PCI: Who will win the Stanley Cup?
By: Jake Scearbo ’17
The best part about the Stanley Cup playoffs is that if a team makes it in, anything can happen. The parity in these playoffs is unmatched. Despite this fact, the Edmonton Oilers are poised to hoist the 34.5-pound Stanley Cup Trophy this spring. The Oilers made their first playoff appearance since 2006 with the second best record in the Pacific Division but their inexperience does not hinder their ability to succeed. Leading the team is captain Connor McDavid, who at 20-years-old was leading the entire NHL with 30 goals and 70 assists. With a generational talent in McDavid, the Oilers have a player who can take over any game with his poise and skill.
What separates this team though, however, is the stellar goaltending they have received from Cam Talbot. In the Oilers 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks this past weekend, Talbot was phenomenal, notching 39 saves to put the Oilers up 2-0 in the best of seven series. Goalies are a necessity to winning the Stanley Cup and the Oilers have their guy in Talbot.
This is not just a two-man team but a talented squad from top to bottom. Centers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl have had strong seasons as young players and former Stanley Cup champion Milan Lucic is a strong veteran presence in the locker room. Lastly, their defense is deeper than it has been in recent years and is led by Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson. With the strong start against the Ducks, the Oilers are in the driver’s seat to advance to the Western Conference finals and ultimately win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1990.
By: Meaghan Cahill ’20
As much as the NHL would love to see Lord Stanley raised once again by its Golden Boy Sidney Crosby, it is a wish they most likely will not see fulfilled. While “back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions” has a nice ring to it, the feat itself will be quite difficult for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they will have to endure a second round against the Washington Capitals.
Despite being down 2-1 in the series, the stars are aligning for the Caps as they are on the quest for the holy grail of hockey. Coming off what could be considered their best season to date, the Caps have a strong and experienced team that has the possibility of knocking out the Pens, winning the Presidents Trophy, and making it to the Stanley Cup Finals. With players like Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, and T.J. Oshie, as well as having a very limited amount of injuries, the Caps are arguably one of the strongest teams in the Eastern Conference. But the same can be said for the Pens, so what sets them apart?
The Pens, who have had a much weaker season than usual, and who are missing some of their top players due to injury, will have a tough time standing up to the strength of the Caps. Plus, while no official statement has been released, the Pens might have to face the challenges of the playoffs alone without Captain Crosby, who was taken from the ice during game three after a hit to the head. Missing Crosby, as well as their top defenseman Kris Letang, could be detrimental to the Pens success in the pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
Ultimately, the injuries Pittsburgh has sustained will prove to be too much to overcome. Capitals take the series in seven.
Men’s Lacrosse Growing Despite Losses
by Jake Scearbo ’17
It has been a wild week for the Providence College Men’s Lacrosse team with a total of three games that started with a victory over Marquette on April 15. That victory propelled the Friars into the national rankings, where they were 20th overall according to Inside Lacrosse. It is incredible that a small school with around 4,000 students is nationally ranked in lacrosse. Head Coach Chris Gabrielli has done an exceptional job recruiting and developing young talent. The Friars were riding this national attention into two key matchups against Brown and the University of Denver.
In front of a rowdy crowd, the Friars dropped a double overtime heartbreaker against cross-town rival Brown. The tension at Chapey Field was palpable as both team’s jockeyed back and forth all game long. This loss ended a five-game winning streak and brought the team’s record to 9-4 overall. Austin Goltz ’17 and Brendan Kearns ’19 opened up the scoring in the first quarter. The Friars then ripped off five straight goals to take a 7-3 lead over the Bears just before halftime. Brown responded with a man-up goal just before halftime and a second goal during the non-releasable penalty just after the start of the second half, to bring the score to a 7-5 Friars advantage.
