Providence's Balancing Act
ago the Providence offense had all the depth of Jessica
Simpson – pretty nice on the surface, but lacking
anything that could hold your interest.
Friars knew something would have to change this year with
the departure of three seniors who made up what was one
of the top lines in the nation. With Jon DiSalvatore, Peter
Fregoe and Devin Rask no longer in the lineup, some other
names have been making up the 47.6 percent of Friar goals
that trio scored last year.
didn't get a lot of production beyond our first line last
year, and this year we've had production throughout the
lineup,” said head coach Paul Pooley, whose team shares
the nation's best record (4-0-0) with Denver. "It's
been a big positive. We knew we needed to have five, six,
seven, eight guys picking up points for us on a regular
basis instead of two or three."
Peter Zingoni has five goals and six points through
four games for Providence.
of talent has certainly helped, with freshman Chase Watson
earning headlines as Hockey East's Rookie of the Week twice
in a row. But even more important has been the improved
play of some of Pooley's returning players, led by Watson's
linemates, Jonathan Goodwin and Torry Gajda, and the line
of Peter Zingoni, Chris Chaput and Cody Loughlean.
six of those players are averaging over a point per game
in the young season, and head into this Friday's Hockey
East opener against Boston University after an impressive
road sweep of Minnesota State.
have four lines that go out and work hard," Pooley
said, echoing the theme of balance throughout his lineup.
"We really play well out there as a group – line
after line, D pair after D pair."
isn't the only freshman Friar who has impressed thus far.
Pooley praised the defensive work of Dinos Stamoulis, and
raved about the efforts of an all-freshman line –
Bill McCreary, Colin McDonald and Tony Zancanaro –
which has shown the ability to maintain possession, even
if is hasn’t scored goals yet.
when a coach is rolling an all-freshman line and his wins
outnumber his heart attacks, 4-0, the rookies don't need
to worry about being on the scoresheet. Even without goals,
they're showing that balance can be a beautiful thing.
AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
Consequences – As New Hampshire prepares
this weekend to return to the scene of a crime, where the
Wildcats will face the perpetrators of an earlier crime,
you had to know that motivation wouldn’t be a problem
for the nation’s new No. 1 team.
out, manpower will be.
coach Dick Umile’s decision to suspend eight players
for their presence at the Oct. 16 riot in Durham following
the Red Sox-Yankees series leaves his team very shorthanded
for games against Niagara and Canisius this weekend. Niagara,
of course, upset UNH in the 2000 NCAA Tournament, and the
games will be held at HSBC Arena, site of the 2003 Frozen
Nathan Martz and Tyler Scott, juniors Matt Hoppe, Tyson
Teplitsky and Robbie Barker, sophomores Andrew Leach and
Mark Kolanos and freshman Brett Hemingway were bystanders
during the disturbance. Umile had warned the team to stay
away from the potential problem, and as a result, none of
the eight will make the trip to Buffalo.
program has a history of service to the campus and the broader
community,” Umile said. “We would rather continue
in that role, than be the audience to those who choose to
be disruptive and disrespectful to the community.”
to the Wildcats’ trouble is an injury to captain Patrick
Foley, who will travel this weekend but not play after he
suffered a concussion against Merrimack last Thursday.
got some key guys not going to play this weekend,”
Foley told Allen Lessels of the Union Leader. “Does
that hurt the team? Of course . . . We wanted to make sure
it was dealt with correctly and, most importantly, a lesson
is learned from it. I hope not only does the UNH hockey
team learn a lesson, but the overall university as well
as the students and everyone involved in the situation.
We’ll be the examples. But let’s hope the rest
of the community is watching.”
Minutemen – These are heady times for Massachusetts,
which could post its first 4-0-0 start since 1971-72 if
it wins Friday night against Holy Cross. The Minutemen are
ranked 15th in one poll and ninth in the INCH Power Rankings.
is head coach Don Cahoon keeping his troops focused? Since
he always preaches attention to breakouts, power plays and
backchecks, he knew it wouldn’t be enough –
or perhaps even possible – to emphasize those things
even more. Instead, he’s placing a little added interest
in other areas.
lean on them – I drill them,” he said. “We’ve
focused on some of the little things – following through
on their commitments academically, and their commitments
to physical therapy. We make sure that they follow through
on everything to a T. That’s one way of attacking
it, and hopefully that approach will carry over to the ice.
is a real concern about complacency here,” he added.
“It’s easy to listen to people say how you are
improving and moving up in the rankings.”
