SUNYAC Cancels Winter Sports

SUNYAC Logo (courtesy sunyacsports.com)

By Matt Noonan

Another NCAA D-III conference has announced its plans for the upcoming winter sports season.

Just a short time ago, the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) announced they have canceled the 2020-21 winter season.

The sports impacted by today’s decision are the following: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field.

As noted in this afternoon’s release, which can be seen on the conference’s website, the health and safety of “everyone involved with intercollegiate athletics,” along with each and every campus was why the conference made the difficult decision, according to Erik Bitterbaum, who is the chair of the SUNYAC Presidents.

While this is not the first announcement regarding the upcoming college winter sports season from the NCAA D-III world, it certainly won’t be the last. Earlier this month the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) called off winter sports while the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) has canceled conference play, including championships.

Atlantic Hockey Announces Return To Play

By Matt Noonan

The Atlantic Hockey league is ready to drop the puck for the 2020-21 season.

As announced earlier today, the 11-team conference which includes four teams from New England will return to the ice for its initial weekend of the 2020-21 season on Friday, November 13, and Saturday, November 14. Each team will compete in 24 contests – it is possible some member could skate 28 times this winter – while all 11 squads will be admitted into the Atlantic Hockey Tournament.

The 2021 Atlantic Hockey championship will return to Buffalo’s LECOM HarborCenter, which is the home rink for Canisius College.

“First off, I’m extremely excited to be announcing we have an approved league schedule for the 2020-21 season,” Atlantic Hockey Commissioner Robert DeGregorio said in a statement regarding the league’s return-to-play announcement. “It’s been a long process, and involved quite a bit of discussion, but it’s a testament to all those involved that we have managed to get Atlantic Hockey on the ice in 2020-21.”

To alleviate the spread of the ongoing coronavirus, the league will seperate its teams into an eastern and western pod. Three Massachusetts teams – Bentley UniversityHoly Cross, and American International College (AIC) – will compete in the eastern pod, along with Army and Sacred Heart University. Every team in each pod will play five games against each other, along with a pair of games against Air Force and Long Island University (LIU).

While today’s announcement certainly excited many within the college hockey world, Atlantic Hockey did state in today’s release that they are “still working to finalize return-to-play protocols for the season” and a schedule, including non-conference games, will be announced at a later date.

“We put this schedule together to maximize the student-athlete experience during such uncertain times” said DeGregorio. “We found a way to schedule up to 28 games while maintaining a focus on the health and safety of all parties by reducing travel times and overnight trips as much as we could.”

Prior to the 2019-20 season being cut short due to the ongoing pandemic, the Yellow Jackets of AIC were in first place with a 21-12-1 overall record, including a 21-6-1 conference mark.

The Hockey East Announces Plans For 2020-21 Season

Hockey East Pre-Season Coaches Poll By Matt Noonan

The Hockey East Association announced this morning its intention to play games this year, despite the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

When exactly the 2020-21 season will begin for both its men and women’s members remains an unknown. But, according to today’s release, “a new start date and specifics of regular-season competition, will be released at a later date.”

Like most conferences and leagues that have expressed interest in providing its student-athletes with some competition this upcoming school year, the Hockey East admitted they will confront more challenges as they inch closer to a new season. And as expected, the league – again, like others – plans to put health and safety first, along with physical and mental health, too.

More will be added to this blog post as the day progresses, so please stay tuned! 

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Caty Flagg (UMass Boston)

FlaggWEB

By NoontimeSports.com 

For Caty Flagg, this past season was all about enjoying the moment, while making memories of both home and away contests.

The Methuen, Massachusetts native, who played goalie for the UMass Boston women’s ice hockey team, says her goal was to not just “live in the moment,” but cherish time with her friends and teammates.

“I’ll always remember the fun times we had throughout this past season,” said Flagg, who started 25 of 26 games for the Beacons this past winter. “I’ll remember our team practices, lifts, and preseasons, but most importantly, our team dinners to hanging out (off the ice with everyone) while enjoying each other’s company.”

With Flagg between the pipes, the Beacons won 12 games while making an appearance in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) playoffs. UMass Boston won eight conference games while capturing seven of 12 road contests.

