Tag: Men’s hockey
Hockey Returns to the Rink
by The Cowl Editor
Friar’s Dominate Maine 7-0
By Scott Jarosz ’21
The Providence College Men’s Hockey Team is ready to jump back into action for the 2019-2020 season after enjoying much success in its previous campaign. The 2018-2019 season was certainly one to remember for the Friars, as they made a deep playoff run which ultimately came to an end at the Frozen Four in Buffalo, NY. PC’s impressive playoff run was cut short in the semifinals of the Frozen Four with a 4-1 loss to no. 1-ranked University of Minnesota-Duluth, who would go on to win the 2019 National Championship over the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Although a loss in the Frozen Four was certainly not the way the team and its fans would have liked the season to end, it was certainly not a reflection of the success that PC enjoyed throughout the entirety of the season.
PC finished with a record of 24-12-6, which consisted of wins over multiple ranked teams including an upset postseason wins over no. 3-ranked Minnesota State University, Mankato and no. 10-ranked Cornell University. These underdog wins are certainly something that PC will look back on and use to build momentum heading into the new season.
The Friars graduated six seniors last season, but are returning a core group of talented leaders that the younger players can look up to for guidance.
Key returning players for this year’s team include newly announced captains Michael Callahan ’22 and Spenser Young ’20, both of whom made significant contributions to the team’s success last season and showed promising leadership abilities. The presence of these experienced returning players helped PC get voted third-place in the Hockey East preseason coaches poll behind only Boston College and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
In addition to the core returning group that will look to guide this year’s team, PC also boasts an impressive freshman class of 11 players that look to fill the gaps left by the graduating class. Another addition to the team will look to fill the place of former goaltender Hayden Hawkey ’19.
Michael Lackey ’19 GS will take on the starting goalie position this season. Lackey played four years at Harvard University prior to joining the team at PC.
Lackey started six games his first year for the Crimson and earned accolades such as Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week. Lackey was unable to play his second season due to an injury but returned for his third season and made 10 total appearances.
During this third season, Lackey had multiple memorable performances including 41 saves against Quinnipiac University and recording his first career shutout against Saint Lawrence University.
In his fourth and final season at Harvard University, Lackey stepped into the starting goaltender role and did not disappoint. In the 26 games that he started in net for the Crimson, he boasted a .918 save percentage, was recognized as the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week for the week of Jan. 14, and was a semifinalist for the Walter Brown Award, which recognizes the best American-born Division I College Hockey Player in New England. Lackey also participated in the Buffalo Sabres Development Camp before making the move to PC. With a core group of returning players, a strong incoming class, and Lackey taking over as the starting goaltender for PC, the team took the ice on Oct. 5 for its opening game against the University of Maine with high expectations.
PC, sporting new gray uniforms, kicked off the 2019-2020 campaign and did not waste any time against the visiting Black Bears of the University of Maine.
After two early penalties against UM, PC had a five on three opportunity early on and took full advantage of it.
Just 2:23 into the opening period, Vimal Sukumaran ’20 notched the 25th goal of his college career as he knocked a rebounded puck into the back of the net to give PC the 1-0 lead.
PC did not slow down from this point, as just a few minutes later, Jack Dugan ’22 ripped a shot past UM’s goaltender on a swift assist from Greg Printz ’21 to double the lead to 2-0. Printz continued the scoring for PC into the second period as he tapped home an assist from Parker Ford ’23 and Dugan to make it 3-0. Tyce Thompson ’22 also got on the score sheet in the second period with a hard shot that slipped by UM’s goaltender. Printz would go on to score an additional three goals for PC in the third period for a total of four goals in the game, and the Friars would go on to win by a score of 7-0.
PC’s triumph over of a reputable University of Maine team provides a good indication of the level of talent that this year’s team possesses in all facets, and there is good reason to believe that PC will look to bring the positive takeaways from this game to its next contest against the College of the Holy Cross on Friday, October 11 and throughout the season.
Former Friars Ready to Go Pro
by The Cowl Editor
Six Players Sign Entry-Level Contracts
By Cam Smith ’21
Sports Assistant Editor
The success of the Providence College hockey programs continued over the offseason as six former Friars signed professional hockey deals. Four of these came from former men’s squad members, as Josh Wilkins, Brandon Duhaime, Kasper Björkqvist, and Jacob Bryson who secured entry-level deals with National Hockey League clubs.
