Will UMass Boston men’s ice compete for a second time in program history at Frozen Fenway? (Photo Credit: UMass Boston)
By Matt Noonan
A few thoughts – or ideas – on possible Division III hockey contests that could take place in January (2017) at Frozen Fenway …
* I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another round of Babson College and Norwich University. Both teams competed at the historic ballpark in 2012 and 2014, and this game is always a ‘must-see’ contest. Plus, Babson head coach Jamie Rice is an avid Red Sox fan, so you know he would love to lead his Beavers out of the Boston dugout.
* UMass Boston is another team that should skate at the historic ballpark – the Beacons made their Frozen Fenway debut two years ago when they competed against Salem State. Perhaps we see round two of Vikings-Beacons or maybe UMass Boston skates against Suffolk University or Wentworth Institute of Technology? I am sure the Rams or Leopards would love an opportunity to play a game at Fenway Park.
* It would be great to see at least one – perhaps two – women’s Division III games. Why not pit Amherst College against Middlebury College or have Endicott College take on Plymouth State? If Norwich men’s ice hockey competes against Babson, then invite the women’s team to play either before or after against Castleton State.
* A pair of teams represented the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) two years ago with Williams College skating against Trinity College. There should definitely be a NESCAC game at Fenway – again, it could be a men or women’s contest.
* How about a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) game – heck, it is the first year the conference is sponsoring hockey, so why not? Maybe Curry College plays Becker College or Endicott College faces-off against Salve Regina?
Frozen Fenway will return in January 2017. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)
The City of Boston and Fenway Sports Management (FSM) announced earlier today that Fenway Park would become Frozen Fenway this January, beginning Wednesday, January 4, 2017. Frozen Fenway will conclude Monday, January 16, 2017 and will feature a pair of Hockey East double-headers on January 7 and 14, along with additional college and high school hockey games.
Frozen Fenway will also feature a public skating day for City of Boston residents, too.
“Outdoor hockey is quickly becoming a staple on Boston’s winter sports calendar and we look forward to joining with the Hockey East and the City of Boston to build on that tradition by bringing some of the most accomplished and talented collegiate teams in the country to compete on the ice at Fenway Park,” Boston Red Sox President Sam Kennedy said in a statement.
As noted in the Hockey East release, Boston University will face-off against University of Massachusetts, while Boston College takes on Providence College – both contests will take place Saturday, January 7. One week later – Saturday, January 14, 2017 – Northeastern University will skate against University of New Hampshire, while University of Maine competes against University of Connecticut.
“Hockey East and our schools could not be more excited to take the ice once again at Fenway Park,” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna said in the conference release. “Once Frozen Fenway 2017 is complete all twelve Hockey East schools will have played an outdoor game at Fenway Park, creating once-in-a-lifetime memories for the players, students, alumni and fans.”
Additional details, including other contests and events will be announced in the coming months. Fans can visit RedSox.com for more information on Frozen Fenway.
Jaylen Brown was the third overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. (Photo Credit: Boston.com)
By Matt Noonan
I think it is time to pump the breaks on Jaylen Brown.
Seriously, let’s stop antagonizing this individual and see what happens when he competes for the Boston Celtics this season.
Since being selected third overall in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Green and White, Brown has been insulted by die-hard Green Teamers that are desperate for Banner 18.
I am a Celtics fan. I was born and raised in Boston – well, technically born in Boston, but grew up outside the city – and understand the immediate need for championships. And since the New England Patriots began winning Super Bowls, the need for additional hardware and celebrations on Boylston Street have increased.
As of today – Sunday, June 26 – we don’t know what Brown can do for the Celtics or what the Celtics can do for Brown – no play on UPS there, I promise! – but until he steps on the court and sprints up and down the parquet, there is no need to barrage this young man.
Following an introductory press conference last week, Brown exhibited his frustration by telling members of the media he is ready to ‘rip someone’s head off.’
Will he rip someone’s head off? Doubt it, but make sure you wear Celtics gear when walking around or near the Boston Garden.
According to NBADraft.net, Brown’s play should be identical to Jimmy Butler, which should excite Celtics fans – how many times have we heard Butler’s name when it comes to trade talks? We won’t know if this comparison is true until we see him compete for the Green and White.
In addition to the comparison of Butler, Brown has been touted as a strong, physical down-low player, as well as someone that can go toe-to-toe with ‘the best players.’
Maybe Brad Stevens will tell him to guard LeBron James or Steph Curry next season?
We can go round and round about the selection of Brown or what he will or won’t do for this organization. Yet, until he competes – or plays one or two series – there is no need to antagonize the former Cal Bear forward.
Brown could become a cornerstone of this organization – maybe he’ll join the Celtics Mount Rushmore of Paul Pierce, Bill Russell and Larry Bird – but again, until we see him compete, let’s slow down the criticism and focus our attention on perhaps luring Kevin Durant to Boston.
Could you imagine the tandem of Durant and Brown? Could become the greatest tandem in the league’s history.
Another season of New England D3 Football is right around the corner. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)
By Matt Noonan
It is never too early to start thinking about New England Division III football.
The countdown to training camp – and the first game – is on!
Below are some quick pre-season takes on each conference. As the season gets closer, we’ll have team and conference previews, so stay tuned!
Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): After a successful 7-3 campaign last season, Becker will be a team to watch this fall. Can they continue their success under first-year head coach Frank Forcucci?
Absolutely, but they will need to play their best football against Husson, Norwich and Castleton State.
