PCI: Which Spring Sports Team Will Finish with the Best Record?

by The Cowl Editor


PCI


Men’s Lacrosse will Finish with the Best Record

by Max Anderson ’18

I believe this is the breakout year for the Providence College Men’s Lacrosse Team, which leads me to believe the team will finish as the spring sport squad with the best record.

As a senior, I have watched the lacrosse team progress every year. The 2015 season  saw the team have a final overall record of 5-9, with a 1-4 tally in Big East play. The team improved in 2016, finishing with a final record of 7-9 and again finishing with a record of 1-4 in conference play.

It was last year’s fini

Nick Hatzipetrakos '19 looks to score close to the net against Holy Cross
Photo Courtesy of Nick Crenshaw ’20/ The Cowl

sh, however, that has me confident in the lacrosse team this year; the team improved by three wins to finish with a final record of 10-7, including a 3-2 mark in Big East play, making it the first time that the team finished with a winning record since the 2005-06 season. Perhaps most impressive, however, is the fact that the team was able to advance to the Big East Championship game, where they lost by just one point to Marquette in a 10-9 nail biter.

 

While the 2006-07 team regressed after the superb 2005-06 season, I do not see that being the case with this year’s team. The team lost just 10 players to graduation last year, meaning a large portion of those who finished with a winning record for the first time in over a decade will be back. Among those returning are Brendan Kearns ‘19 and Nick Hatzipetrakos ‘19, the Friars two leading scorers from last year, who both finished the season with over 40 points. Along with Kearns and Hatzipetrakos, the Friars are returning nine of their ten leading point scorers from last season, meaning there will be no shortage of offensive power for the Friars this year. Along with the superb offense, the Friars also bring back goalie Tate Boyce ’19, who started all 17 games for the Friars last season and finished with over 1,000 minutes logged for the year. Boyce finished the season with final tallies of 178 saves to go along with a 56.9 percent save percentage.

With so many returning faces, I can easily see the Friars topping their 10-win mark from last year and picture them being the most successful team on campus this spring.

Why Men’s Hockey is PC’s Best Winter Sport

by The Cowl Editor


PCI


By Max Anderson ’18

Sports Staff

    If I were writing this article four years ago, I would have said that basketball is the best winter sport to follow here at Providence College. However, after being a student here at the time that the PC Men’s Hockey Team won the National Championship in 2015, I can honestly say that men’s hockey has become my favorite sport to follow here at Providence during the winter season.

PC men's hockey player shoots puck
Photo Courtesy of PC Athletics

    Through the duration of my college career, the Friars hockey team has made it to the NCAA Tournament each year (2015-2017), including being awarded a number one seed in the 2016 tournament, and taking home a National Championship trophy in 2015. This is no disrespect to the basketball team here at PC, as they have also made four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament in their respective sport as well.

  However, the hockey team has consistently been one of the top dogs in NCAA hockey, as the NCAA Hockey tournament is limited to just 16 teams, while the basketball NCAA Tournament is expanded to a total of 68 teams. The success of the Friars hockey team, along with the excitement that comes with attending a Friars hockey game, is what makes me follow the hockey team once the winter sports begin.

   The Friars are coming off a season, in which they went 22-12-5, but were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. With 11 upperclassmen returning this year, including nine players who were selected in their respective NHL Drafts, it is very likely the Friars will make a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Divison I Hockey Tournament. The Friars may not be as hyped as they have been in recent years, but I can easily see them capturing another National Championship trophy.

Men’s Rugby Begins Quest for Conference Championship

by The Cowl Editor


Friar Sports


Jack O’Connor ’20 breaks away from a tackle
photo courtesy of Laura Chadbourne ’20

by Max Anderson ’18

Sports Staff

The Providence College Men’s Rugby season kicked off conference play this past Saturday, with the Friars already looking like they are in midseason form.  The Friars hosted Roger Williams on Saturday and immediately picked up right where they left off, defeating the Hawks 39-12 to improve to a 1-0 record in the Rugby Northeast Conference. The contest was a tune-up for the Friars and a good indicator that the team has big things planned for this upcoming season.

PC is one of 14 schools currently participating in the Rugby Northeast Conference. The Friars will look to repeat their success in the conference after finishing last years season at the top of the Conference with a nearly unblemished record of 7-1.  The Friars will have experience on their side, as they are returning a majority of players are returning from last year’s team, including 16 seniors and nearly 30 upperclassmen total. 

