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.

Mass. College Hockey: Former BC Right-Wing Hayes Inks 3-Year Deal With Boston Bruins

By Matt Noonan 

Former Boston College men’s ice hockey right-wing Jimmy Hayes inked his name on a three-year contract with the Boston Bruins this afternoon, which was confirmed through a press release by the team.

Hayes was traded to Boston last Wednesday in a deal that sent Reilly Smith and Marc Savard’s contract to the Florida Panthers.

Former Boston College men's ice hockey right wing Jimmy Hayes inked his name on a three-year deal with the Boston Bruins. (Photo Credit: Sun-Sentinel.com)

Former Boston College men’s ice hockey right wing Jimmy Hayes inked his name on a three-year deal with the Boston Bruins. (Photo Credit: Sun-Sentinel.com)

A Dorchester native, Hayes was a second round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008. He was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 and skated in part of three seasons – 43 games to be exact – before he was dealt to the Florida Panthers during the 2013-14 campaign. With the Panthers, Hayes appeared in 125 games and recorded 30 goals and 23 assists. His best season as a pro was this past year where he registered 19 goals and 16 assists (35 points) in 72 games.

Hayes spent three seasons with Boston College, tallying 42 goals and 39 assists for 81 points. His best season with the Eagles occurred during the 2010-11 season when he netted a career-best 21 goals, along with 12 assists. Boston College captured the Boston Beanpot and Hockey East regular season and tournament crowns before concluding their campaign in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

In 2010, Hayes and the Eagles defeated Wisconsin in the NCAA Championship game, 5-0, to claim the program’s fourth national championship.

Mass. College Hockey: BC Tops UML, Advances To 2014 Frozen Four

By Matt Noonan 

The Boston College men’s ice hockey team netted a pair of goals in the final frame, which helped the Eagles defeat UMass Lowell, 4-3, on Sunday in the NCAA Northeast Regional Final at the DCU Center in Worcester.

With the win, BC advances to the Frozen Four and will face-off against Union College, which captured the East Region with a 3-1 win over Providence College last night.

Trailing 3-2 in the third period, BC rallied with back-to-back strikes from Ryan Fitzgerald and Ian McCoshen to secure a one-goal lead. The River Hawks tried to net the equalizer, but the Eagles’ defense, along with goaltender Thatcher Demko shut the door on their opponent’s attempts. Demko turned away 29 of 32 shots, while UML’s backstop, Connor Hellebuyck, finished with 25 stops.

Both teams swapped goals in the first and second period before UML earned its first and only lead in the third with an Evan Campbell unassisted tally.

Kevin Hayes and Bill Arnold also scored goals from BC, while UML’s Michael Kapla and Josh Holmstrom each located the back of the Eagles cage.

UML converted on one of three power plays, as well as outshot the Eagles, 32-29.

BC (28-7-4) will return to the ice on Thursday, April 10 when they take on the Dutchmen, while UML concludes its season 26-11-4).

Mass. College Hockey: BC, UML Earns Spots In NCAA Northeast Regional

By NoontimeSports.com 

Two local college hockey teams will be competing in the upcoming NCAA Division 1 Frozen Four, which begins Friday, March 28. However, Boston College and UMass Lowell won’t commence their quests toward Pittsburgh, the site of this year’s championship and semifinals, until Saturday, March 29.

UMass Lowell, which won its second consecutive Hockey East crown last night with a 4-0 win over New Hampshire, will take on Minnesota State-Mankato, while Boston College will face-off against Denver. Both games will be held in Worcester at the DCU Center. BC-Denver is slated for a 4 p.m. start, while UML-Minnesota State-Mankato is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

If the Eagles and River Hawks are both victorious in the first-round, then the Northeast Regional Championship will be a Hockey East showdown. The championship is scheduled for Sunday, March 30 at 5 p.m.

For more information on the 2014 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament – HOP HERE

Mass. College Hockey: UML Tops UNH, Claims Second Straight Hockey East Crown

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, Mass. – For the second straight year, UMass Lowell claimed the Hockey East crown as the River Hawks skated past University of New Hampshire, 4-0, on Saturday evening at the TD Garden.

With the win, UMass Lowell is now 2-2 in title contests. Their last win occurred last season when the River Hawks defeated Jack Parker and the Boston University Terriers.

Similar to their semifinal contest against Notre Dame last night, the River Hawks scored two goals in both the first and second periods. They also relied on their backstop, Connor Hellebuyck, who deflected 30 shots and was named the Hockey East Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

“I thought we started the game rather well,” said UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin, who guided the River Hawks to its second consecutive Hockey East championship.

“(The) first and second periods obviously were very opportunist and getting off to that type of lead certainly eases attention, but it didn’t make it easier in the third, I can tell you that.”

A.J. White provided the River Hawks with an early lead as he redirected a shot in front of the New Hampshire cage at 12:12.

UMass Lowell netted its second goal literally three minutes later as Josh Holmstrom fired a shot past a diving Casey DeSmith (26 saves), which provided the River Hawks with a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.

Joe Gambardella and Jake Suter each netted goals in the middle frame that pushed the River Hawks ahead by four goals.

New Hampshire ramped up its intensity during the final minutes of the third period; desperately trying to find a goal, but Hellebuyck and the River Hawks defense dashed any hopes of a potential comeback.

“It was a strange game,” said New Hampshire head coach Dick Umile, who guided the Wildcats to the title game following a series win last weekend against Northeastern University and a semifinal victory last night against Providence College.

“I thought our team competed, we played hard, (but) it just didn’t happen. Eric (Knodel) and the seniors have been a great group for us with great leadership and the difficult part is it’s a team with great chemistry, we wanted to keep going, (but) not only were they winning and playing hard, but we were enjoying it and having fun doing it and its tough for the season to end.”

UMass Lowell finished with 35 shots on net, while New Hampshire fired 30 shots. The River Hawks were one for four on the power play, thanks to their final goal by Suter, while the Wildcats were unsuccessful on two attempts.

UMass Lowell, which will be making its sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, will look to build on its success this weekend when they return to the ice next week. The River Hawks made it to semifinals (Frozen Four) last year, but lost to Yale University, 3-2.

“Tonight, like I told you, it wasn’t a work of art, but we found a way and that’s a good trait of a winning club,” said Bazin. “This year was such a grueling year. We’re going to give them some time off here before we play next week and we’re going to make sure we keep working on special teams, (which) seems to be the difference in all these games. Thankfully for us we were one for four I believe tonight, scoring another power play goal. Yesterday, we scored a couple, so from that standpoint it has been the difference and will be for all teams.”