Mass. College Hockey: Nichols Falls To SUNY Geneseo In NCAA Tournament

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s this evening’s release from the first-round of the NCAA Division 3 Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament. The Bison saw their season conclude with a 3-2 setback against Geneseo State:

GENESEO, N.Y. – Sophomore Alex Larson (Madison, Ala.) made a career-high 45 saves in Nichols College’s 3-2 loss at SUNY Geneseo Thursday evening in the First Round of the NCAA Division III Tournament at Wilson Ice Arena.

Junior Brett Jackson (Larchmont, N.Y.) and sophomore Tyler Beasley (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored for the Bison, who were making their second trip to the NCAA’s in program history (2008-09).

Freshman Connor Anthoine (Lewiston, Maine) picked up a goal and an assist for the Knights (22-6-0), who will host Norwich Sunday afternoon. Sophomore Nate Brown (Bethel Park, Pa.) tallied two assists for SUNY Geneseo, which outshot Nichols 48-33.

“I thought it was a very even hockey game,” said Nichols head coach Kevin Swallow. “We battled them from start to finish and I thought we had our chances. The shots were not indicative of how this game was played – the score was. Both teams were very evenly matched. We could have been a little hungrier around the net and buried a couple, but you have to give them credit. They’re a very good hockey team.”

The Knights opened the scoring just 2:25 into the contest when junior Justin Scharfe (Webster, N.Y.) tucked a shot inside the right post behind Larson. Brown and Anthoine were credited with assists on the Scharfe’s 10th marker of the season.

All five Bison touched the puck on Beasley’s goal at 16:08 of the first. Junior Chris Gularte (Salinas, Calif.) sent a pass from the right point down to classmate Joe Sposit (Cleveland, Ohio) along the right wing boards. Sposit fed Beasley just outside the crease, and he lifted a backhand shot over the glove hand of Horrigan.

Junior Tyler Brickler (Riverwoods, Ill.) scored the game-winning goal – his 15th goal of the season – on the power play at 15:18 of the second period. He sent a shot through from the point through a screen and into the lower left side of the net. Early in the third, Brown took a shot from the right point that Anthoine redirected over the right shoulder of Larson at 2:10 to push the SUNY Geneseo lead to 3-1.

Nichols climbed to within one at 10:50 of the third when Jackson redirected a pass from sophomore Sean Fleming (Easthampton, N.J.) past SUNY Geneseo sophomore goalie Nick Horrigan (Mount Forest, Ontario). The Bison nearly tied the game with Larson on the bench for the extra attacker late in the stanza, but Sposit’s shot from the right side struck the right post along the ice.

“Alex played great. He’s a big-game player who always shows up when we have a tough opponent, and tonight was no exception,” said Swallow. “He played great start-to-finish.”

Horrigan made 31 saves to improve to 13-1-0 on the season. SUNY Geneseo went 1-for-3 with the extra attacker while Nichols did not receive a power-play opportunity.

Nichols closes its season 18-7-3.

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: D3Hockey Midpoint Check-In

By Matt Noonan 

We’ve reached the halfway point of the Division 3 college hockey season.

So, let’s recap the past few weeks and get to know some of the current squads that lead their respective conferences.

ECAC East Men’s: The Cadets of Norwich continue to lead in the standings, according to points (13); however, Babson’s 9-2-0 overall mark is the best in the ECAC East. The Beavers commenced their current season with eight straight victories before falling to Williams, 3-2.

Nik Tasiopoulos, who is a senior forward for the Beavers, currently leads the Green and White with ten points. He’s registered six goals and four assists, while Michael Phillips ranks second with nine points (four goals, five assists).

Two spots below the Beavers sit UMass Boston, a squad that ended its first half on a five-game winning streak. The Beacons, who’re 7-1-2, managed to outscore their last two opponents, 12-4. Peter MacIntyre leads the Blue and White with 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists), while Travis Daniel ranks second in points with 15 (four goals, 11 assists).

ECAC East Women’s: Similar to the men’s conference, Norwich remains the top squad, but keep an eye on Nichols and UMass Boston.