Keep an eye on Castleton State – the Spartans ended their season by capturing the Maple Sap Bucket Trophy with a 31-13 win over the Cadets. Rising sophomore Moe Harris will be one of many players to watch this season after he concluded his initial season with the Green and White by leading the rushing attack in yards (1,065), touchdowns (14) and yards per game (106.5).
Liberty League (Springfield & WPI): The Engineers of WPI enjoyed one of their best seasons under head coach Chris Robertson, finishing 7-4 overall and 4-3 in conference play.
WPI earned some impressive wins, defeating MIT (31-28), Norwich (27-10) and Springfield (19-17). They will look to keep their momentum going this season, but the biggest question facing the squad is who will be their number one halfback? Zach Grasis graduated, so that could open the door for rising sophomore Connor Sakowich.
Springfield will have a new head coach this season as Mike Cerasuolo was tabbed the program’s head coach earlier this year. A former player, Cerasuolo will look to continue his former head coach Mike DeLong’s success. DeLong retired last fall after an impressive 32-year run with the Pride.
Cerasuolo has been the program’s offensive coordinator for the past 15 seasons.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State will remain the favorite, but don’t overlook Bridgewater State and Fitchburg State.
The Bears won five of their final seven contests last season, including a 64-42 win over Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the 37th Annual Cranberry Bowl. Rising junior Alex McLaughlin will look lead the rushing attack – he rushed for 16 touchdowns last season – while rising senior Danny Higgins should navigate the unit’s air attack after tossing 13 touchdowns.
Fitchburg State graduated some key defensive players, but return rising seniors Mamour Samb (linebacker) and Ousame Samb (cornerback). Mamour Samb finished second on the team in total tackles (67) and tackles per game (7.4), while Ousame Samb led the unit with eight pass breakups. Rising senior Garrett Dellechiaie is back under center after an impressive junior season, which saw him toss 26 touchdowns. He also rushed for a career-high four touchdowns, too.
Framingham State graduates some key pieces, including quarterback Matt Silva, but again, don’t overlook a Rams team that has depth on both sides of the ball.
New England Football Conference (NEFC): The Golden Bears won 10 consecutive regular season games last fall thanks to an impressive defensive unit that registered 22 sacks (third in NEFC), 15 interceptions (first in NEFC) and 282.2 yards per game (first in NEFC).
The Golden Bears maybe the favorite heading into the 2016 season, but don’t overlook Endicott, MIT, Salve Regina or U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The Seahawks capped their season by defeating Husson in the ECAC Clayton Chapman Bowl Championship thanks to an impressive performance by quarterback Brandon Basil, who tossed five touchdowns, while completing 25 of 49 passes for 421 yards.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Amherst College will certainly be the favorite heading into the 2016 season, but let’s not forget about Tufts, which finished its 2015 campaign 6-2 following a 31-28 win over Middlebury.
The Jumbos return a pair of rising seniors – quarterback Alex Snyder and running back Chance Brady – while rising junior Steve DiCenzo and rising senior Shane Thomas should lead the defense.
Other teams to watch in the NESCAC include Middlebury and Trinity – the Bantams finished second last season and yielded the second fewest points in the conference (81 points).
Amherst’s 17-7 win last fall over Williams marked the second straight season the Purple and White finished their campaign undefeated (8-0). Can they make it three years in a row? We’ll find out!
First-year head coach Kyle Hart – soon to be second-year head coach – is optimistic about the Lyons’ future. (Photo Credit: Wheaton College Athletics)
By Matt Noonan
The Wheaton College men’s lacrosse season concluded last month, but first year head coach – soon to be second-year head coach – Kyle Hart is optimistic about the program’s future.
“We have a ton of potential and we are excited about the future,” said Hart, who guided the Lyons to a 7-9 overall record, including an appearance in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament.
Under Hart, the Lyons scored some impressive wins, including a dramatic opening day victory against the University of New England. Matt Morgan deposited the go-ahead/game-winning strike with 1:29 remaining in the fourth quarter to send the Lyons past the Nor’easters, 7-6.
“The win against UNE was a good boost for our team,” said Hart. “Our goalie Ryan Clair had a fantastic game and led our defensive effort the entire way.”
In addition to their non-conference win against UNE, Wheaton also registered some impressive victories against Castleton State – this year’s North Atlantic Conference (NAC) runner-up – and UMass Dartmouth.
Against the Corsairs, the Lyons needed to overcome a one-goal deficit at the break to secure a 13-10 victory. Scott Whear and Ryan Gjerset highlighted the win, netting a hat trick, respectively.
“I think our come from behind win against UMass Dartmouth gave us confidence that we could work through adversity and overcome challenges,” said Hart.
The wins against UNE, Castleton State and UMass Dartmouth were just a few moments that stick out to Hart, but he truly believes Wheaton’s best performance came in a 10-8 win over conference foe U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
The NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse season concluded a few weeks ago, but Hart and assistant coach Kyle Hayes have already turned the page to 2017. Wheaton will return a majority of this spring’s roster, including rising sophomore Mike Doucette, who led the Blue and White at the face-off X by winning 105 of 237 face-offs.
In addition to Doucette, classmate Mike Morgan will return after leading the unit with 32 points on 23 goals and nine assists. Rising senior Will Morrison will be a player to watch as well – he finished the year second on the team in points (31) – along with classmate Devin Higgins and rising junior Victor Moitinho.
“Our goal is to first qualify for our conference tournament. If we are able to qualify for NEWMAC’s then we want to win the conference tournament and advance to the NCAA’s,” said Hart.