Bruins Strike First, Force Game Seven

Boston takes the lead with a balanced attack and never looks back. Boston, MA- It took six starts, but the Boston Bruins finally scored the first goal of the game in their series against the Carolina Hurricanes, and they held on for a solid 5-2 win to force a do or die game seven match in… Continue reading Bruins Strike First, Force Game Seven

Bruins Top Carolina 5-2 to Win Two Straight

Boston evens series vs. Hurricanes 2-2 in Sunday matinee. Boston, MA – The Boston Bruins had four goal scorers for the second straight game as they outlasted the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 in front of 17,850 at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon. Brad Marchand’s two third period goals and Jeremy Swayman’s 24 saves on the day highlighted the Bruins’ effort to tie the series with the Hurricanes… Continue reading Bruins Top Carolina 5-2 to Win Two Straight

Bergeron Hat-Trick Lifts Bruins to 5-0 Win

Milestone Night At TD Garden for Multiple Bruins. Boston, MA – Patrice Bergeron‘s hat-trick book-ended the Boston Bruins’ 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. On what turned out to be a historic night at TD Garden, the 17,850 in attendance witnessed the Bruins’ captain’s eighth career hatty and David Pastrnak‘s 40th goal of the season,… Continue reading Bergeron Hat-Trick Lifts Bruins to 5-0 Win

Bruins Strike Early, Hold On for 2-1 Win

Two quick goals give Boston all they need versus the Penguins Boston, MA – The Boston Bruins ended a three-game skid with a solid 2-1, sixty-minute effort over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins punched their post-season ticket on the strength of two first-period goals that came just over two minutes into the… Continue reading Bruins Strike Early, Hold On for 2-1 Win

NCAA Final Preview – Denver vs. Minnesota St.

Pioneers and Mavericks Face-off for National Championship

Boston, MA – All of the hard work competing at the NCAA level came to fruition for one school tonight. Will it be a return to the promised land for one of college hockey’s storied programs, the Denver Pioneers? The Pioneers have won the National Championship eight times, most recently in 2017. Or will it be the new kid on the block, the Minnesota St. Mavericks? The Mavericks are playing in their first National Championship game after jumping to Division I hockey in the 1996-97 season.

The Frozen Four at TD Garden has lived up to the hype. The title game should be one for the ages as college hockey’s top two offensive teams take the ice for an 8:00 pm EST start on Saturday night.

The Mavericks have been the best team since the 2021-22 season. They came east to open the season against the defending National Champion Massachusetts Minutemen, where they promptly swept the Minutemen. The Pioneers have had to push the proverbial cart up the mountain to get to this point. Their season has been a steady climb to get to this point.

On Thursday, the Pioneers and the Mavericks used their defensive prowess to stifle talented Michigan and Minnesota teams to reach the finals. Most commentators expected a high-scoring affair that didn’t materialize in the Denver vs. Michigan game. The Pioneers limited the high-flying Wolverines to just 21 shots on goal through three-and-a-half periods of action in their 3-2 overtime win.

The Mavericks have the game’s best goalie in Dryden McKay. Their defense and McKay shut down the Gophers’ offense after allowing a goal on their first shot during a two-on-oh opportunity in the first period of their 5-1 win in the nightcap at the Garden.

“What you do with the puck is one thing, but it’s just as important what you’re doing without the puck to get it back,” said Minnesota St. head coach Mike Hastings. “Both teams, you watch Denver. They’re about as detailed a team that I’ve seen with their sticks, getting back on top, what they did to an incredibly talented Michigan team. When we got behind in the game (against Minnesota), I thought it was still really important that we continue to defend so they didn’t extend the lead, then when we didn’t have the puck get it back so we could get on offense.”

“I just think there are two sides to the game. You have to be committed to both sides of that I think to be effective at this time (of the year). That’s why I think both teams moved on with the opportunity for Saturday,” added Hastings.

The Denver Pioneers celebrate Cameron Wright’s go-ahead goal at 5:36 of the third period. The celebration was short-lived as Michigan forced overtime before falling 3-2 on Thursday, April 7, 2022, at TD Garden in Boston, MA.

