Bruins Rally to Eliminate Leafs

by The Cowl Editor on April 26, 2018

Professional Sports

By Jeremy Perrigo ’18

Sports Staff

boston bruins eliminate toronto maple leafs in 2018 stanley cup playoffs
Photo Courtesy of the Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins failed to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second-straight game Monday night, as the team from the hub of Canada’s hockey world forced Game 7 with a 3-1 win at Air Canada Centre.

The final game of the best-of-seven series headed back to TD Garden Wednesday night, drawing eerie similarities to a first-round meeting between these two Original Six rivals five years ago.

In 2013, as most Bruins fans remember, Boston had a 3-1 series lead over Toronto in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The B’s went on to lose the following two games and were forced to face the Maple Leafs in Game 7, similar to their matchup this postseason.

In that game, two goals from Cody Franson, followed by goals from then-teammates Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri, propelled the Leafs to a 4-1 lead with less than 15 minutes remaining in the third period.

As the saying goes, the rest is history. Goals from Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic, and Patrice Bergeron brought the game back to even with 51 seconds remaining.

Bergeron would go on to score an emotional game-winning goal 6:05 into overtime to propel the Bruins into the second round. From there the team would defeat the New York Rangers in five games and sweep the Pittsburgh Penguins in four, before falling to the Chicago Blackhawks on home ice in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Now, many hockey-educated fans are quick to point out that this Toronto Maple Leafs team is not the team of 2013. Sure, they were the underdog team coming into this series, as they were back then, but their current roster looks dramatically different.

Then goaltender James Reimer has since moved on to Florida, and Frederik Andersen has won the starting role for Mike Babcock’s Maple Leafs. Kessel, after the organization spent years trying to build a team around him as their star player, has moved on to Pittsburgh, where he has won two Stanley Cups in a supporting-cast role to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Drafting Auston Matthews first overall in 2016 has been the biggest improvement for the Maple Leafs over the last two years. In his freshman and sophomore seasons Matthews lived up to the hype, recording 69 and 63 point seasons, respectively.

The Scottsdale, Arizona native and Toronto phenom remained mostly silent throughout the series, recording only one goal (albeit a beautiful one) and an assist leading up to Game 7, where he would be held off the board yet again.

That was perhaps the most troubling fact for Bruins fans, heading into the final game of the series. While it felt at times like Toronto had narrowly escaped destruction with at least two of their three victories in the series, they managed to do so largely without the help of their star player.

William Nylander, largely considered to be Matthews’ right hand man, as he literally played right wing on a first line centered by No. 34 for most of the season, went through a similar drought of postseason success. He recorded only one goal and one assist over the first six games of the series, which bounced him down to Toronto’s fourth line for games five and six. He would add two assists to his resume in Game 7.

Players noticeably absent from the scoresheet for the Bruins during those same two games when Nylander was on the fourth line, were David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Bergeron, who are better known as the components of Boston’s first line.

To put it even more into perspective as to how important these three are, in the Bruins’ first three wins of the series, they combined for 23 points. In the team’s three losses, they had zero.

Enter, Game 7.

The Bruins and Maple Leafs combined for five goals in the first period alone, as veteran Patrick Marleau opened the scoring with his third goal of the season just 2:05 into the game.

Bruins rookie Jake DeBrusk would tie the game before Marleau would put his team back ahead with his second of the night with a wrist shot from the right circle.

Two goals from Danton Heinen and Bergeron would give Boston a 3-2 lead heading into the second frame.

Despite outshooting the Maple Leafs 13-6 in the second period, the Bruins would allow the only two goals of the period, one to Travis Dermott, and another, a heart-breaking short-handed goal to Kasperi Kapanen.

Heading into the third, Boston’s season was on the ropes.

Only 1:10 into the period, Torey Krug fired a shot from the center of the blue line off the faceoff that rocketed past Andersen and into the net, tying the game 4-4. Just 4:15 later, DeBrusk would power to the net with a strong cut to the inside, sliding another puck past the Toronto netminder to give Boston the go-ahead goal.

From here, the rest is history.

Pastrnak would add another from the slot off a smart feed from Bergeron, and Marchand put the icing on top with an empty-net goal from center ice.

Boston would cruise to a 7-4 Game 7 victory, with seven points from its first line and six from its second line of DeBrusk, David Krejci, and Rick Nash.

