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CAA Preview: James Madison

October 29th, 2014

By Sam Davidovich

Head Coach- Matt Brady (7th Season)

Last Season- 11-20 (6-10 CAA)

Losses- G Charles Cooke, G Andrey Semenov, F Taylor Bessick, G Christian Pierce, F Tom Rivard

Newcomers- Winston Grays G, Joey McLean G, Dante Sterling G, Hari Hall F, Matt Risse G

Coming in to the new season, the JMU Dukes are projected to finish slightly higher than last year, sliding from 7th place up to 5th. This looks to be an uphill battle, as the team may struggle to find leadership without any seniors to provide a locker room presence and take over in clutch moments.

Because of this, Brady will have to rely on 6-4 junior guard Ron Curry and 6-5 junior guard Andre Nation for veteran leadership. Combined, these two averaged 27.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 4.01 assists per game last year, something they will have to replicate and perhaps even improve upon. The backcourt will be adding another solid player this year, 6-2 junior guard Winston Grays, a transfer from Cincinnati State. He averaged an impressive 20.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.0 steals per game.

Let’s not forget the other transfer player, 6-4 guard Devontae Morgan. As a sophomore in 2013-14 at Butler, Morgan appeared in 14 games while scoring 25 points with a .435 shooting percentage. Unfortunately, he will be sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Andre Nation and forward Tom Vodanovich have also been disciplined for an altercation between the two that occurred off-campus recently. Coach Brady has decided that Nation will sit out during the team’s preseason scrimmage, the November 2nd home exhibition and the first five games of the regular season. Vodanovich will have the same punishment, but only miss two of the first regular season games.

Bottom Line- The team has been projected to finish in the top five this year, moving up two places from where they finished last year. If the teams juniors (Nation and Curry) can replicate their play from last year, new additions such as Grays and the four incoming freshman can mix well and early, and the players keep their heads on straight, that is nowhere near out of the question.

WRBB Sports Basketball

CAA Preview: Towson Tigers

October 27th, 2014

By Mark German

Head Coach- Pat Skerry (4th Season)

Last Season- 25-11 (13-3, CAA)

Losses- Jerrelle Benimon F, Rafriel Guthrie G, Marcus Damas F, Mike Burwell G

Newcomers- A.J. Astroth G, Alex Gavrilovic F, Byron Hawkins G, Eddie Keith F, Jordan McNeil G, Mike Morsell F, Arnaud William Adala Moto

With three seasons under Pat Skerry’s belt as Towson head coach, the Tigers are looking to replicate their successful 2013-14 season in which they finished second in the CAA. It will be a difficult task, as four starters have left, including CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon.

With major holes in the lineup, the team will look to 6-2 Junior G Four McGlynn to provide the scoring punch for this offense. He averaged 9.2 points per game while shooting 40.5 percent from the field. McGlynn led Towson with a 40.8 percent clip from behind the arc. As for rebounding, 6-7 Junior F Timajh Parker-Rivera will have to be responsible for the cleanup duties with Benimon gone. He averaged 5.2 boards a game in 36 games last season.

The only senior on this squad is 6-10 forward Jamel Flash from West Hempstead, NY. Unfortunately for Flash, it doesn’t seem Skerry trusts his veteran presence on the court, as he only played in only 16 games for the Tigers in 2013-14.

Three men decided to transfer into Skerry’s program since the summer: A.J. Astroth (Vanderbilt), Alex Gavrilovic (Dayton), and Arnaud William Adala Moto (Wake Forest). Adala Moto averaged 6.9 points and 5.2 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game last year. In addition to these three, four freshmen will be donning the Towson uniform this year. Look for 6-5, 220-pound Eddie Keith to make the biggest impact.

Bottom Line- The coaches picked Towson to drop all the way down to seventh after finishing last season in second, and its understandable why. Their four best players are gone, leaving unproven commodities and bench players to fill those glaring gaps in the starting lineup. A top-five finish for this squad should be considered a very successful season.

WRBB Sports Basketball

Huskies Fall to 0-4, Lose 3-2 to Umass-Amherst

October 24th, 2014

Northeastern entered Friday night’s game 0-3 for the first time since the 1990-1991 season.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, it only got worse.

Despite controlling the game for much of the action, Massachusetts escaped Matthews Arena with a 3-2 win.