“We have our way of playing the game,” said Denver head coach David Carle. “I think it’s adaptable to any style we go against. We’re comfortable in a lot of different types of games. That’s a credit to the players and their ability to stick to our game plans and stick to our structure and be able to execute in different ways based on what the game’s calling.”

“I think it’s predictable and fast,” said Carle of the Pioneers’ transition game. “Our D doesn’t hang on to the puck too long. I think our forwards like to get the puck quicker so they can have the puck, can do what they do, attacking off the rush, or getting pucks in behind defensive opponents. It allows our team to play fast and make our opponents uncomfortable.”

McKay won the Hobey Baker Award for being college hockey’s top player on Friday. It is just the third time a goalie has won the award in the competition’s 42-year history. A netminder won the award in 2001 when Michigan State’s Ryan Miller won. McKay’s statistics speak for themselves, 38-4 record, including an 18-game winning streak. The senior carries a 1.27 goals-against average, second-best overall, and a .934 save percentage, good for third. McKay has ten shutouts on the season and is the NCAA career record holder with 26.

Carle and the Pioneers know what is ahead of them in McKay and the Mavericks.

“They’re in this game for a reason, too. There’s not a lot of weaknesses just like there weren’t in Minnesota or Michigan,” said Carle. “We played three really good teams thus far. This will be the fourth one. I think there are some similarities with the level that they defend at with Lowell and Duluth. We’ve had success against those teams doing things a certain way.”

“I think that’s a great experience that we have coming into the game,” added Carle on Denver’s route through the tournament. “Coach Hastings and their staff and players, they’ve obviously built something really special that we respect and are excited for the challenge to play them for a banner and a big trophy come Saturday night.”

Senior Cameron Wright echoed his coach’s sentiment on the similarities between the styles of previous opponents.

“One thing that helps is our regional. They (MSU) play so much similar to Lowell and Duluth,” added the 6′-1″ winger from Newmarket, Ontario. “That’s a good starting point for us. I think just playing our game. We’ve been successful quite a bit this year. So continue to do that and hope we can get the job done.”

The question mark for the Pioneers coming in was their goaltending situation. Magnus Chrona has quieted that talk after holding the Wolverines to two goals in the semifinal. The 6′-5″ Swede has allowed five goals in the Pioneers’ previous three postseason games and only seven in their last six, including the NCHC Conference playoffs.

“It’s playoff hockey, and it can’t get better than that,” said Chrona. “I think we’re having a great time out there with each other. It’s just fun to be a part of.”

There’s a plethora of talent on each team, like Hobey Baker Hat-Trick nominee Bobby Brink and Cole Guttman on Denver and Nathan Smith and Julian Napravnik on the Mavericks. But, some other players have been chipping in in remarkable ways.

Keep an eye on Denver’s Carter Savoie. The 5″-10″ sophomore has been outstanding all season but lights out during the Pioneers’ run through the NCAA tourney. Savoie has a goal in all three games thus far, including two straight game-winning goals to keep Denver alive. When the lights are shining, Savoie is there to bask in the glow.

Wright has been equally as important during the NCAA’s. He had the game-winner against UMass-Lowell in the opening round in Loveland, CO., and scored against the Wolverines in the third period to briefly give the Pioneers the lead.

The Mavericks have had more balance from their scoring but keep an eye out for Reggie Lutz and Ondrej Pavel. At opportune times, each has two goals in the tournament, which has been the Mavericks’ calling card. Strong defense and getting timely goals.

Each team has celebrated at one of the TD Garden ends, but only one will have the ultimate celebration. Stay tuned.

 

McLaughlin Lives Out Dream

The local kid has a storybook night at TD Garden

Boston, MA – Watch any child at play and listen to them acting out a scenario. 

“He catches the pass, time is winding down, ten, nine… He shoots! Score! The (insert team) wins on (insert name) ‘s go-ahead goal with one second left in the game!”

On Thursday at TD Garden, Billerica, Massachusetts native and former Boston College Eagles star Marc McLaughlin lived out that youthful childhood dream in front of 17,850 during the Boston Bruins’ 8-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

 

McLaughlin, who signed as a free agent on March 15, 2022, after the Eagles wrapped up their season with a loss at Northeastern in the Hockey East playoffs, was making his NHL debut for his hometown team. He also picked up his first NHL goal in the second period on his first NHL shot.