The Providence Rugby squad has taken monumental strides since the seniors arrived on campus in 2014, and could be looking at their best season yet.  During the 2014 fall season, the Friars recorded a 4-4 record, and improved upon that mark with a 5-3 conference record the following year.  Last season, the Friars had their best record since the 2012 season (a year when the Friars went undefeated) finishing with a 7-3 mark overall, and a nearly perfect 7-1 record in conference play. With so many returning players, it is easy to see how the team could improve on that mark this season, potentially even matching the undefeated record that the 2012 squad set.

Looking ahead at the upcoming schedule, the Friars have two straight home games at Hendricken Field, before heading out on the road for a three-game road trip. The Friars will take on Middlebury College this Saturday, September 23, and will follow that up with a visit from University of Massachusetts Lowell on Friday, Sept. 23, a team the Friars handily defeated last season 55-37.  The Friars will then head across town to take on the Bryant Bulldogs on Friday, October 6, a school the Friars defeated 39-24 last year, before venturing to Southern Connecticut State University a week after that on Saturday, Oct. 14.  The Friars will finish up the three game road trip with a visit to Norwich University, where they will take on the Cadets on Saturday, October 21.  The Friars did not play the Cadets last season, as Norwich was added to the conference this past season.  PC will end their season at home against Bentley University on Saturday, October 28, in what may turn out to be the most interesting game of the year. Last season’s only loss for the Friars came at the hands of Bentley. The Friars just narrowly lost to the Falcons, so you can guarantee that the Friars will be looking for revenge in this upcoming game.

PCI: Who Will Win the NBA Finals?

by thecowl.sports


PCI


Warriors

by Max Anderson ’18

There is no doubt in my mind that a Western Conference team will win the NBA Championship this season. The only question is which team it will be: The newly formed super team Golden State Warriors, or the always reliable San Antonio Spurs?

After watching the regular season, as well as the first four games of the playoffs, I have to ride with the Warriors. While I believe a Spurs-Warriors Western Conference Finals is inevitable, I just don’t think the Spurs have the firepower to overcome a lethal Warriors team. Yes, the Spurs could stick Kawhi Leonard on a healthy Kevin Durant, but even then Gregg Popovich and company would have to find a way to cover the dynamic duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. There is also the fact that NBA Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Draymond Green is guaranteed to defend Leonard throughout the series. At the end of the day, the Warriors just have too many weapons, which will bring them back to the Finals for the third straight year.

This likely means a third straight NBA Finals showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that the Warriors have defeated but also fallen to in the Finals. While it’s difficult to bet against LeBron James, the addition of Durant gives the Warriors an extra boost they didn’t have in last year’s finals. When the dust settles, the Warriors will bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to San Francisco, besting the Cavs in six games.

Cavaliers

by Meaghan Cahill ’20

Being from New England, particularly the Boston area, I would love to pick the Celtics to be the winners of the Eastern Conference NBA Finals. However, realistically, they do not stand a chance with the Cavaliers on their side of the bracket. This is why almost every projected playoff bracket predicts the Cavs to win the finals.

Usually, teams are not supposed to place their success on a single player, however, in the Cavs’ situation, it is almost kind of hard not to. LeBron James has been at the center of the Cavs’ success since he rejoined the team back in 2014 after a four year hiatus with the Miami Heat. His consistentency as an MVP candidate can be seen through his stats: averages 28 ppg, 9 rbp, and 7 apg just during his playoff runs, which consists of six straight NBA finals appearances. James is also responsible for more than half of the Cavs’ points every game.

However, the success of the Cavs in making it to the finals will not just fall on LeBron’s shoulders. They have plenty of veteran experience in the playoffs on the team to assist them in this year’s playoff run. Another major key for the Cavs apart is their roster loaded with shooters in all five positions. With this, they will be able to spread out and have the ability to get points from all areas of the court, whether they come from layups, three-pointers, or jump shots.

With all this said, the Cavs definitely have the odds in their favor to win the NBA Finals.

Is Rodney Bullock ’18 Draft Bound

by The Cowl Editor


Sports


Nicholas Crenshaw ’20/The Cowl

by Max Anderson ’18

Sports Staff

Friar fans received some sad news on March 29, 2017 when star basketball player Rodney Bullock ’18 announced he would declare for the 2017 NBA Draft.  Bullock, who led the Friars in scoring this year with 15.7 points per game, is the first Friar underclassman to declare for the draft.

While on paper this seems like devastating news for the Friars, there is a silver lining to Bullock’s decision; Bullock did not hire an agent after declaring, meaning he can still return to PC next season. 

Since the NBA began to allow underclassmen to declare for the draft, the rule has been that a student athlete can retain his college eligibility, only if he chooses to not hire an agent.  However, once a player hires an agent, he forgoes his remaining eligibility, and cannot return to college. The process of declaring, but not hiring, an agent is called “testing the waters,” and allows athletes to gather information about where they might be drafted and where their stock currently lies.