At 8:51 of the period UMass defenseman Emerson Auvenshine gave his team the go-ahead and winning goal on a one-timer from Zack LaRue to send his team home happy heading into their matchup with Boston College Saturday night.

“Obviously, it’s nice to get a win in league,” said Minutemen coach John Micheletto, “to get a win in a tough building against a talented team.”

The big news for Huskies’ fans coming into the game was goaltender Clay Witt being left off the line chart with an upper-body injury.

“That will be day-to-day,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan after the game. “And we’ll continue to monitor his progress and hopefully, have a little bit more info early to mid next week.”

UMass started freshman goalie Henry Dill Friday, who improved to 2-0 on the season after stopping 42 of the 44 Northeastern shots fired his way.

Northeastern scored first Friday night after Zach Aston-Reese slid the puck through the legs of a Minutemen defender, which found its way to senior Torin Snydeman, who was able to knock it home past Dill.

The Minutemen answered just 2:23 later when a Jake Horton shot was redirected by Zack LaRue over the blocker of Huskies’ goalie Derick Roy.

Ray Pigozzi gave Massachusetts the lead at 13:44 of the first on a power-play goal that hit the skate of a Northeastern defenseman and slid into the back of the net.

Northeastern, who is used to playing from behind, which they have virtually all year, showed some fight in scoring the equalizer less than two minutes later when Dalen Hedges scored his first of the year after getting a pass off the skate of Adam Reid via Garret Cockerill.

A penalty-ridden second period, which featured 14 minutes of time in the sin bin between the two teams, ended scoreless, and the team’s headed to the third tied at two, setting the stage for Auvenshine’s heroics.

“I’m glad Henry Dill had the night he had,” Micheletto said. “I also know we weren’t at our best tonight and when we weren’t, our goaltending certainly saved our bacon. It’s good to win ugly every once in a while, I guess. I don’t know that we’ll feel as good about the win tonight just based on the process, but we’ll certainly feel good about the win, getting points in the league.”

Madigan was pleased with his team’s effort, despite not getting the result they hoped for.

“I like the way our guys played,” Madigan said, “They played hard. We had 44 shots on goal, we had a lot of quality looks. We just didn’t get much puck luck. If we get effort and that focus that I thought we had tonight. then we’ll get the monkey off our back quickly.

“I thought we deserved quite frankly, a better fate, a better outcome tonight.”

This article can also be found on USCHO. Follow Josh Brown on twitter @josh_brown31

jbrown The Dog Pound

CAA Preview: Elon Phoenix

October 24th, 2014

By Jake Fischer

Head Coach – Matt Matheny (6th season)

Last Season – 18-14 (11-5, Southern Conference)

Losses – F Lucas Troutman, G Sebastian Koch, F Ryley Beaumont, G Jack Isenbarger,

Newcomers- G Demitri Thompson, F Collin Luther, F Jack Anton, F Jack George, G Elijah Bryant

Entering their first season as members of the Colonial Athletic Association, the Elon Phoenix are bound to endure one of the more disappointing seasons in recent program history. Elon graduated its top three scorers from a year ago in Troutman, Koch and Beaumont, leaving coach Matheny without a returning player who averaged double digits in scoring in 2013-14.

Now it’s time for 6-4 junior guard Tanner Sampson to claim the reigns of the Phoenix. Sampson played in all 32 of Elon’s games last year, making 22 starts. He averaged 9.4 points on a night on a ridiculous 43.4 percent clip from three-point land. He has the potential to challenge Towson’s Four McGlynn and Delaware’s Kyle Anderson for the top shooter in the CAA.

Sampson will have some comfort in three seniors who all saw significant minutes last season in Austin Hamilton, Kevin Blake and Ryan Winters. However, of those three, only Hamilton managed to contribute to Elon’s offense on a nightly basis.

Matheny has a large incoming freshman class, a group that makes up the entirety of Elon’s “newcomers.” This team’s success will likely be determined by whether a true freshmen can step up and play second fiddle to Sampson. Keep your eyes on Elijah Bryant, a 6-4, 225 pound guard.

