Tag Archives: Craig Anderson

Flaherty: Is Tuukka Rask’s The Right Goaltender For Boston?

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Tuukka Rask has been up and down in the postseason, but can he eventually put it all together to lead Boston to a Stanely Cup? (PHOTO CREDIT: SportsOnEarth.com)

By Dan Flaherty (@TheSportsNotebo)

It was the moment that defined the Boston Bruins’ recently concluded series with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Charlie McAvoy gets pulled down. The obvious penalty goes uncalled and leaves Steven Stamkos wide open. The Lightning star promptly rips the goal that tied Game 4 past Tuukka Rask. And the series essentially ended there, and the questions rose anew about whether Rask is the right man in net if this young Bruins team is going to win a Stanley Cup next season or beyond.

Critics of Rask point to moments like the Stamkos goal in Game 4. They’re not being unreasonable.

In the immediate aftermath of that particular goal, I looked toward my friend, who I was watching the game with and said something to the effect of how it wasn’t a bad play by Rask, but one that if you have Stanley Cup aspirations, you need your goalie to step up and make.

That’s not the first time such sentiments have come up with regard to the Bruin goalie. Consider the recent history:

  • It wasn’t Tuukka’s fault that Boston lost to Ottawa in the first round of last year’s playoffs. The Senators defense made them a better first-round opponent than anyone gave them credit for—as evidenced by the fact Ottawa Senators took eventual champion Pittsburgh to double-overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. But Rask was outplayed by counterpart Craig Anderson.
  • It wasn’t Tuukka’s fault that Boston dropped a seven-game series to Montreal Canadiens in 2014, ending the best Bruins season in recent memory. They must have set a record for most shots to hit the pipe in a single playoff series, which is a sure sign that it’s not your year. But Rask was undeniably outplayed by Carey Price.
  • And it wasn’t Tuukka’s fault for the infamous collapse in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, when the Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals in the final two minutes and celebrated on the Garden ice. But like the Stamkos goal this year, it was an area where it’s reasonable to hope for your goalie to bail out the defense in the closing minutes.

Good but not good enough would be the simple summation of the bill of indictment drafted by the Rask critics. Particularly given that his $7.5 million annual salary makes him higher-paid than any goalie still playing and third-highest in the league overall.

I see the argument of the anti-Rask forces, but the question has to be asked about what exactly the point of their criticisms are. If it’s simply that Tuukka still has unfinished business on his resume before he can be considered in the pantheon of all-time greats, I agree. But if it’s something deeper—like cutting loose his salary and going with Anton Khudobin, I’d have to sharply disagree.

Any litany of Tuukka’s shortcomings has to be balanced with a litany of his postseason successes:

  • Save percentage is a great stat and I rely on it, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. A good example is Tuukka’s 89.9% save rate in the first-round series win over Toronto. If you just look at the numbers, that’s not good. But if you watched the series you saw how many shots were coming at home from point-blank range. The bigger story was how often Bruin defenders were beaten to a good spot near the net—and how often Rask bailed them out.
  • There aren’t many goaltenders good enough to single-handedly win you a playoff series. But that’s what Rask did in 2014, in the first-round series win over Detroit.
  • Even fewer goaltenders can do what Rask did in 2013, which was to essentially shut down the potent Pittsburgh Penguins lineup, filled with quite a few of the same players who won the last two Stanley Cups. Boston’s sweep of Pittsburgh in that ‘13 Finals was defined by Rask’s superiority.

What these successes (above) illustrate is that while Tuukka Raask may have some spots on his postseason resume, he’s not the NHL equivalent of David Price. Tuukka doesn’t fold up in the biggest moments, he just hasn’t quite gotten over the hump.

So the question that has to be asked of Rask critics is simply this: do you think it more likely that Rask will finally have the one great postseason where he takes it start to finish and wins a Stanley Cup. Or, on the other hand, if the Bruins do move on, that we’ll find that Khudobin won’t be able to handle a full-time workload and we’ll have a full-scale goalie mess on?

I think the answer to that question is self-evident.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. All we know for sure is that Tuukka Rask isn’t the second coming of Patrick Roy or Martin Broduer when it comes to playoff performance. But Rask is still better than an awful lot of goalies who have won Stanley Cups.

Dan Flaherty is the owner of TheSportsNotebook.com and the author of Great 1980s Sports Moments

Teams To Watch In 2017: Endicott College Gulls

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Endicott College’s football team will certainly be one of many New England squads to watch this season. (PHOTO CREDIT: Kiana DelViscovo)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Our New England D3 Football preseason team previews continue with a look at the 2017 Endicott College Gulls, who certainly will be an interesting team to watch this fall. 

