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: Plymouth State Skates Past Worcester State, 3-2

By NoontimeSports.com 

Plymouth State junior Josh Woody netted the game-winning goal this afternoon in the Panthers’ conference clash with Worcester State University.

Below is the recap of the game, courtesy of the Worcester State University Sports Information Department:

Worcester, MA — Plymouth State junior Josh Woody (Suderland, MD/Valley Jr Warriors) netted the eventual game-clinching tally with 3:30 on the clock in the second period as he helped pace the Panthers to a 3-2 victory over Worcester State in MASCAC men’s ice hockey action this evening at the Hart Recreation Center.

With the win the Panthers move to 7-7-3 overall and remain atop the conference standings at 7-2-1. In the setback, the Lancers fall to 3-11-1 and 2-7-1 in league play.

Sophomore Dan Dupell (Collegeville, PA/Port Huron Fighting Falcons) put the visitors on the board first with 12:58 off the clock in the opening frame. His score right in front of the net off of a major penalty was assisted by senior Mike Freitag (Westmont, IL/Valley Jr Warriors) and junior Andrew Wigg (Lantz, Nova Scotia/Yarmouth Mariners).

The Blue and Gold came right back and equalized the score 1-1 just before time expired in the first period. Senior Nathan Stanley (Meridian, ID/Idaho Jr. Steelheads) caught the glance of an initial shot by classmate Vinny Bohn (Spring Hill, FL/El Paso Rhinos) with 37 ticks left in the frame and just two seconds left on a power play.

Plymouth State hit home a pair of goals two minutes apart to take over the 3-1 margin in the latter half of the second period.

Sophomore Tord Thoreson (Oppegard, Norway/New England Wolves) put the Panthers ahead by one goal with a shot from the left dot to the left corner with some help by Wigg and Freitag before Woody slipped one past WSU freshman net minder Tyler Fallica (Coram, NY/Ogden Mustangs) for a key insurance marker.

Sophomore Matt Vermillion (S. Lyon, MI/Baystate Breakers) and sophomore Ian McGilvrey (Omaha, NE/Middlesex Islanders) both assisted on the game-winner for the Panthers.

The Lancers had chances with an extra man on the ice in the beginning and midway through the third, but could not take advantage of the opportunity.

With time winding down in the period, the hosts pulled their goalie and found success with an extra attacker as senior Andrew Bates (Marblehead, MA/Boston Jr Bulldogs) received aid on the play from senior Cody Osburn (Sacramento, CA/Fresno Monsters) and sophomore Michael Dery (Grand Rapids, MI/Ogden Mustangs) with one minute left.

As 32 seconds remained on the clock in regulation in regulation, junior Alex Taddeo (Franklin, MA/Boston Jr. Rangers) fired one in from the top of the point and senior Stephen Rock (Tulsa, OK/Idaho Jr Steelheads) tried again on the ricochet, but they were both turned aside by junior Gordon Ceasar (Oak Park, CA/Utica College).

Ceasar (6-4-3) stopped 17 shots in the victory while Fallica collected 22 saves in 58:57 minutes of action.

Plymouth State was 1-for-6 on power plays while the Lancers only converted 25 percent of their chances (1-for-4). The Panthers led in shots, 25-19.

Both squads return to MASCAC play over the next week. Worcester State will play Salem State on Saturday at 2 PM while Plymouth State entertains Framingham State on Thursday at the Hanaway Rink in a 6 o’clock match-up.

Mass. College Hockey: Three Division 3 Games To Watch This Weekend

By NoontimeSports.com 

With another weekend set to begin, it’s time to dish out our Three Division 3 Games To Watch this weekend.

Quick Note: This is the first installment of ‘Three Division 3 Games To Watch,’ a new post that we’ll be publishing every Friday until the end of the regular season.

Men’s Ice Hockey:

No. 5 Norwich University at No. 15 UMass Boston (Friday, 7 p.m.): We’ll be making the trip to UMass Boston this evening to see the Beacons and Cadets square off in an ECAC East tilt. Both squads enter tonight’s game on winning streaks as the Beacons have rattled off eight straight wins, while the Cadets have won their last five. Both squads were also victorious at Frozen Fenway this week as UMass Boston defeated Salem State, while Norwich edged Babson College. Peter MacIntyre leads the Blue and White in points with 25 (14 goals, 11 assists), while Nathan Milam ranks second on the team in goals with eight.

Westfield State at Framingham State (Saturday, 5:35 p.m.): Earlier this season, T.J. Brown’s Rams defeated the Owls, 2-1. Since then, Westfield has won five of its last eight outings, including an 8-1 win over Becker College on Wednesday. TJ Powers registered three points (two goals, one assist) in his team’s win over the Hawks, while Eddie Davey picked up his fifth win between the pipes. Framingham State commenced 2014 with a 5-4 setback to Western New England. Yet, despite the setback, the Rams outshot the Golden Bears, 32-29. They also located the back of the net on one of their five power plays, too.