And, for at least a night, the Bruins have reason to celebrate. After all, this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Tampa Bay Lightning wait rested at home as they open the second round against Boston Saturday at Amalie Arena.

Stay tuned, and if the regular season matchups were any indication, hockey fans should be in for another electric series between the B’s and Bolts.

NHL Playoff Preview

by The Cowl Editor on April 12, 2018

Professional Sports

By Jeremy Perrigo ’18

Sports Staff

brad marchand boston bruins
Photo Courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Getty Images

Christmas has befallen the National Hockey League, as the 2018 playoffs have officially arrived. For those who follow the NHL with any sort of consistency, April marks the beginning of two and a half months of pure joy and entertainment, as 16 of the league’s best teams embark on a grueling journey in a quest for the crowned jewel of the hockey world: The Stanley Cup.

Part of the great allure of the NHL playoffs is the fact that every series is played in the best-of-seven format, where teams can play no fewer than four games per round. The physical endurance required for this style of competition makes the on ice performance of its participants that much more impressive.

While other sports, such as basketball, conduct their postseasons in a similar seven-game format, the unpredictable nature of hockey allows for more variance in the results of each series. Therefore, it is not incredibly uncommon for an “underdog” team to beat an opponent that is heavily favored.

In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings, who entered the tournament as the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference, famously defeated first place Vancouver Canucks in round one, the second place St. Louis Blues in round two, and the third place Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes in round three. This was all before the Kings went on to defeat the New Jersey Devils in the final and claimed their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

nashville predators hockey
Photo Courtesy of John Russell/Nashville Predators

Just last season, the Nashville Predators, the 16th out of 16 teams to qualify for the playoffs, swept the Western Conference Champion Chicago Blackhawks in four games. Nashville would continue their run through St. Louis and Anaheim, where they would eventually fall to the Pittsburgh Penguins, two wins short of the Stanley Cup.

Nashville has returned with a vengeance this season, claiming the league’s Presidents Trophy for the team with the most points in the regular season at 117. This marks a dramatic turnaround for the Predators from a year ago, where they went from never having the opportunity for home ice advantage in the playoffs, to being guaranteed that privilege all the way through to the final, should they return again this year.

While the club from Music City is a favorite for many to win the Stanley Cup this season, formidable opponents such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, and the divisional rival Winnipeg Jets may stand in their way.

While Tampa and Boston are both in the Eastern Conference and only have the potential of encountering Nashville in the final, a team like Winnipeg could present a roadblock as soon as the second round.

The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild are the first round opponents for Nashville and Winnipeg, respectively. While both the Avalanche and Wild have had strong seasons in their own right, there are few that see either roster as capable of eliminating the Central Division powerhouses that have been their demise throughout the regular season. If these two matchups go the route of the statistician, a second round clash between the Predators and Jets is all but a lock.

Other notable series include the Kings and the new addition Vegas Golden Knights, who sarcastically tout themselves “proud member of the league’s original 31” teams. Vegas and L.A. have sized up well this season, each team winning two of four meetings, with an overtime victory each way.

Some doubt the Knight’s ability to hang with some of the NHL’s best (even after they clinched the Pacific Division title). Others see this uncertainty as just another opportunity to prove the hockey world wrong, as the team was widely expected to take up residence in the cellar of the NHL standings heading into its inaugural season.

Local interest will likely be focused on the Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs, who last met up in the postseason back in 2013, where Boston memorably mounted a comeback in the third period of game seven, erasing a 4-1 deficit and winning the series off a shot from Patrice Bergeron in overtime. However, the Maple Leafs facing the Bruins this time around is a much newer and faster model than the version remembered from five years ago, and Boston is sure to have their hands full.

For fans, any first round series you decide to watch has a high chance of being worth the time spent, as the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs are shaping up to be one of the most exciting displays of athletic prowess that hockey has to offer.

The Pacific Wins NHL All-Star Game

by The Cowl Editor on February 1, 2018

Professional Sports

By Jeremy Perrigo ’18

Sports Staff

nhl all-star weekend 2018
Photo Courtesy of Sports Canyon

Since its inception in 1947, the National Hockey League All-Star Game has pitted the league’s best players against one another in an attempt to display hockey’s prime talent on a national stage.

