Noontime Rewind: Our Favorite Stories of 2019

NS Stories of 2019

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

With 2019 slowly winding down and a new year – and yes, decade, too – upon us, it is time to look back at some of our favorite posts we produced over the past 12 months.

We hope you enjoyed a look back at some of our favorite posts of 2019 – we can’t wait to produce some similar posts in 2020 while trying new ways to share (and highlight) the New England sports scene! 

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Noontime Rewind: Boston Sports Teams of the 2010s

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation

Welcome to the first Noontime Sports rewind post, which will recap the current year of New England (and Boston) sports as well as look back on the soon-to-be past decade of blogging for NoontimeSports.com.

In this particular post, we highlighted our favorite Boston sports teams that we covered (and chronicled) through the site – there were some fun teams to watch and others that made us sick to our stomach over the past nine-to-ten years.

We hope you enjoy this look back at the soon-to-be past decade of Boston sports, which certainly kept us busy, both here on the site and social media.


The Best New England Patriots Team of the 2010s: The 2014 New England Patriots. Sure, you can make the case for the 2016 squad, which overcame a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons or the 2018 squad, which outsmarted Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams, but in my opinion, the 2014 squad was the best Pats team of the 2010s. Between the offense and the defense and just the way they manhandled teams after losing to Kansas City, this particular Patriots squad was perhaps one of the best teams under current head coach Bill Belichick.

One of the most impressive games this team played was against the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the postseason. They ran a few tricky plays, including one that saw Julian Edelman throw a touchdown pass to a streaking Danny Amendola. Additionally, they stole a play from Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide, which infuriated Baltimore coach John Harbaugh.

But the cherry on top of the sundae was the Malcolm Butler interception on a potential go-ahead touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Butler will be forever linked to that play – the result ignited an animated (and giddy) celebration by Tom Brady and … Jimmy Garoppolo.


The Best Boston Red Sox Team of the 2010s: The 2013 Boston Red Sox. Following the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, our city became enamored with the local nine, especially after David Ortiz delivered a heartfelt speech just days after the horrendous attacks. Ortiz’s words would be the catalyst for a magical season that concluded with a World Series victory at historic Fenway Park.

Boston, which went from worst (2012) to first (2013), concluded the 2013 campaign with 97 wins. They beat the Tampa Bay Rays in four games before topping the heavily-favored Detroit Tigers in six games. Shane Victorino hit a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh in game six before Koji Uehara shut the door on a possible rally in the top of the ninth.

The win over the Tigers secured the Sox their third American League crown, as well as their third appearance in the World Series in 10 seasons.

Against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Red Sox overcame a 2-1 deficit by winning the fourth, fifth, and sixth games to clinch the series and win their first championship in Boston in 95 years.


The Best Boston Bruins Team of the 2010s: The 2011 Boston Bruins. If the Bruins won the Stanley Cup earlier this year, I would have chosen that team, but instead, I’ll play it safe and go with the squad that won the Stanley Cup eight years ago.

After seeing the 2010 squad collapse in the second round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers, I was unsure if the 2011 Bruins would be able to make myself (and other Black and Gold fans) proud. But they certainly did.

Their Cup run began with an epic game seven overtime win in the opening round against the Montreal Canadiens, thanks to Nathan Horton. One round later, Boston erased memories of a dreadful collapse from one year earlier by sending the Flyers home with four-straight wins (it was sweet revenge, in my opinion!).

But perhaps Boston’s most impressive win came against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals, especially in the seventh game. Horton netted the lone goal of the contest, while Tim Thomas, who won the Vezina Trophy, stopped every shot he faced.

“I’m just happy to see the guys smiling in the dressing room,” coach Claude Julien said to the media following the exciting one-goal win over the Lighting of Tampa Bay.

Those ‘smiles’ would not disappear as those same grins reemerged days later after the Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in six games to win their sixth championship in franchise history.

The win over the Canucks was exciting – it was also the team’s third game seven victory of the 2011 postseason, which was the most game seven wins by any team in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Unfortunately, their win over Vancouver did not result in a few more titles as Boston would lose in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and seven games to the St. Louis Blues in 2019.


The Best Boston Celtics Team of the 2010s: The 2017-18 Boston Celtics. After winning their 17th championship in June 2008, the Celtics have yet to return to top of the mountain but have had chances, including ten years after they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in six games when the Green and White almost beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Boston was without Kyrie Irving who missed the entire postseason, as well as Gordon Hayward, who suffered a serious end-of-season injury during the team’s initial game of the 2017-18 campaign, which happened to be against the Cavaliers. So, without two of the league’s marquee players, the Celtics turned to both their veteran and youth players to go on an exciting run, which included wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers (4-1).