Another rule was instituted last year that will also work in Bullock’s favor; the NBA extended the deadline for student athletes to withdraw from the draft process to 10 days after the NBA Draft Combine. Originally, athletes usually had until the end of April to decide whether they would stay in the draft. The only way a player could participate in the combine under these rules was to hire an agent and surrender his remaining college years.  However, the NBA changed this deadline last season to allow the athletes in the draft to work out for teams at the combine.  If the athlete had a good combine, he could help boost his stock in the draft; however, if the athlete struggled during the combine, he could still return to school.

Currently, Bullock is not ranked in any of the leading NBA Mock Draft websites, including NBADraft.net, DraftExpress.com, or CBSsports.com. However, should Bullock have a great combine, it could immediately vault him into the second, or potentially even the first round.  There have been plenty of players in the past who have been off the draft radar heading into the combine, but have outperformed expectations and been drafted because of it.    

The return of Bullock to PC for his senior season would be big for the Friars.With Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart both graduating this summer, Villanova’s reign of terror in the Big East may finally be coming to an end, leaving the door wide open for any team to claim the Big East throne.  Providence will retain nearly its entire roster from this past season, meaning the Friars could be the favorites to win the Big East next year, especially with other teams like Creighton, Xavier, Seton Hall and Butler suffering heavy losses, either from graduation, or draft declarations.  However, athletes should do what they feel is in their best interest, and if Bullock feels the time is right to take the next step, then that is his choice.

Before last Wednesday, interest in the NBA draft from a Friar’s point of view was at a minimum. However, after Bullock’s announcement, fans will be glued to NBA Draft news to see if Bullock will have one more try at NCAA glory, or if he will move on to the next level.   

NCAA Hockey Tournament Preview

by The Cowl Editor


Sports


Photo courtesy of PC Athletic Media

by Max Anderson ’18

Sports Staff

With the entire country swept up in the craziness of the opening weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament, many forgot to tune in to the NCAA Division I hockey tournament selection show.  For those that missed the selection show, here’s a breakdown of each team that made the tournament and how each region shaped out.

Let’s start with the East Region, where our very own Providence College Friars were placed. The Friars, who were seeded fourth by the selection committee, will take on number one seed Harvard.  While it’s always tough playing the one seed in the opening round, especially a team that has lost just five games the entire season, the Friars will have the crowd advantage, as the game will be played at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  And do I even need to remind you of what happened the last time the Friars were a four seed in the tournament?

The other game in the East Region will be played between the two seed, the Western Michigan Broncos, and the three seed, Air Force.  Neither of these teams have made the tournament since 2012, with the Broncos, who are 0-6 all time in the tournament, looking to finally score a win.  They face an uphill challenge, however, against an Air Force team that just secured their sixth Atlantic Hockey title in the past 10 years.

In the West Region, number one seed Minnesota-Duluth will be taking on Ohio State.  The Buckeyes, who will be making their first tournament appearance in eight years and just their seventh tournament appearance ever, will be thinking upset against a Minnesota-Duluth squad that secured their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010.

Boston University, meanwhile, secured the two seed in the West Region, setting up a date with North Dakota.  This could end up being one of the best matchups in the entire tournament, as both of these schools have made 30+ NCAA Tournament appearances, and have practically been stables since the tournament came into existence.  Despite having four more losses than BU, it wouldn’t shock me one bit if the Hawks ended up pulling off the upset here.

In the Midwest Region, Denver will take on Michigan Tech in the opening round matchup.  Despite dropping a National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) tourney game to North Dakota, it’s hard to argue that Denver has not been the most impressive team in Division I this season, posting a 29-7-4 record.  As good as Michigan Tech has looked at points during the season, I don’t see Denver dropping this game, especially after taking a premature exit in the NCHC Tournament.  In the second game, two seeded Union College, will take on three seeded Penn State.  Consider Penn State the Northwestern of this year’s tournament, as this will be the first ever appearance by the Nittany Lions. Unfortunately, I it probably will  not last long, as Union could take out Penn State early.

Finally, in the Northeast Region, the one seed Minnesota will take on the four seed, Notre Dame.  Another game that could come down to the final minutes, Notre Dame has the possibility to pull this one out. They are a much better team than people think, and they might be a little under-seeded here.  For the two vs. three game, UMass Lowell takes on Cornell, in a game that UMass will most likely take handedly.

Overall, the committee did a great job of selecting the teams for this year’s tournament, and some of these first round matchups could make this year’s tournament a great one to watch.

PCI: Who’s the Friars MVP?

by The Cowl Editor


PCI


by Meaghan Cahill ’20

With Providence College being the home to so many excellent athletes, picking an MVP is quite the challenge. However, with that being said, Erik Foley ’19 had a standout season this year as a forward for the Men’s Ice Hockey Team.

