Atlantic Hockey Announces Return To Play

By Matt Noonan

The Atlantic Hockey league is ready to drop the puck for the 2020-21 season.

As announced earlier today, the 11-team conference which includes four teams from New England will return to the ice for its initial weekend of the 2020-21 season on Friday, November 13, and Saturday, November 14. Each team will compete in 24 contests – it is possible some member could skate 28 times this winter – while all 11 squads will be admitted into the Atlantic Hockey Tournament.

The 2021 Atlantic Hockey championship will return to Buffalo’s LECOM HarborCenter, which is the home rink for Canisius College.

“First off, I’m extremely excited to be announcing we have an approved league schedule for the 2020-21 season,” Atlantic Hockey Commissioner Robert DeGregorio said in a statement regarding the league’s return-to-play announcement. “It’s been a long process, and involved quite a bit of discussion, but it’s a testament to all those involved that we have managed to get Atlantic Hockey on the ice in 2020-21.”

To alleviate the spread of the ongoing coronavirus, the league will seperate its teams into an eastern and western pod. Three Massachusetts teams – Bentley UniversityHoly Cross, and American International College (AIC) – will compete in the eastern pod, along with Army and Sacred Heart University. Every team in each pod will play five games against each other, along with a pair of games against Air Force and Long Island University (LIU).

While today’s announcement certainly excited many within the college hockey world, Atlantic Hockey did state in today’s release that they are “still working to finalize return-to-play protocols for the season” and a schedule, including non-conference games, will be announced at a later date.

“We put this schedule together to maximize the student-athlete experience during such uncertain times” said DeGregorio. “We found a way to schedule up to 28 games while maintaining a focus on the health and safety of all parties by reducing travel times and overnight trips as much as we could.”

Prior to the 2019-20 season being cut short due to the ongoing pandemic, the Yellow Jackets of AIC were in first place with a 21-12-1 overall record, including a 21-6-1 conference mark.

Mass. College Hockey: Bentley’s Weinstein Named A Finalist For Walter Brown Award

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Bentley University sports information department, here’s today’s release about junior defenseman Steve Weinstein, who was named one of three finalists for the 62nd Walter Brown Award:

WALTHAM, Mass. – Bentley University junior defenseman Steve Weinstein (Los Angeles, Calif./Vernon Vipers) was named one of three finalists for the 62nd Walter Brown Award, given to the best American-born college hockey player in New England, the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced Wednesday morning.

While naming three finalists from a group of 16 semifinalists that was announced in early February, the Gridiron Club also named Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau as the winner. Weinstein finished third in the voting behind Gaudreau and his BC teammate Bill Arnold.

Weinstein was named first team All-Atlantic Hockey after a stellar junior season that saw him rack up 38 points on one goal and 37 assists. He leads the nation in points among defensemen, and is tied for second nationally in total assists with Gaudreau.

Weinstein’s former teammate Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms), who was also named a semifinalist for the Walter Brown Award this year, became the first Bentley and Atlantic Hockey player to win it in 2012.

Mass. College Hockey: Five Games To Watch This Weekend (Feb. 14 -16)

By NoontimeSports.com 

With another weekend quickly approaching, it is time to unveil our five games to watch this weekend. As always, make sure to circle back for updates. You can also follow along with in-game updates on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog), too.

Men’s Ice Hockey

No. 1 Boston College @ No. 14 Vermont (Friday, Feb. 14 / Saturday, Feb. 15) – The Eagles will look to continue their winning ways when they travel to Vermont for a weekend series.

BC is coming off their fifth-straight Boston Beanpot title as they defeated Northeastern, 4-1. Johnny Gaudreau, who netted one goal during his team’s win against the Huskies, is averaging 2.00 points per game. He currently leads all Division 1 skaters with 25 goals and 33 assists for 58 points.

Army vs. Bentley (Friday, Feb. 14 @ Army/ Saturday, Feb. 15 @ Bentley) – With three weeks of Atlantic Hockey remaining, the Falcons will look to keep pace Mercyhurst, the top squad in the conference.