Women’s Ice Hockey:

Colby College at No. 5 Amherst College (Friday, 7 p.m. & Saturday, 3 p.m.): The Lord Jeffs started the second half of their slate with back-to-back wins against Holy Cross and Cortland State. Now, Amherst will turn its attention to conference foe Colby, which enters the weekend series 4-4-1 overall and 2-2 in NESCAC play. The Mules recently defeated New England College, 6-1. Erin Martine currently leads the Jeffs in points with 11 (four goals, seven assists), while Kerri Stuart owns a 5-2-1 mark in net. Colby ranks fourth overall in the conference in goals with 24 (2.67 per game), while Amherst’s defense is second to Middlebury in 14 goals allowed.

Mass. College Hockey: UMass Boston Tops Salem State At Frozen Fenway

UMass Boston's men's ice hockey team defeated Salem State at Frozen Fenway this afternoon, 4-2. (Photo Credit: UMass Boston)
UMass Boston’s men’s ice hockey team defeated Salem State at Frozen Fenway this afternoon, 4-2. (Photo Credit: UMass Boston)

By NoontimeSports.com

Courtesy of the UMass Boston sports information department, here’s this evening’s release about the men’s ice hockey team, which defeated Salem State at Frozen Fenway this afternoon, 4-2:

FENWAY PARK, Mass.—Peter MacIntyre (Norfolk, Mass.) second tally of the evening proved to be just enough, as #15 UMass Boston men’s hockey (10-1-2) downed Salem State University (7-5) 4-2 Tuesday afternoon as part of the Citi Frozen Fenway event.

The Beacons and Vikings, both playing for the first time at Fenway Park, met for the first time since 2009, renewing their former ECAC East rivalry. With the win, UMass Boston earned their first victory over the Vikings since 1999 and moved to 11-32-1 all-time against Salem State.

MacIntyre led UMass Boston with two goals on the night to help the Beacons match their longest unbeaten streak in program-history at 11 games (9-0-2). The streak matches the 1981-82 team’s 11-0 stretch from December 5, 1981 to January 30, 1982.

Kit Sitterley (Mooresville, N.C.) recorded the Beacons’ second tally of the night, while Connor McStravick (Philadelphia, Pa.) put the game away with an empty-net goal with 8.7 seconds remaining.

Sophomore goalie Zach Andrews (Coral Springs, Fla.) shined in net for UMass Boston all night long, making 34 saves on 36 shots. The Florida native was especially key in the first period where he stopped all 15 shots he faced, as the Beacons got off to an extremely slow start.

Senior Eric Defelice and Chris Mastropietro recorded Salem State’s two markers, with both goals coming in the second period. In net, Ryan Sutliffe posted 29 saves on 33 shots, before being pulled with 26 seconds in the contest.

Facing temperatures in the low teens with the wind chill well below zero, the Beacons and Vikings struggled to get anything going in the first stanza, as the two teams slowly adjusted to the ice snow and bouncing pucks.

Salem State created the better end of the chances throughout the first 15 minutes, with Andrews diving all over the crease to keep the Vikings off the board.

Sophomore Mike Miller (Wrentham, Mass.) began the shift in momentum for the Beacons when he rifled a shot past Sutliffe that rang off the post, before drawing the first penalty of the game against either team moments later.

While the Beacons failed to take advantage of the power-play, they carried the momentum into the second period.

MacIntyre lit the lamp at 2:44 of the second period when he finished with a nifty shot to the far post to beat Sutliffe on a 2-on-1 rush. The reigning ECAC East Rookie of the Year swiped the puck away from Gabriel Cromp who was winding up for a slap-shot from the point and went the other way with senior captain Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.). After showing pass the entire rush, MacIntyre sent a laser just pass Sutliffe’s blocker for a 1-0 Beacons advantage.

The lead wouldn’t last long though, as Defelice’s goal at 6:32 evened the game at 1. The senior forward sent a hard shot from just inside the Beacons’ blue line, that Andrews lost in Fenway’s red seats to make it 1-1.

UMass Boston would grab the lead back at 2-1 behind a terrific individual effort from Sitterley. The sophomore forward’s initial wrap-around attempt was denied by Sutliffe, but when the referees didn’t immediately give the goalie the whistle for a stoppage, Sitterley’s second stab at the puck slid just over the line for a goal at 10:41.

Mastropietro knotted the scoring at 15:58 on another goal that Andrews could do little about. Skating with their third power-play chance of the game, Mastropietro received passes from Brandon Platt and Cameron Banwell, before sending a low shot that skipped off a Beacons’ defenseman’s stick and over Andrews glove for a 2-2 tie.

That set up a dramatic third period with both teams’ legs beginning to lag. UMass Boston took advantage of the wind to begin the period as Daniel set up MacIntyre for a nifty goal. The Beacons’ senior captain took the puck from behind the net and sent a backhand pass that deflected off a defenseman’s stick, before MacIntyre could bat it home, just over Sutliffe’s shoulder.

Salem State would try everything they could to even the score, but UMass Boston’s defenseman stood strong, especially during a penalty-kill with under seven minutes to go.

McStravick put any Vikings’ comeback hope to an end with 8.7 seconds to go, when the scrappy fourth-liner sent a back-hand from just over his blue line into the net, while absorbing a huge hit.

UMass Boston will continue their thrilling start to 2014 when they host #5 Norwich University Friday night in ECAC East play.

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.