Since then, the rules of the game have changed. Originally the All-Star Game would feature the defending Stanley Cup champions against a team of All-Stars from other teams in a winner-take-all format. Since those early years, there have been various changes to the way the game is played. The event has expanded as well, developing from simply an All-Star Game into a more extensive All-Star Weekend.

The new changes also included the idea to schedule the All-Star Game on the weekend. Under the modern format, the game is played on a Sunday with a skills competition taking place the Saturday before.

Since 2015, the league has expanded the number of All-Star teams from two to four, with one team representing each of the four divisions. Keeping with its more recent tradition of pitting the Eastern Conference against the West, the league has the two division rivals (Pacific vs. Central / Metropolitan vs. Atlantic) play first, before the winners of each game played each other after.

This All-Star Weekend, which took place on Jan. 27-28 in Tampa, Florida, the Central Division took on the Pacific in a 20 minute game of three-on-three hockey separated into two 10-minute halves. The Pacific Division won by a resounding score of 5-2 with highlight reel goals from the Vancouver Canucks’ rookie Brock Boeser, Los Angeles Kings’ defenseman Drew Doughty, and Vegas Golden Knights’ sniper James Neal.

Boeser has been absolutely sensational for the Canucks in his first pro season. He led Vancouver with 47 points (24G, 20A) in 46 games going into the weekend and sat at second in rookie scoring overall behind only the New York Islanders’ Mathew Barzal who has accrued 51 points in 50 games.

Boeser ended up being named MVP of the All-Star Game for his outstanding performance. He also won the Accuracy Shooting Competition the night before, hitting five targets in 11.136 seconds.

The Atlantic Division defeated the star-studded Metropolitan by a definitive score of 7-4. At one point the Metro Division team of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and John Tavares had a 3-1 lead on the Atlantic before the Boston Bruins’ Brad Marchand tallied a goal and an assist, helping his team advance to the championship game.

Marchand, who was handed a five-game suspension earlier in the week for an elbow to New Jersey Devils’ winger Marcus Johansson, was still eligible for All-Star festivities despite having served only one game of the five heading into the weekend.

Boo-ing could be heard just about every time Marchand touched the puck, which made for an interesting scenario when he finally scored a goal. Despite the fans’ apparent disdain for the Boston winger, he was in fact playing for the home team in Tampa. Marchand was skating alongside four Tampa Bay Lightning players and Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper was in charge of the Atlantic Division team. So when the so-called “Little Ball of Hate” found the back of the net, you could hear the boos transform into cheers inside Amalie Arena.

The Pacific Division would go on to defeat the Atlantic in the championship game by a score of 5-2 in the battle of East Coast vs. West Coast. Despite this loss coming as somewhat of a disappointment to the Tampa fans, the displays of pure talent that were showcased over all three games were something any hockey fan could appreciate.

The NHL All-Star Game has been acknowledged before as the most entertaining contest of its type in professional sports, and Sunday’s action did nothing to put that claim into question. From tic-tac-toe plays, to incredible shots, and supreme goaltending, this All-Star Game was thrilling and downright entertaining.

Friars in the Pros

by The Cowl Editor on November 30, 2017

Professional Sports

As Providence College athletics are Divison I, the Friars have seen many of their athletes go on to play professionally in their respective sports. Three writers gave updates on Friars who play on professional soccer, hockey, and basketball teams.


By Jack Belanger ’21

Sports Co-Editor

chicago bulls player Kris Dunn
Photo Courtesy of Chicago Bulls

With their recent success in the Big East, Providence has seen multiple Friars appear in the National Basketball Association and other professional basketball leagues.

Marshon Brooks ’11 played four seasons at PC from 2007-2011, averaging 24.6 points per game (ppg)  his senior year. He was the 25th pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics but was immediately traded to the Brooklyn Nets. After a promising rookie year where he averaged 12.6 ppg and was named to the NBA all-rookie second team, Brooks saw his playing time decreased dramatically and struggled to find a consistent role in the NBA. After the 2013-2014 season he signed with Emporio Armani Milano, an Italian basketball team.

Ben Bentil ’18 played only two seasons for the Friars. Bentil broke out his sophomore year in 2015-2016, averaging 21.1 ppg and 7.7  rebounds per game. He was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics.

