A Rosa by Any Other Name
common perception of Merrimack, the only Hockey East team
never to win a conference Player, Rookie or Coach of the
Year award, is of a gritty, hard-working, well-coached team
that just can’t match the talent of its opponents.
as you’ve got some space left on the marquee, however,
head coach Chris Serino has a name you could put up there
the next time the Warriors come to town.
think Marco Rosa is one of the elite forwards in college
hockey,” Serino said of his senior captain. “He
just, for some reason, doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
I don’t know, maybe it’s because of the small
school that we are. He plays the game at both ends of the
ice. You see a lot of the big scorers who don’t exert
the kind of energy he does in the defensive end. He’s
a complete player, and I think one of the top players in
praise, for a player Serino is convinced will play in the
NHL someday, probably isn’t a surprise to people who
have watched the Warriors closely over the last two seasons.
Rosa was solid last year, playing especially well in the
second half before he broke his wrist and missed the last
five games. This year his 10-5—15 totals in 21 games
leads the Warriors in goals, and his assist number hides
his excellent playmaking ability.
as Serino notes, players from Merrimack – which, in
addition to the aforementioned individual awards, has never
had a first-team All-Hockey East player – never seem
to get credit.
doesn’t help with self-promotion. He talks passionately
about getting offense from good defense, the importance
of forechecking, and the contributions of his teammates,
especially linemate Brent Gough. He practically sounds ready
to become a coach, although Serino expects him to find a
career in the NHL. Rosa is also aware that a North Andover
address doesn’t have the same cache in Hockey East
circles as one in Chestnut Hill, Orono or Durham.
Marco Rosa become the first Merrimack Warrior to earn
first-team all-conference honors? With the likes of
Ben Eaves, Ryan Shannon and Tony Voce up front it’s
a tough group to crack – and that’s just
on BC. Throw in Steve Saviano and the surging Elias
Godoy, who has to be considered a top candidate right
now, and there probably isn’t room for Rosa. The
bet here is that a defenseman will be the first Warrior
to be named to the first team – either Bryan Schmidt
or Jeff Caron a year or two from now.
seniors are used to that and the coaches are used to that,”
Rosa said of the lack of recognition. “We don’t
want to accept it. Every year we try to make a name for
ourselves. Merrimack is a good small school, and we have
a good program. We have good people around it, and we want
to show that. We just have to have a good year, and people
will recognize it.”
wins in three of their last four games headed into Friday’s
meeting with Boston College, including an impressive 7-2
victory at New Hampshire, the Warriors appear to be hitting
their stride. Serino was apprehensive about the team’s
long break after that game, but they turned in two very
strong performances at Princeton before a 5-2 loss to Maine
be honest with you there was (some nervousness about the
break), because we played pretty inconsistent in the first
half,” Serino said. “We played some very good
games and some very poor games. I thought we were turning
the corner there at the end of the half, but when you are
playing that well there’s always concern about taking
to the continued strong play, of course, is Rosa, who is
sure to draw more attention if he keeps scoring and the
team keeps winning.
think a lot is put on points, and like I explain to them,
a lot is put on winning,” Serino said. “I think
now, after four years, Marco’s starting to get some
credit. I had four or five guys come up to me after the
New Hampshire game and say, ‘You know what, he can
play for any first line in the country.’ And he could.”
AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
Button? – There’s no simple answer
for New Hampshire’s slump, but there have been no
shortage of theories. A Yale player told Roger Brown of
the Portsmouth Herald that he thought the Wildcats
relaxed against the Bulldogs. Mike Ayers hasn’t been
at his best, and the defense hasn’t shown the same
intensity as it did early in the season. And the biggest
problem in the current 1-4-1 stretch, in which the Wildcats
have scored 13 goals: a lack of offense.
top lines need to generate more scoring opportunities,"
head coach Dick Umile told Brown. "I don’t think
(the scoring chances) have been as numerous as we would
like – and our power play has fallen off lately."
weekend the Wildcats face a Providence team that put a touchdown
on the board in UNH’s last visit. The Friars also
scored seven goals in their last game, a 7-1 win over Quinnipiac.
Ayers will get a break Friday night in favor of sophomore
Jeff Pietrasiak, with the senior presumably back in the
nets Saturday night.
all the theories about their troubles, most around the UNH
team – including coaches, players and even the Union
Leader’s Allen Lessels – are preaching
patience above all.
we keep doing what we’re doing, I think we’ll
be fine,” Saviano told Lessels. “I honestly
believe that. I really do. I honestly believe that with
the guys we have giving 100 percent, there’s no way
we’re going to not score goals.
Godoy stands second in scoring in Hockey East with 13-13—26.
Grown Up – When I asked Blaise MacDonald
before last weekend’s two-game sweep of Massachusetts
why he planned to take his team out to East Lansing this
weekend, instead of playing a couple of easier Eastern games,
he replied quickly: “It gives us another opportunity
just like kids – and MacDonald’s familiar with
this analogy, since his wife gave birth to their third recently
– sometimes hockey teams grow up before you know it.
The twin shutouts of the Minutemen signaled that if the
River Hawks aren’t all grown up, they’re at
least ready to borrow the car. They enter the series in
East Lansing in fourth place in Hockey East (6-3-1), one
point behind Massachusetts with two games in hand.
Elias Godoy, especially, has been terrific of late, with
4-4—8 in his last five games and 13-13—26 on
the year. He stands second in Hockey East and seventh in
the nation in points.
River Hawks have benefited from a difficult schedule that
has sent them to tournaments in Alaska, Buffalo and Wisconsin
already. They’re no strangers to airplanes, although
that’s not to say this weekend's trip will be routine.
