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 Adds Janecyk To Men’s Ice Hockey Staff

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Nichols College men’s ice hockey team announced the addition of Adam Janecyk to the Bisons’ coaching staff today, as announced in the release below courtesy of the sports information department:

DUDLEY, Mass. – Nichols College head men’s ice hockey coach Kevin Swallow has announced the addition of Adam Janecyk to his coaching staff.

Janecyk graduated from the University of Michigan this past May, where he majored in American Culture in the school of Literature, Science and Arts. Janecyk appeared in 18 games over parts of four seasons with the Wolverines, helping them to the NCAA Tournament in both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, as well as the CCHA Finals in 2012-13. Michigan posted a combined record of 89-56-15 during Janecyk’s time with the squad. As a freshman, Janecyk – who picked up his first collegiate win on December 15, 2012 against Western Michigan – received the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement award.

“We are extremely lucky to have Adam join our staff this season,” said Swallow. “He had a tremendous playing career and played for one of the greatest hockey college hockey coaches of all time, Red Berenson.”

Janecyk – who will assist primary with recruiting, defense and the goaltenders – has previously worked at Red Berenson’s hockey camp, the Michigan Goalie Academy, and LEGACY Global Sports tournaments. His father, Bob Janecyk, is a former goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks (1983-84) and the Los Angeles Kings (1984-89), winning 43 games – including a career-high 22 with the Kings during the 1984-85 campaign.

The Bison begin defense of their Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast crown on November 1 at Franklin Pierce.

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: Nicols Tops Assumption In Worcester City Shootout Title

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Worcester State University sports information department, here’s this evening’s release from the 2013 Worcester City Shootout Title game, which saw Nichols College defeat Assumption College, 5-3:

Auburn, MA — Behind 35 saves by Nichols sophomore goalie and tournament MVP Alex Larson (Madison, AL/Cleveland Lumberjacks), the Bison captured the third annual Worcester City Shootout Crown this evening in a 5-3 victory over Assumption at Horgan Rink.

With the win the Bison improve to 6-1-1 while the Greyhounds fall to 2-6-1 with the setback. The meeting between the two teams marked the first-ever in the title game after Becker and Worcester State traded blows in the previous two seasons.

Larson posted a two-day total of 64 saves, a .941 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average en route to taking home the coveted plaque.

The Bison charged back from a 2-1 deficit in the middle frame by netting a short handed goal followed by a power play marker over a four minute span.

Sophomore Sean Fleming (Easthampton, NJ/Philadelphia Revolution) lit the lamp at 12:23 before classmate Tyler Beasley (Indianapolis, IN/Rochester Ice Hawks) slapped one home at 16:18.

Freshman Mike Weaver (Wakefield, MA/Boston Jr. Bruins) netted the eventual contest-clinching goal at 4:40 of the final period.

Assumption received a first period spark from senior Nick Mattiello (Johnston, RI/Bishop Hendricksen) and freshman Ryan Gomez (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley) who each assisted on one another’s goals to grab the 2-1 advantage.

Greyhound senior Bobby Bowden (Springfield, MA/Williston-Northampton) collected 30 saves in the setback.

Mass. College Hockey: Updated D3 Commitments

By Matt Noonan 

In honor of the NHL Draft, which is going on this afternoon, we thought we’d share a few updated commitment links courtesy of D3Hockey.com.

Below are the various conferences, which feature a handful of Massachusetts men’s collegiate hockey teams. No Bay State squad acquired hardware this past March, but will attempt to this coming season.

Conference Links: 

* ECAC East

* ECAC Northeast

* MASCAC 

* NESCAC