By Eileen Flynn ’20
Another winter is approaching and luckily at Providence College that means it is finally basketball and hockey season. Although both the teams have been preparing during preseason, the PC men’s ice hockey team is looking like they will have the most successful season.
After just a few short weeks, the PC men’s team has a record of 4-2, 2-1 in conference play. The difficulty of their schedule from the start foreshadows a strong season as the Friars have already faced Hockey East rivals University of Maine, Boston College and University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Their two wins against UMaine and BC were not close games, as the Friars managed to score a combined 13 goals against these two teams, proving that the team does not have trouble finding the back of the net.
A good team has a superstar, but a great team has talent spread through the second and third lines. This year, the Friars have already introduced multiple players that can pass the puck well and score when the team needs it. The underclassmen have proven to be an important asset to the Friars’ team as well. Starting with the freshmen, Cam McDonald ’23 netted the game winning goal against no. 10/9 Clarkson as well as scoring again against Boston College the following week. Michael Callahan ’22, Jack Dugan ’22, Matt Koopman ’22, and Tyce Thompson ’22 are four sophomores who have tallied multiple points since the season started. Dugan was awarded Hockey East player of the week after leading the conference in points (5) and assists (4).
The upperclassmen bring the experience aspect to this year’s squad. Last year, the Friars made it to the Frozen Four in the NCAA tournament. The team fell short to Minnesota Duluth, the No. 1 seed after a long, impressive season. This was the Friars sixth season appearing in the NCAA Tournament and this year should be no exception.
The Northeastern University Huskies came up on top in the Hockey East Tournament in 2019, this year the Friars will want to beat the reigning champions. Boston College was the team that knocked PC out of the Hockey East running last year. The Eagles won the series 2-1. This past week the Friars beat Boston College 6-2, showing a glimpse of a promising season from PC.
There is no doubt the Friars will be tested this season, but their revenge tour might just give them the push they need to make it even further this year. Nate Leaman enters his ninth season as head coach for the Friars, and since it has been several years since his 2015 National Championship title, he is ready for another one.
By Joseph Quirk ’23
As October draws to a close, we are reminded just how close winter is. Winter is an especially exciting time in Friartown as some of Providence College’s best sports open their seasons and begin their quest for NCAA glory. However, of all of the winter sports, men’s basketball will have the best season this year.
Arguments can be made for a couple of different teams here as several are coming off successful seasons. In reality however, all eyes are on two squads, the men’s hockey and basketball teams.
Men’s ice hockey, lead by Nate Leaman for the ninth season, is five years removed from a national championship and one year removed from a Frozen Four appearance. The squad was ranked No. 7 in the nation before Saturday’s loss to University of Massachusetts-Lowell and boasts a young roster with six players currently having their draft rights owned by NHL teams. All this being said, men’s ice hockey will not be the most successful team on campus this winter.
Something is brewing in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and will be the big NCAA tournament run the Friars men’s basketball team has been expecting for some time now. The Friars will be led by ninth-year Head Coach Ed Cooley. Cooley returns after several rumors this offseason of him being considered a favorite for the Michigan coaching position, but ultimately withdrawing his name and signing an extension with PC. That was followed up with some big offseason acquisitions including University of Massachusetts-Amherst star graduate transfer Luwane Pipkins ’19G, transfers Noah Horchler ’20 and Jared Bynum ’22, and Greg Gantt ’23.
The Friars also expect a jump and improvement from David Duke ’22, Kris Monroe ’22 and AJ Reeves ’22. The Friars are also returning star center Nate Watson ’21 and seniors Maliek White ’20, Kalif Young ’20, and Alpha Diallo ’20, who even tested NBA waters this offseason.
This new Friars roster is filled with experience and new talent and has potential to far surpass last year’s team. Gantt was a four-star recruit and ranked no. 67 in the nation before joining the Friars. Diallo was considered an NBA prospect but has decided to keep his talent in Rhode Island. Pipkins is a very experienced and talented guard who scores with ease and is expected to start for PC this year. It would be wrong to assume this is not the best team on campus this winter.