Wednesday, September 14, 2016

2015-16 Wesleyan Men's Hockey Season in Review

As we enter the 2015-16 academic calendar and the fall athletic season, we are reviewing the 2015-16 campaigns for each of the NESCAC men's hockey teams from #10 to #1.  Next up is ninth place Wesleyan. For #10 Conn College scroll down or click here 

9. Wesleyan Cardinals

2015-16 Reccord
2-9-7 in Conference (9th in NESCAC)
2-14-8 Overall

Dawson Sprigings was tested early and often in net for the Cards

Stats:
Overall (Conf. Rank)                                          Conference Games (Conf. Ranks)
Offense - 2.17 G/GM (9th)                                                         Offense - 2.17 G/GM (8th)
Defense - 3.58 G/GM (9th)                                                         Defense - 3.17 G/GM (9th)
Power Play - 10/80 12.5% (10th)                                              Power Play - 7/51 13.7% (7th)
Penalty Kill - 56/71 78.9% (10th)                                             Penalty Kill - 39/48 81.2% (9th) 
Penalty Minutes - 7.4 /Gm (9th)                                               Penalty Minutes - 6.9 /Gm (8th) 


Season Review
The good news for Wesleyan heading into 2015-16 was that they had nowhere to go but up. The 2014-15 rendition of the ice Cardinals went 3-21 overall and 2-16 in conference, good enough for last in the NESCAC.

Things were a bit different - if not much better in the final standings - in 2015-16. Coach Potter's players went from 0 tied in 24 games the season before to seven in conference this past season, enough to keep them in playoff contention all season.

Some of the same problems from years past, however, continued to hamper Wesleyan. In 2014-15, then sophomore James Kline and junior Jay Matthews combined for 18 of the team's 47 goals (38%) with no other Cardinal scoring more than four goals. A year later, Kline and Matthews combined for 20 of the team's 52 goals (38%) with only 14 goals coming from underclassmen. In net, junior Dawson Sprigings served as the team work horse, playing in 21 of 24 games and logging 1228 minutes to the tune of a pedestrian 3.18 GAA and sub .900 save percentage (.893).

High Point
When your season only contains two wins and they come in a three game stretch, that will likely be your high point. The second of the two wins, which came at home on January 30th, was the true apex of the season. A goal by senior Jaren Taenaka in the final two mintues of regulation lifted Wesleyan past Amherst for the first time since Barack Obama was President Elect of the United States of America. The Cardinals sat at 2-3-6 in the NESCAC at that point and in the thick of the playoff hunt.

Low Point 
And what followed when the Cardinals reached the Icarian height of beating the Purple and White for the first time since 2008? An 0-6-1 stretch, including five straight loses to end the season, the last four of which saw the Cardinals let up 5+ goals. WELP.

MVP
James Kline ('17) - For the second straight season, Pittsburgh native Jesse Root  James Kline was the only Wesleyan player to reach double digits in goals scored. Kline had seventeen points (12-5-17), 15 of which (10-5-15) came in conference.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2015-16 Conn College Men's Hockey Season in Review

As we enter the 2015-16 academic calendar and the fall athletic season, we are reviewing the 2015-16 campaigns for each of the NESCAC men's hockey teams from #10 to #1. First up is last place Conn College. 
It was a tough year for the Camels, who returned only two
blueliners from 2015-16, including Greg Liataud (#4 above)

10. Conn College Camels         

    

2015-2016 Record:
0-15-3 Conference (10th in NESCAC)
3-18-3 Overall 

Stats:
Overall  (Conference Rank)                       Conference Games (conf. rank)
Offense: 1.96 G/Gm (10th)                             Offense: 1.78 G/GM (10th)
Defense: 3.62 G/GM (10th)                            Defense: 4.00 G/GM (10th)
Power Play: 12/93 -12.9% (9th)                     Power Play: 9/68 -13.2% (10th) 
Penalty Kill: 71/84 - 84.5% (6th)                   Penalty Kill: 58/69 - 84.1% (6th)
Penalty Minutes per game - 8.6 (5th)            Penalty Minutes per game - 9.3(4th) 

Season Review 
The Camels entered the 2015-16 campaign coming off a 2014-15 season which saw Conn College earn both their first home playoff game (3rd seed) and their first trip to NESCAC Championship weekend in school history.  The Camels lost top scorer JC Cangelosi and most of their blueline, but returned key offensive pieces and a second team All-NESCAC goalie in Tom Conlin.

