Mass. College Hockey: Five Games To Watch This Weekend (Jan. 31-Feb. 2)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The first weekend of February is upon us, which means conference tournaments are right around the corner. Yet, before we worry about seeding, let’s dish out our five college hockey games to watch this weekend.

Men’s Ice Hockey:

Bentley at Mercyhurst (Fri. 7:05 p.m./Sat 7:05 p.m.) – First place in Atlantic Hockey is on the line this weekend. The Falcons, who’re two points behind Mercyhurst, will attempt to pick up two critical road victories. So far this season, Bentley is 7-6-2 on the road. As noted in this weekend’s preview, the Falcons’ power play unit is second in the country to St. Lawrence. Last weekend, they netted two power play goals, improving their percentage to 28.1 (27-for-96). As usual, keep an eye on Brett Gensler, who leads the unit in points (16 goals, 19 assists).

Amherst at No. 11 Trinity (Sat. 7:30 p.m.) – Since falling to Williams at Frozen Fenway, the Bantams have been on a roll, winning six straight contests, including two tilts last weekend against Connecticut College and Tufts University. They’ll look to extend their winning streak to seven on Saturday when they host Amherst, a squad they lost to earlier this season, 3-1. The Lord Jeffs return to conference play following a 3-1 setback to Lake Forest last Saturday. Amherst does own the third best NESCAC mark of 7-3, while Trinity is 8-2. The Bantams are currently the number one squad in the NESCAC in scoring offense (4.56), while Amherst is second in scoring defense (2.38 goals yielded), thanks to goaltender Dave Cunningham, who’s logged 774:36 minutes between the pipes.

Women’s Ice Hockey:

No. 3/5 Harvard at No. 9/9 Quinnipiac (Sat. 4 p.m.) – The Crimson will look to extend their current four-game winning streak to six by the end of the weekend (their first contest features a trip to Princeton on Friday evening). Harvard’s 2-0 win last Friday over Union was their 600th win, which is the most wins among Boston-area schools, according to this weekend’s preview. Miye D’Oench leads the Crimson with 19 points (11 goals, eight assists), while Hillary Crowe and Samantha Reber are tied for second with 17 points, respectively.

Providence at No. 7 Boston College (Sat. 2 p.m.) – The Eagles have won 12 of 13 contests (no losses, one tie in their last 13 games) and will look to keep their momentum going against a Friars squad that’s 2-2 in their last four contests. Andie Anastos, a fist-year forward, has recorded at least one point in her team’s last five outings. So far this season, she’s registered 11 goals and 14 assists.

Williams at Bowdoin (Fri. 7 p.m./ Sat. 3 p.m.) – The Ephs will look to extend their current winning streak to six games as they travel to Maine for an important conference series with the Polar Bears. First-year netminder Margaret Draper has been quite impressive this season, as she recently earned her third shut out when Williams blanked Colby last Saturday, 4-0. Meghan Gillis, Williams’ head coach, was quite pleased with her team’s effort against the Mules, but hopes her squad will continue to generate additional scoring chances in front of their opponent’s cage. Williams ranks second in scoring offense in the NESCAC and is averaging 3.50 goals per game.

Mass. College Football: Bentley 17, Mercyhurst 16 (RECAP)

Bentley began their 2013 season with an impressive win against Mercyhurst! (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth)

Bentley began their 2013 season with an impressive win against Mercyhurst! (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth)

By Brian Willwerth 

WALTHAM, MA – This was a terrific season opener between two good teams, in which special teams played a major role in the outcome.

Bentley University defeated Mercyhurst University on Saturday afternoon, 17-16.  The game featured a blocked field goal, a perfectly executed fake field goal attempt, and a difference making missed extra point.

“We knew coming in that we were going to be in a very tough dogfight,” said Bentley Head Coach Thom Boerman. “We said special teams were probably going to be a huge factor, and they were.”

The Lakers, out of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC,) drew first blood on their opening possession. They marched it 52 yards in seven plays, and Anthony Vendemia capped it off with a six-yard TD pass to Jeff Groene. After Bentley kicker Michael Baron had a 39-yard FG attempt partially blocked, he redeemed himself with a 27-yarder in the second quarter to make it 7-3.

The Falcons took a 10-7 lead when Danny Guadagnoli threw an 18-yard TD pass to Jet Kollie on 4th and 5. But Mercyhurst would re-take the lead just before the intermission. After the Lakers executed a fake field goal to set up a first-and-goal, Brandon Brown-Dukes ran it in from three yards out. But Jordan Spangler’s extra point attempt was no good, so the margin at halftime was just three. That missed PAT would turn out to be huge.

