logjam in second place in the Hockey East standings –
featuring Boston University, Maine and New Hampshire –
is about more than who has a shot to jump up and catch Boston
College in the final four weeks of the regular season.
three-way tie for second, you see, is also a three-way tie
for fourth. Which makes it a mad scramble to get into second
or third place and avoid playing UMass Lowell in the first
round of the Hockey East playoffs.
Lowell isn’t assured of the fifth spot, and even if
they get it, third place may be no picnic if you’re
facing the Beanpot champion Northeastern Huskies. But there
are a number of reasons for BU, Maine and UNH to be clamoring
for third or better. Here are two big reasons the River
Hawks are dangerous:
leading the officiating crackdown have vowed to maintain
its vigilance through the playoffs, which will bode well
for the River Hawks. Their 24.6-percent power play is especially
lethal with the first unit on the ice, which often happens
for the entire two minutes.
makes them so good are their interchangable parts: they
typically set up with Andrew Martin and Cleve Kinley manning
the points, but Elias Godoy and Ben Walter will rotate into
those positions as well. That movement forces the penalty
killing team to adjust, opening up passing and shooting
the beneficiary is the fifth member of the first unit, Danny
O'Brien, who stakes his claim to the slot area. Most players
who occupy that space on the ice are the size of David Ortiz,
but O'Brien's just 5-foot-8, 188 pounds. To Godoy, who set
him up for his fifth goal in four games Saturday night,
size doesn't matter.
a hunter," said Godoy. "O'B's got very good command
of loose pucks and the ability to get to rebounds. Every
time he gets a chance he puts it in."
defensemen are punishing O'Brien for invading their space,
he doesn't seem to mind.
an easy job with guys like Marty and Eli and Cleve and Walter
getting you the puck," he said. "It's all worth
it. Nothing hurts."
River Hawks’ all-for-one attitude manifests itself
in many ways, from how MacDonald says his players hold each
other accountable for the systems they play to the way most
of them stand excitedly on the bench throughout the game.
another example: Godoy, arguably one of the five most creative
players in the conference, spent Saturday night skating
between two players who aren’t among the team’s
top seven scorers. That's not to slight Mark Pandolfo or
René Gauthier, his linemates against Providence,
but it's still surprising to see the team's top returning
scorer on what could accurately be described as the third
of course, doesn't mind.
I'm not playing with 23-goal Ben Walter, Andrew Martin,
Danny O'Brien, I don't care," said the junior from
West Vancouver, B.C. "Whatever it takes to win, I'm
on board. I'll play with anyone."
also has a kinship with classmate Pandolfo, who he played
with last season when Pandolfo scored 13 goals. He has just
four thus far this year, but Godoy likes the opportunity
to help him turn things around. Saturday he sprung Gauthier
with a pass that led to Gauthier's first goal of the season.
love to make guys who haven't been playing their best better,"
said Godoy. "Guys like René Gauthier, who has
a boatload of skill. I like to talk to him and get him to
show what he can do."
AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
Friars – The pain from Providence’s
seven-win season to this point shows no signs of abating.
What could have been a turning-point weekend – featuring
a 2-2 tie against Boston College and a comeback to force
overtime at UMass Lowell – ended on a bitter note
with a controversial River Hawk goal in overtime.
Tejchma led UML on a two-on-one, but Providence’s
David Cacciola made the initial save. Bobby Robins, the
trailer on the play, lunged for the rebound, pushing Cacciola
backwards and the goal off its pegs. Assistant referee Mike
Taddeo, stationed on the goal line, signaled goal, and after
a brief review with referee Tom Fryer at center ice, a very
frustrated Friar team had its 11th Hockey East loss.
goal light never went on, and the goal judge never got consulted,”
head coach Paul Pooley said afterwards. “That’s
what I question I just hope that when the tape comes out,
that the goal was in as opposed to not being in and not
having consulted the goal judge – with the linesman
making the call. If that’s the case, then I’m
fine with it. It’s too important to our livelihoods,
too important to our kids.”
was certain that the puck crossed the line, and did so before
the net came off.
why I started celebrating,” he said. “I would
have kept on poking away at it otherwise. (When the discussion
was going on) I was a little concerned, but I wasn’t
of whether the goal should have counted or not, it was a
devastating way for Providence to lose – Pooley said
his team’s mood was one of “anger, more than
the way the year has gone,” he added. “But you
have to keep fighting through adversity.”