A dropoff may have been expected, but Jim Ward's wards completely fell off the table, becoming the first team in conference play (started in 1999) not to win a game in conference. Even a cursory glance at the stats tells the story: the 2015-16 Conn College Camels were a bad hockey team.


Friday, August 5, 2016

NESCAC Recruiting Twitter Update

We have plenty of time before the 2016-17 academic calendar starts, let alone the official release of rosters with the newest class of recruits. In the meantime, let's catch-up with what the twitterverse has to tell us about the incoming commits. As with all things twitter, it is fun and accessible, but hardly reliable as a comprehensive source of information (less than half of Bowdoin recruits show up on twitter, while Trinity and Wesleyan tweeted out all of their own recruits) . Just because a player isn't listed in the twittersphere as a recruit, it doesn't mean he won't be lacing it up as a neophyte NESCACer next fall at Sage or Alfond or the Malden Valley Forum II (get an on campus rink already, Tufts!). The converse is true as well, as a 140 character commitment doesn't mean you'll be on the roster come November 1.

There's quite a range of recruiting sources from schools that prefer Canadian Juniors (the entirety of Hamilton's recruiting) to schools that tend to go prep (looking at you, Williams) or US Juniors (Trinity) to a mix of all three. There's also a mix of mix of players from hockey recruits to the few that are looking to play as many sports as they can (welcome to the 'Cac, Frank Coslito).

And if you like stories told in 140 character snippets, check out some of the game stories from past NESCAC playoffs and NCAA Tournament games.


AMHERST



Saturday, July 30, 2016

Offseason News and Notes 7/30/16

We have plenty of time to kill until the start of NESCAC MIH team activities -  94 days to be exact - so let's catch-up on what has been going on around the 'Cac (that is not recruiting) in the offseason.

Dumont Hired as Meagher's Replacement at Bowdoin
Before the 2015-16 season, Bowdoin head coach Terry Meagher announced that his 33rd season as Polar Bear bench boss would be his last. After an NBC Sports Hockey Day in America Segment and a loss in the NESCAC Quarterfinals, Meagher took a golf vacation to Hawaii before being honored at an event in May mced by NHL announcer and Bowdoin alum Dale Arnold.


The next week Bowdoin announced that assistant Jamie Dumont would slide up the bench to take over the head coaching position. In between stints as Meagher's assistant (2001-2005; 2011-2016), the 1998 Oswego State graduate knotched head coaching experience in Europe and North American Juniors as well as assistant coaching experience at the DI NCAA level at Bowling Green. Dumont, a Lewiston,ME native, becomes just the third Bowdoin coach since 1959 (Meagher and Sid Watson). He is also the only member of the current 'Cac coaching brethren that earned an internal promotion to the head coaching position. Neil Sinclair, who took over for another legend in Bill Beaney at Middlebury last year, had been a Panthers assistant but was most recently the head coach of Skidmore before taking over Middlebury.

The vacancy at the assistant coaching position left by Dumont's promotion was filled earlier this month by Eric Graham, a former University of Southern Maine Player, who spent the last four years coaching prep school (North Yarmouth Academy).


Stanley Cup in Brunswick? ...Or Waterville?
Bowdoin blueliner Matt Sullivan's dad, Mike Sullivan, started the 2015-16 season as the head coach of the Penguins AHL affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins. Mike had a 12 year professional career in pro hockey, including stints with the Sharks, Flames and Coyotes, before moving on to coaching. The Marshfield, MA, native helmed his hometown Bruins from 2003-2005 and proceeded to a slew of assistant gigs in the NHL. He spent 2014-15 as a player development coach for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the same organization as former Conn College player Adam Rogowin ('03), the 'Hawks Director of Public Relations. 

Fast forward to December 2015 when the underachieving Penguins fired head coach Mike Johnston and replaced him with Sullivan. The 'Cac dad helped the flightless birds soar into the playoffs all the way to the franchise's fourth Stanley Cup title last month with a six game series win over the San Jose Sharks. Pretty safe to say that a NESCAC player's dad will be coaching an NHL team next season #JobSecurity. 

And so, the Stanley Cup will be making an appearance in Central Maine on August 2nd at a NESCAC school...in Waterville.  Andy Saucier, Waterville native and grandson of Colby coaching legend Jack Kelley, is the Penguins video coach and has decided to share the Cup with the Colby community next Tuesday. The hallowed hardware will be on display from 1- 3 PM at Alfond Rink.  Speaking of the rink, looks like Colby has some plans for a new building. 


