Noonan: It Should Be An Exciting Final Few Weeks Of D3 Hockey

By Matt Noonan 

A few intriguing questions and thoughts facing a few Division III hockey teams – both men and women – heading into the final few weeks of regular season.

* Let’s begin in the ECAC Northeast Conference where Suffolk University is currently in first place. The Rams, who ended the month of December on a three-game winning streak, have won three contests in January, but have also dropped three non-conference tilts to Stonehill College (4-2), Tufts University (7-4) and New England College (7-0). Yet, the Rams rebounded with back-to-back victories against Franklin Pierce (4-1) and Assumption College (6-5).

Suffolk returns to the ice this weekend for an important conference clash against Johnson and Wales – a team that is currently two spots below the Rams – on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Walter Brown Arena. The Wildcats fell to the Rams earlier this season, 2-1, but have won five of their last six contests.

* In the ECAC East Conference – men’s ice hockey – Norwich University currently sits atop the standings with a perfect record (12-0-0) in league play. Below is UMass Boston (10-2 in conference play) and Babson College (9-2-1). The Beacons and Beavers split their weekend series, but could meet again in their conference tournament’s quarterfinals, semifinals or finals.

UMass Boston has recently won five of their last six contests, including a 4-3 win on Saturday against the Beavers, which featured an overtime goal by Colin Larkin – his first collegiate game-winning strike. The Beacons are on the road this weekend, competing against Skidmore on Friday (7:00 p.m. start) and Castleton State on Saturday (4:00 p.m.).

* In the MASCAC, Westfield State and UMass Dartmouth are currently looking up at Plymouth State, which owns the top spot with a 7-2-1 conference record. The Panthers are coming off a 3-2 win over Worcester State on Sunday, which snapped their two-game skid against Fitchburg State and UMass Dartmouth.

Plymouth State, Westfield State and UMass Dartmouth may appear to be the favorites in the MASCAC, but don’t count out Fitchburg State and Salem State, two teams that have captured eight conference games, respectively.

* Let’s return to the ECAC East Conference – the women’s ice hockey conference – and put the spotlight on Holy Cross, which has won seven of nine conference games, and is 11-5-1 overall. The Crusaders, who commenced their season with four consecutive wins, have won two of their last three matchups, including a 5-0 win over New England College and 5-1 victory against Southern Maine.

Holy Cross recently skated against Amherst College – currently sixth in the latest D3Hockey.com Poll – but lost to the Jeffs, 3-1. The Crusaders, who fired eight shots in the opening period, held the Jeffs to just five shots, but none of those attempts landed in the net. Amherst eventually got on the board, scoring three goals during the final 40 minutes, while allowing the Crusaders to capitalize on the power play (Holy Cross finished the game 1-for-1 with an extra skater).

The game against Amherst proves that the Crusaders will be a tough challenge for their remaining opponents, including Norwich, which travels to Worcester on Saturday, February 21 for a 2:05 p.m. contest.

* Finally, let’s take a look at the NESCAC, starting with the men’s division. For the second straight season, Trinity (Conn.) is on a roll. They’ve won 10 straight contests and currently ranked third in the D3Hockey.com poll. Amherst is ranked 12th, Williams 14th, and Middlebury is receiving votes. If Amherst or Williams wants to advance to the NCAA Tournament, it will most likely entail defeating the Bantams.

Amherst and Trinity face-off on Friday, January 30 – the game will take place in Amherst. A win for the Lord Jeffs would provide them with momentum going forward. As for Williams, they travel to Connecticut College on Friday and Tufts University on Saturday.

In the women’s division, Amherst remains a spot below Middlebury, which has won seven of 10 conference tilts. The Jeffs, who are 6-0-2 in conference play, recently tied the Panthers in back-to-back contests by scores of 2-2 and 1-1. This weekend, the Jeffs will host Connecticut College in back-to-back home contests.

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.

Mass. College Hockey: Weekend Schedule (Dec. 13-15)

By NoontimeSports.com 

There maybe a snowstorm on the way, but as of this afternoon, here is this weekend’s schedule. No local women’s games are scheduled for this weekend, so each game listed below is a men’s ice hockey contest.

Friday, Dec. 13: 

* American International at Maine, 7 p.m.

* Wentworth at UMass Boston, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 14: 

* UMass at Colgate, 4 p.m.

* Bentley University at Boston University, 7 p.m.

* American International at Maine, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 15: 

* UMass at Colgate, 2 p.m.

Mass. College Hockey: Babson To Host Military Appreciation Day, Honor Hines Family

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Babson College sports information department, here’s this evening’s release about the men’s hockey team, who will be hosting Military Appreciation Day on Saturday:

BABSON PARK, Mass.—The Babson College men’s ice hockey team will be hosting a Military Appreciation Day this Saturday against New England College at 4:00 p.m., honoring 1st Lieutenant Derek Hines, brother of 2013 Babson graduate and four-year player Trevor.  All active-duty military members and veterans will be admitted at no cost.

Proceeds from the event will go to the 1st Lt. Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Fund, which assists Massachusetts soldiers injured in combat and their families.  The Fund was founded in memory of Derek, who was a 1st Lt. in the United States Army and Army men’s ice hockey alumnus.  Derek joined the 173rd Airborne Division and was deployed in Afghanistan, where he was killed in action in 2005 while conducting security operations.

The Hines family will be honored between the first and second periods.  Rob Riley, who was the head coach of Babson’s 1984 NCAA Championship team and the Army head coach for 18 years, will also be in attendance.  Riley coached Derek at West Point during his four-year career.

Each of this year’s players will don customized AK Pro Series camouflage desert pattern jerseys.  Those jerseys will eventually be sold with proceeds directed to the Fund.  Babson’s four captains will present Trevor and his family with a personalized jersey between periods.