The Falcons returned to the win column after dropping back-to-back tilts to the Lakers and UConn by finishing last weekend’s series with a 4-1 win over the Huskies. Jared Rickord, Justin Breton and Brett Switzer each netted one goal in the opening frame to provide Bentley with the lead for good.

Army and Bentley have met once this season with the Falcons claiming a 5-2 victory in West Point, New York. Similar to their last contest against UConn, Bentley used a 2-0 lead to secure their second victory of the season against the Black Knights.

Army will look to snap an 11-game skid, while the Falcons will attempt to end the weekend with back-to-back victories.

According to the weekend preview, Bentley needs just one more point to clinch a top-eight spot and a home series for the first round of their conference’s tournament.

No. 3 Babson @ No. 9 Norwich (Friday, Feb. 14) – Since falling to the Cadets at Frozen Fenway, the Beavers have won eight of nine contests. Their non-win was a 3-3 tie against Castleton State.

Babson is currently the top squad in the ECAC East with a 19-3-1 overall mark and leads Norwich by three points. The Beavers, who’ll travel to St. Michael’s tomorrow, needs to win one of their final two contests to secure their first conference regular-season crown since the 1989-90 season. Babson, though, has secured the right to host a quarterfinal and semifinal matchup.

Mike Driscoll currently leads the Green and White in points (23) and goals (11), while Nik Tasiopoulos is second in goals (10).

Women’s Ice Hockey

Boston University vs. Providence College (Saturday, Feb. 15 @ BU/ Sunday, Feb. 16 @ Providence) – The Terriers will look to bounce back following their two Beanpot losses with a weekend series against Providence, a squad that defeated BU earlier this season.

BU’s Sarah Lefort ranks first in Hockey East in point scoring (47), goal scoring (27) and assist scoring (20). Lefort’s teammate, Louise Warren, is second in point scoring (37) and goal scoring (22).

Trinity (Conn.) @ No. 7 Amherst (Friday, Feb. 14/ Saturday, Feb. 15) – With two more weekends remaining, the Lord Jeffs will look to earn a weekend sweep, along with some points, too. Amherst is currently third in the conference, one point behind rival Williams, which has 18 points.

Since the calendar turned, the Lord Jeffs are 2-0-1. They finished a weekend series with Connecticut College two weeks ago by defeat the Camels, 3-0, before earning a win and tie against the Ephs last weekend. Anne Gillard and Eileen Harris each potted one goal during their team’s last outing, while Yuna Evans deflected 26-of-28 saves.

Trinity enters the weekend series third in the NESCAC in scoring offense; they’re averaging 3.00 goals per game, while Amherst is four with 2.90. The Lord Jeffs scoring defense (1.70 goals per game) is second behind Middlebury, while Trinity is third (2.10).

Mass. College Hockey: Five Games To Watch This Weekend (Jan. 31-Feb. 2)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The first weekend of February is upon us, which means conference tournaments are right around the corner. Yet, before we worry about seeding, let’s dish out our five college hockey games to watch this weekend.

Men’s Ice Hockey:

Bentley at Mercyhurst (Fri. 7:05 p.m./Sat 7:05 p.m.) – First place in Atlantic Hockey is on the line this weekend. The Falcons, who’re two points behind Mercyhurst, will attempt to pick up two critical road victories. So far this season, Bentley is 7-6-2 on the road. As noted in this weekend’s preview, the Falcons’ power play unit is second in the country to St. Lawrence. Last weekend, they netted two power play goals, improving their percentage to 28.1 (27-for-96). As usual, keep an eye on Brett Gensler, who leads the unit in points (16 goals, 19 assists).

Amherst at No. 11 Trinity (Sat. 7:30 p.m.) – Since falling to Williams at Frozen Fenway, the Bantams have been on a roll, winning six straight contests, including two tilts last weekend against Connecticut College and Tufts University. They’ll look to extend their winning streak to seven on Saturday when they host Amherst, a squad they lost to earlier this season, 3-1. The Lord Jeffs return to conference play following a 3-1 setback to Lake Forest last Saturday. Amherst does own the third best NESCAC mark of 7-3, while Trinity is 8-2. The Bantams are currently the number one squad in the NESCAC in scoring offense (4.56), while Amherst is second in scoring defense (2.38 goals yielded), thanks to goaltender Dave Cunningham, who’s logged 774:36 minutes between the pipes.