The Bison entered their holiday break 2-6-0 overall and 2-4-0 in the conference. They ended the first half winning two of four contests, which included a 4-3 win over Manhattanville and a 3-0 victory against Plymouth State. Against Manhattanville, Grace Murphy sealed the win with a power play strike. Murphy currently leads the unit in points (6) and goals (4).

As for the Beacons, their first half concluded with back-to-back wins against Colby and Southern Maine. Jenny Currie, Samantha Fallon and Alyssa Sullivan each lit the lamp in UMass Boston’s 3-0 win over Southern Maine, their last contest before break.

ECAC Northeast Men’s: For the second straight year, Nichols remains one of the top squads in the conference. Second year coach Kevin Swallow, a former Maine Blackbear, has guided the Bison to a 7-1-2 overall mark. In the team’s last outing, the Bison topped Franklin Pierce, 9-1. Dylan Woodring picked up his first win between the pipes as he turned away 19 of 20 shots.

Salve Regina remains the top squad in the conference, while Johnson and Wales owns the best overall mark of 9-3-0.

MASCAC Men’s: Framingham State football’s team may have provided some motivation for their men’s ice hockey team, which currently resides atop the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference with a 6-3-1 overall mark. They concluded the first half of their schedule with three straight victories. In their last outing, which was against Assumption, Melvin Nichols and Ryan McDonald each netted a goal, while Alessio Muggli picked up his first win in net.

Salem State and Westfield State remain one point behind Framingham State in the standings. Both units have won four of six conference tilts. And similar to the Rams, the Vikings concluded the first half of their schedule with three consecutive wins.

NESCAC Men’s: Amherst and Williams entered their winter breaks as the top two squads in their conference. Craig Kitto leads the Ephs with 10 points (five goals, five assists), while George Hunkele is second on the team with 6 points (three goals, three assists). Williams hasn’t lost a game this season, as they’ve won five contests and tied two. Both of their ties, which were against Colby and Hamilton, were identical scores: 1-1.

NESCAC Women’s: Amherst entered their break as the second best team in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. They’ve recorded seven points, three conference wins and one non-conferee victory. The Lord Jeffs commenced their season with three straight wins, including a weekend sweep over Hamilton before earning ties with Plattsburgh State and Wesleyan.

When the Purple and White return to action, they’ll face Holy Cross and Cortland State before returning to conference play against Colby.

Mass. College Hockey: Nichols Prepares For ECAC Northeast Semifinals On Wednesday

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s this evening’s release on the men’s hockey team, who’ll host Salve Regina on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at June Rockwell Levy Rink in Burrillville, R.I in the ECAC Northeast semifinals:

DUDLEY, Mass. – The Nichols College men’s ice hockey team earned the No. 2 seed in the 2012-13 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast Hockey League Championship tournament and will host fifth-seeded Salve Regina in the semifinal round on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at June Rockwell Levy Rink in Burrillville, R.I.

The Bison, making their second consecutive ECAC Northeast semifinal appearance and first under the league’s Co-Coach of the Year Kevin Swallow, finished the regular season with a 16-8-1 overall record and the most wins since the 2008-09 ECAC Northeast Championship season while sporting a 9-4-1 ledger in league play. In the conference opener on Nov. 10, Nichols edged Salve Regina 4-3 courtesy of first-year Frank Butler’s (East Haven, Conn.) game-winner with 3:45 left in the third period. The Jan. 23rd meeting saw ECAC Northeast Rookie of the Year Tyler Beasley (Indianapolis, Ind.) deliver the lone goal early in the second period and conference Goalie of the Year rookie Alex Larson (Madison, Ala.) post 32 saves in his first collegiate shutout, a 1-0 victory.

Beasley paces the Bison offense with 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points including five power play goals and three game-winners. Butler became the second first-year Nichols student-athlete in as many years to lead the league with four game-winning goals in ECAC Northeast action. Senior captain Wil Brown (Hershey, Pa.), an All-ECAC Northeast second team selection, guided a defense that allowed only 2.21 goals per game trailing only Wentworth (2.14). Larson (10-6-1) ranked second in the league with a 2.02 goals against average and a .932 save percentage and claims the most wins (10) by a Bison rookie goaltender since Keith Fink ’09 in 2005-06. Senior Zach Kohn (Delafield, Wis.) currently sits in third-place in the Bison record books with 82 assists and ninth-place all-time with 115 points. The forward is one point shy of tying Zeke Costello ’10 for eighth place and two assists away from sharing second place with Will Munson ’11. Senior Danny Greiner (Columbus, Ohio) looks to skate in his 100th game on Wednesday.