During a hectic third quarter of play, goals were scored by Ian Grey’18, Joseph McHale ’19, and Goltz. Goltz scored his first career hat trick with this quarter tally. He ended with four goals in this game and was a threat every time he touched the ball. This goal put the Friars up 11-9 early in the final quarter. Brown then went on a three-goal run throughout the fourth quarter to take a 12-11 lead with 1:56 left in the game. It was the Bears’ first lead since the first quarter. Sean Leahey ’20 scored the biggest goal of his freshman season to tie up this incredible game with less than one minute to go.
The four minutes of first overtime were scoreless. Brown attackman Jack Kniffin buried the game-winner on a beautiful assist from All-American Dylan Molloy. Big East defensive Player of the
Week Jarrod Neumann ’17 and Molloy were battling this entire game in a grudge match of two great players. Molloy ended with a hat trick, but Neumann was still excellent in defending the physical Brown attackman. Despite the tough loss, the young Friars learned what it takes to beat a great conference team in late April.
There was no rest for the weary, as the Friars had to travel to Denver to play the No. 3 University of Denver Pioneers. In an incredibly tough matchup against a talented team, the Friars fell to Denver 12-2. The Friars’ record is now 9-5 on the season and 3-1 in Big East play. The Pioneers were only up one-to-nothing after the first quarter on a goal from Austin French. Denver scored five unanswered goals in the second quarter to secure a commanding six-to-nothing halftime lead.
Conner Byrne ’18 and Ryan Nawrocki ’20 scored the two Friar goals. While this game was not the result the team was looking for after the Brown loss, the Friars actually experienced the talent and speed of a top five team. The Friars will have to tighten up their defense in preparation for the Big East tournament and a possible rematch with Denver.
The Friars have one game left in the regular season against Villanova next Saturday, where the team will honor its seniors. After this game, the team will prepare for the Big East tournament, which will be played at Providence College. The lacrosse team has had a great season so far but will need to improve on its all-around game to have success in postseason play.
Athlete of the Week: Tate Boyce ’19
by Jake Scearbo ’17
Lacrosse is not a game where the defense stops the offense completely, but a game in which a team must weather the shots. The only way to have a great defense is to have a goalie that can bail out his or her defenders when needed. Tate Boyce ’19, the Providence College Men’s Lacrosse Team’s starting goalie, is a brick wall in the cage that has churned the Friars to a seven and three record thus far.
Boyce, after his strong play in an overtime victory over Drexel, was named to the Big East honor roll. Boyce only allowed eight goals in that overtime game and recorded 14 saves. In the very next game against St. Johns to open up Big East conference play, the Friars rolled to a 15-6 victory. Boyce only played three quarters but allowed three goals in his shortened action and was credited with seven saves. Now that the Friars are entering conference play, Boyce will need to step up his game even more against the stronger competition.
The Friars are ranked third in all of Division I college lacrosse in scoring defense, only allowing a stingy 7.1 goals per game. Boyce is a huge reason for that statistic. His personal goals allowed per game are actually lower than the team average at 6.60 and his save percentage is at just over 60 percent. While these numbers may not seem impressive compared to a major sport like hockey, they are incredibly impressive when it comes to lacrosse goalkeeping. Boyce’s save percentage is the sixth best in the nation out of 66 qualifying goalies. His average goals allowed per game is even better—second best in the nation. Small schools like Providence rarely breed goalie talents like Boyce.
A native of Matthews, North Carolina, Boyce came a long way to make his mark on a rising athletic program. Hockey and basketball normally get the glory at PC, but this sophomore is here to leave his legacy on PC athletics. Being in the Big East conference subjects Boyce to some of the best competition in Division I lacrosse. The Friars have upcoming games against Brown, Denver, and Villanova, all of whom are established programs. Victories against these opponents will go a long way in growing the PC lacrosse program. Brown and Denver both rank in the top 10 in scoring offense, so Boyce will need to be on his game to secure victories over those vaunted offenses.
