February 9, 2006
Mullins Center Miracle

By Jeff Howe

 Hockey East Notebook

Even with Brian Boyle standing in front of him, UMass freshman Jon Quick managed 47 saves in a stunning win against Boston College. (Thom Kendall/UMass photo)

National TV Schedule

For the first night in nearly two years, Amherst became the center of the college hockey world.

Sure, there are upsets every weekend. The top-ranked team in the country has gone down in each of the last three weekends. And there is so much parity in Hockey East that anyone can beat anyone just about anytime. But this was an upset from a different world.

Boston College has owned UMass in everything lately, not just hockey. The Eagles have superior football and basketball programs, and they even get the much-maligned east-coast bias over their western Massachusetts counterparts.
It wasn’t exactly U.S.A. downing Russia, but it’s worth noting that UMass coach Don Cahoon wore the number 21 on his BU jersey from 1969-72, the same number Mike Eruzione wore as a Terrier from 1973-77, just a few years before he captained the Miracle team.

“It was clearly an exciting hockey game for our club,” Cahoon said. “It was a much-needed game in front of a good crowd and a much-needed game in front of a terrific opponent.”

The 7,132 fans on hand at the Mullins Center were apart of the second largest crowd to ever witness a UMass hockey game, and it was the fifth-largest crowd at a Hockey East venue this year, behind two games between BC and BU and a couple more between BC and Vermont; all four at Kelley Rink.

It turned out to be just the sixth win UMass has had over BC since the series began in 1920. It was just Cahoon’s second win over the Chestnut Hill squad during his tenure at UMass, and it was the first win the Minutemen have had over the Eagles in Amherst since Jan. 7, 1995, a span of 16 games.

Freshman goalie Jon Quick outdueled BC netminder Cory Schneider and stole the show with his 47 saves in a 3-2 victory, which included 19 third-period stops when the Eagles went on a furious offensive attack in an attempt to tie the game.

In the first period, Quick made an acrobatic stop to keep the puck out of the net when Stephen Gionta fed Chris Collins with a nice pass on a two-on-one, then he made good efforts to make sure the game remained scoreless by swiping away great chances by Peter Harrold and Tim Kunes. But Quick’s most important save came with 27 ticks left on the game clock when the Eagles were on a power play and pulled Schneider to give them a six-on-four attack. Gionta got off an uncontested wrister from the left point, but Quick made easy work of it.

“Whatever I had been doing throughout the whole game was working well,” Quick said. “I just stuck with my game. I knew that as soon as they got control of the puck with less than two minutes that they were going to pull their goalie. So they pulled him and I was ready for the six-on-four. I knew it was coming. It wasn’t a surprise, and I just stuck to my game.”

“I thought Jon Quick was very, very good in goal,” BC coach Jerry York said. “We saw him in the recruiting process, and we thought he was an excellent goaltender. He certainly played that way [Friday] night. A hot goalie can be the difference. Certainly, Quick was the No. 1 star of the game, and he played very well.”

It seemed to be somewhat of a surprise to see the rookie get the nod between the pipes since senior Gabe Winer had been playing so well and Quick was coming off a less-than-stellar outing in a 6-2 loss at Lowell on Jan. 13. Cahoon was confident in his decision to start the youngster and said he had been playing well enough in practice in the recent weeks to earn the playing time.

“Any game was going to be a tough game,” Cahoon said. “This was an especially tough game. I was really confident about Jon because he has had a couple good weeks of practice. I knew his rhythm was back, his timing was back and his focus was back. I was not surprised. I knew he was ready.”

Al Michaels wasn’t on hand to call the game on national television, but local icon Tom Caron of NESN was in Amherst to recite the action. Perhaps his best move was to quiet down at one point to let the audience hear how loud the crowd was getting – a little before the home fans began their final countdown, which Quick remembered well.

“It’s actually kind of funny,” Quick laughed. “I heard the crowd counting down, ‘Three, two, one.’ They were so loud that I didn’t even hear the horn go off. When they got to ‘One,’ I threw my arms in the air, but I didn’t hear the horn go off so I got nervous. I looked around to make sure the game was over. I didn’t know at first, but everything worked out.”


A Quota of Quotes: BU coach Jack Parker is never one to shy away from a microphone, and we at INCH are not ones to shy away from admitting that the living legend provides us with some of our favorite quotes. Once again, he proved to be very entertaining, and also very insightful, at the postgame press conference following Monday night’s Beanpot victory over Harvard.

When commenting on freshman Chris Higgins’ fifth career goal in his first Beanpot appearance, Parker let the room in on a little secret from one of his recruiting trips a few years back.

“I saw him play when he was a sophomore at Pingree … and I thought he was the type of player who could undress people,” Parker said.

His comments were blunt, but he also may have made an understatement. Higgins picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, jumped to the inside of Harvard defenseman Dave MacDonald, made a late deke from the forehand to his backhand and shuffled the puck past Crimbson goalie John Daigneau as he was falling to the ice. Higgins didn’t just undress MacDonald, he ripped his clothes off for 17,565 fans and an entire NESN audience to see.

