebounded with back-to-back victories against Franklin Pierce (4-1) and Assumption College (6-5).

Suffolk returns to the ice this weekend for an important conference clash against Johnson and Wales – a team that is currently two spots below the Rams – on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Walter Brown Arena. The Wildcats fell to the Rams earlier this season, 2-1, but have won five of their last six contests.

* In the ECAC East Conference – men’s ice hockey – Norwich University currently sits atop the standings with a perfect record (12-0-0) in league play. Below is UMass Boston (10-2 in conference play) and Babson College (9-2-1). The Beacons and Beavers split their weekend series, but could meet again in their conference tournament’s quarterfinals, semifinals or finals.

UMass Boston has recently won five of their last six contests, including a 4-3 win on Saturday against the Beavers, which featured an overtime goal by Colin Larkin – his first collegiate game-winning strike. The Beacons are on the road this weekend, competing against Skidmore on Friday (7:00 p.m. start) and Castleton State on Saturday (4:00 p.m.).

* In the MASCAC, Westfield State and UMass Dartmouth are currently looking up at Plymouth State, which owns the top spot with a 7-2-1 conference record. The Panthers are coming off a 3-2 win over Worcester State on Sunday, which snapped their two-game skid against Fitchburg State and UMass Dartmouth.

Plymouth State, Westfield State and UMass Dartmouth may appear to be the favorites in the MASCAC, but don’t count out Fitchburg State and Salem State, two teams that have captured eight conference games, respectively.

* Let’s return to the ECAC East Conference – the women’s ice hockey conference – and put the spotlight on Holy Cross, which has won seven of nine conference games, and is 11-5-1 overall. The Crusaders, who commenced their season with four consecutive wins, have won two of their last three matchups, including a 5-0 win over New England College and 5-1 victory against Southern Maine.

Holy Cross recently skated against Amherst College – currently sixth in the latest D3Hockey.com Poll – but lost to the Jeffs, 3-1. The Crusaders, who fired eight shots in the opening period, held the Jeffs to just five shots, but none of those attempts landed in the net. Amherst eventually got on the board, scoring three goals during the final 40 minutes, while allowing the Crusaders to capitalize on the power play (Holy Cross finished the game 1-for-1 with an extra skater).

The game against Amherst proves that the Crusaders will be a tough challenge for their remaining opponents, including Norwich, which travels to Worcester on Saturday, February 21 for a 2:05 p.m. contest.

* Finally, let’s take a look at the NESCAC, starting with the men’s division. For the second straight season, Trinity (Conn.) is on a roll. They’ve won 10 straight contests and currently ranked third in the D3Hockey.com poll. Amherst is ranked 12th, Williams 14th, and Middlebury is receiving votes. If Amherst or Williams wants to advance to the NCAA Tournament, it will most likely entail defeating the Bantams.

Amherst and Trinity face-off on Friday, January 30 – the game will take place in Amherst. A win for the Lord Jeffs would provide them with momentum going forward. As for Williams, they travel to Connecticut College on Friday and Tufts University on Saturday.

In the women’s division, Amherst remains a spot below Middlebury, which has won seven of 10 conference tilts. The Jeffs, who are 6-0-2 in conference play, recently tied the Panthers in back-to-back contests by scores of 2-2 and 1-1. This weekend, the Jeffs will host Connecticut College in back-to-back home contests.

Mass. College Lax: Local Schools Appear In USILA Preseason Poll

By Matt Noonan 

On Monday, the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) released its Preseason Poll and a few local squads earned spots in the Division II and III polls.

Division I:  Harvard will enter the season in the 11th spot, while UMass is currently receiving votes.

Division II: Merrimack College checked in at number seven, recording an overall score of 76 points. The Warriors weren’t the only local school and Northeast-10 Conference school to receive attention, as Bentley University was one of seven teams receiving votes.

Tufts earned the top spot in the USILA Div. III Preseason Poll. (Photo: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

Tufts earned the top spot in the USILA Div. III Preseason Poll. (Photo: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

Division III: Tufts University – the defending national champion – will start the season in the top spot. The Jumbos recorded an overall score of 320 points.

Three other Division III teams earned a spot on the poll as Amherst College was picked 12th, Endicott College 13th and Springfield College 19th. Williams College is currently receiving votes.

Mass. College Hoops: WACBA Honor Roll (Week Nine)

By NoontimeSports.com

WORCESTER, Mass. – With another week of college basketball in Worcester in the books, it is now time to unveil this week’s – the ninth week – Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) honor roll, including our players and rookies of the week.