Team Name: Endicott College Gulls

Noontime Sports Preseason Ranking: The Gulls were one of eight teams selected (and featured) our ‘Teams on the Rise‘ tweet, which was posted on Monday, July 31st.

2016 Season Recap: The second year was a solid step forward for both Coach Kevin DeWall and the Gulls’ football program that has high hopes heading into a brand new season. The 2016 season was a good step forward for a team that should be one to keep an eye on this fall. Last season, we saw some solid play from various student-athletes on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Joe Kalosky, wide receiver Zach DeNike, fullback Lavante Wiggins and linebacker William Rivera. Endicott gained some solid experience against Hobart, St. Lawrence and Framingham State last September, which helped them conclude the 2016 campaign with back-to-back wins over Coast Guard Academy and Curry College.

Key Losses: Chris Lipscomb (Wide Receiver), Connor Crotty (Wide Receiver), Christian Martinez (Inside Linebacker), Connor McLaughlin (Outside Linebacker) and Craig Anderson (D-Line).

Players to Watch: Joe Kalosky (Quarterback), Lavante Wiggins (Fullback), Hakim Fleming (Fullback), Zach DeNike (Wide Receiver), Christian Filonow (Free Safety), Shane Toland (O-Line), Williams Rivera (Inside Linebacker) and Zachary Poirier (Free Safety).

2017 ScheduleEndicott’s season-opener against Framingham State is always a must-see – this season, the contest will take place in Beverly. Following a visit from the Rams, the Gulls will embark on an important three-week trip, starting with a visit to Bridgewater State followed by games at MIT and Hobart. All four games will certainly provide the squad with some solid experience heading into their final September contest against Husson – the Eagles will join the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) conference in 2019. Following a bye week – one week after a visit from the Eagles, to be exact – the Gulls will hop into league play by visiting Western New England and Salve Regina before returning home to face Curry College on Saturday, October 28th. Their final two contests will be against Becker College and Nichols College.

Season Outlook: There is a great deal of optimism surrounding these Gulls, who have high hopes heading into the 2017 season. Returning a majority of its roster from one year ago, these student-athletes – or technically, Gulls – should be in for a fun season after gaining some important experience last fall. And that experience should help players like quarterback  Joe Kalosky and wide receiver Zach DeNike. The duo should connect for a few scores this season – it will be fun to see them both progress in year number two. In addition to Kalosky and DeNike, look for a solid season from fullback Lavante Wiggins, who led the rushing attack with 400 yards on 90 carries. Wiggins rushed for five touchdowns last fall – perhaps he doubles that total this season? On defense, look for William Rivera to quarterback a unit that returns some key members from last year’s unit, including key members of its secondary – Christian Filonow and Zachary Poirier. Both student-athletes finished in the top-five in total tackles last season. They will both be asked to step-up this season. With some experience from a year ago on both sides of the ball, along with some talented recruits, this Endicott squad will certainly be a team to watch this fall.

Noontime Sports D3 Football Team Of The Year

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By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)

It’s hard to believe, but another NCAA Division III Football season is slowly coming to a close, so that means it is time to honor the numerous student-athletes we covered and wrote about over the past three-and-a-half months.

So, for the first-time in Noontime Sports history, we are proud to unveil our New England D3 Football Team of the Year!

Quarterbacks

Cory Brandon (Husson)

Quinn Fleeting (Western Conn. St.)

Jared Lebowitz (Middlebury)

Anthony Service (Western New England)

Derek Victory (Coast Guard Academy)

 

Halfbacks/Fullbacks

Chance Brady (Tufts)

Devon Carrillo (Wesleyan)

Nick Connell (Western New England)

Corey Creeger (Maine Maritime Academy)

Malik Garrett (Bridgewater State)

Sean McAllen (WPI)

Alex McLaughlin (Bridgewater State)

Sam Pascale (Salve Regina)

Eddie Sheridan (UMass Dartmouth)

John Smith (Husson)

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Darius Adams (Coast Guard Academy)

Conrado Banky (Middlebury)

Devin Boehm (Amherst)

Jake Cawlina (Curry)

Mark Dietrich (Western New England)

Brandon Eccher (WPI)

Matt Greenman (Mount Ida)

Shane Haggerty (Mass. Maritime Academy)

Tony Martignoli (Nichols)

Soren Pelz-Walsh (Castleton)

 

Offensive Line (team’s full o-line)

Maine Maritime Academy

Middlebury

Springfield

Salve Regina

UMass Dartmouth

 

Defensive Line

Craig Anderson (Endicott)

Kevin Kusch (MIT)

Cam McGhee (Plymouth State)

Brandon O’Neill (Salve Regina)

Emmanuel Omere (Bridgewater State)

John Salute (Salve Regina)

