New England D3 Football Notebook: MASCAC Teams Shine In First Week

West. Conn. State scored a dramatic win on Saturday to defeat Hartwick, 35-31. (Photo Credit: Western Connecticut State University Athletics)
West. Conn. State scored a dramatic win on Saturday to defeat Hartwick, 35-31. (Photo Credit: Western Connecticut State University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

It was an exciting first week of Division III New England football.

We saw some interesting outcomes, along with some impressive individual and team efforts to secure opening-day wins.

Perhaps one of the biggest stories of the week was Plymouth State earning its first win at Castleton since September 2010. It was also the Panthers’ first opening day victory since September 2011.

Plymouth State overcame a one-point (7-6) deficit at the break to secure a 20-7 win over the Spartans.

“We knew we had to win the third and fourth quarters,” Plymouth State sophomore quarterback Zach Edwards told the Rutland Herald.

Edwards helped the Panthers secure the lead for good when he connected with junior wide receive Chris Kelly on a 37-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter before first-year halfback David Hamilton clinched the victory for Plymouth State in the fourth with a one-yard plunge.

Plymouth State will look to double its win total on Saturday, September 10 when they host Mount Ida for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off.

More MASCAC Week One Success: Framingham State – the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) defending champions – commenced their title defense with an opening day victory over Endicott College. The win was the Rams’ fourth-straight opening days win against the Gulls.

Framingham State junior Stephen Beahn hauled in six catches for a school record 248 yards, while registering a trio of touchdowns.

According to the school’s release, Beahn was a linebacker last season, but ended yesterday’s contest with an average of 41.3 yards per reception.

Including Framingham State, six MASCAC teams earned opening day wins, including Fitchburg State, UMass Dartmouth and Westfield State. UMass Dartmouth tallied the most points among all nine squads, outscoring Mount Ida, 40-9, on Friday evening.

UMass Dartmouth led Mount Ida, 13-3, at the break, but pushed ahead for good by tallying 13 points in the third quarter and 14 points in the fourth. Junior linebacker Brandon Miller recorded a career-best 12 tackles, while senior quarterback Cory Burnham tossed four touchdowns and completed 13 of 26 passes for 150 yards.

Shawn Brathwaite – a junior quarterback transfer from American International College (AIC) – helped Westfield State commence its season with a 34-21 win over Nichols College. Brathwaite threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns in his debut for the Owls.

An exciting finish in Danbury, Connecticut: MIT and WPI may have been the game of the evening on Friday, but perhaps the most dramatic win on Saturday occurred in Danbury, Connecticut where Western Connecticut State University needed a late touchdown reception to defeat Hartwick.

Junior quarterback Quinn Fleeting helped the Colonials overcome a three-point (31-28) deficit with 54 seconds remaining when he located classmate Jaward Chisholm for an 81-yard touchdown pass to help the hosts claim an opening day 35-31 victory.

Fleeting concluded the game with four touchdowns passes, while connecting on 27 of 40 attempts for 425 yards. Chisholm led all receivers with 229 yards on 14 receptions. He also hauled in two of Fleeting’s touchdown passes.

New England D3 Football: Team Effort Carries Plymouth State Past Castleton

Plymouth State junior Chris Kelly hauled in the go-ahead touchdown to help the Panthers earn their first win on the road against Castleton since 2010. (Photo Credit: Plymouth State Athletics)
Plymouth State junior Chris Kelly hauled in the go-ahead touchdown to help the Panthers earn their first win on the road against Castleton since 2010. (Photo Credit: Plymouth State Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

Plymouth State highlighted the final day of the first week of the New England Division III football season with a thrilling 20-7 win over Castleton.

The win was the Panthers’ first victory in Vermont since September 2010.

Plymouth State sophomore quarterback Zach Edwards tossed one touchdown, while completing 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards. First-year halfback David Hamilton rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries and recorded his first collegiate touchdown on a one-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.

The Panthers’ defense concluded the contest by forcing five turnovers, including three interceptions. Senior RJ Ramsden led the unit with nine total tackles, including four solo stops, while first-year Matt Shea tallied four individual tackles.

Castleton led once in the contest when they capped a 10-play, 67 yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Nick Boles to senior wide-out Soren Pelz-Walsh.

The Spartans led at the break, 7-6, before the Panthers erased the one-point deficit with an Edwards touchdown pass to junior wide-out Chris Kelly.