Bottom Line- There’s a reason why the newcomer Phoenix were projected to finish last in the conference in the CAA Preseason poll. This team is going to struggle on offense in a league that features some very defense-heavy squads. Elon was a deadly shooting team a year ago, draining 37.5 percent of their attempts from deep as a team. Prowess from beyond the arc will likely be the only way this team can stay in games this winter.

WRBB Sports Basketball

Finn, Colgate Blank Northeastern

October 20th, 2014

BY: JOSH BROWN

Colgate University  goaltender Charlie Finn faced 52 shots from Northeastern over the course of the team’s two games this past weekend in upstate New York. The sophomore saved every one, leading the #6 Raiders (3-1) to a pair of 3-0 wins against a Huskies team who have started the year 0-3 for the first time since 1990.

“I thought he [Finn] played very well,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “He’s very agile. He also has a pretty good team defense right in front of him, and they play very tight so their’s not a lot of second and third opportunities.”

After both team’s failed to score in the first period of Friday’s game , freshman Mike Panowyk scored the first goal of the series for the Raiders mid-way through the second period to give them a 1-0 lead.

Northeastern, who had a ton of chances all night but just could not beat Finn, fell behind 2-0 at the 8:14 mark of the third period, before Colgate sealed it with an empty net goal with just under a minute to play in the game.

Huskies goalie Clay Witt finished with 18 saves on the night. Record wise that was not the only loss for Northeastern, the team also saw junior defenseman Colton Saucerman leave the game with what Madigan called a “lower body injury” and would not play in Saturdays game.

Derick Roy would get the start in net Saturday night for Northeastern, in what ended up being a very similar game to the night before.

After another scoreless first period, which saw Northeastern sophomore Zach Aston-Reese ejected from the game for a checking from behind penalty,  the Huskies would be forced to play without their first line right winger for the rest of the game.

“We went in short handed without Saucerman,” Madigan said, “and when you lose one of your top forwards you’re scrambling for the rest of the game.”

“But I thought our guys sucked it up,” Madigan continued, “I thought we showed some good resolve by killing off the five minute major.”

Unfortunately for Northeastern the Raiders came out flying in the second period, scoring a quick goal by Derek Freeman just under two minutes into the period to take a 1-0 lead.

Third period goals by Mike Borkowski and Kyle Baun sealed the deal for Colgate, sending the Huskies on the long bus ride home empty handed.

Roy ended his first start of the season with a career high 38 saves on the night.

“I thought Derick Roy  played exceptionally well,” Madigan said, “He stepped up and was very good.”

Madigan said despite the losses he liked the effort his team played with, an improvement from the team’s 6-2 setback against Vermont on opening night.

“We’re not obviously happy loosing two games here against a quality opponent,” Madigan said. “But this is a team we need to beat if we want to get to where we want to be. We need to play a little bit smarter and execute a little bit better.”

“We had some breakdowns, and those three or four breakdowns over the weekend cost us.”

The Huskies will be looking for their first win of the season when they lost Umass-Amherst Friday night at Matthews Arena. The game can be heard on WRBB where Josh Brown, Jeremy Leopold and Dan McLoone will have the call.

jbrown The Dog Pound

Turk Hat Trick Powers Vermont to 6-2 Win Over Northeastern

October 11th, 2014

BY: JOSH BROWN

BOSTON- After Northeastern lost 3-2 to Acadia last Sunday in their annual exhibition game, head coach Jim Madigan said he was expecting a quick Vermont team to show up to Matthews Arena for both teams season openers Saturday night.

Madigan, who was suspended for comments made after last year’s game three loss to New Hampshire in the Hockey East Quarterfinals, watched from the rafters as Vermont (1-0-0) did just that, using their speed to dismantle the Huskies (0-1-0) 6-2 in front of 3,298 fans.

“Extremely disappointed,” said assistant coach Jerry Keefe who manned the bench for Northeastern in Madigan’s absence. “I didn’t see this coming to be honest with you. I thought we were going to come out with a lot of energy.”

Unfortunately for the Huskies, that is exactly what Vermont did, taking a 1-0 lead 16:33 into the first period on a Mike Paliotta goal from the blue line that sailed over the outstretched glove of Huskies goalie Clay Witt.

“Going into the second period I thought, alright we’ll find our way a little bit,” said Keefe.

The Huskies were never able to find their way, as Vermont scored four second period goals, exposing the Northeastern defense and beating the usually solid Huskies net minder.

