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.

Mass. College Sports: Thursday Morning Check-In

Joel Smith's game-high 29 points helped Northeastern clinch the CAA regular season title on Wednesday! (Photo Credit: Boston Herald/Christopher Evans)

Joel Smith’s game-high 29 points helped Northeastern clinch the CAA regular season title on Wednesday! (Photo Credit: Boston Herald/Christopher Evans)

By Matt Noonan 

So we missed Wednesday’s “mid-week” check-in. We apologize, but to make up for our absence, here it is a day later.

* The Northeastern University men’s basketball team won the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title last night by defeating Georgia State in overtime, 90-84. Joel Smith netted a game-best 29 points, while the Huskies set a conference record by going a perfect 27 of 27 at the stripe.

* Tuesday night featured one of the greatest comebacks in Division III hockey as UMass Dartmouth rallied from a three-goal deficit to defeat Salem State in triple overtime, 5-4. Nate Dupere, who hails from Fall River, wristed a shot from inside the blue line during the third extra session at 1:55, which lifted the hosts to victory. According to the box score, Dupere’s strike happened to be his first of the season.

* UMass’ men’s lacrosse team will be looking to earn its 18th consecutive regular season victory on Saturday when they host Brown University. The Minutemen have fended off Army, Harvard and North Carolina this season and haven’t dropped a contest to the Bears since March 14, 2009.

* The 11th annual Hockey East women’s tournament begins tomorrow as Maine travels to Boston College for a 7:00 p.m. face-off. Boston University and Northeastern University each earned spots and will play their games on Saturday. The winners from the four quarterfinal matchups will advance to next weekend’s semifinals and finals, which will be held at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Rink, Hyannis Youth and Community Center in Hyannis.

* First-year coach Bill Decker will lead Harvard’s baseball team into action this weekend when the Crimson travel to Virginia this weekend to play two contests against Bucknell University and a pair against Virginia.

Mass. College Hockey: News and Notes From Div. III Hockey

UMass Boston's Courtney White found the net twice for the first time this season, as she registered goals in the Beacons last two contests! (Photo Credit: UMass Boston)

UMass Boston’s Courtney White found the back of the net twice last weekend, as she registered her first two goals of the season for the Beacons. (Photo Credit: UMass Boston)

By Matt Noonan 

Some news and notes from the Div. III hockey world.

Men’s Ice Hockey News and Notes:

* Norwich University’s men’s team returned to the top of the D3Hockey.com recent poll this past week. Is that a surprise? I don’t think so. However, their loss a few weeks ago to Babson College was certainly a shocker and certainly means they’re vulnerable.

* Speaking of Babson, they’re currently one of the top three teams in the ECAC East division. This weekend, they’ll square off against UMass Boston in back-to-back contests. Both teams are five points behind Norwich in the standings and could certainly use some additional tallies and wins.

* The Beacons of UMass Boston have been a great story this year. They’ve already matched their win total from a year ago with 13 victories. Peter MacIntyre picked up his third ECAC East Rookie of the Week award following his performance over the past week, which feature two goals and three assists in a 3-0-0 week for the Beacons.

* Bowdoin College remains the top squad in the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference), but on their tail is Amherst College and Williams College. The Ephs, though, have a better conference record than the Lord Jeffs, and will attempt to pick up some important points this weekend when they skate against Connecicut College and Tufts University.

* Amherst’s defense will have to be at its best on Friday when they host Wesleyan University. The Cardinals offense is second in the conference with goals scored (61) and penalty kills. However, the Lord Jeffs scoring defense has been rather impressive this season, especially since they’ve only yielded a league-best 24 goals.

* The ECAC Northeast is certainly up for grabs. Five teams have eight points, but three teams (Nichols College, Wentworth and Western New England) have four conference wins. The Bison have the most overall wins with 11.

* In the MASCAC (Massachusetts State Athletic Conference) Plymouth State remains the top squad with 16 points. However, four teams are on their tail. Westfield State and UMass Dartmouth both have 13 points, while Fitchburg State and Salem State have 11 points.

* Worcester State had two players earn some conference honors this past week. Cody Brier was named the Men’s Ice Hockey Player of the Week, while Taylor Fant’s 34 saves in the Lancers win against Plymouth State earned him the Goalie of the Week award.

Women’s Ice Hockey Notes:

* In the NESCAC, Amherst’s ranks fourth in offensive production, as they’ve netted 39 strikes this season.

* Amherst’s Geneva Lloyd ranks fourth in points scoring; she’s recorded nine goals and eight assists this season. Other point scorers for the Lord Jeffs include Tori Salmon (three goals, 10 assists) and Megan Doyen (eight goals, four assists).

* Holy Cross hasn’t dropped a contest since 2013 began. The Crusaders are 4-0-1 in January and remain the fourth best team in the ECAC East. The Purple and White have 12 points thus far, as well as a 5-3-2 conference mark. This weekend, they’ll face Plymouth State and Southern Maine. Both opponents have struggled this season, so it’ll be important for Peter Van Buskirk’s squad to be at its best.

* UMass Boston will look to build off its 1-0-1 weekend by attempting to even their record with wins against Manhattanville College and Nichols College. Both games are at home.

* UMass Boston’s Courtney White netted her first two goals of the season last weekend and will look to build off her performance on Friday and Saturday.