Both teams are back in action next week with Plymouth State hosting Mount Ida, while Castleton travels to Fitchburg State.

Daily Noontime – April 13, 2012

Chris Kelly's game-winning goal propelled Boston to a 1-0 victory against Washington! (Photo Credit: USA Today)

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s Friday, which means… it’s time to break into song and dance! However, before we do that, let’s kick-start the final work day with some headlines and news from the city of champions…Boston!

* The Boston Bruins began their Stanley Cup title defense on Thursday with a 1-0 overtime win against the Washington Capitals. Chris Kelly notched the game-winner, while Tim Thomas turned away 17 shots. Boston and Washington will return to the ice for Game No. 2 on Saturday at the TD Garden.

* Against Washington in Game No. 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals – Boston’s 2011 power play woes continued, as the Bruins ended the game 0-for-4. The Bruins somehow managed to win the Cup last season with an awful power play, but Claude Julien knows that particular unit needs to improve.

* The Boston Red Sox will play their home opener on Friday, as they welcome Tampa Bay to Fenway Park. The Sox enter the contest with a 1-5 record, while the Rays are 4-2 and tied atop the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays.

* The Boston Celtics will look to build off their two most recent victories against Atlanta and Miami on Friday when they travel to Toronto for a 7:00pm tip-off. The Green and White have eight contests remaining, and five of those games will be played on the road.

Sideline Observations – Boston Bruins 1, Washington Capitals 0

Chris Kelly's game-winning goal lifted Boston past Washington, 1-0! (Photo Credit: USA Today)

By Matt Noonan 

The Boston Bruins began their Stanley Cup title defense on Thursday against the Washington Capitals with an overtime clincher by Chris Kelly.

Kelly raced down the ice early in the extra session, and whipped a shot past Washington goaltender Braden Holtby, (29 saves) for the game-winning goal.

Boston now leads their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series, 1-0, and will return to the ice for Game No. 2 on Saturday.

Here are some observations and thoughts from Boston’s first playoff contest.

How the game was won: Boston needed three periods and 1:18 in overtime to net their only strike of the contest, as Benoit Poulio and Brian Rolston connected with Kelly, who then deposited the puck past Holtby for the score a few seconds later.

Washington had numerous chances in the third period to light the lamp, but Tim Thomas, (17 saves) deflected all nine shots, which helped Boston force overtime.

Props to Holtby: Washington’s netminder was certainly the player of the game.

Holtby earned some “brownie points” midway through the second session when Boston experienced a 4-on-3 power play. The 22-year-old netminder kept his composure, and managed to deflect a handful of Bruins shots, which didn’t exactly jumpstart the Capitals offense.

Boston’s offense recorded 17 shots in the second frame, but again, couldn’t muster a goal. They also tallied nine shots on Holtby’s cage in the first period, and three in the third.

Boston’s Power Play: Similar to last season, the Boston Bruins struggled immensely on the power play.

Boston endured four power plays on Thursday, but didn’t muster a single goal with the extra skater, while Washington ended the game 0-for-2.

Other Notes:

* Boston managed to win 33 of 65 face-offs, and also recorded 40 hits.

* The last time a Boston playoff team went into overtime tied, 0-0 was on May 12, 1995. New Jersey defeated the local hockey club, 1-0 in the extra session, and wound up winning that particular series, too.  

* The last time Boston led a quarterfinal series, 1-0 was in 2009 against Montreal.

* Tyler Seguin paced Boston’s offense with five shots on net, while Nicklas Backstrom led Washington with three.  

Bruins-Hurricanes: First Period Recap

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, MA – The Boston Bruins tallied 22 shots in 20 minutes, but couldn’t muster a goal.

Carolina potted one goal on eight shots, as Jiri Tlusty sent a pass from behind the net to Eric Staal, who whipped the puck past Tuukka Rask, (seven saves) to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 advantage.

Brandon Sutter attempted to extend the one goal lead a few minutes afterward, but sent the puck to the opposite side of the zone.

Boston had numerous scoring chances, especially throughout the opening 10 minutes when they recorded 10 shots on Cam Ward, (22 saves).

Chris Kelly currently leads the Black and Gold with three shots.

Interesting Note: This is the second time this season that Boston has recorded 20 or more shots in a period. Against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 10, the Black and Gold tallied 22 shots in the third period, and would up winning, 5-3. (Note courtesy Bruins PR/Media Staff).