Two contracts went to former women’s team players Christina Putigna and Cassidy MacPherson; both reached terms to join teams in the National Women’s Hockey League.
Wilkins will make his way down to Tennessee, joining the Nashville Predators’ program on a two-year, entry-level contract. The silky-smooth forward is coming off an absolutely dominant year for the Friars, posting the best offensive season by a PC skater in over 15 seasons. Wilkins put up 46 points last season, good enough for ninth in the entire country, on 20 goals and 26 assists. He also owned the nation’s longest point streak last season, putting together a stretch of 13 straight games.
Duhaime agreed to his two-year, entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild. The crafty forward joins a Minnesota program that selected him with the 106th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft. Duhaime had a strong final season in Friartown, tallying a career-high 34 points with 11 goals and 23 assists. As a result, he was named to the Team Hockey East All-Star Third team. He then proceeded to play a pivotal role in the Friars’ postseason run, tallying five points in PC’s three tournament games.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will see Björkqvist join the organization, as he too agreed to a two-year, entry level deal. The forward finished his illustrious PC career with 36 total goals and 26 assists. Pittsburgh assistant general manager Bill Guerin had high praise when asked about the signee, saying, “Kasper was able to produce in big games throughout his college career… playing for an outstanding program in Providence allowed him to go far in the NCAA Tournament each season, so he received a lot of great experience.”
The 99th pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, Bryson signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres. The sure-footed defenseman amassed an astonishing 73 points over his career at PC, recording 11 goals and 62 assists. In his final year with the Friars, Bryson dished out 24 assists on his way to Second Team Hockey East All-Star honors.
His dominance on the ice also translated over to the classroom, as the defenseman was a Chi Alpha Sigma inductee, an honor given to student-athletes who maintain at least a 3.40 grade point average though their first five semesters.
Putigna will be staying in New England, as she agreed to a contract with the Boston Pride. The Pride will be picking up a prolific scorer in Putigna, the star forward accumulated a whopping 110 points in her collegiate career. As a senior assistant captain last season, Putigna registered 15 goals and 15 assists while leading the Friars to the Hockey East semi-finals.
“It’s exciting and humbling to have this opportunity to sign with the Pride,” said Putigna. “It means a lot to me to get the chance to remain in New England and pursue my hockey career.”
The final Friar to sign, MacPherson, signed her deal with the Buffalo Beauts. The forward recorded 78 points in her college career, netting 25 goals and 53 assists.
Beauts head coach Pete Perram lauded MacPherson’s skill with the puck, saying “[MacPherson] is a smooth and speedy skater with exceptional hands.”
MacPherson expressed her excitement with her signing, saying, “It has been a dream of mine to play in the NWHL, and I’m looking forward to a great season ahead in Buffalo.”
Hockey Coach Nate Leaman Nominated for Award
by The Cowl Editor
Fifth Time Coach Leaman Has Been a Finalist for Coach of the Year
By Cam Smith ’21
Providence College Men’s Hockey Coach Nate Leaman was one of 10 coaches to be nominated for the Spencer Penrose Award, given to the top coach in NCAA Division I ice hockey. Nominees consisted of coaches selected as winners of the Coach of the Year award for their respective conferences, as well as the four coaches who led their teams to the tournament semifinals.
Leaman earned his nomination by taking the Friars to the Frozen Four after the squad snuck into the playoffs. The fourth seed in the East region of the bracket, PC clinched their trip to Buffalo by dazzling the hometown crowd inside the Dunkin’ Donuts Center during two upset victories.
In the NCAA East Regional Semifinal, the Friars came back from a 3-0 deficit to stun top-seeded Minnesota State University. The team caught fire after going down early, hammering home six unanswered goals to pull out the 6-3 victory. Facing Cornell University the following day in the East Regional final proved to be a far less stressful task. The Friars blanked the third-seeded Big Red en route to a 4-0 win, punching their ticket to the Frozen Four and securing their coach a spot in the Spencer Penrose Award conversation.