Luke Washburn (Husson)

 

Linebackers

Darren Callan (Castleton)

Joe Gowetski (Bowdoin)

Greg Holt (Tufts)

John Jackson (Middlebury)

Liam Kenneally (Trinity)

Marshall McCarthy (Mass. Maritime Academy)

Matt McEvilly (Nichols)

Brian Murtagh (WPI)

William Rivera (Endicott)

Mark Upton (Bates)

 

Secondary

Trenton J. Bouchard (Maine Maritime Academy)

Rob Disanto (MIT)

Spencer Donahue (Trinity)

Obi Etuka (Western New England)

Prince Gbaley (Plymouth State)

Tim Preston (Tufts)

Ryan Robertson (Coast Guard Academy)

Jakob Trautwein (Castleton)

Jovon White (Fitchburg State)

Blair Zentek (Plymouth State)

 

Kickers/Punters

John Baron (Colby)

Blaine Bursey (WPI)

Tucker Cheyne (MIT)

Francis Cole (Anna Maria)

Willie Holmquist (Tufts)

Eric Sachse (Trinity)

Noontime Sports Team Of The Month: Salve Regina University

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By NoontimeSports.com 

For the second time this football season, Noontime Sports is pleased to announce our Team of the Month (October): Salve Regina University.

Currently 7-0 overall and 5-0 in New England Football Conference (NEFC) play, the Seahawks capped the month of October with a convincing road win over Endicott College this past weekend, winning by a score of 41-20. Quarterback Brandon Basil tossed two touchdowns in the win, halfback Sam Pascale rushed for three scores on 29 carries for 178 yards, while the defense registered one sack, one interception and four tackles for a loss.

Prior to their victory against the Gulls, Salve Regina earned wins over Curry College, Nichols College and MIT.

The Seahawks currently lead the NEFC in rushing yards (2,050) and yards per game (510.6) – they are second in total offense (3,574). Pascale and tailback James Dawson rank first (158.7) and second (97.4), respectively, in yards per game, while Basil is fourth in yards per game (216.0) and tied for fourth with 14 touchdowns (through the air).

Brandon O’Neill and John Salute are currently tied for first in the conference with three sacks – Endicott’s Craig Anderson has also registered a trio of sacks this season too.

The Seahawks return to the gridiron this weekend for an extremely important conference game as they host Western New England for a 12 p.m. kickoff. Similar to Salve Regina, the Golden Bears are undefeated.

Last season, the Golden Bears defeated the Seahawks, 28-21, to secure the NEFC crown. The Seahawks’ last victory over the Golden Bears came in 2013, thanks to a trio of touchdown passes from quarterback Steve Wilken and a pair of rushing scores by halfback Richie Edwards.

Mass. College Football: Framingham State Tops Endicott In Season-Opener, 42-6

By Matt Noonan 

BEVERLY, Mass. – Framingham State University senior Matt Silva tossed five touchdowns and rushed for one score as the Rams rolled past Endicott College, 42-6, in non-conference action on Saturday afternoon at Endicott Stadium.

The Rams overcame a slow start, scoring on three consecutive drives to claim a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Silva connected with classmate Jared Gauthier for a pair of touchdowns, while locating Mike Calicchio on a 16-yard strike with 4:38 remaining in the opening stanza.

Endicott trimmed the deficit halfway through the second quarter when junior Chris Lipscomb hauled in an 11-yard fade pass by classmate Joe Picard, but that would be the Gull’s lone touchdown of the afternoon.

Framingham State University senior Matthew Silva accounted for all six touchdowns this afternoon in the Rams' week one victory. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

Framingham State University senior Matthew Silva accounted for all six touchdowns this afternoon in the Rams’ week one victory. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

Silva helped the Rams push ahead for good minutes later by capping a 10 play, 72-yard drive with a 10-yard strike to senior Tevin Jones, which provided the visitors with a 28-6 cushion at the break.

Framingham State tacked on an additional two scores in the second half to secure an opening day win.

The Rams registered 32 first downs and 473 yards of total offense. Senior tailback Trevon Offley rushed for a game-high 84 yards on 10 carries, while Gauthier led all receivers with 11 receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Sean Wlasuk finished booted all six extra points and sophomore Svenn Jacobson led the Rams defensive unit with 11 total tackles (five solo) and one forced fumble.

Endicott senior Lawrence Gonzalez and freshman William Rivera each recorded nine total tackles, respectively, while junior Craig Anderson registered his initial sack of the season.

Framingham State is back in action next Saturday as they host SUNY Cortland – a 2012 NCAA Division III tournament first round rematch – while Endicott travels to No. 16 Hobart. Both games are slated to kick-off at 12:00 p.m.

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