Members from the Babson Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will also be on hand to sell camouflage ribbons for a suggested donation, as well as raffle off a Babson men’s ice hockey jersey.  The group will also be providing cards where people can write their own thank you letters to be sent to soldiers.

The connection between Babson and Army men’s ice hockey goes beyond the Hines family and Rob Riley.  While at Army, Riley coached Major Thomas Kennedy.  Major Kennedy was killed in action in 2012 while serving his third term in the Middle East.  He is the younger brother of John Kennedy, who played for Babson from 1989-93 and was a teammate of current head coach Jamie Rice ’90.

Babson men’s ice hockey, Army men’s ice hockey and the Armed Forces of both the United States and Canada share a deep, multi-layered connection.  The Babson men’s ice hockey program is proud to salute the sacrifices made by individuals like Derek Hines and Thomas Kennedy.

More information can be found on the 1st Lt. Derek Hines Solders Assistance Fund website.

Mass. College Hockey: Local Squads Set To Compete In NCAA Div. III Tourney

By Matt Noonan

The NCAA unveiled its 2013 Division III men’s ice hockey bracket last night and a few local teams will start their quest toward Lake Placid, New York on Wednesday. Below are the teams that earned a spot in this year’s tournament, along with their first game.

QUICK NOTE: The women’s bracket will be released later today and we will have the pairings/schedules of that tournament, too.

Teams:

* Babson College

* Wentworth Institute of Technology

* UMass Dartmouth

First Round Schedule (March 6):

Wentworth @ Babson, TBA — This match will feature the winners of their respective conferences as Babson topped Norwich University in the ECAC East championship on Saturday, while Wentworth defeated Salve Regina on Sunday. The winner of this particular game will advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal match against Norwich.

UMass Dartmouth at Bowdoin College, 7:00 p.m. — This could seriously be an upset in the making. After defeating Salem State in triple-overtime last Tuesday, the Corsairs continued their momentum against Plymouth State in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) championship with a 2-1 victory. The Polar Bears are coming off a 2-1 win yesterday against Williams College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship. The winner from this game will advance to play Utica College on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

For more information on the upcoming tournament, along with scores and news — HOP HERE.

Mass. College Hockey: Nichols Announces Rescheduled Game Against Curry

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of Nichols College’s sports information department, here’s this afternoon’s release pertaining toward the men’s ice hockey game against Curry College. Both ECAC Northeast squads were slated to square off last weekend, but due to the Blizzard of 2013, the game was postponed and rescheduled for Tuesday, February 19. Here’s the release:

DUDLEY, Mass. – The Nichols College and Curry College men’s ice hockey game slated for last Saturday in Milton, Mass. will now be played on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7:35 p.m.

The Bison wrap up the home regular season slate with a pair of games this week. Nichols hosts Johnson & Wales at 8:10 on Wednesday and Western New England on Saturday at 4:40 p.m.

Mass. College Hockey: Nichols, Wentworth Skate To 2-2 Tie

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of our friends from the Nichols College sports information department, here’s this evening release pertaining toward the men’s ice hockey team that skated to a 2-2 tie with ECAC Northeast foe Wentworth Institute of Technology:

BURRILLVILLE, R.I. – The Nichols College and Wentworth Institute of Technology men’s ice hockey teams battled to a 2-2 tie on Wednesday night in a key ECAC Northeast tilt played at Levy Rink. With the result, the Bison move to 12-7-1 overall and 5-3-1 in the conference while the Leopards (10-8-2) continue to pace the league with a 6-2-1 ledger.

After 60 minutes of action, the game headed into a 4-on-4 overtime session that saw Leopard sophomore Seric Kapp (Scheafferstown, Pa.) almost sent everyone home but his shot glanced off the iron 3:25 into the frame. Wentworth peppered Bison first-year goaltender Alex Larson (Madison, Ala.) with four shots as Nichols took two shots of its own.

Nichols sophomore Brett Jackson (Larchmont, N.Y.) dented the scoreboard first as he knocked home a feed from senior Danny Greiner (Columbus, Ohio) at 8:05 into the game. The play began as first-year Frank Butler (East Haven, Conn.) skated down the center of the ice and dished off to Greiner to setup the one-timer. The hosts held a 11-5 lead on shots as each team went 0-for-1 on the power play.

The second period saw each team find the back of the net with the Bison once again on top heading into the locker room. Leopard sophomore Ben Iwanowski (Dorval, Que.) sent in  a shot that glanced off junior Patrick Rice (West Des Moines, Iowa) to even the game at 1-1 just 2:42 into the stanza. At the 7:30 mark, senior Bryan Gill (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) fired a howitzer through traffic as Nichols claimed the 2-1 advantage. Jackson and first-year Sean Fleming (Eastampton, N.J.) were each credited with assists on the goal. Wentworth outshot the Bison 13-9 and had a pair of power play chances while the Bison had one.

The Leopards tied the game for good 47 seconds into the third when rookie Adam Frank (Clarkston, Mich.) took advantage of a power play that carried over from the previous period with help from sophomore Mike Domsodi (Kirkland, Que.) and senior Shaun Jameson (Long Beach, Calif.). Nichols claimed a slim 11-9 lead in shots for the frame and the visitors were on the power play twice early in the period.

Larson (6-5-1) turned away 29 shots for the Bison. Leopard rookie goaltender Joel Miller (Calgary, Alta.) finished the game with a game-best 31 stops as he moves to 7-2-1.

Nichols hosts Becker for the rubber game of the season series at 7:40 p.m. Wentworth entertains Johnson & Wales on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.