Mass. College Hockey: Nichols Falls To SUNY Geneseo In NCAA Tournament

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s this evening’s release from the first-round of the NCAA Division 3 Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament. The Bison saw their season conclude with a 3-2 setback against Geneseo State:

GENESEO, N.Y. – Sophomore Alex Larson (Madison, Ala.) made a career-high 45 saves in Nichols College’s 3-2 loss at SUNY Geneseo Thursday evening in the First Round of the NCAA Division III Tournament at Wilson Ice Arena.

Junior Brett Jackson (Larchmont, N.Y.) and sophomore Tyler Beasley (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored for the Bison, who were making their second trip to the NCAA’s in program history (2008-09).

Freshman Connor Anthoine (Lewiston, Maine) picked up a goal and an assist for the Knights (22-6-0), who will host Norwich Sunday afternoon. Sophomore Nate Brown (Bethel Park, Pa.) tallied two assists for SUNY Geneseo, which outshot Nichols 48-33.

“I thought it was a very even hockey game,” said Nichols head coach Kevin Swallow. “We battled them from start to finish and I thought we had our chances. The shots were not indicative of how this game was played – the score was. Both teams were very evenly matched. We could have been a little hungrier around the net and buried a couple, but you have to give them credit. They’re a very good hockey team.”

The Knights opened the scoring just 2:25 into the contest when junior Justin Scharfe (Webster, N.Y.) tucked a shot inside the right post behind Larson. Brown and Anthoine were credited with assists on the Scharfe’s 10th marker of the season.

All five Bison touched the puck on Beasley’s goal at 16:08 of the first. Junior Chris Gularte (Salinas, Calif.) sent a pass from the right point down to classmate Joe Sposit (Cleveland, Ohio) along the right wing boards. Sposit fed Beasley just outside the crease, and he lifted a backhand shot over the glove hand of Horrigan.

Junior Tyler Brickler (Riverwoods, Ill.) scored the game-winning goal – his 15th goal of the season – on the power play at 15:18 of the second period. He sent a shot through from the point through a screen and into the lower left side of the net. Early in the third, Brown took a shot from the right point that Anthoine redirected over the right shoulder of Larson at 2:10 to push the SUNY Geneseo lead to 3-1.

Nichols climbed to within one at 10:50 of the third when Jackson redirected a pass from sophomore Sean Fleming (Easthampton, N.J.) past SUNY Geneseo sophomore goalie Nick Horrigan (Mount Forest, Ontario). The Bison nearly tied the game with Larson on the bench for the extra attacker late in the stanza, but Sposit’s shot from the right side struck the right post along the ice.

“Alex played great. He’s a big-game player who always shows up when we have a tough opponent, and tonight was no exception,” said Swallow. “He played great start-to-finish.”

Horrigan made 31 saves to improve to 13-1-0 on the season. SUNY Geneseo went 1-for-3 with the extra attacker while Nichols did not receive a power-play opportunity.

Nichols closes its season 18-7-3.

Mass. College Hockey: NCAA D3 First Round Preview

By Matt Noonan 

The first round of the NCAA Division 3 Tournament begins tomorrow and two local squads – Nichols College and Salem State – will be competing for a chance to extend its season to Saturday.

Below is a quick preview of tomorrow’s contests. Make sure to circle back tomorrow evening for scores and highlights.

Nichols College @ SUNY Geneseo (Weds. March 12, 7 p.m.): The Bison ended its regular season slate with a 5-5 tie to Western New England. Yet, they returned to the win column by defeating Curry College in the ECAC Northeast semifinals, 4-3, and Wentworth Institute of Technology in the championship, 3-2. They’ll look to continue their season against a Knights squad that fell to Oswego State in the SUNYAC Championship.

Zachary Vit, who led all skaters with 28 points and 18 goals, while also recording 10 assists, leads the Knights. Vit also netted one-game winner this season, too. The Knights have relied on three goaltenders this season, but specifically Bryan Haude and Nick Horrigan. Both netminders have combined for roughly 1,605 minutes between the pipes, along with 732 saves and 21 wins. Geneseo converted 25 of 135 power plays this season and boasts a .801 penalty kill percentage. Their offense has produced 38 goals in the opening period and recorded 327 shots. They’ve held their opponents to 21 strikes in the opening session.

Sean Fleming leads Nichols in points (33), while Joe Sposit has netted a team-best 13 goals this season. Brett Jackson, who scored the clincher in overtime against the Leopards on Saturday, has recorded 11 goals and 12 assists. Alex Larson has appeared in the team’s cage 23 times this season and owns a 15-6-3 record. He’s turned away 742 shots and is yielding an average of 2.76 goals per game.