Men’s Player of the Week: Sam Longwell (WPI, Sr./Acton, MA): Longewell averaged 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds as the eighth-ranked Engineers won a pair of contests last week. The senior erupted for a game-best 24 points, 12 rebounds and career-high 10 assists without a turnover in WPI’s 92-68 victory Saturday versus Wheaton. Saturday’s performance – his first triple-double in a Crimson and Gray uniform – was the first by an Engineer player since Scott Misiaszek accomplished the feat a decade ago. Longwell, who had a first half for the ages against the Lyons with 22 points and eight assists, also tossed in 11 points and added five rebounds and three assists during Wednesday’s 63-42 triumph over Clark.

Paul Brooks (Worcester State, Soph./Arlington, Mass.): Brooks averaged 13.0 points, 14.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks in a 1-1 week for Worcester State which included 11 points, 14 boards and a school record tying 8 blocks in a 79-72 victory over Fitchburg State to go with 15 points, 15 caroms and a 3 rejections in a 68-62 setback against Westfield State. Also connected on .667 percent of his field goal attempts (12-18).

Men’s Rookie of the Week: Obi Obiora (WPI, Fr./Boston, Mass.): Obiora shot a blistering 71.4% from the floor while totaling 11 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks in wins against Clark and Wheaton.

Women’s Player of the Week: Raquel Scott (Holy Cross, Jr./Ridgewood, N.J.): Scott had another solid week in helping the Crusaders earn two Patriot League wins over Lafayette and Navy. Against Lafayette on Wednesday, she posted her ninth double-double of the season and the 28th of her career with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Scott also recorded a season-best six assists versus the Leopards, too. In the win over Navy, she tallied a game-high 16 points to go along with seven boards and four assists. Scott ranks fourth in the Patriot League with 16.5 points per game, while she stands second in the conference with 9.5 rebounds per contest … she is 63 points shy of 1,000 in her career, as she has scored 937 collegiate points.

Trafficia Warburton (Anna Maria, Sr./Worcester Mass.): Warburton averaged a double-double of 16.5 points and 13.0 rebounds per game in two outings this week. She tallied a game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds on Monday at Johnson & Wales, and added 13 points and 15 rebounds on Sunday against Suffolk. Warburton averaged a 55.6 field goal percentage on the week, sparked by a 4-for-5 effort (80 percent) on Sunday. The double-doubles were the 10th and 11th of the season for Warburton.

Women’s Rookie of the Week: Katie Doherty (Holy Cross, Fr./Holbrook, N.Y.): Doherty played a pivotal role in helping Holy Cross pick up two wins over Lafayette and Navy. In the win over Lafayette, she scored a career- and game-high 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while canning 3-of-4 from behind the arc. On Saturday against Navy, Doherty totaled seven points, four rebounds and a pair of steals. Doherty is averaging 6.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per game this season, while shooting at a 36.8 percent clip from the floor and a 34.3 percent clip from behind the arc. Her three-point percentage ranks eighth in the Patriot League. In Patriot League games, Doherty is averaging 6.8 points per game.

Honor Roll:

Malachi Alexander (Holy Cross, Soph./Bowie, Md.): Alexander led Holy Cross in scoring in both of its victories last week. The sophomore recorded 17 points and four rebounds in their win over Lafayette. He added 17 points and three rebounds in the victory over Navy. Overall, he connected on 52.9 percent of his field goal attempts and 82.4 percent of his free throws on the week.

Mitchell Hahn (Holy Cross, Fr./Fremont, Neb.): Hahn posted six points and four rebounds in the victory over Lafayette. The freshman converted a three-point play with 50.3 seconds remaining against Lafayette, which gave Holy Cross a 72-71 lead. He added eight points, three rebounds and a career-high eight assists in the win over Navy.

Karl Ziegler (Assumption, Jr./ Annandale, Va.): In the team’s lone game last week, Ziegler finished with a team-leading 21 points to go along with eight rebounds and 8-for-13 shooting from the field in a road loss at first-place AIC.

Quantez Franklin (Anna Maria, Sr./ South Yarmouth, Mass.): Quantez Franklin, Anna Maria (Sr., G, South Yarmouth, Mass.) – Franklin averaged 18.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists and shot 73.7 percent (14-19 FG) in a 2-0 week for Anna Maria. He hit 8-of-11 attempts in a 93-82 win against Lasell before going 6-for-8 in a 78-63 win against Rivier.

Laura Cote (Fitchburg State, Sr./Ashby, Mass.): Cote averaged 12.7 points over three games for Fitchburg State last week, while contributing with 12 steals, seven assists, and 13 rebounds. In the Terriers victory over Worcester State the senior guard chipped in 22 points and a season-high eight points.

Julie Frankian (Worcester State, Sr./ Millbury, Mass.): Frankian averaged 17.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in an 0-2 week for Worcester State, including 18 points and nine rebounds in a 67-65 overtime loss against Westfield State, and 16 points with four caroms in a 73-67 loss to Fitchburg State.