Leaman is no stranger to being nominated for the prestigious award, as he has now been named a finalist on five separate occasions. Twice (2010, 2011) it was as head coach of Union College, a program he found success with prior to taking the job at PC in April of 2011. He won the award in 2011 with the Dutchmen after leading them to their first NCAA Division I tournament appearance in program history.
Following the game against Cornell, Leaman showed little interest in his own personal accomplishments, instead focusing on what the win meant to a team who had been through a lot over the past year. “I’m happy for the players. I think the guys have been waiting to get back to this point all year long,” he said, referring to last year’s loss in the East Regional final to the University of Notre Dame. “I think there was a lot of ache in our team from losing last year in this game the way we did, with a minute left.’’
Unfortunately, the one-time Penrose Award recipient will have to wait a little longer to win his second, as on Tuesday April 9th the American Hockey Coaches Association announced Greg Carvel of the University of Massachusetts as the 2019 winner. Carvel has led UMass to its first Frozen Four appearance in school history, smashing school records along the way.
One can only assume that Leaman did not bat an eye as the award was announced, for the coach and his players are zeroed in on their ultimate goal: a second national championship in the past five years. Leaman and PC face off against the defending champions from the University of Minnesota Duluth on April 11 in Buffalo with a trip to the title game on the line.
Men’s Hockey Still Dancing
by The Cowl Editor
Team Heads to the Frozen Four for the Fifth Time in Program History
By Scott Jarosz ’21
The Providence College Men’s Hockey Team entered the NCAA Hockey Tournament as the fourth and lowest seed in the East Regional. The Friars were quite fortunate to be selected into the East Regional, which was hosted by Brown University within the friendly confines of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The region also consisted of Minnesota State, Northeastern University, and Cornell University. For its first matchup of the tournament, PC was paired up with #1-seed Minnesota State, who entered the regional semifinal having never won an NCAA tournament game in school history. Despite lacking a win at any point in its team’s history, Minnesota State entered its semifinal game against PC looking like a team that could make a deep run in this year’s NCAA hockey tournament.
On Saturday, March 30, PC men’s hockey took the ice at the Dunk to play Minnesota State in the first round of the East Regional. Although PC was technically the underdog, the team had the privilege of playing at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, just a few minutes away from its regular home at Schneider Arena. Despite practically playing a home game, the Friars had a poor start to the game. In just under 12 minutes of game play in the first period, PC conceded three consecutive goals to Minnesota State. Down 3-0 to the Mavericks, it looked as though PC had dug itself a hole which could not be escaped. However, after Josh Wilkins ’20 scored a power play goal towards the end of the first period to cut Minnesota State’s lead to 3-1, the Dunkin Donuts’ Center came back to life and the game felt brand new.
Entering the second period down 3-1 instead of 3-0, PC showed absolutely no signs of distress or panic. At 4:37 in the second period, Vimal Sukumaran ’20 scored on an assist from Ryan Tait ’19 to cut Minnesota State’s lead to 3-2 and excite the crowd at the Dunk even more. After this, the Friars scored another power play goal, this time by Kasper Björkqvist ’20. From that point on, the Friars continued its scoring run, adding three more goals by Tyce Thompson ’22, Wilkins, and an empty-net goal by Jason O’Neill ’21. PC beat Minnesota State by a final score of 6-3, and would go on to play Cornell University on Sunday in the East Regional final.
After what was a sluggish start to Saturday’s semifinal matchup against Minnesota State, the Friars made sure not to do the same against Cornell, who had beaten Northeastern 5-1 the previous day. In Sunday’s East Regional final, PC scored early and often, and combined an outstanding offensive effort with excellent defense and a great performance by goaltender Hayden Hawkey ’19. PC beat Cornell 4-0 with goals by Greg Printz ’21, Wilkins, Scott Conway ’19, and Brandon Duhaime ’20. With the win, PC advanced to the Frozen Four in Buffalo, New York. This year’s Frozen Four consists of PC, Hockey East foe University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Minnesota Duluth, and the University of Denver. The first-round matchups are set to take place on Thursday, April 11 with PC playing Minnesota Duluth at 5 p.m. and UMass playing Denver at 8:30 p.m.