A win for the Bison or Knights would secure a quarterfinal matchup against the winner of Norwich University vs. Salem State.

Salem State @ Norwich University (Weds. March 12, 7 p.m.): The Cadets and Vikings will meet for the 48th time on Wednesday evening. Norwich leads Salem State, 31-15-1 in the all-time series.

Salem State earned a spot in the tournament by defeating Plymouth State in the MASCAC Championship last Saturday, 5-1. The Vikings are making their first appearance in the tournament since 1995. Eric Defelice leads the Blue and Orange with 27 points; he’s also potted 11 goals, while Alex Minter has registered 11 goals and 14 assists in 26 contests. Goaltender Ryan Sutliffe posted a 14-5-2 mark between the pipes this season and deflected 458 shots. He logged 1,275 minutes in net and is yielding 2.58 goals per game.

Norwich will be making its fifth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance on Wednesday. The Cadets have lost in the national semifinals the last three seasons. Travis Janke leads the Maroon and Brown with 35 points, while Chris Duszynski finished the season with 16 goals, which is a team-best. Chris Czarnota deflected 193 of 212 shots this season. He appeared in 14 games and owns a .910 save percentage.

Mass. College Hockey: Revisiting Nichols’ OT Strike In ECAC Northeast Championship (VIDEO)

By Matt Noonan 

Nichols College punched its ticket on Saturday evening to the NCAA Division 3 Tournament with a 3-2 win over ECAC Northeast foe Wentworth Institute of Technology in overtime.

Brett Jackson secured the Bison a spot in the tournament by firing home a pass toward the net from Greg Strootman. As you can see below, Stootman fires a shot-pass toward the cage and Jackson was able to corral it and push it past Wentworth’s Joel Miller, who finished the contest with 34 stops.

The Bison will begin their quest toward Lewiston, Maine on Wednesday when they face-off against SUNY Geneseo in the first round on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The contest will be held in Geneseo, New York.

Mass. College Hockey: Nichols Tops Curry, Advances To ECAC Northeast Championship

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s last night’s release from the men’s ice hockey contest, which saw the Bison defeat Curry College, 4-3, as well as earn a spot in their conference’s championship game on Saturday:

HARRISVILLE, R.I. – Freshman Sean Swansen (Salem, N.H.) scored a pair of goals to help the Nichols College men’s ice hockey team advance to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast Championship game with a 4-3 win over No. 6 seed Curry College Wednesday night at Levy Rink.

Sophomores Sean Fleming (Easthampton, N.J.) and Tyler Beasley (Indianapolis, Ind.) also scored for the top-seeded Bison (17-6-3), who will play for the conference championship for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, where they defeated Saturday night’s opponent, Wentworth, 4-3 to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The contest begins at 6:40 p.m. on Saturday at Levy Rink.

Senior Brad Devereaux (Duxbury, Mass.) potted two power-play goals for the Colonels (11-14-2), who went 3-for-3 with the man advantage but suffered their third loss to the Bison this season. Junior ECAC Goaltender of the Year Derek Mohney (Amherst, N.Y.) recorded 26 saves and finishes the season 9-9-1.

Nichols led 2-0 after one period of play behind goals from Fleming at 11:33 and Swansen at 19:04. Junior Brett Jackson (Larchmont, N.Y.) collected a puck off the end boards and fed Fleming in the slot, and his wrister beat Mohney over the glove hand. With time winding down in the first, graduate student Ray Furr (Woodbridge, Va.) chipped the puck to Swansen, who skated around a defenseman and beat Mohney with a backhand deke.

Freshman Tyler Vankleef (Dundas, Ontario) got the Colonels on the board just 2:36 into the second when he converted a feed from sophomore Shane Harrington (Mansfield, Mass.) into his eighth goal of the season. Devereaux’s sixth goal of the season with the man advantage at 14:32 evened the score at two. Less than three minutes later, Swansen stole a breakout pass and snuck a wrist shot past Mohney for his seventh of the season to send Nichols into the third period with a one-goal lead.

In the third, Beasley collected a rebound off a shot from senior Josh DeLoach (Tampa, Fla.) and potted his 12th goal of the season at 6:55 to push the Nichols lead to 4-2. Devereaux cut the Curry deficit to one at 4-3 with his ninth goal at 17:24, but with Mohney on the bench for the extra attacker with 60 seconds remaining, the Colonels could not get the equalizer.