Dani Davis (WPI, Sr./East Granby, Conn.): Davis led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed five rebounds as WPI went on the road and registered a key 62-49 victory against MIT.  The senior also posted a team-best 14 points to go along with six rebounds earlier in the week in a tough 58-57 road loss at Coast Guard.  Davis is the Engineers leading scorer this season with 12.7 points per game and is second in rebounding with 4.8 boards per game,

Ama Biney (WPI, Fr./Worcester, Mass.): Biney averaged 10 points and seven rebounds during a 1-1 week for the Engineers.  The freshman connected on 5-of-9 shots for the floor and registered 11 points and eight rebounds in a 62-49 triumph at MIT after amassing nine points and six rebounds in a narrow one point loss at Coast Guard.

Mass. College Hockey: Plymouth State Skates Past Worcester State, 3-2

By NoontimeSports.com 

Plymouth State junior Josh Woody netted the game-winning goal this afternoon in the Panthers’ conference clash with Worcester State University.

Below is the recap of the game, courtesy of the Worcester State University Sports Information Department:

Worcester, MA — Plymouth State junior Josh Woody (Suderland, MD/Valley Jr Warriors) netted the eventual game-clinching tally with 3:30 on the clock in the second period as he helped pace the Panthers to a 3-2 victory over Worcester State in MASCAC men’s ice hockey action this evening at the Hart Recreation Center.

With the win the Panthers move to 7-7-3 overall and remain atop the conference standings at 7-2-1. In the setback, the Lancers fall to 3-11-1 and 2-7-1 in league play.

Sophomore Dan Dupell (Collegeville, PA/Port Huron Fighting Falcons) put the visitors on the board first with 12:58 off the clock in the opening frame. His score right in front of the net off of a major penalty was assisted by senior Mike Freitag (Westmont, IL/Valley Jr Warriors) and junior Andrew Wigg (Lantz, Nova Scotia/Yarmouth Mariners).

The Blue and Gold came right back and equalized the score 1-1 just before time expired in the first period. Senior Nathan Stanley (Meridian, ID/Idaho Jr. Steelheads) caught the glance of an initial shot by classmate Vinny Bohn (Spring Hill, FL/El Paso Rhinos) with 37 ticks left in the frame and just two seconds left on a power play.

Plymouth State hit home a pair of goals two minutes apart to take over the 3-1 margin in the latter half of the second period.

Sophomore Tord Thoreson (Oppegard, Norway/New England Wolves) put the Panthers ahead by one goal with a shot from the left dot to the left corner with some help by Wigg and Freitag before Woody slipped one past WSU freshman net minder Tyler Fallica (Coram, NY/Ogden Mustangs) for a key insurance marker.

Sophomore Matt Vermillion (S. Lyon, MI/Baystate Breakers) and sophomore Ian McGilvrey (Omaha, NE/Middlesex Islanders) both assisted on the game-winner for the Panthers.

The Lancers had chances with an extra man on the ice in the beginning and midway through the third, but could not take advantage of the opportunity.

With time winding down in the period, the hosts pulled their goalie and found success with an extra attacker as senior Andrew Bates (Marblehead, MA/Boston Jr Bulldogs) received aid on the play from senior Cody Osburn (Sacramento, CA/Fresno Monsters) and sophomore Michael Dery (Grand Rapids, MI/Ogden Mustangs) with one minute left.

As 32 seconds remained on the clock in regulation in regulation, junior Alex Taddeo (Franklin, MA/Boston Jr. Rangers) fired one in from the top of the point and senior Stephen Rock (Tulsa, OK/Idaho Jr Steelheads) tried again on the ricochet, but they were both turned aside by junior Gordon Ceasar (Oak Park, CA/Utica College).

Ceasar (6-4-3) stopped 17 shots in the victory while Fallica collected 22 saves in 58:57 minutes of action.

Plymouth State was 1-for-6 on power plays while the Lancers only converted 25 percent of their chances (1-for-4). The Panthers led in shots, 25-19.

Both squads return to MASCAC play over the next week. Worcester State will play Salem State on Saturday at 2 PM while Plymouth State entertains Framingham State on Thursday at the Hanaway Rink in a 6 o’clock match-up.

Mass. College Hockey: Late Goal Lifts UMass Boston Over Babson, 4-3

By NoontimeSports.com 

An overtime goal by freshman Colin Larkin – his first collegiate goal – lifted No. 10 UMass Boston over No. 8 Babson College 4-3, on Saturday afternoon in ECAC East conference action.

Courtesy of the UMass Boston Athletics Sports Information Department, here’s this afternoon’s release:

BOSTON, Mass.—Freshman Colin Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) scored his first collegiate game-winning goal 1:47 into overtime to lift #10 UMass Boston Men’s Hockey (15-3-1, 10-2-0) past #7/8 Babson College 4-3 Saturday afternoon at the Beacons Ice Arena.