Salve Regina (9-13-3, 5-7-2), led by the other Co-Coach of the Year Andy Boschetto, defeated fourth-seeded Western New England 8-4 in the opening round of the ECAC Northeast Hockey League Championship tournament on Saturday.

Sophomore John Scorcia (Tampa, Fla.), an All-ECAC Northeast Second Team selection, leads the Seahawks with 18 assists and 28 points while freshman Marc Biggs (Dallas, Texas) claims the goal lead with 14 this season. Biggs along with classmates Cameron Gaudet (Burlington, Mass.) and Peter Gintoli (Monroe, Conn.) as well as sophomore Michael Naso (Londonderry, N.H.) all have 24 points apiece for Salve Regina. All-ECAC Northeast honorable mention rookie Lucas Sousa (Billerica, Mass.) rounds out the double-digit point producers with 14 on the year. Fifteen of the 24 power play goals have come off the sticks of Biggs (six), Gaudet (five) or Scorcia (four) while Scorcia opened the Nov. 10th game with a shorthanded marker just 1:51 into the contest. Senior goaltender Mike McDonald (Whitby, Ontatrio), the backstop in both games against the Bison, split time between the pipes with rookie David Chiokadze (Langhorne, Pa.) this season. McDonald (4-8-2) sported a 3.53 goals against average (GAA) and a .877 save percentage in league play while Chiokadze (4-5-1) posted a 2.80 GAA and a .911 save percentage in ECAC Northeast contests.

The other semifinal matchup features top-seeded Wentworth (14-8-3, 10-2-2 ECACNE) hosting No. 6 Johnson & Wales (10-15-1, 5-8-1 ECACNE) at Matthews Arena.  The championship game will be hosted by the highest remaining seed on either Saturday or Sunday

Nichols’ Butler Named ECAC Northeast Player Of The Week (Press Release)

By NoontimeSports.com

Courtesy of our friends from Nichols College — here is today’s press release pertaining toward Nichols College’s Frank Butler being named the ECAC Northeast Player of the Week:

DUDLEY, Mass. – Nichols College first-year Frank Butler (East Haven, Conn.) garnered Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast Player of the Week accolades for his play the week ending Sunday, January 13, 2013. Classmates Tyler Beasley (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Alex Larson (Madison, Ala.) were named to the league’s honor roll.

Butler led the lineup with three goals over the weekend. The rookie potted a pair of tallies to help the Bison defeat Brockport, 5-2, on Friday. He finished the week by providing Nichols a 1-0 lead over #3 Hobart in the 2-1 defeat on Sunday. The forward has notched at least one goal in four of the last five games and was the only Bison to record at least a point against each of the four ranked opponents this season.

“Frank has a hot hand right now,” commented head coach Kevin Swallow. “He’s playing his best hockey of the year and consistently getting better. It’s great to see him come out strong in the second half.”

Beasley notched a career-high three points against Brockport. In addition to the game-winning goal, the forward recorded a pair of helpers as he capped a four-game point streak with his fourth multi-point outing of the season.

“Tyler has arguably been our most consistent forwards this year,” remarked Swallow. “Three points against Brockport was huge. He led the way and got us going offensively. Night in and night out we can rely on him to put some points up.”

Larson, averaged 36 saves in a 1-1 week for the Bison. On Sunday, the rookie goaltender stopped 40 shots in the setback to #3 Hobart. He began the weekend with a 32 save outing against Brockport. In a pair of games against top-10 teams this season, the Bison backstop has averaged 41 saves – including a career-best 42 at then-#9/10 Utica in December.

“Alex had a great game on Friday night, got the win,” said Swallow. “On Sunday he had 40 saves against one of the best teams in the country. Unfortunately we didn’t come out with the win but he played great and kept us in the game.

Nichols (10-6-0, 3-2-0 ECACNE) jumps back into ECAC Northeast play on Saturday when the squad travels to Pawtucket, R.I. to face Johnson & Wales at 7:45 p.m.