“It was pretty special,” said McLaughlin of his goal. “I feel like I’ve lived that moment as a kid 100 million times down in my basement. For it to come true here, to get in a game and contribute with a goal is really special.”

At 12:04 of the second, McLaughlin made it 7-1 Bruins when he finished off a two-on-one rush with Trent Frederic by one-timing a shot from the slot past Devils backup goalie Jon Gilles. 

“Freddie (Trent Frederic) had a good block, started there in the d-zone,” McLaughlin said. “Freddie got his feet moving and made a great pass right in my wheel-house. All I had to do is shoot it in.”

Boston Bruins forward Marc McLaughlin prepares to shoot his first NHL goal in his NHL debut at TD Garden on March 31, 2022.

TD Garden erupted in jubilation when McLaughlin’s shot hit the twine in the top right corner. The jumbotron showed his parents and relatives in a celebratory dance which only added to the occasion. 

“I saw it on the jumbotron,” said McLaughlin. “I saw my mum jumping up and down. That was pretty cool to see. I’m blessed with having such a supportive family, and friends; my teammates were here tonight. That means a lot to me to see them out there.” 

“Well, did you see the bench?” asked Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy about McLaughlin’s goal. “It tells you about our team. The kid’s only been here a little bit, but he’s worked. I think every guy on the bench was excited for him. He’s a hard-working kid. Getting your first goal in front of your parents and family is a nice thing. Everyone was happy for him. He earned it; he played well.”

The Boston Bruins bench was all smiles as they celebrate Marc McLaughlin’s first NHL goal during the Bruins’ 8-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden on Thursday, March 31, 2022.

“It was funny looking over during warmups and seeing the crowd that he had here,” said Brad Marchand. “Such a surreal feeling for him, I’m sure, being a local kid, getting the opportunity to play here.”

“We were talking before the game, in the gym a little bit,” added Marchand. “He was talking to Grizzy (Matt Grzelcyk) about his first game here. It must be special for their whole families. We’re very happy for him. He’s such a good kid, you always love to see that.”

“He does all the right things, he works hard, stays in his lane. ut very personable when you talk to him,” said Marchand of McLaughlin. “He does the things that you want to see from a kid coming from his situation. He’s always working hard out on the ice, working in the gym after practice. He’s there early all the time. one of the first guys here tonight. He’s a pro. He’s already dialed in. He’s going to fit in well here.”

Capping off childhood dreams, McLaughlin revealed he usually pretended to be Patrice Bergeron during those basement sessions. 

“It’s definitely surreal. That’s a guy I’ve looked up to my whole life,” said McLaughlin knowing that Bergeron was celebrating on the Bruins bench.

Not a bad pro start for the undrafted BC captain, who also participated in the Beijing Olympics in February for Team USA. McLaughlin scored 21 goals and ten assists in 33 games with the Eagles in 2021-22. His career totals at the Heights were 40-35-75 in 130 games.

“Coach York has had such a great impact on me as a person and as a hockey player,” said McLaughlin of his time at BC with legendary head coach Jerry York. “He really values being a good person, being positive, and just showing up and competing every day. I can’t say enough about how much he’s grown my game over the past four years.”

McLaughlin said some good-natured ribbing was going on with three Boston University Terriers in the Bruins locker room. 

“They were joking with me when I arrived; hopefully, we’ll get some more Eagles over here.”

Minutemen Experience Too Much for Huskies

Massachusetts Edges Connecticut in OT, Win 2nd Straight HEA Tourney

Boston, MA – The script has been followed before. A talented new kid on the block, the up-and-coming program, is ready to ascend. They just have to knock out the bigshot, the schoolyard heavy, the team with the hardware and accolades. The Connecticut Huskies, in their eighth season in Hockey East, were experiencing their furthest foray into the HEA playoffs. They won their first postseason game over traditional powerhouse Boston University; then, they knocked off the regular season champs Northeastern in their first trip to TD Garden. In their first-ever Hockey East Finals stood the reigning tourney champion, and defending National Champion, Massachusetts Minutemen.

The script was going according to plan for Mike Cavanaugh and his Huskies. The only problem was Greg Carvel knew the script all too well. In his six years at the Massachusetts helm, Carvel has helped the Minutemen crash the party locally and nationally. Two Frozen Four appearances and three trips to the final four in HEA play. Now it is the Minutemen who have the experience, pedigree, and the target on their backs. 