Larkin scored the game-tying goal 7:05 into the third period and slipped a rebound past Babson All-American goalie Jamie Murray less than two minutes into overtime, to help the Beacons’ snap a six-game winless streak (0-5-1) against the Beavers.  The freshman forward finished the weekend with three goals and now has eight goals and 10 assists.

Senior forward Stephen Buco (North Providence, R.I.) finished with a goal and an assist and sophomore defenseman Brett Mason (Rowley, Mass.) recorded his second goal of the year, to help the Beacons jump Babson and move into second-place in the ECAC East Conference.

Junior goalie Billy Faust (Alta Loma, Calif.) went toe-to-toe with Murray all weekend long, as the junior stopped a season-high 41 shots in the victory. For the weekend, Faust went 1-0 by making 60 saves on 64 shots to improve to 6-0-1 on the season.

Bill Seligman led the Beavers with a goal and assist to cap off a 4-point weekend for the sophomore (three goals and one assist). Jimmy Magrath and Michael Phillips also scored for the Beavers who dropped their third contest in seven games, after starting the season 11-0-1.

Murray took the loss after allowing four or more goals for just the second time this season. The junior netminder stopped 34 of 48 shots to fall to 14-3-2 on the year.

Babson outshot the Beacons 44-38, after earning a 23-6 shot advantage in the first stanza.

A night after controlling the play in two of the three periods before ultimately falling short, UMass Boston overcame a sluggish first period to knock off the Beacons for the first time since 2013.

The Beavers jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 1:06 into the contest when Seligman slipped a shot through Faust’s five-hole. Jared Wiedemann forced a turnover at the Beacons’ blue line and dumped a shot off the boards behind Faust, only to have the puck slip out past Faust, to an on-rushing Seligman who scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season.

After giving up the early goal, UMass Boston upped the intensity, as the Beacons started increasing the physicality with each shift.

Faust kept the game at 1-0 just under five minutes in, when he robbed Billy Hall from just outside the crease. The junior weathered the storm in the first period, as he made 22 of his 41 stops in the opening 20 minutes.

UMass Boston evened the game at 1-1 at 1:34 of the second period. Sixteen seconds after Peter MacIntyre (Norfolk, Mass.) forced a Babson penalty, Buco ripped a shot from the blue line through traffic that found the twine. Sophomore defenseman Tyler Bishop (Ramsey, N.J.) picked up the first of his two assists on the play.

Mason gave the Beacons their first lead of the weekend at 4:07, when the sophomore’s hard shot from the point deflected off a defender and past Murray for a 2-1 advantage. Buco and Bishop were credited with assists.

The Beacons would carry their momentum throughout most of the period, before Babson equalized with just 3:04 to play in the second. Tim Searles and Jimmy Magrath came in on a 2-on-1 and Magrath sent a slap shot past Faust off of a perfect stretch pass from Searles. Jake Donahue also picked up an assist on the goal.

UMass Boston added to the Babson momentum when they were whistled for a pair of minor penalties bookending the intermission. The second of the two penalties led to a 5-on-3 Babson power-play for just 11 seconds. Phillips made sure the Beacons would pay for their mistakes, as he rifled home a shot just under the bar with two seconds to go on the 5-on-3 and 19 minutes remaining in regulation.

Babson handed the Beacons a power-play chance of their own at 4:53 of the period. UMass Boston nearly capitalized mid-way through the man-advantage, but Bishop’s shot caromed off the post. The Beacons finally came through 12 seconds after the power-play ended, off some tremendous play in front of the net.

Senior Dan Cornell (Abington, Mass.) sent a shot towards net that Larkin tipped on goal and it fell off the back of Murray and just shy of the goal line. Three Beacons swarmed around the puck before Larkin snuck the puck inside the near post. Junior Mike Miller (Wrentham, Mass.) recorded his first of two assists on the play.

Faust continued to stand on his head, as the junior rushed out of net and made a huge save to deny a wide-open Tim Searles’s with 6:55 to play.

Senior captain Mike Kuhn (Holbrook, Mass.) came within inches of giving the Beacons a late lead with a minute to play, but his shot dinged off the inside of the post, to the dismay of a rowdy Beacons Ice Arena.

For the period, UMass Boston outshot Babson 17-9.

The Beacons would carry the momentum of their late chances in the third into the extra session, as the Beacons’ top line of MacIntyre, Buco and Miller created three great chances on the second shift of the extra session.

After pinning the Beavers in their own end for over 30 seconds, Miller sent a hard shot from down low that Larkin tipped into Murray. With Murray struggling to find the puck, Larkin was able to tuck it past the goalie into the far side of the netting. Junior Jeremy Finger (Orlando, Fla.) also registered an assist on the play.

The Beacons will look to carry their momentum into next weekend, when the Beacons travel to Skidmore College Friday at 7 p.m. and Castleton State College Saturday at 4 p.m.