PC has a tough matchup ahead, as Minnesota Duluth is ranked the #2 overall team in the NCAA. However, PC has won in similar situations before. In 2015, PC advanced to the Frozen Four as a 4-seed and beat Boston University in the title game to win the National Championship. The other matchup features UMass and #4 Denver. PC and UMass are quite familiar with each other, as the two teams have met three times this season, and PC has a 1-2 record against the Minutemen. If both UMass and PC advance to the National Championship, there is no telling who would prevail in the Hockey East battle for the national title.
PCI: Who Will Win The NCAA Frozen Four?
by The Cowl Editor
By Sam Scanlon ’19
After patiently waiting to see if they had squeaked into the NCAA Tournament field, the Providence College Friars are headed back to the Frozen Four. The adversity that they have had to overcome this season, especially throughout the playoffs, is a large reason why no one is going to be able to take them down. They have gone through too much, they have an incredible amount of momentum, and soon they will have another championship trophy.
The explosive 10-goal regional weekend was led by the dynamic top line of Josh Wilkins ’20, Kasper Björkqvist ’20, and Jack Dugan ’22. With three important goals in the two regional contests, Wilkins was named Most Outstanding Player and continues to stay hot at the perfect time. He now has 10 goals and six assists in his last nine games entering the Frozen Four in Buffalo, New York. Not a bad time to be scoring at this rate. His offensive spark is going to be pivotal in putting the Friars past University of Minnesota Duluth and University of Massachusetts Amherst/University of Denver.
The offensive depth that the Friars provided this weekend is a great step toward a National Championship as well. Every line produced goals throughout the regional tournament, including the entire second line of Tyce Thompson ’22, Scott Conway ’19, and Brandon Duhaime ’20. Greg Printz ’21 and Vimal Sukumaran ’20, third and fourth liners, respectively, also joined in on the scoring parade. With every line producing at this point in the year, the Friars are becoming increasingly dangerous to opponents as they continue finding the back of the net and winning games.
However, everyone knows defense wins championships and it starts with goaltending. The Friars may have the best goalie remaining in the tournament in Hayden Hawkey ’19, who now leads the country in shutouts. He has not let in a goal since the first period against Minnesota State University in the opening round matchup. A solid goaltender who has recently found his rhythm will prove to be a key factor to the Friars’ championship run.
Lastly, the experience of the players and coaching staff will lead the charge to hoisting another trophy. Nate Leaman brought his team to glory in 2015, and each player on the current roster has played in the NCAA tournament. The senior class has been to four straight tournaments, so they and the coaching staff know what it takes to get the job done, and they will. The National Championship will come back to Friartown.
Men’s Hockey Wins Four Straight
by The Cowl Editor
Friars Heating Up In Time for Playoffs
By Sam Scanlon ’19
A sold out Schneider Arena welcomed the second ranked University of Massachusetts Minutemen last Saturday night, a game that has surely been marked on the calendar in the Friars’ locker room since their last meeting on Nov. 10. Chances were traded back and forth throughout the entire contest as shots on net stood at 36 for UMass and 30 for Providence.
The Minutemen made it a point to silence the booming Schneider Arena crowd as they struck first and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. However, early in the second period, Jason O’Neill ’21 ripped a shot into the back of the net for the equalizer. O’Neill’s timely tally was good enough for his fourth of the season.
Not long after, Josh Wilkins ’20 buried a centering feed from Davis Bunz ’21. Lately, Wilkins has been a huge part of the Friars offense, as the Hobey Baker Award nominee leads the team with 33 points. With his goal on Saturday, he became the first Friar in 16 years to have three straight 30-point seasons. His playmaking ability, coupled with scoring touch, is pivotal for the Friars’ offensive production.
As the third period opened up with a 2-2 scoreboard, Hayden Hawkey ’19 battled to keep it tied up. The goaltender made several sprawling saves to keep the Friars’ hopes of an upset intact.
It took under three minutes of play for the score to break a tie as Scott Conway ’19 shoveled in his 13th goal of the season that sent Schneider Arena into a frenzy. Desperately trying to survive the late UMass onslaught, the clock hit 00.0 and the Friars bench stormed onto the ice to congratulate Hawkey on a crucial victory.