In the third quarter, Spangler nailed one from 31 yards out to give his team a six-point lead, but Bentley answered later in the quarter with an eight-play, 72-yard drive. Kollie’s second TD of the game – this time on the ground – gave the Falcons a one-point advantage.

The Bentley defense took over from there.  After allowing the field goal at the start of the third quarter, the Falcons did not allow any more points the rest of the way. The Lakers got one final possession with 1:22 remaining, but were unable to cross midfield and were stopped on 4th and 2.

“We were banged up, so I wasn’t certain what was going to happen,” said Boerman. “You don’t know who’s going to step up, but they did, the entire unit.  Coach (Rusty) McKinney did a great job. (They) dominated the second half.”

Guadagnoli finished 20-of-28 for 162 yards with one TD and one INT. Vendemia threw for 207 yards. Mercyhurst also held the advantage in rushing yards (163-137). But at the end of the day, it was the special teams that made the difference.

“We’ve been playing out of conference opponents for a number of years now,” said Boerman.  “But you’ve got to start beating those teams We’re getting a win against a quality opponent that I think, again, can just validate the Northeast-10 as much as Bentley University.”

Bentley will host Assumption on Friday night.

Mass. College Football: Saturday Scoreboard

By NoontimeSports.com 

The second weekend of college football occurred this afternoon and below are the outcomes.

* Maine 24, UMass 14

* Towson 49, Holy Cross 7 

* Bentley 17, Mercyhurst 16 

* Bloomsburg 41, Stonehill 13 

* Bryant 34, Assumption 7

* Worcester State 34, Anna Maria 6

* Salve Regina 36, Bridgewater State 7

* Springfield 49, Western New England 40

* Framingham State 35, Endicott 23

* MIT 28, Pomona-Pitzer 26  

Mass. College Football: The View From Bentley University

By NoontimeSports.com 

The 2013 season is just days away, and Bentley University is hoping it will end with a Northeast-10 Championship.

On Tuesday morning, Noontime Sports’ Brian Willwerth caught up with Head Coach Thom Boerman to get his thoughts on the upcoming season.

Boerman says most of his offensive skill players return from last year’s 8-2 team, whose only two losses came by a combined eight points. Once again this year, quarterback Danny Guadagnoli will be under center. Boerman says he’s looked very strong in practice. The senior captain from Framingham is coming off an outstanding year in which he completed almost 62 percent of his passes, 16 of them for touchdowns. His pass efficiency rating of 150.26 was second in the conference and 25th nationally. The Falcons’ offense averaged over 26 points per game.

Defensively, Boerman will be looking for guys to step up, now that Steve and Don Hopkins have graduated. The coach says two players to keep an eye on this season are both captains: linebacker Blaine Hopwood, who led the team in tackles in each of the last two seasons, and defensive end Matt Campo, who was named the team’s Co-Defensive Most Improved Player in 2012.

Boerman expects the NE-10 to be extremely competitive again this year, saying there’s a lot of parity in the league. The Falcons are picked to finish third in the preseason coaches’ poll, behind New Haven and American International, the two teams Bentley lost to in 2012.

The Falcons will kick off the regular season on Saturday against Mercyhurst, a team that went 9-2 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) last year.

Mass. College Hockey: Weekend Schedule

By Matt Noonan 

We’ve got a busy weekend of college hockey upon us and below is the schedule. Make sure to checkback throughout the weekend for scores, roundups and recaps.

Men’s Ice HockeyHockey East Semifinals/Finals @ TD Garden 

* Game No. 1: Providence College vs. UMass Lowell, 5 p.m. @ TD Garden (Fri., Mar. 22) 

* Game No. 2: Boston College vs. Boston University, 8 p.m. @ TD Garden (Fri. Mar. 22) 

* Championship: Winner of Game No. 1 vs. Winner of Game No. 2, 7 p.m @ TD Garden (Sat., Mar. 23) 

Women’s Ice HockeyNCAA Frozen Four @ University of Minnesota 

* Game No. 1: Boston College vs. Minnesota, 6 p.m. (Fri., Mar. 22) 

* Game. No. 2: Boston University vs. Mercyhurst, 9 p.m. (Fri., Mar. 22)

* Championship: Winner of Game No. 1 vs. Winner of Game No. 2, 4 p.m.  (Sun., Mar. 24)