Lacrosse needs to garner more respect on campus because of how much skill is required to play at a high level. Boyce has shown again and again this season why he is one of the best and most talented goalies in all of college lacrosse. Big East honor roll will not be the last award this athlete receives in his college career, as he is only a sophomore and will keep improving. Keep an eye out for number 20 between the pipes because Boyce is exciting to watch, and is one of the reasons for a successful 2017 season. The Friars play this Saturday at home against Georgetown for their next Big East tilt.
PCI: Who Will Win March Madness?
by Lauren Altmeyer ’17
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have made the tournament for 19 consecutive seasons, but have only made the Elite Eight twice and have never advanced past that round. This year, however, will be different. The Bulldogs have the potential to go all the way and win their first National Championship.
The Bulldogs were practically undefeated this season, losing only to the Brigham Young University Cougars, giving them a 34-1 record thus far. In the past, Gonzaga has relied heavily on one or two guys to score, but this year the team has five players averaging double digit points. Players such as Nigel Williams-Goss, an all American point guard; Prezemek Karnowski, one of the best true centers in the nation; and Zach Collins, a potential first round pick in the NBA, give the team a considerable amount of depth. Williams-Goss, a transfer from the University of Washington, leads the team in scoring with 569 points, averaging 16.7 points per game.
After a big win over Northwestern, the team celebrated Head Coach Mark Few’s 500th win with the Bulldogs. The 612 games it took to get there are the third fewest of any coach to reach the mark. The win also gave Karnowski his 134th win, which is the most wins for any player in NCAA history.
With a fantastic head coach, numerous star players, and an intense will to win, the Gonzaga Bulldogs have an excellent chance at walking away as champions this year.
by Jake Scearbo ’17
After the first weekend of play in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, a large majority of brackets have been busted. Despite powerhouse teams like Villanova, Duke, and Louisville losing early in the tournament, the clear favorite all along was the Kentucky Wildcats. The second seeded Wildcats are entering the Sweet Sixteen coming off a gritty victory over Wichita State and are poised to continue this success.
A trio of talented freshmen leads the Wildcats every time they step on the floor. The most notable is Malik Monk, who averaged 20 points per game this season and is one of the best scorers and shot makers in the tournament. De’Aaron Fox, the stellar freshman point guard, is dynamic on the fast break and dictates the tempo of the Wildcats. When Fox is scoring and creating for his teammates, Kentucky is very difficult to defeat.
The last of the trio, Bam Adebayo, is a physical specimen, coming off two straight double doubles in this tournament. When Kentucky gives him post touches and he is rebounding at a high rate, Kentucky receives a huge boost both offensively and defensively. Freshmen do not win teams National Championships, though.
The Wildcats have two seniors, Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis, and one sophomore, Isaiah Briscoe, who will be a key in securing another championship for this storied program. The combination of talented freshmen and experienced seniors is a recipe that will deliver a championship to Wildcat nation.
Men’s Lacrosse Continues to Improve
by Jake Scearbo ’17
While everyone was gallivanting around the Caribbean and beyond last week, the Providence College Men’s Lacrosse Team was on campus in the midst of their season. On Saturday, March 4, the Friars took on Sacred Heart University at Chapey Field in their first of two games over the break. In a hard fought tilt, the Friars fell to the Pioneers 10-8. The Friars were paced in the first half by goals from Brendan Kearns ’19 and from defenseman Jarrod Neumann ’17. The score was 5-4 Pioneers. The third quarter was the downfall for the Friars in this game where they were outscored 3-0.
The offense was clicking in the fourth quarter with goals from Connor Byrne ’18, Tim Hinrichs ’20, Sean Leahey ’20, and Kearns, but the Sacred Heart lead proved insurmountable. Head Coach Chris Gabrielli was disappointed after the tough loss but was encouraged by his defense. The Pioneers have a high powered offense and average over 11 goals per game. Gabrielli liked how “in settled situations we stayed on task, caused a lot of turnovers and got the ball on the ground.” Sacred Heart exposed the Friars in unsettled and man-down situations; these are two takeaways that the team will work on leading up to its matchup with High Point University.