Although beating UMass was a huge feat, the Friars needed to turn right around and travel to the University of Connecticut for another important Hockey East matchup on Tuesday night.
Another early opposition goal struck the back of the net in this contest as well, as the Huskies took the lead. However, Wilkins once again proved why he is the team’s leading scorer as he evened the score less than a minute later.
An incredible passing play by Conway, Jack Dugan ’22 and Kasper Björkqvist ’20 gave the Friars their first lead of the contest. Dugan has impressed with his vision and precise passing ability all season long, as he was able to find Björkqvist on the door step for an easy tap in goal for Björkqvist’s team-leading 14th of the year.
The teams skated into the locker room tied at two following the second period for the second game in a row, but Wilkins and the Friars were surely going to come out firing in the third. Wilkins tallied two more goals in the period to complete the first Friars’ hat-trick since Björkqvist did it in 2017. In order for this team to have a successful playoff run, Wilkins is going to need to stay hot.
Brandon Duhaime ’20 got in on the action as well, as he fired his ninth goal of the year past the UConn goaltender to complete the 5-2 win over the Huskies.
The Friars are playing their best hockey at the perfect time heading down the stretch into Hockey East Tournament play. They are absolutely going to need to continue their production and ability to win games in these final two Thursday night games against Boston University and Boston College. Two wins against these tough opponents will put the Friars in the best possible position to grab the second seed in the Hockey East Tournament.
Unfortunately, seeds two through eight will not be decided until the final whistle blows and the final buzzer sounds. All seeds are still up for grabs within the top eight as the teams are so close in points. In order for the Friars to lock in second place, games against BU and BC need to be wins, and there needs to be some Hockey East upsets in the coming weeks.
Who Will Win the Men’s Hockey East Tournament
by The Cowl Editor
By Scott Jarosz ’21
As the regular season comes to a close, the race for the top spot in Hockey East is beginning to heat up. As it currently stands, University of Massachusetts-Amherst leads the league with a conference record of 16-5, followed by Providence College with a record of 13-7-2 in conference play. Following those two are University Massachusetts-Lowell and Northeastern University who are tied for third, only one point behind the Friars.
While the Minutemen lead both UMass-Lowell and Northeastern by five points and PC by four points, they are far from being locked in to win the 2019 Hockey East title. In order to win Hockey East, a team must be in one of the top eight spots in the standings, then win three consecutive games in the Hockey East tournament.
With the Hockey East being one of the most competitive leagues in the nation, it is no simple feat for even the best team to complete a clean sweep in the tournament. Despite currently being in second place, Providence College hockey will come out on top of the tournament as the 2019 Hockey East champions.
PC has been a consistently dominant presence in Hockey East throughout the 2018-2019 campaign. Currently ranked #8 in the United States College Hockey Online.com polls, the Friars have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with.
The team has been consistent overall, currently posting a record of 19-9-5 and 13-7-2 in Hockey East play. The Friars have also been able to get the job done at home, posting a record of 7-3-3 at Schneider Arena this season. Also, the team boasts a number of wins over highly-ranked opponents. Some of the Friars’ impressive victories include a win over #16 Miami (OH), back-to-back wins over #8 Northeastern, back-to-back wins over #10/11 UMass-Lowell, and most recently, a thrilling 3-2 victory over #2 UMass-Amherst on home ice. PC is currently on a three-game winning streak, which it is certainly capable of extending through the remainder of the regular season and into the Hockey East tournament.
Hayden Hawkey ’19 has been an outstanding presence in net for PC and just recently became the all-time wins leader at PC with 65. His consistency, along with the return of forward Vimal Sukumaran ’20 to the lineup, and widely distributed goal-scoring throughout the season make PC a team that nobody in the Hockey East will want to play come tournament time. For these reasons, PC will be the team that claims the title of 2019 Hockey East champion.
Who Will Win the Men’s Hockey East Tournament
by The Cowl Editor
By Meaghan Cahill
The 2019 Hockey East tournament is right around the corner with the men’s teams’ seasons coming to a close. And this year, in what can be considered a Cinderella season no matter the outcome, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst is my pick to win it all in the Hockey East tournament.