Former Tufts Coach Passes Away
Former Tufts coach (1994-97)  Steve Hoar passed away earlier this month. Hoar was the head coach of Becker's men hockey team at the time of his death. An age and cause of death were not included in the Becker College release, found here.


NCAA OT Rule Change Walked Back
In June, the NCAA Rules Committee reccommended that overtime in NCAA hockey be changed to a mandatory four-on-four format, a move that mirrors the junior and pro-ranks (the NHL actually went down to three-on-three last season) designed to reduce the number of ties in the sport.

But there was a six week gap between the proposal and the final vote by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on July 20th to make it official. And apparently a fair number of NCAA coaches weren't too pleased with the tinkering of the format.  So the new rule was abandoned, though the experimental rule to allow for three-on-three overtime after the normal five-on-five minute overtime in conference games was approved. The extra period (shootouts are already allowed) would only be to determine conference standings or in-season tournaments and the game would still go down as a tie. You won't see the NESCAC taking advantage of this option anytime soon. 

A rule requiring players and refs to wear helmets on the ice at all-times on the ice, besides the national anthem, was also passed. The change comes after D-I ref Butch Mousseau died tragically in March from head injuries suffered from a fall in pre-game warmups for the WCHA Final Five.

Linls, Links Links

Alex Walsh ('16) talks about his time at Colby.

Former Conn College captain Keith Veronesi ('14) reflects on his relationship with the recently departed Gordie Howe 

Incident in wee hours of morning leads to arrest of Colby MIH senior hours before he was set to graduate. 

Trinity Athletics recaps their 2015-16 season, which included a NESCAC MIH title and an end to their NCAA title defense in the NCAA Tournament opening round. 

Former Wesleyan assistant Rick McKenna earns head coaching job at UW-Superior

Middlebury alum Robbie Donahoe ('14) will be back with the ECHL's Manchester Monarchs next season

Tufts goalie Mason Pulde named to CoSIDA Academic All-America Team

Six NESCAC schools make 32 team field, Hamilton makes it to Elite Eight of Sports Illustrated's Great Mascot Bracket 



Saturday, June 11, 2016

NESCAC puckers in spring sports

With NESCAC seniors having graduated, we are now firmly entrenched in the Siberian wasteland of the offseason: 97 days since the 2016 NESCAC MIH Finals, 83 days since Williams' loss in the NCAA Quarters, but still  142 days until the start of team activities next season.

While coaches prepped for next season during the spring - sans Terry Meagher, who had his retirement ceremony last month- and some players enjoyed some time off from structured athletic activities, others jumped from the rink to the field.

Below are members of 2015-16 NESCAC MIH teams that were on the rosters of spring sports, listed in order of schools alphabetically. If we missed anybody, please let us know.

Amherst
First up on our list is Dave Cunningham '16, who is probably the most visible (well, as visible as a NESCAC athlete can be) of the NESCAC MIH two sport athletes. The 2014 Second Team All-NESCAC goalie has played baseball in three of his four years in central Mass. He only missed his junior baseball season after suffering a season ending hip injury midway through the 2015-16 hockey campaign. An aspiring writer in addition to his athletic achievements, Cunningham has written candidly about his two sport journey and troubles with injury for the Amherst Student. 

After ending his hockey career with a disappointing loss to Trinity in the NESCAC finals in March, Cunningham joined his baseball brethren for his seventh and final season of NCAA athletics. He had had his most successful season on the diamond, posting a .354 batting average, .431 on base percentage and .522 slugging percentage to go along with a .966 fielding percentage at first base (Cunningham's hip injuries moved him out form behind the plate). These numbers earned Cunningham a spot on the All-NESCAC First Team.

Bowdoin 
Bowdoin has a bevy of (Polar) Bears that ply their athletic trades off the ice. Co-NESCAC Men's Ice Hockey Rookie of the Year Cody Todesco joined sophomore blueliner Cullen Geary on the baseball diamond. Neither saw much playing time, with Todseco only garnering 38 at-bats as an infielder and Geary only doubling the number of games he dressed for in the hockey season with eight ABs. Mitch Barrington, Camil Blanchet, and Peter Bensen play lacrosse - the natural progression for hockey - in Brunswick. Barrington appeared in 16 games as a midfielder, while Blanchet made seven appearances on D and Bensen snuck in five caps at midfield.