In the second game over Spring Break, the Friars earned a dominating 17-8 victory on their home field to push their record to 4-2 on the season. All season the defense has led the Friars, but in this game the offense was the story. Nick Hatzipetrakos ’19 led the offense with five goals and three assists and Leahey had his best game in his freshman season with a hat trick. Kearns added two goals and an assist and Keenan Assaraf ’17 also tickled the twine twice.
This game was far from over at halftime with the Friars nursing a 6-3 lead. The momentum shift came when faceoff man Alex George ’19 won the opening faceoff in the second half and scored an unassisted goal. George was on fire in this game winning 20-25 at the faceoff X and picking up 14 groundballs. Gabrielli said the key to his offense’s success against a great goaltender was George. “The very first faceoff he goes down and almost scores goal and set the tone from there and he was dominant at the faceoff X. We haven’t had dominance there and he gave us extra possessions.” After George’s first goal of the season, the Friars ripped off five straight goals and put the game out of reach. Despite being overshadowed by some huge offensive performances, the defense was solid like they have been all season.
This game against High Point indicates the young guns on offense are starting to figure out their place on the team. After six games, the freshmen and sophomores have enough experience and confidence to lead this team once the Big East Schedule begins in April. The Friars play next against Hofstra University on March 18 on the road.
Lacrosse Bests Vermont in Close Contest
by Jake Scearbo ’17
The Providence College Men’s Lacrosse Team secured a huge victory over University of Vermont with an 8-6 win on their home field. Brendan Kearns ’19 and Nick Hatzipetrakos ’19 both recorded hat tricks and paced the Friars offensively in their win. The defense was stout, only allowing six goals to a Vermont squad, which had scored 13 or more goals in their first three games. This win marks a third straight victory for the lacrosse team after dropping their opener to Boston University.
The Friars got out to a sluggish start in this game, falling down 3-1 after the first quarter of play. Midfielder Joseph McHale ’19 scored the lone Friar goal in this opening frame. Slow starts can affect teams by forcing them out of their initial game plan but the Friars rode their defense and kept plugging away on the offensive end. Offensive stars like Kearns and Hatzipetrakos normally get all the glory but the defense should be credited for this victory. It is early in the season, but the Friars defense has only allowed six goals per game on average, which is the third best in all of the NCAA. Holding opposing offenses to such low numbers is a huge plus for the PC defense.
The offense caught fire in the second quarter with three straight goals from Kearns to take a 4-3 lead over the Catamounts. McHale was credited with the assist on Kearns’ first goal and Tim Hinrichs ’20 assisted on the second goal of the quarter. Kearns’ unassisted third goal gave him his fourth straight hat trick to open this season and with 13 goals overall, he is in the top 20 in the nation for goals per game. The Friars took the 4-3 lead into halftime.
Hatzipetrakos opened up the second half with two consecutive goals to push the Friars lead to three. The Friars defense was stout in the third quarter until the 44 second mark where Catamounts’’18 attackman Cam Milligan netted the first second half goal to push the score to 6-4. The fourth quarter was dominated by both defenses until Hatzipetrakos completed his hat trick with 3:54 left in the game, which proved to be the game-winning goal.
“I am so proud of our team’s effort today,” said Head Coach Chris Gabrielli. “We found energy after coming out flat, guided by our leadership in the ground ball department.” Defense is predicated on controlling possession when the ball is on the ground and the Friars defense edged Vermont in the ground balls, 25-23. The man-down defense was also spectacular, not allowing a single goal on six man up opportunities for the Catamounts. Goalie Tate Boyce ’19 was steady in the net for the Friars and made eight saves. The Friars may have found a winning formula with a strong defense, goaltending, and timely goals by their young and talented attackmen. Look for the defense to lead this team to a Top 25 ranking and continued success this season. The Friars play Sacred Heart University at home for their next game on March 4.