Flagg, who backstopped Austin Prep to a state championship in 2016, became the Beacons’ first-ever netminder to be named the goaltender of the year by the NEHC in February. The senior goalie earned first-team honors, as well, and finished the season second in the conference in goals-against average (1.84) and save percentage (.942). She posted career-bests in wins (12), winning percentage (.519), and saves (800).

Prior to her team’s postseason clash with the University of Southern Maine, Flagg helped the Beacons beat Colby College, 2-1, behind 45 saves. The win over the Mules was the Beacons’ first against a nationally ranked opponent since 2016 when UMass Boston edged Norwich University in the NEHC Championship.

We recently spoke with Caty Flagg about competing for the UMass Boston women’s ice hockey team, as well as her plans beyond graduation this spring.


Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior or junior season with the Beacons? If so, which game(s) are they? 

I have two memorable games. One from last season and one from this season.

Last year, we were the seventh-seed in the NECH playoffs and drew second-seed Suffolk University in the quarterfinals. We had tied and lost to Suffolk earlier in the season but for this particular game, we came in with some confidence that helped us beat them by one goal (2-1). The energy everyone exerted on this particular day was unbelievable and it was definitely one of the most exciting games I’ve ever played in.

Another memorable game was earlier this year against Colby. At the time, Colby was undefeated and ranked tenth in the country. We knew before the game that we were the underdogs, so we went in with the mindset that we had nothing to lose. And we won the game, too. It was unbelievable.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the UMass Boston women’s ice hockey program these past two years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

I would have to say, my teammates. Waking up every day and going to lifts or practices with them before a long day of classes, but everyone was always there for each other, both on and off the ice.

I am going to miss waking up every day and getting to play the game I love. It was always the best way to start off my day. I have been playing hockey since I was younger and it is going to be different not lacing up the skates each morning in the winter. I do look forward to staying in touch with my teammates, who have become great friends and will be back next year to cheer them on from the stands. 

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you plan to do with it after graduation? 

I’m an exercise and health sciences major so I am thinking of becoming a personal trainer after graduation.

I became interested in this subject when I attended the University of New England as a freshman and sophomore. I was able to apply what I had learned at UNE when I arrived at UMass Boston as a junior last school year.

Due to COVID-19, my summer internship with a local gym has been shifted to online courses, but I have been able to create in-home workouts, along with a health and wellness program for someone in my family, which keeps me motivated.

This particular time has allowed me to identify what I truly want to do and that is personal training as well as some coaching.

Sports History: Detroit Sweeps Boston In The 1943 NHL Stanley Cup

7519381

Boston’s Bill Cowley recorded a career-high 72 points during the Bruins’ 1942-43 season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Boston Bruins Alumni)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation

For many of us, the thought of hearing about the Stanley Cup Finals in April may seem strange or unusual – normally, the title round is played in late May or early June these days – but on April 8, 1943, the Boston Bruins competed for a championship, but wound up losing to the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth and final game of the series.

Boston, which beat Detroit in the 1941 Stanley Cup in four games, was looking to erase memories of the 1942 postseason, which saw the Red Wings outlast the Bruins in a three-game semifinal series.

The Bruins had won four regular-season contests against the Red Wings during the 1942-43 season, including an early March affair by two goals, but that particular victory didn’t seem to help the Black and Gold identify a winning formula to beat Detroit weeks later in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Detroit won all four contests against the Bruins, including the April 8th meeting at the Boston Garden to clinch the series with a 2-0 victory. Boston was held scoreless during the final two contests after producing two goals in game one and three in game two.

Prior to facing the Red Wings, the Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens in a five-game semifinal series. Ab DeMarco Sr. clinched the series and secured the Bruins a spot in the title round with an overtime goal at 18:44.

Boston was awarded the O’Brien Trophy, which was presented to the league’s runner-up from 1939 to 1950 while Bill Cowley earned the Hart Trophy (most valuable player). Cowley, who recorded. career-high 72 points during the 1942-43 season, was named a first-team league all-star, while Frank Brimsek, Jack Crawford, and Flash Hollett represented the Bruins on the second-team. Additionally, coach Art Ross was named the second team’s coach.

The 1942-43 season also marked the debut of Bep Guidolin, who was the youngest rookie in NHL history. Guidolin played four seasons with the Bruins before returning to Boston to coach the team during the 1972-73 and 1973-74 seasons.