Tufts
After posting four points (2-2-4) in 18 games on the ice, sophomore Dan Kelly posted one of the best batting averages for the NESCAC baseball champion Jumbos. The Belmont Hill product hit .327 with a .455 on-base percentage in 98 at-bats.

Wesleyan
Chad Malinowski kicked off his collegiate hockey career by leading the Cardinals in blueliner and rookie points with seven (4-3-7). He didn't fare quite as well in lax, only dressing in two games in the backfield. Pittsburgh native Jesse Root  Robby Harbison notched an assist in 18 games on the ice while posting a .257 average in 35 plate appearances on the diamond.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Catching up with the NESCACers in the Pros

The NESCAC hockey season ended on Saturday night with Williams' 2-1 loss to Geneseo in the NCAA Quarterfinals. But that doesn't mean former NESCAC players aren't still plying their trade at the pro ranks. So instead of staring at the abyss of 224 days until the start of 2016-17 team activities, let's catch up on our former brethren. With due respect to the likes of Bowdoin's Colin Downey in Courbevoie and others playing globally, we are going to focus on North American pros.

AHL (AAA) 
Like last season, Bowdoin alum Jon Landry ('06) is the only former NESCAC player to play at the highest level of minor league hockey. Despite leading the Hershey Bears in +/- last season, the 32 year old Quebecois defensemen did not get any offers headed into the season. By mid-November, Landry signed with the Utica Comets, affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks and co-tenant in the Aud with D-III's own Utica Pioneers. 

The former Polar Bear has had his best offensive season in per game numbers with 21 points (6-15-21) in 36 games for the Comets, who are currently third in the North Division of the AHL's Eastern Conference. Landry was out for about a month, but returned this past week and apparently he's healthy enough to lay out some people. 


ECHL (AA)
The ECHL has been a bit more hospitable to the 'Cac, specifically to former Middlebury Panthers. After winning an SPHL title with the Knoxville Ice Bears last season, Robbie Donahoe ('14) caught on with the LA Kings' AA affiliate Manchester Monarchs this season. He has been with the club all season, only missing time due to injury in November and December. In 36 games, the former two-sport collegiate star (golf) has seven points (2-5-7) and +9 for the east division leading New Hampshire squad.

The ECHL road for Donahoe's former teammate, Louis Belisle ('14), has been a bit more circuitous. Belisle has spent the majority of the season with the SPHL's Columbus Cottonmouths, whom he earned 1st Team All-SPHL honors with as a rookie last season. He has had three stints in the ECHL this sesason: six games with the South Carolina Stingrays (Washington Capitals) in November/December , eight games with the Wheeling Nailers (Pittsburgh Penguins) last month, and he is currently six games into a stint with the Fort Wayne Komets. Belisle has three points  (1-2-3) in the 20 games.


Other NESCAC players that have seen action in the ECHL include  Trinity's Jackson Brewer ('15) and Conn College's Tim DiPretoro, who just finished up his college career last month. Brewer has spent most of his first pro season bouncing around the SPHL, but he did have a three game run with the injury depleted Evansville IceMen (Ottawa Senators). For DiPretoro, he recently signed with the only Canadian team in the ECHL,  Brampton Beast (Montreal Canadians). Normally seniors sign ATO's during SpringBreak but according to the ECHL transactions list, Dipretoro signed a standard player contract. He has a point in four games so far with another week left on his spring break.



SPHL (A) 
As mentioned previously, Brewer has spent most of the season at the Southern Professional Hockey League level, mostly with the Huntsville Havoc. In 29 games for the Alabama squad, the 2014 NESCAC Player of the Year posted sixteen points (5-11-16), a winning shootout goal and a Mariah Carey Christmas karoake session. Brewer has also spent eight games with Donahoe's old club, Knoxville, posting four points in eight games (2-2-4), and is currently with the newest SPHL club, the Georgia based Macon Mayhem. Brewer has eight points (2-6-8) in nine games for the Mayhem.

Brewer was joined in Huntsville by former Cac foe and Bowdoin alum John McGinnis ('15). The Cocoa, FL native has spent the entire season with the Havoc and has 32 points (12-20-32) in 51 games McGinnis was briefly joined in Huntsville by another Polar Bear, Leland Fidler ('10), who scored a goal in his two game stint in January. Fidler has spent parts of the past three seasons with Huntsville and has bounced around 10 teams in four leagues (FHL,CHL, SPHL, ECHL) since leaving Brunswick.