Process – The Beanpot, for the 12th consecutive
year, will reside in Hockey East, with Boston University
and Northeastern doing battle for the trophy Monday night.
Meanwhile, the Hockey East school that didn’t earn
a shot at the title, Boston College, hopes to learn from
got a good look at our team and what we bring to a big venue,”
said senior captain Ryan Shannon after Monday’s loss
to BU. “We can learn a lot from this. There’s
still a lot coming our way with Hockey East and the national
Eagles, for all their success lately, have not been a great
tournament team. They are 10-10-0 in Beanpots and postseason
action since winning the 2001 national title. While not
reason to panic, that record at least is cause for concern
in the Heights.
have to learn from the experience,” head coach Jerry
York said after Monday’s loss. “I thought that
time that we got frazzled a little bit.”
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
Boston University vs. Northeastern (Mon.) The
best of this week’s offerings requires us to
peek ahead to next week. The Beanpot’s most
storied and most struggling teams meet for the title,
and goaltending is likely to take center stage. As
Keni Gibson goes, so go the Huskies. Can he lead the
team to its first title since his assistant coach,
Bruce Racine, did it in 1988? Will John Curry play
for BU, and if so, will he be as effective as Stephan
Siwiec was Monday night? You might want to arrive
early to start debating these points; BC-Harvard should
be a good one, too.
You're There: Just be glad you won’t have to
watch the ads on NESN, which Monday night included
a Russian nested doll set of New England Patriots
that still featured Lawyer Milloy and Antowain Smith.
Collectively, the media in New Hampshire gives
the Wildcats the best coverage of any team in the
league. Part of that is thanks to sheer volume, with
four papers following the team on a regular basis.
But the writers also have a nose for a good story,
as shown by Foster’s Daily Democrat scribe Al
his Patriots’ feature the day before the
We try to avoid critiquing the difficult and thankless
job of our officials, but Joe Andrews gets
the bench minor this week. When an assistant referee
got caught between BC defenseman Andrew Alberts and
the puck Friday night against Providence, the A.R.
was bowled over, and Andrews gave Alberts a two and
a 10 for unsportsmanlike conduct. In the words of
the Eagle summoned to serve the minor for Alberts,
clearly visible on TV to even an amateur lip-reader,
“What the hell?”
Boston University goaltender John Curry,
injured Jan. 27 against Merrimack, looks
like he’ll be ready to return to the lineup for Monday’s
Beanpot championship game. Despite Stephan Siwiec’s
performance in the win against BC, head
coach Jack Parker indicated after the game that he’d
go with Curry if his starter is healthy.
Massachusetts got its first road victory
in over a year (Jan. 17, 2004) on Saturday at Merrimack.
The win should also all but assure the Minutemen of a Hockey
East playoff berth, since they hold a nine-point lead over
Merrimack in the standings with six games to play, and they
win the season series with the Warriors.
If his recently snapped nine-game point-scoring streak wasn’t
enough, here’s another measure of Patrick Eaves’
value this season. The BC forward, prone
to untimely penalties in the past, averaged 2.6 penalty
minutes a game his first two seasons. This year he has less
than half that, at 1.1.
New Hampshire head coach Dick Umile enters
the weekend series against Massachusetts with 345 career
wins, just two shy of Charlie Holt’s school record.
Merrimack, the nation’s first 20-loss
team, is 8-2-1 when scoring four or more goals, but 0-18-2
when scoring three or fewer. The Warriors visit Boston
College, the league’s stingiest defense,
Brad King’s freak injury after a collision at Boston
University Friday night will cost the junior the
rest of the season. UMass Lowell isn’t
releasing details of the injury; it will keep him in the
hospital for two or three weeks, but isn’t considered
career threatening. It’s a costly loss for UML in
terms of size – King is 6-foot-4 – and contributions.
“It’s unfortunate because he
was having a tremendous year,” said MacDonald. “He’s
a physical player who is just starting to find his offensive
No surprise seeing Mike Morris net Northeastern’s
first goal in the Beanpot win over Harvard. Morris now has
eight goals in the last eight games; Jason Guerriero, not
coincidentally, has 11 assists (and three goals) in that
time. Guerriero has assisted on 11 of Morris’ 14 goals
Boston College, the top team in the Hockey
East standings, and Providence, the No.
8 team, finished their season series 0-0-3.
David Cacciola may have lost the overtime game at Lowell,
but it wasn’t a wasted night for the Cacciola family.
The goalie’s brother, Paul, won a Lowell Sun
drawing for a free River Hawk sweatshirt.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this