Travel adventures, like long flight delays, bus rides through
blizzards, and missing plane tickets have plagued the team
as if they were John Candy and Steve Martin, but they’ve
gotten better for it.
one of the reasons we put together the schedule that we
did,” MacDonald said. “It’s a way to really
challenge our young team, and let them grow over the course
of the season.”
a Minute – It’s been a wildly up-and-down
season for Massachusetts, with a 9-2-1 start followed by
an 0-4-4 stretch. Then, with that winless stretch and an
0-18-0 record at Walter Brown Arena, things turned around
just like that – in a Minute, it seemed – with
a 2-1 win against Boston University Wednesday night.
they kept playing us, sooner or later they were going to
lose to us,'' Cahoon said. ''I'm really happy for our guys.
It couldn't have come at a better time for our program given
the struggles that we've been in.''
week the breaks seemed to start heading back UMass’s
Stephen Werner returned from his impressive performance
at the World Junior Championship and posted two assists
despite travel-weary legs;
It appears as though Chris Capraro, off the team recently
for undisclosed reasons, will be back on the ice shortly;
Greg Mauldin, sidelined after suffering a concussion on
a frightening play against UMass Lowell over the weekend,
will get another week to rest before returning to action.
suddenly rejuvenated Minutemen play an exhibition game Saturday
and return to conference action with two games at Maine
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
vs. New Hampshire (Tues. in Manchester)
skip ahead of the weekend for Tuesday’s Granite
State showdown. It’s a matchup that captures
the imagination of the state, although perhaps not
as much as the Jan. 27 primary. Last year Mike Ayers
and Dan Yacey dueled to a 1-1 tie; lately both teams
have been giving up more goals than they would like,
so some more offensive fireworks could be in order.
Hearty congratulations go to Patrick Eaves, Greg Moore
and Stephen Werner for bringing home the gold
medal with the U.S. National Junior Team.
While much is made of this country’s lack of
appreciation for the event, hopefully these guys and
their teammates know how much College Hockey Nation
thanks them for their efforts.
to Maine’s Michel Leveille,
who scored his first goal – to go with 16 assists
– Tuesday night at Merrimack. Leveille stands
tied for 16th in Hockey East in points, but 154 players
in the league scored goals before he did. While obviously
he would have liked to have dented the twine sooner,
if he has half the patience in life that he shows
when the puck is on his stick, he’ll be fine.
outside the league, but since a Hockey East ref called
a game between CCHA and WCHA teams last week, I’ll
claim jurisdiction: bench minor to Findlay’s
administration, for cutting the sport, crushing
the hopes of two teams worth of college students,
hurting the long-term health of college hockey, and
doing so with a distinct lack of tact, according
to head coach Pat Ford.
Hockey East administrators and athletic directors deserve
praise for their quick work with the Vermont
situation. The decision – which most thought would
drag until the Hockey East Tournament or the coaches meetings
in April – was made remarkably quickly, especially
since it came around the holidays. When I spoke with Joe
Bertagna three weeks ago, the day Vermont submitted its
letter of inquiry to the conference office, it was clear
that he had no roadmap to follow for the process. Given
that, he and the A.D.s covered ground with amazing speed.
Do you think Northeastern cared whether
they were playing the Boston College Eagles
or the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night? Probably not,
according to what Jason Guerriero said last week (in
case you missed it). Guerriero and the Huskies were
winless in conference play before handing the Eagles their
first loss of the year.
Northeastern carries its best-in-the-nation five-game winning
streak into Friday’s game at Boston University.
(Seriously, the next-to-last team in the nation to get a
win now has the nation's longest winning streak. It's like
something out of a bad sports movie.) The Terriers, meanwhile,
are 0-3-1 in their last four Hockey East games, without
a win in nearly two months (Nov. 15 vs. Merrimack).
Boston University finally got the goal
scoring part of its game right in Minnesota, playing two
tremendously entertaining 5-5 ties. The big ice surface
seemed to suit the Terriers, especially on the power play.
But they got home and fell back into their offensive rut,
with one goal, 23 shots, and an 0-for-5 power play against
Keep an eye on how Hockey East’s World Junior Championship
participants play when they return – some players
come back with bolstered confidence, while others can be
fatigued. Stephen Werner played well with two assists in
his first game back for UMass; Patrick
Eaves makes his return for BC against Merrimack
Friday night, while Greg Moore and Maine
face Sacred Heart on Saturday.
Schneider Arena looked sharp on television Friday night
for the Quinnipiac-Providence game –
somehow it always seems brighter on TV than it does in person.
The NESN cameras are back for Friday night’s Friar
game against UNH.
Providence welcomes Merrimack,
Union and Holy Cross to next season's Dunkin' Donuts Coffee
Pot, according to Travis Barrett in the Woonsocket Call.
Merrimack took the holidays off this year, but last season
captured the title at the Rensselaer Holiday Tournament.
We mentioned early on this year about how balance would
be a key for the Friar attack. Now, as
they head into a stretch of five key Hockey East games looking
to improve upon their 2-5-2 conference record, they have
six players within between 14 and 19 points atop their scoring
Ryan Shannon (and all of his teammates) were held scoreless
in Boston College's shutout loss to Northeastern
Saturday, snapping Shannon's 12-game point-scoring streak.
He hadn't been held scoreless since the Eagles' previous
loss, 1-0 to Notre Dame. Two of BC's three losses this season
have come by shutout, while the third was the 6-4 third
period implosion to start the fantastic series at North
Junior Scott Mifsud had two goals against Dartmouth, the
second two-goal game in the last four outings by a Vermont
player. Wait a minute ... I'm getting word that
apparently Joe Gladziszewski
will still be bringing you Vermont notes for the time being.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this