As mentioned above, Belisle has had the Columbus Cottonmouth as home base when not in the ECHL. The former Panther has 27 points (12-15-27) in 30 games for the Cottonmouths, who currently sit in last place in the nine team SPHL. Like the NESCAC, eight teams make the playoffs and Columbus is five points behind Macon for the final postseason birth.

The Fayetteville FireAntz (yes, with a z) sit in fifth place in the SPHL, three points ahead of Huntsville (though with four extra games played).  Fayetteville employed Hamilton Alum Bennett Schneider ('13.5) as recently as yesterday before cutting him today. Schneider spent 32 games as a FireAnt enforcer, posting  five points (1-4-5) and sixty-eight penalty minutes. There's no fighting in NCAA hockey, but as you can see below, that restriction does not apply to pro hockey, especially south of the Mason-Dixon line. Schneider spent 28 games in the SPHL in early 2014 after leaving the Continentals midseason due to early graduation in December 2013, but was away from pro-hockey in 2014-15.



Did we miss anybody? Know someone who is on the verge of singing an ATO for Spring Break? Send us the info at hockeynescac@gmail.com 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

NCAA Tournament Quarterfinal 3/19/16: Geneseo 2 Williams 1

Williams 1
Geneseo  2
Box Score   Williams Recap   Geneseo Recap 

Arthur Gordon scored twice in the first and Devin McDonald made 31 saves as Geneseo held on for a 2-1 win to end Williams' season. The only goal for Williams came midway through the third, just after the end of a power play, when Luke Stickel worked it from the corner to Colby Cretella our in front and Cretella subsequently buried it upstairs past McDonald's glove.

The Ephs outshot the Knights by six (thanks to an aggressive third period) and did a good job of staying out of the box for a potent Geneseo Power Play (0/1). Coach Bill Kangas' krew also did a good job of shutting down the 50+ goal line of Collins-Mara-Hill. In the end, it was the Knights freshman that did the Ephs in, from Gordon's two goals assisted by fellow first yera Broddie Tutton and the unphased performance by McDonald. The Ephs own freshman goalie Michael Pinios was also solid, allowing zero goals in the final two periods and making 24 saves overall.

Speaking of freshman, Ephs first liner Roberto Cellini, who was carted off after an injury by the boards in the 1st round win over Salem State, did not play. That was to be expected, but unless I am mistaken, it appears that Tyler Young was also out, unexpectedly, and seldom used Tyler Carmolla and Marcus Mollicia dressed.

Regardless of the lineup shuffle, the Ephs played a strong game and ended up losing a tight one to a good, hot team. The Knights outscored their last three opponents in the SUNY-AC semis/finals and NCAA 1st round by a combined score of 20-3 before the matchup with Williams.

The win sends the Knights to Lake Placid for the D-III Final Four, along with fellow 2014 Final Four participants U-Wisconsin Stevens Point and St. Norbert. NESCAC fans might remember the Pointers as the team that Trinity defeated in the finals last season. Pointers fans will remember St. Norbert's as the team that defeated them in the 2014 finals. The pair of Knights (St. Norbert and Geneseo) and Pointers will be joined by UMass-Boston - the team that blanked Trinity in this year's opening round - in Lake Placid. The Beacons are making their first appearance in both the NCAA D-III Tournament and thus the Final Four (or Phrozen Phour, not to be confused with the D-I Frozen Four). They blanked Hobart last night at The Cooler in Geneva, NY to punch a ticket to Herb Brooks Arena.

If there is a team with a narrative that would make the end of the NESCAC season a little more palatable, it is the Knights. In mid-January, the Geneseo community was shocked by a three person  murder-suicide that included senior hockey defenseman Matthew Hutchinson among its victims.

For the Ephs, they end their first trip to the NCAA Tournament with their heads held high and a school record 19 wins for the season. They'll lose key pieces like NESCAC Player of the Year Zander Massuci, but they'll also return their top four goal scorers and the reigning Second Team All-NESCAC goalie in now frosh Michael Pinios.

It was another exciting season of NESCAC men's ice hockey. 226 days until 2016-17 team activities begin! Congrats to the Geneseo Knights and the rest of the participants in next week's Final Four. We look forward to sending a NESCAC team to the Aud in Utica, home of Bowdoin alum Jon Landry's AHL team, the Utica Comets, and site of the 2017 NCAA D-III MIH Final Four.