It’s not championship season in NCAA without some overtime to crown the king, and the Minutemen weren’t ready to give up theirs. At 3:06 of extra time, defenseman Aaron Bohlinger caught a Bobby Trivigno pass at the top of the left circle and fired off a shot that beat Darion Hanson through traffic for the 2-1 victory. Bohlinger added to his legacy with his second goal of the season and kicked off the Minutemen celebration in front of 12,049 raucous fans. 

“I was real concerned, UConn has been playing so well, it just seemed to be, maybe, their time,” said Carvel. “Maybe we had our time. The first period wasn’t great, but the second half of the game I thought we were outstanding. It was kind of like last year against Duluth (NCAA Semifinals), it felt like it was just a matter of time before we going to score to win.”

“I’m so proud of our kids,” continued Carvel. “This was really hard to defend this year. Last year it is three games at the Mullins Center to be champions. This was just a little more exciting this year, but it feels equally awesome.” 

“Obviously it feels great,” said Bohlinger. “But I think just winning, and we did it pretty early (in overtime), which is nice. You don’t have to worry about it anymore, but we knew we had them on their heels. We just did the right things, great pass. Put it on net and good thing happen.”

Massachusetts Minutemen forward Bobby Trivigno’s shot on goal to tie the game at 1-1 against the Connecticut Huskies in the HOckey East Championship Finals on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at TD Garden.

Massachusetts outshot the Huskies 10-3 in the first period, but the Huskies had the better scoring chances and carried the play throughout the first twenty minutes. Huskies center Jachcym Kondelik had a shot shouldered away by Murray early. 

“He’s been phenomenal for us through this whole stretch, through the whole year,” said Bohlinger on Murray’s play. “He’s special, and definitely, defense is our focus, and he makes our lives a lot easier consistently. We’re so grateful, thankful, and lucky to have him.” 

After an Interference call penalty on UConn’s Chase Bradley, the Minutemen had the game’s first power-play. Massachusetts put three shots on goal, but Hanson (31 saves) was solid. 

Murray padded away another Kondelik shot later in the third after the 6′-5″ Czech kept the puck on a two-on-one with Bradley. 

“What a great kid he is. He sat back and let Filip Lindberg carry the mail,” said Carvel when asked what Murray has meant to the Minutemen. “He did it with so much class and he could have made it uncomfortable for me. He didn’t he made it easy for me. Then he won that semifinal game (Duluth in last season’s NCAA semis) in overtime. We decided to go back with Filip and he couldn’t have been more of a gentleman, more class.”

“We had to kind of recruit him to come back for another year and promised him the net,” added coach of Murray’s decision to return for a graduate year. “Boy, he’s had the net except for one game. He’s a competent goalie. Just a high-quality person.”

The Huskies pulled ahead early in the second period on a Vladislav Firstov re-direct past Murray. Connecticut defenseman Carter Berger fired off a shot from the left point that Murray stopped. The rebound flew towards the opposite side of the blue line, where John Spetz snapped it back towards Murray. Firstov stepped in front of Murray to get a stick on the puck and tipped it through Murray’s legs to make it 1-0. Firstov’s 12th of the season was also the third straight UConn game in which Firstov scored the opening goal.

Massachusetts tied it late in the period on a Trivigno breakaway. The Minutemen senior captain received a Colin Felix pass from the UMass zone that sent the 5′-8″ Trivigno in on Hanson for the five-hole shot to tie the game 1-1 at 16:06. Felix intercepted a Huskies pass while defending a UConn three-on-two just over the UMass blue line a connected with Trivigno just over the red line for his 20th goal. 

“I don’t think we were playing bad until that point, but when they scored, it was ‘we gotta go, gotta get something going here,'” said Trivigno of his goal. I kind of got lucky on that goal. I was just waiting for the puck to settle. I literally just shot it on the net, and it went in. In that game, being down by one goal and one shot can go in the net, and it is tied. So that’s just what I did, I put it on the net, and it went in.”

“He’s the most unique kid I’ve ever coached. It’s not even close,” said Carvel of Trivigno, the Hockey East Player of the Year. “He never gets tired, he never has bad attitude, he never gets out willed. Never, never, never. Every single day. He’s the hardest working kid. He has a fire inside him. On match, not even close. Unbelievable.”