Against Cleveland, Boston won the series’ first two games before losing four of the next five contests. They had chances to beat James and the Cavaliers in each of the final five contests, but the youth and inexperience eventually caught-up with the Green and White, who have been really fun to watch this season.

What made this particular postseason run so much fun was the play of both Brown and Tatum, along with Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Marcus Morris.

Catching Up With Katie Zimmerman (Western New England Women’s Ice Hockey)

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Katie Zimmerman was named earlier this month the first coach of the Western New England women’s ice hockey program, which is scheduled to begin competition in 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY: Diana McNamara)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Katie Zimmerman seems very excited to coach the first Western New England women’s ice hockey team, which is scheduled to play its first contest during the 2020-21 school year.

“Being able to start my own program at the college level is very, very special,” said Zimmerman, who arrives in Springfield after assisting the Amherst College women’s ice hockey team since the 2014-15 season.

“I have categorized it as a life experience (because) it is going to be both exciting and challenging, but also a full-circle feeling to build a program and help grow the game at the next level.”

Zimmerman was named the program’s initial coach earlier this month when the institution announced they would be adding a women’s ice hockey program.

A forward for the Hamilton College women’s ice hockey team, Zimmerman led the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) in goals scored during her junior and senior seasons, while also earning a pair of all-league selections.

In addition to assisting coach Jeff Matthews at Amherst, Zimmerman has prior coaching experience with USA Hockey and SUNY Cortland.

Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Zimmerman to discuss her excitement for starting the women’s ice hockey program at Western New England.

On getting a startup program started: The very first thing to do is to make sure people know about the program. So, what I have done is introduce or reintroduce myself to former colleagues and coaches at both the youth and high-school level, as well as camp directors and advisors to educate them about this new program. I have let people know that this is an exciting opportunity, not just for myself, but for so many people that are going to be able to support it, including the first-ever student-athletes that will have a chance to write the first chapter of the program’s history. Besides spreading the news, it is also time to begin building relationships with prospective student-athletes, too.

I am really excited about this opportunity. I believe in this program, and I am looking for recruits who are just as excited as I am. 

On learning from prior startup women’s ice hockey programs: I do have contact with coaches that have started their own NCAA Division I and III programs, so it is very interesting to speak with them and learn how they got their programs started. There are so many interesting aspects of building an inaugural team.

On spreading the word of the new program to the entire country: The midwest and northeast are hockey hotbeds. Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Michigan are the three top states for girl’s hockey, so those are target areas, but I am casting a wide net for potential student-athletes that want to join our program. I have seen some impressive players come out of California, Colorado, and even Texas and Florida, so I am definitely spreading the news outside the northeast and making sure to focus on bringing in individuals that will set the tone for the program’s culture. I have been really lucky to chat with so many people that have provided me with ideas as to what I should do with recruiting, to the hockey x’s and o’s stuff as well, but it has been very helpful learning more about how my colleagues and coaching friends have started their respective programs.

On publicizing the news through social media: I recently launched a WNE women’s ice hockey Instagram account and plan to follow up with Twitter and Facebook soon. Social media is a primary mode of communication for so many people these days and I am excited to get some good content out there. 

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Katie Zimmerman competed for Hamilton College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). (PHOTO COURTESY:


On falling in love with the sport of hockey: My love for hockey began in the driveway. I grew up on a street with many other young kids, and I would jump into street hockey games whenever I could. I loved ripping around the neighborhood on my roller blades that I had my seventh birthday party at an inline skating arena. I vividly remember going to the arena with my mom and seeing a roller hockey game being played, and I asked my mom if I could play. She signed me up on the spot. I was one of only two girls in the roller hockey league for three years before I transitioned to ice hockey at 10-years-old. I grew more and more serious about ice hockey as time went on, and my love for the sport only grew.

Some of my all-time best friends have been former teammates and many of my favorite moments revolve around hockey. And when I’m not coaching the sport, I’m a passionate follower of the National Hockey League (NHL) and a loyal Detroit Red Wings fan!

Some favorite memories of the game: I could write a book about my favorite memories. When I was a senior in high school I played for a team in Michigan called Victory Honda, and that year alone holds so many of my all-time favorite hockey memories. The best part of that year was that it felt like we were all best friends, both on and off the ice – I still keep in touch to this day) – which made every moment at the rink so much fun. I also had a blast playing in college, where every game-day felt like a holiday. 

Zimmerman’s all-time favorite hockey player: Pavel Datsyuk, who used to play for the Detroit Red Wings. His nickname was “The Magician” because he could do unimaginably creative things with the puck. I thought he was the most entertaining player to watch and a really strong two-way player, too. To this day, I’ve never seen another player that plays the game like he did. 


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ hockey coverage on Twitter by following @NoontimeHockey!