“I thought we played a pretty good game for the most part,” said Nichols head coach Kevin Swallow. “I thought we played excellent first period. We let up a little in the second period. We too some penalties, and they were opportunistic and scored on them. We got back to our game in the third period and played well with the lead. Curry plays a very good defensive team game around Mohney. We were able to generate a lot of shots tonight. You aren’t going to get goals without putting up shots, and we were able to get a lot of shots in there.”

Nichols outshot the Colonels 30-28 but went 0-for-2 on the PP. Sophomore Alex Larson (Madison, Ala.) stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced to improve to 14-6-3 on the season and leave the Bison one win away from their second trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history.

“It is going to be a battle,” said Swallow. “They are the two-time defending league champions, and it is for good reason. They are a good team and are well coached.”

Mass. College Hockey: Nichols Concludes Regular Season With 5-5 Tie Against WNE

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s this evening’s release from the men’s ice hockey contest, which saw the Bison conclude their season with a 5-5 tie to Western New England:

 HARRISVILLE, R.I. – Junior Evan Jones (Famington Hills, Mich.) scored his first goal of the season as the Nichols College men’s ice hockey team finished in a 5-5 tie with Western New England in Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast action Saturday night at Levy Rink.

The Bison end the regular season 16-6-3 (9-3-2 ECAC Northeast) and will host a conference semi-final game on Wednesday, March 5, with a matchup to be determined.

The Golden Bears (10-13-1, 4-8-1 ECAC Northeast) got things going at 9:18 of the first period when junior Michael Darrar (Monroe Township, N.J.) took a shot from the bottom of the left circle and bested senior goaltender Dylan Woodring (Rouge River, Ore.). Junior Andrew Cramer (New Wilmington, Pa.) received credit for the assist on the goal.

Junior Joe Sposit (Cleveland, Ohio) evened things up 33 seconds later when he redirected a shot from classmate Kyle Shapiro (Ambler, Pa.) in the crease and past junior Tim Carr (Pine Bush, N.Y.). Sophomore Tyler Beasley (Indianapolis, Ind.) was credited with the secondary apple.

Western New England retook the lead at 16:56 of the same stanza. Senior Alan Martin (Monson, Mass.) scored his seventh goal of the season and was assisted by sophomore Chris Lembo (Southington, Conn.) and senior Brian Prost (Parma, Ohio).

The Golden Bears expanded their lead less than a minute into the second period when junior Joe Budnick (Newington, Conn.) wristed a shot from the top of the right circle and over the blocker of Woodring. Sophomore Alex Larson (Madison, Ala.) relieved Woodring following the goal and played the rest of the game.

Nichols answered back with three unanswered goals in the same stanza. Junior Brett Jackson (Larchmont, N.Y.) took a shot from the slot and over the blocker of Carr to pull within one. Classmate Chris Gularte (Salinas, Calif.) evened the score at three at 14:55. Senior Josh DeLoach (Tampa, Fla.) passed it from the left point over to Gularte, who then blasted a shot from the right point and over the glove of the goaltender. Senior Greg Strootman (Aston, Pa.) was also credited with an assist on the equalizer.

The Bison took the lead at 18:12 of the second period when sophomore Sean Fleming (Easthampton, N.J.) dropped a pass back to Jones at the bottom of the left circle and Jones beat the goalie stick-side. The goal marked Jones’ first of the season.

Beasley scored just 1:04 into the third period on a tough-angled shot from the bottom of the left circle that found its way into the back of the net. Juniors Kyle Shapiro (Ambler, Pa.) and Mike Schwartz (Long Beach, N.Y.) both tallied assists to make the score 5-3 Bison.

The Golden Bears pulled their deficit to within a goal less than a minute later when Martin notched his second goal of the game. Following slashing penalties by both Shapiro and graduate student Ray Furr (Woodbridge, Va.), Western New England went on a two-man advantage for 45 seconds. It only took the Golden Bears six seconds though as they took the faceoff from the left circle in the Bison zone, and Prost passed it over to junior Brandon Stroud (Clarksville, Ind.) who then was able to best Larson top shelf.

Nichols outshot Western New England in overtime 4-3, however, finished outshot for the game 44-35. Larson picked up 28 saves while Woodring tallied 11 saves in a little over a period of work. Carr notched 30 saves for the Golden Bears.

Western New England travels to Worcester, Mass. to take on conference foe Becker College Tuesday at 3 p.m.