Parker was on his game later in the press conference, too, when he was asked about making it to his 12th consecutive Beanpot final and 22nd in the last 23 years. Not finding the question to be fitting enough, Parker provided the room a brief history lesson, responding with a giant grin, “And 39 of 43, but who’s counting?”

UMass goalie Gabe Winer stepped up to the mike earlier in the weekend, following the Minutemen’s 5-2 win over Lowell on Saturday. In the third period, Winer was involved in a bit of a ballyhoo with Lowell forward Elias Godoy, who made a charge at the UMass goalie with 2:33 left to play in a game that’s outcome was already determined.

Every player on the ice, with the exception of Lowell goalie Peter Vetri, squared off with a member of the opposing team, but none of the fights held a candle to Winer’s body slam of Godoy behind the net. When Winer was asked if he was the new team goon – perhaps a Marty McSorley type in goalie pads – he responded appropriately.

“Godoy was trying to take a run at me,” Winer said. “It was a little uncalled for. I didn’t punch him, but if I knew I was going to get thrown out, I would have dropped the gloves. I didn’t punch him, but I let him get up and he punched me. It’s kind of tough to fight a kid like that anyways. He’s just ugly as it is. You can’t make him much uglier.”

Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Boston Coll. vs. Boston U. (Mon.)
Alright, so it’s not technically on the weekend, but in this case, we’ll make an exception if you will. The rivalry has done a good job of telling itself, especially in a couple games already played this season, but put BU and BC in the Beanpot championship round, and it’s like having the Red Sox play the Yankees in the ALCS.

While You’re There: Take your weekend to the next level, and go for the hockey triple crown. Start off in Vermont on Friday night for a battle between the Black Bears and Catamounts, and then hit the TD Banknorth Garden on Saturday night when the suddenly streaking Bruins take on defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Don’t forget the Monday appetizer, either; the Beanpot consolation game between Harvard and Northeastern.

Stick Salute

After Richard Umile suspended seven of his Wildcats – all big contributors – for the first game of last weekend’s series with Maine, UNH's sinful seven stepped in Saturday in a big way in the team’s 7-4 win at Alfond, figuring in on six of the 'Cats' goals. They combined for five goals and three assists, and Brett Hemingway netted a pair in the final 3:35 of the second period to give UNH a 4-1 lead.

Bench Minor

Bananas the Black Bear thought it would be a good idea by putting on a little strip show during the first intermission of Saturday night’s game between Maine and UNH, but there was one miscalculation. Bananas tossed his shirt aside, and it ended up getting caught in the Zamboni, delaying the start of the second period.


Merrimack and Northeastern, the two schools that have anchored the bottom of the Hockey East standings throughout most of the season, met for the third and final time on Friday night, and for the third time, the two teams skated off the ice in a tie.

• If the Terriers can beat UMass on Friday night, they will head into the Beanpot championship on a 10-game winning streak. In 1995, BU went into the Beanpot title tilt on a 10-game winning streak, ended up winning the ’Pot and then proceeded to win the national championship.

• Head referee John Gravallese kicked 11 players out of Saturday night’s meeting between the Minutemen and River Hawks at the Tsongas Arena. First, he booted David Leaderer just 33 seconds into the game for hitting from behind, and with 2:33 left to play in the final period, Gravallese handed out two game disqualifications and eight game misconducts after a fight broke out. UMass goalie Gabe Winer and Lowell forward Elias Godoy were DQ’d, while Minutemen Matt Anderson, Jamie Solon, Kevin Jarman and John Wessbecker and River Hawks Matt Collar, Nick Monroe, Adam Stanieich and Mike Potacco were handed misconducts.

• Two lines that are clicking as well as any in the country right now will square off with each other in the Beanpot final. BU’s “White Line” – Bryan Ewing, Peter MacArthur and Kenny Roche – has connected for 16 goals and 15 assists in the last nine games, and the top line at Boston College of Chris Collins, Brian Boyle and Stephen Gionta has accounted for 17 of the Eagles’ last 24 goals with 21 assists in that span.

• Eagle Chris Collins notched his 100th career point with a goal in Friday night’s loss at UMass, and Wildcat Jacob Micflikier scored a goal in Saturday’s win at Maine to give himself 100 career points, as well. With an assist in Friday night’s win, Black Bear Derek Damon hit the century mark, too.

“It would be a lot better to get the 100th in a win,” Collins said. “But it’s a goal that most college players have. I’m obviously excited to get it, and it’s a goal I’ve had since I was a freshman coming in. It’s just nice to get mentioned in the group of all the great BC players who have come in before me.”

• Torry Gajda (13-18—31), Chase Watson (4-25—29), Jon Rheault (12-12—24) and Colin McDonald (7-13—20) have all hit the 20-point plateau for Providence through 26 games this season. In 37 team games last year, only two Friars – Chris Chaput (10-20—30) and Jamie Carroll (11-11—22) – scored 20 points. After only scoring six goals and dishing out seven assists in 2004-05, Gajda has made the biggest leap.

• UNH got its first win at Alfond Arena since Jan. 8, 2000, on Saturday, and the Wildcats’ seven goals were the most a Black Bear team has allowed in Orono since Boston College put a seven-spot on the scoreboard on Dec. 10, 2000.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.