New England College Notebook: WNE Starts Women’s Ice Hockey, Nichols Names Linton Men’s Basketball Coach

NS NEW ENG COLL NOTEBOOK

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports

Just hours before the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues squared-off in the seventh game of the 2019 Stanley Cup FinalsWestern New England announced some exciting news that they would be adding women’s ice hockey, the school’s 20th varsity sport, during the 2020-21 school year.

The exciting news of the school adding women’s ice hockey was shared by Matt LaBranche, Western New England’s Director of Athletics, Recreational Sport & Physical Education, who looking forward to seeing the team compete in 2020.

“Interest at the high school and youth levels has never been higher, and we are proud to be providing a new opportunity for those young women to pursue their passion in a highly competitive collegiate program,” said LaBranche in Wednesday’s press release about the women’s ice hockey team.

LaBranche also announced the hiring of Katie Zimmerman, who becomes the first head coach in the program’s history. Zimmerman previously served as an assistant at nearby Amherst College and has prior coaching experience with USA Hockey and SUNY Cortland.

Zimmerman also played Division III hockey for Hamilton College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

According to Wednesday’s release, Western New England will join 66 other colleges that sponsor women’s ice hockey at the Division III level.

Nichols College announced on Thursday that Brandon Linton has been named the 20th men’s basketball coach in program history.

Linton replaces Scott Faucher, who guided the Bison to 28-3 record this past winter, including an appearance in the NCAA Division III sectional finals (elite eight).

Faucher was recently named the new men’s basketball coach at Assumption College.

Linton arrives in Dudley after spending the past five seasons as an assistant coach at Army West Point where he “was responsible for the development of scouting reports on opponents and managing the scout team,” along with additional duties, as well.

“Nichols College is a special institution that offers a world-class experience for our student-athletes both on and off of the court,” said Linton in Thursday’s release. “I cannot wait to begin the process of getting to know our current players and continuing to build on the foundation they have created.”

Linton is no stranger to Division III basketball as he played for Clarkson University in the Liberty League (LL) and spent time as an assistant under coach Tim Gilbride at Bowdoin College.

Finally, congratulations to former Babson College men’s ice hockey assistant coach Chris Zimmerman, who recently celebrated a Stanley Cup championship on Wednesday evening with the St. Louis Blues.

Zimmerman, who President and CEO of Business Operations for the Blues, played hockey at the University of Vermont in the Hockey East before pursuing his MBA at Babson.


Stay connected with our Noontime Sports coverage on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Noontime’s Take: The Bruins Provided Us With Some Entertaining Hockey This Spring

noontime take

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11 

By now last night’s Stanley Cup game seven setback to the St. Louis Blues has officially set in for all of us. And it is a tough pill to swallow.

Waking up this morning was not as easy as it was yesterday – we were all excited for a seventh game, as well as the post-game celebration that would extend deep into the night and early this morning.

But instead, myself, along with other devoted Boston Bruins fans, were treated to a sight we may have not expected, a Blues victory, which included players, coaches, and various personnel skating around the TD Garden late last night celebrating the franchise’s initial championship.

And while St. Louis is certainly not singing the blues today, Boston is mourning a loss for a team that struggled to convey to reporters what exactly this setback means to both them and their fanbase.

Hearing stories from the locker room of players weeping to those that struggled to string together enough sentences for reporters certainly made me sympathize for them, but also made me realize how lucky we were as a fanbase to cheer on a dedicated group of hockey players for the past two months.

The Bruins captivated our attention every day by scoring impressive wins over the Toronto Maple LeafsColumbus Blue Jackets, and Carolina Hurricanes. We also celebrated some exciting wins against the Blues, as well, including a 7-2 thrashing in the third game, which provided Boston with a 2-1 advantage.

But our hometown team’s five-goal route was quickly forgotten a few days later when St. Louis rallied to win both games four and five, which ignited an early celebration for numerous Blues fans this past weekend. And while St. Louis was eager to begin a long-awaited celebration on Sunday, they were instead forced to wait an additional 72 hours before popping champaign due to Boston’s game six victory.

St. Louis will celebrate this win every day this summer, as well as think about it when they reconvene for the start of the National Hockey League‘s (NHL) 2019-20 season.

The loss to the Blues will resonate with us all for days, weeks and months, but the good news is another season will be here before we know it.

In the meantime, we have the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots to help us cope with a disappointing finish, along with with Anthony Davis trade talk, too – hello, Boston Celtics fans. And of course, there is the World Cup, as well, but we will certainly miss our mid-week and weekend hockey games that meant something.

We will have games that mean something again soon, Boston Bruins fans. And when they do mean something, you, I and others will gather around the television eager to cheer on our beloved hockey team to victory.

No matter how you cope with this particular loss, just know one thing, it was a heck of a run and a fun season. And despite the outcome, I am eager for more hockey.


Stay connected with Matt Noonan on Instagram and Twitter today!