“He’s a two time MVP of this tournament. He’s a two time First-Teamer,” continued the coach in his praise. “It’s hard for me to explain. He is the most unique player. He’s a very humble too. You guys watch him and other teams run at him. You ever see him fall down? You got to hit him from behind to knock him down. I have so much respect for this kid. I could go on for a long time, he’s a really special kid.”

Through sixty minutes of action, the Huskies and Minutemen had traded blows only to be tied 1-1. Massachusetts had a few quality looks at the Huskies net, but Hanson gobbled up everything. During a slogging third period, the Minutemen outshot the Huskies 7-2. 

Massachusetts Minutemen defenseman Aaron Bohlinger fires off his game-winning goal in overtime to beat the Connecticut Huskies 2-1 and capture the Hockey East Championship for the second straight year.

In overtime, the stage was set for Bohlinger’s postseason heroics. The 5′-9″ sophomore from Walden, NY., came into the game with two goals in 57 games played for the Minutemen. Last season, his lone goal proved to be the game-winning goal in Massachusetts’s 5-0 win over St. Cloud St. in the NCAA Championship. 

“He told me after the game he ‘only scores in championships,” said Carvel. “He’s got two career goals and they both are game winning goals in the championship game.”

In winning the Hockey East trophy, the Minutemen clinch the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament that begins Thursday in Albany, NY., and Loveland, CO., and continues Friday in Worcester, MA., and Allentown, PA. Massachusetts is the eighth team to go back-to-back in the HEA tourney and the first since UMass-Lowell in 2013 and 2014. 

The Huskies season is over, but it was a successful one nonetheless. The Huskies won 20 games in their Hockey East stint for the first time. They finish in fifth-place after having finished fourth the previous two seasons. 

“I’d like to congratulate Greg and the University of Massachusetts,” said UConn’s Cavanaugh. ” I thought they played a great game tonight and really had us on our heels for a good portion of the game.”

“We fought, we clawed and we hung in there and we gave ourselves a chance to get over time and and win our first title but just wasn’t meant to be tonight,” Cavanaugh added. “So my sincere congratulations to Greg and his staff and their team.”

“I don’t know. I told the team that. I don’t know if experience always matters,” said Cavanaugh of the experience factor. “I was a coach on a team (Assistant at Boston College) in 2011 that had a lot of players with two National Championships and three Hockey East championships and Colorado College came in and beat us in the first round because they played better than we did. I think it was simply that UMass played better than we did. I don’t think it was the experience of it.”

“For the last three years, we finished in the top five in the league. There’s 11 teams in this league,” said Cavanaugh. “In the last few years, we finished fourth. I think that says something on consistency and where the program’s going.”

Massachusetts Minutemen captain Bobby Trivigno celebrates with the Lamoriello Trophy as the Hockey East Championship banner makes it’s way to the rafters of TD Garden on March 19, 2022.

Saturday’s Three Hockey East Stars

Reading, MA – The Hockey East postseason tournement chugs along into North Station this weekend for the dramatic cocnlusion of the 2021-22 season. There are four schools remaining, they are the top four seeds from the conferences regular season. Northeastern, Massachusetts, UMass-Lowell, and Connecticut finished one through four respectively. Now they get to duke it… Continue reading Saturday’s Three Hockey East Stars

River Hawks Advance with 7-2 Win

Substantial Second Period for UML Dooms Merrimack   Lowell, MA – The UMass-Lowell River Hawks took control of the game against the Merrimack College Warriors from the opening face-off and never looked back. An early Connor Sodergren set the stage for the River Hawks as they cruised to a 7-2 Quarterfinal win on the strength of a pair of Carl Berglund and Ryan Brushett goals to… Continue reading River Hawks Advance with 7-2 Win

Hockey East Quarterfinals Preview

Reading, MA – The Elite Eight of Hockey East are to face-off on Saturday, March 12, 2022, in Quarterfinal action. The four survivors will move on to next weekend’s Championship at TD Garden. The first two games of the day get underway at 4:30 pm. UMass-Lowell River Hawks will host their 495 rival Merrimack College Warriors… Continue reading Hockey East Quarterfinals Preview