Women’s Ice Hockey:

No. 3/5 Harvard at No. 9/9 Quinnipiac (Sat. 4 p.m.) – The Crimson will look to extend their current four-game winning streak to six by the end of the weekend (their first contest features a trip to Princeton on Friday evening). Harvard’s 2-0 win last Friday over Union was their 600th win, which is the most wins among Boston-area schools, according to this weekend’s preview. Miye D’Oench leads the Crimson with 19 points (11 goals, eight assists), while Hillary Crowe and Samantha Reber are tied for second with 17 points, respectively.

Providence at No. 7 Boston College (Sat. 2 p.m.) – The Eagles have won 12 of 13 contests (no losses, one tie in their last 13 games) and will look to keep their momentum going against a Friars squad that’s 2-2 in their last four contests. Andie Anastos, a fist-year forward, has recorded at least one point in her team’s last five outings. So far this season, she’s registered 11 goals and 14 assists.

Williams at Bowdoin (Fri. 7 p.m./ Sat. 3 p.m.) – The Ephs will look to extend their current winning streak to six games as they travel to Maine for an important conference series with the Polar Bears. First-year netminder Margaret Draper has been quite impressive this season, as she recently earned her third shut out when Williams blanked Colby last Saturday, 4-0. Meghan Gillis, Williams’ head coach, was quite pleased with her team’s effort against the Mules, but hopes her squad will continue to generate additional scoring chances in front of their opponent’s cage. Williams ranks second in scoring offense in the NESCAC and is averaging 3.50 goals per game.

Mass. College Hockey: Five Games To Watch This Weekend

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s Friday, which means the weekend is finally here!

Below are a few college hockey games to watch this weekend. And as always, make sure to check back throughout the weekend for scores and roundups.

Men’s Ice Hockey:

No. 8 UMass Lowell vs. No. 7 Providence College (Fri-Sat): This weekend series will feature two of the top three goalies in the country ranked by save percentage, according to the Hockey East weekend preview. UML’s Connor Hellebuyck ranks first in Division 1 in save percentage (.946 save percentage), while Providence’s Jon Gillies is third (.936).

No. 11 Northeastern at No. 15 Notre Dame (Fri-Sat): The Irish enter this weekend’s tilt on a four-game winning streak, while the Huskies have won four of their last five. Both teams are in the top three in scoring offense in the conference. Notre Dame ranks second with 3.43 goals per game, while Northeastern is third with 3.38.

Bentley at Holy Cross (Sat. 7 p.m.): The Falcons will take their 12-8-3 overall mark on the road Saturday and look for their 13th win against the same squad they defeated at Citi Frozen Fenway a few weeks ago. Keep an eye on Bentley’s Brett Gensler, who enters the contest on a 12-game scoring streak (he’s netted at least one goal in seven of his team’s last night outings). On the opposite end, make sure to watch Matt Vidal and Adam Schmidt, two players that lead the Crusaders in points (14).

No. 6 Babson vs. No. 9 UMass Boston (Fri-Sat): The Beavers and Beacons rank second and third in the ECAC East conference, so expect a great weekend series, which begins in Boston and ends at Babson Park. Since falling to Norwich at Frozen Fenway, Babson has won its last three outings, while UMass Boston has won six of its last seven, including its matchup at Fenway Park against Salem State. Last season, the Beacons were 1-1-1 against the Beavers, including a 4-3 loss in the conference tournament.

Women’s Ice Hockey:

New Hampshire at Boston College (Sat-Sun): The Wildcats are the only Hockey East squad that’s defeated the Eagles this season, but since then BC has rebounded by winning 10 of their last 11 contests, while outscoring opponents, 46-19. Keep an eye on BC’s Haley Skarupa, who ranks fourth in the conference in points scoring (14 goals, 12 assists).