Coming off his freshman year, where he harbored a total of 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) and won the Rev. Herman Schneider, O.P. Award, Foley is the Friars’ leading goal scorer, with a total of 15 goals this season. In all of Hockey East, Foley is ranked amongst the Top 20 scoring leaders for this season. In terms of assists and total overall points, Foley falls second in both with 19 assists and a total of 34 points. Foley also had a +/- rating of +17 during the regular season, which is third best on the team. This sophomore also has the most game-winning goals on the team throughout the season, which goes to show just how beneficial he is to Friars Hockey.

Foley, who was the Winnipeg Jets’ 78th overall draft pick, also took his skills beyond Friartown this season as a member of the U.S.A.’s World Juniors Team, where he won a gold medal. And while they do not compare to a gold medal, Foley has also received many weekly nods from Hockey East.

Foley has been a key player all season for the Friars, demonstrating his skill on both the collegiate and national level, which is why he should be considered the Friars’ MVP.

by Max Anderson ’18

Perhaps the biggest question on Friars fans’ minds heading into the 2016-2017 basketball season was how the team was going to replace Kris Dunn ’16.  After all, how do you replace perhaps the greatest player to ever put on a Friar jersey?  The answer to that question lies in point guard Kyron Cartwright ’18, who is coming off his best season ever here at PC.  In a year where the Friars were supposed to regress greatly due to the losses of Dunn and forward Ben Bentil ’18, Cartwright has been everything Friar fans could have asked for, and then some.  Not only is Cartwright averaging double-digit points, but his 6.7 assists per game is the fourth best mark in the nation and shows how Cartwright can not only score himself, but also can put his teammates in position to score as well.

Cartwright is not just limited on the offensive side of the floor either; his lightning quick speed has him averaging over one steal per game, and has contributed to a Friars defense that ranks in the top 50 nationally for points allowed per contest.  Cartwright’s incredible play when rewarded last week was the Big East named him the most improved player in the conference, as well as placing him on the All-Big East second team with fellow teammate Rodney Bullock ’18.  The Friars are heading to their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament, and without Cartwright’s contributions, the road would have been much rockier for the team.

PCI: Who Will Win the Stanley Cup?

by The Cowl Editor


Sports


by Max Anderson ’19

The Minnesota Wild are currently sitting at the top of the Western Conference standings with a record of 37-13-6 (7-2-1 in their last 10 games), hoping to continue their momentum and capture the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. The Wild possess excellent veteran leadership, a plethora of scoring talent, and a hot goaltender which concocts their recipe for success.

Captain Mikko Koivu has emerged as one of the league’s best leaders, as well as his co-leaders, assistant captains Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Eric Staal, who captained the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup,  has proved to be a key off-season acquisition to provide additional veteran leadership. Comprising the majority of the offensive talent are Parise and 24-year-old offensive weapons Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, and Mikael Granlund.

Goaltender Devan Dubnyk is currently leading all NHL goaltenders in both wins and save percentage. Goaltending is essential for a deep playoff run, and with the way Dubnyk has been performing this season, he has proven to be tough to beat. With their recent disappointment in playoff appearances and performance, the Wild have a chance to finally click this post-season.

Minnesota stands atop the highly competitive Central Division that includes Mid-West powerhouses Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues. With a deep and talented roster, along with great success thus far, the Minnesota Wild are making a name for themselves in the Stanley Cup conversation.

by Sam Scanlon ’19

As nervous as I am to say this, I believe this is finally the year that the Washington Capitals will bring home the coveted Stanley Cup trophy. The Capitals are undoubtedly the hottest team in the NHL right now, leading the entire league with a record of 39-11-6, including an incredible mark of 18-3 since the start of the new year. Center Nicklas Backstrom has been sensational and is currently tied for second in the NHL in points with 60.  Braden Holtby has also elevated his game this year, and is second in the NHL with a 2.02 GAA, and a record of 29-8-4. But perhaps the biggest reason why I am so confident in the Capitals to win it all this year lies in three-time Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin.  Ovechkin is having another incredible year, already recording 26 goals to go along with 25 assists, for a total of 51 points.

Since Ovechkin entered the league in 2004, the Capitals have been to the playoffs eight times and won their respective division six times.  However, despite the division titles and playoff appearances in the past 13 years, the Capitals have never advanced past the second round since Ovechkin has been there, leading many to criticize the star’s clutch factor.

I believe Ovechkin is on a mission to prove his doubters wrong this year and will put the team on his back in the postseason. Ultimately, it will be up to him to get Washington to bring home their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.