Great Weekend Getaway
University at Providence (Fri.)
seemingly perennial quarterfinal foes in the Hockey
East Tournament meet to open the conference season
this year. Providence has a chance to prove that it’s
4-0-0 start is no fluke, and to avenge last year's
quarterfinal loss. Two terrific goaltenders –
BU’s Sean Fields and Providence’s Bobby
Goepfert – could make scoring scarce in this
one, in a series that has seen five of the last 10
meetings go to overtime.
You’re There: Stick around for Friar Fanfest
Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Dunkin’
Donuts Center and you’ll have a chance to meet
the team. There may be some basketball stuff going
on as well, though, so beware.
coach Dick Umile deserves accolades for both
anticipating trouble on the night of the Sox-Yanks
series finale, and backing up his words of warning
with the eight suspensions. It could hurt his team
this weekend, but it should help it – and the
atmosphere in Durham, one would hope – in the
know they’ve got to support the locals, but
Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain’s announcers
made Tim McCarver look unbiased in their coverage
of last Friday’s Denver-Northeastern game. A
good start would have been using the Huskies’
names, instead of saying, “and Northeastern
steals the puck.”
Eaves – Injuries have been a concern throughout
Ben Eaves’ college career, it seems, and another one
left a sour taste in the wake of Boston College’s
exciting two-game trip to North Dakota. Eaves will miss
this Friday’s game against Notre Dame after suffering
a head injury early in the second game against the Fighting
College responded in that game, playing with added defensive
intensity and limiting North Dakota to 17 shots on goal.
The game winner came with the Eagles shorthanded, as Stephen
Gionta scored by putting in his own rebound.
had a hard time cycling and a hard time obviously on the
power play," North Dakota head coach Dean Blais told
the Grand Forks Herald. "You can see why they're the
No. 1 team in the country. There's not really a weakness
on their team."
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Two Hockey East teams have already “won” shootouts
after their tournament semifinal games finished in ties:
Boston College at the Ice Breaker and UMass
Lowell at the Nye Frontier Invitational. Still,
don’t expect a return of the shootout format that
the conference used to break ties in the 1994-95 and ’95-96
seasons. “It’s exciting for the fans, certainly,”
Eagles head coach Jerry York said, “but I don’t
think it’s a great way to decide hockey games.”
• Think Hockey East doesn’t have travel partners?
Last week it did, as Boston College and UMass Lowell
were on the same flight from Logan Airport to Minneapolis.
After suffering through an hour-and-a-half delay on the
ground in Boston, the teams made it to Minnesota, where
BC disembarked to make its way to Grand Forks, N.D. The
River Hawks continued their 4,500 mile trek to Alaska, arriving
in time for practice and a tournament dinner before they
could finally get some rest. “Just about everything
that could go wrong did go wrong for us, along with being
up for 21 hours,” said head coach Blaise MacDonald,
who faces his former team, Niagara, as the River Hawks return
to the road this week for the Xerox Punch Imlach College
Hockey Showcase in Buffalo.
Merrimack will host a special dedication
ceremony at its home rink before Saturday's game against
Providence. The rink is being renamed the J. Thom Lawler
Arena, after the coach who led the Warriors to the 1978
Division II national championship.
If defenseman Thomas Pöck scores Friday night against
Holy Cross, he would tie a Massachusetts
school record with goals in four straight games.
High expectations follow Northeastern’s
freshman defense trio of Steve Birnstill, Bryan Cirullo
and Brian Deeth, but head coach Bruce Crowder has shown
that his rookie forwards have ability as well. Last weekend
at Denver, freshmen Bryan Esner and Yale Lewis each got
a shot at playing left wing on the team’s top line
with Jason Guerriero and Mike Morris.
Special teams have plagued the Huskies, as they rank last
in the league in penalty killing and next-to-last in power
play. Of course, they have only scored three goals at even
Joining Eaves on the injured list is Boston University
sophomore defenseman Jekabs Redlihs, who is out 4-to-6 weeks
with a broken collarbone. Redlihs emerged as a key contributor
on the Terrier blueline last season.
Maine cruised to another tournament title,
although this past weekend's Black Bear Classic came against
an easier field than the Maverick Stampede. Maine beat the
U.S. Under-18 Team 9-2 and followed that with a 7-0 win
over Holy Cross, in which the Black Bears had 53 shots on
goal. Both Jim Howard and Frank Doyle have now posted shutouts
for Maine already this year.