In their first winning season since 2007, UMass-Amherst shocked the nation back in December when, for the first time in their hockey program’s history, they were ranked the #1 team in the nation. Currently second in the nation, UMass-Amherst sits comfortably at the top of Hockey East rankings with their 16-5-0 record.
The team, which consists of mostly freshmen and sophomore players, has solid defensive play that is the contributing factor to the overall team success.
“You have to limit time and space especially in the defensive end,” said sophomore defenseman and alternate captain Mario Ferraro. “Defense always leads to good offense.”
UMass-Amherst has a strong offense, which is another factor that will contribute to them winning Hockey East.
In Hockey East’s overall point-scoring rankings, UMass-Amherst players take the top five spots. Jacob Pritchard, Cale Makar, Mitchell Chaffee, John Leonard, and Mitchell Fossier all average more than one point per game. On top of that, Chaffee is also tied for second place for goals scored with 15 goals this season, three less than the leading 18 goals. Pritchard is currently tied at fifth with 14 goals while Leonard is tied for eighth with 13. Sophomore defenseman Cale Makar is the top scoring defenseman in all of Hockey East as well.
Going 2-1 against PC, who holds the number two seed in Hockey East (eighth nationally), UMass-Amherst has had some pretty big wins and upsets this season that bolster their chances of dominating playoffs. They went 2-1 against #9 Northeastern University. They also split a series against Quinnipiac University, who holds the #5 spot on the national level.
Winning six of their last 10 games, the team is one win away from clinching first place for the Hockey East regular season standings, a feat that captain Niko Hildenbrand said would “mean the world” to the team.
If the Hockey East playoffs were to start today, UMass-Amherst, with the no. 1 seed, would face off against the no. 8 seed University of New Hampshire, which is a team that they have swept this season, beating them 5-1 and 4-2.
With their solid defense, league-leading offense, and the fact that the team is having one of the best seasons in the program’s history, I predict that UMass-Amherst will win the Hockey East tournament.
Friars Get Nominated for Multiple Awards
by The Cowl Editor
Hockey Players Amongst Nominees for the Walter Brown and Hobey Baker Awards
By Sam Scanlon ’19
The Providence College Men’s Ice Hockey program has had some extremely talented players in its ranks. At this point, it is no surprise that four different Friars have been nominated for some of college hockey’s most prestigious awards.
Jacob Bryson ’20, Scott Conway ’19, and Josh Wilkins ’20 have been nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, which is awarded to the best player in Division I hockey. Wilkins and Hayden Hawkey ’19 have been named semifinalists for the Walter Brown Award. This award celebrates the best American-born college hockey player who plays in New England.
Bryson is an obvious nomination for the Hobey Baker Award thus far. As a sophomore, he was given All-American honors, and has now developed into one of the top players in the country. The Buffalo Sabres’ prospect hails from London, Ontario and ranks sixth on the team in points with 20 (4 goals, 16 assists). Bryson’s speed and skill are just one part of his game, as the defenseman boasts a +15 +/- rating, meaning offenses have difficulty putting the puck in the back of the net when he is on the ice.
Conway has had a successful second half of the season so far, posting eight of his 12 goals since winter break. Conway holds the team lead in goals with 12, and in power play goals with five. Conway is no stranger to goal scoring, as he has 37 career goals throughout his three-year tenure with the Friars. Conway earned MVP honors in the Ledyard Classic Tournament to kick off the second half of the season, as he tallied three goals in two games. Conway’s clutch goal-scoring ability has been a major part of the Friars’ success, and has earned him a Hobey Baker Award nomination.
Wilkins’ impressive junior stint has earned him both Hobey Baker and Walter Brown Award nominations. The Raleigh, North Carolina native leads the team in both assists (19) and points (28). Already with 90 career points, Wilkins is constantly finding ways to get on the scoresheet as he tallied 31 points in each of his two previous seasons. He also held a 13-game point streak throughout this season, posting seven goals and 12 assists during that span. Wilkins is a dynamic player with the puck. His playmaking ability and vision allow linemates Jack Dugan ’22 and Kasper Björkqvist ’20 plenty of opportunities to get shots on net and score goals. Also, Wilkins’ quick release and accurate shot enables him to make goalies miss and get on the board himself. Wilkins has proven to be an essential part of the Friars offense throughout his career in Friartown.