After playing in three preseason games, Boston waived Bentil and he spent most of the year in the NBA D-league, the NBA’s minor league. Bentil managed to make his NBA debut for the Dallas Mavericks on Mar. 1 and became the first person born in Ghana to play in the NBA. Bentil currently plays for the Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket in the Ligue de Nationale de Basket in France where he is averaging 12.4 ppg.

Kris Dunn ’16  is one of the best players to come out from Providence College in a long time. Dunn played four seasons for PC (2012-2016), averaging 12.8 ppg and 5.8 assists per game, and was named the Big East Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016. Dunn was the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. After playing limited minutes during his rookie year, Dunn was traded to the Chicago Bulls, where he has broken out, averaging 10.6 ppg and has become the team’s starting point guard through 18 games.


By Jeremy Perrigo ’18

Sports Staff

boston bruins hockey player Noel Acciari
Photo Courtesy of Fred Kfoury

The Providence College Men’s Hockey Team has produced many professional athletes over the last several years. The Friars won the National Championship in 2015, and that roster contained four players that have already seen National Hockey League ice time.

Forwards Noel Acciari ’16, Mark Jankowski ’16, Brandon Tanev ’16 and goaltender Jon Gillies ’16 were part of the high-caliber roster.

Acciari had 32 points in 41 games during the Friar’s championship run, and on June 8, 2015, the undrafted forward signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins. Acciari, a Johnston, Rhode Island native, has seven points in 57 games with Boston as of Nov. 26.

Jankowski played his senior year at PC, scoring 40 points in 38 games, an improvement from 27 in 37 during the championship season. Jankowski was drafted 21st overall by the Calgary Flames in 2012 and has three goals and an assist in 16 games.

Tanev was signed by the Winnipeg Jets in March 2016 and has eight points in 76 games with the team as of this past Sunday.

Gillies was drafted 75th overall by Calgary in 2012. He had a goals against average of 2.01 and save percentage of .930 in the Friars’ championship year.

Other notable alumni are current Providence Bruins head coach Jay Leach ’01 and long time NHLer Hal Gill ’97. Both were defensemen; Leach played 70 career NHL games while Gill amassed an impressive 1,108.

Perhaps one of the best-known Friars is long time Men’s Hockey head coach and athletic director Lou Lamoriello ‘63. A native of Johnston, Rhode Island, Lamoriello had a lengthy career in Friar athletics before winning three Stanley Cups as the general manager of the New Jersey Devils from 1987-2015. He is currently general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.


By Joe Myko ’19

Sports Staff

soccer player julian gressel
Photo Courtesy of Jason Getz

The most recent Providence College alumnus to break into the world of professional soccer is Atlanta United’s Julian Gressel ’16 who was named Major League Soccer’s AT&T Rookie of the Year in November, after scoring an impressive five goals with nine assists in his debut season. The German-born midfielder is ranked third in the college’s all-time list of goal scorers, having netted 30 times for the Friars, and comes in at second for career assists with 26.

Ryan Maduro ’09 is another former Friar who has followed up his time at college with a successful career in soccer. The attacking midfielder scored 14 and assisted 22 goals during his time at Providence, before going on to sign with various clubs, including Iceland’s first division side Flykir and MLS’s New York Red Bulls, who he made his professional debut for in 2012.

Once former Friar Chaka Daley ’96 hung up his cleats in 1999, after having played for various professional sides including the MLS’s New England Revolution, he decided to return to PC to take up a coaching role enjoying a successful 11 years as manager from 2000-2011.

Midfielder Andrew Sousa ’10 was drafted by MLS’s side New England Revolution in 2011, before going on to enjoy an extensive career thus far, most notably at the likes of Portugal’s Operário (third division), Iceland’s Fylkir (first division), and Canada’s Ottawa Fury (who operate in the second division of the North American soccer leagues).

Chris Konopka ’06 has enjoyed a successful and wide-spread career since leaving Providence, having signed with various professional outfits including MLS’s Sporting Kansas City, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC and Portland Timbers as well as the Scottish Premiership’s Ross County. Konopka played 21 times for Toronto FC between 2013-15, becoming an integral part of the club’s first playoff appearance in club history in 2015. The New Jersey native also holds records with Toronto FC for the most regular season game wins with 11, as well as the best single-season win percentage for any goalkeeper in the club’s history with 59.5 percent.