Hawkey joins Wilkins as a semifinalist for the Walter Brown Award. They join 18 other nominees from 12 other schools in the New England area. Hawkey continues to be the backbone for the Friars. The senior has blanked six teams so far this season, which earned him the all-time school record for career shutouts last weekend in Maine with 14. He needs just one more win to hold the all-time school record for wins as well. This season, Hawkey holds a 1.90 Goals Against Average (GAA), as well as a .917 Save Percentage. His six shutouts put him second in the country and his GAA is good enough for ninth. He joins four other goalies in the semifinalist pool.
These four Friars have been pivotal this season and have each made immense contributions to the team. Voting for the Hobey Baker nominees will continue through March 10 and the top 10 nominees will be announced on March 20. The hat trick finalists will be named on April 4, with the ceremony crowning the winner on April 12 as a part of the Frozen Four festivities in Buffalo, New York. Finalists for the Walter Brown Award, college hockey’s oldest nationally recognized honor, will be announced in March.
Former Friars: Where Are They Now
by The Cowl Editor
Noel Acciari is Making His Presence Known on the Boston Bruins
By Meaghan Cahill ’20
Before fans entered Schneider Arena to watch the Friars skate to a 4-1 win over Northeastern University, they were gifted with free bobbleheads of former Providence College men’s hockey player and current forward for the Boston Bruins Noel Acciari ’15. Captain of the NCAA National Championship winning team (a first for PC), Acciari is one of the few former Friars who have made a statement within the National Hockey League as a solid fourth-liner.
A Rhode Island native, Acciari has played in 150 games with the Bruins over the course of his four years with the team. Originally undrafted, the Bruins picked up Acciari at the end of his junior year just after PC ousted Boston University for the National Championship with a 4-3 win. Acciari left PC to begin his professional career and on June 8, 2015 he signed a two-year entry-level contract as a free agent. However, Acciari would not see the NHL until March of 2016 as the Bruins assigned him to the Providence Bruins to develop his game.
Acciari’s NHL debut took place on March 1, 2016 against the Calgary Flames. For the remainder of that season, he would go on to play 19 games with the Bruins, totaling a single assist and a -4 plus/minus rating.
In his second season with the Bruins (2016-2017), Acciari appeared in a total of 29 regular season games, racked up two goals and three assists for a total of five points, and had a +3 plus/minus rating. His first NHL goal was scored on March 28, 2017 against the Nashville Predators, just over a year after his NHL debut.
It was at the end of this season that the Bruins re-signed him with a two-year contract extension.
Acciari saw an increase of playing time over the course of his third season with the Bruins, totaling 60 games played. Over the course of 2017-2018, he scored 10 goals and notched a single assist during regular season play. And despite his -6 plus/minus rating, his presence was surely felt on the ice.
Acciari’s third season influx of goal-scoring caught his former college coach’s eye.
“He takes the puck to the net hard, stays on the rebound and scores. That’s Friar hockey,” PC men’s hockey Head Coach Nate Leaman commented on his former player in 2018.
Over the course of his first three seasons with the Bruins, and even going back to his days as a Friar, Acciari gained the reputation of being a hard hitter along the boards.
“He can turn the tide of a game with the physicality part…You have to match [teams] hit for hit…and the Kevan Millers, Charlie [McAvoy], Noel, Z [Zdeno Chara]…give us some of that counterpunching we need,” Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy once commented on Noel’s physical style of play.
Of the 50 games played so far this current NHL season, Acciari has played in 42 of them; the eight missed games were due to healthy scratches. Unfortunately, Acciari’s scratches stem from the fact that he is not producing as much as the Bruins’s coaching staff would like. In the 42 games he has played, he has only notched one goal and three assists and has a -9 plus/minus rating. Yet, despite being scratched from multiple games and his low numbers in terms of points he is posting, Cassidy acknowledges that Acciari’s line, which usually consists of Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner, has been playing great and “working hard” in both games and practices.
The start of 2019 marks the last year of Acciari’s contract with the Bruins before he will once again become a free agent up for grabs. While the Bruins have made no indication on whether or not he will be offered another extension, going forward Acciari will need to start producing more on the ice and adding a bit more consistency to his game.