Sophomore Mario Puskarich started the second period onslaught 9:16 into the period when he took a shot from the right point that Witt had no chance on, giving the Catamounts a 2-0 lead. Just over two minutes later Jonathan Turk got on the scoreboard on a power play goal that came about after Huskies defenseman Jarrett Fennell took a seemingly unnecessary tripping penalty a minute prior.

That would not be the last Northeastern heard from Turk, as he netted another goal at the 18:08 mark in the second, when he cleaned up a Mario Puskarich rebound to give Vermont a 3-0 lead.

The Catamounts finished their third period beat down with just 35 seconds left in the period when senior Jake Fallon took a puck laying on the door step and roofed it into the net to give his team a commanding lead heading into the third.

“The second period I felt like we exectured our game and sometimes you get a little puck luck,” said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon. “I think that’s what happened tonight.”

Northeastern would not die just yet though, as Mike Szmatula scored 3:33 into the third period after Huskies junior Kevin Roy dished the puck from the behind of net to the stick of Szmatula who muscled it between two Vermont defenders and behind goalie Brody Hoffman to cut the deficit to four.

Less than two minutes later Huskies captain Dax Lauwers scored when a Mike McMurtry shot produced a juicy rebound that Lauwers poked away at until it found the back of the net.

“I thought our team battled more in the third,” Keefe said, “There was no quit on our team, so I’ll give them credit for that.”

Vermont ended any hopes for a Northeastern comeback on this day though when Turk scored his third goal of the game on a cross ice pass from Alexx Privitera that beat Derick Roy, who took over for Witt in the third period.

“Give our guys a lot of credit,” Sneddon said, “I thought we had excellent defensive sticks tonight. And not just influencing their shots but they had some good entry plays and our back pressure was pretty good.”

“When you’re talking about guys like Kevin Roy, Szmatula, really all four of their lines had dangerous players on it,” Sneddon added. “I thought we were consistent with executing that game plan tonight.”

Keefe felt a lack of effort from the Huskies in the first two periods was to blame for the loss.

“I can look at our lineup right now and say there was only maybe a few guys that looked like they showed up and wanted to make a difference tonight,” Keefe said. “They’re a good team no doubt, they looked faster, they looked stronger, they looked grittier.”

“The most disappointing thing for me, was I thought we were a soft team tonight, and we’re not built that way,” Keefe added.

This article can also be found on USCHO.com

jbrown Hockey

Five Things To Watch- Northeastern vs Vermont

October 6th, 2014

BY: JOSH BROWN

With an exhibition tilt under their belt, a 3-2 loss to Acadia, here are five things to watch for Northeastern’s first regular season game, a match up with division rival Vermont at Matthews Arena.

1. Clay Witt- After carrying the Huskies for much of last season in his first year as a starter, Clay Witt (.932 save %, 2.37 GAA) will look to replicate the success he had just a year ago. Despite allowing 4 or more goals in four of the last five games of last season, the 2013-2014 Army ROTC Three Stars Award Winner looked poised for another big year after stopping 9 of 10 shots on Sunday.

2. Sophomore Class- After combining for 125 points in their freshman season, the now sophomore Huskies are going to be asked to have an even greater impact in the 2014-2015 season. Even though it ultimately will not count, fittingly the first goal of the season was scored by a member of said class when Zach Aston-Reese buried a penalty shot in the first period of Sunday’s game. Aston-Reese, Mike Szmatula, Dalen Hedges and Boston University transfer Brendan Collier will all be asked to help carry the scoring load for Northeastern this season.

3. Play of Defense- Although the defense looked strong against Acadia even with the loss of Josh Manson in the off season, last season Northeastern struggled containing high tempo attacks, something Jim Madigan said he expects to see out of Vermont this Saturday. Freshman Garret Cockerill impressed on Sunday making the most out of his playing time, something he got a lot of. Bruins draft pick Matt Benning will also look to be an anchor on the blue lines for Northeastern

4. Kevin Roy- After scoring two more goals (19) and lodging ten more assists (27) than his already impressive freshman campaign, Roy cemented himself as one of the best players in college hockey. The Hobey Baker Candidate scored a goal in the preseason scrimmage but also uncharacteristically took two costly penalties in the third period and missed an open net opportunity to tie the game with 10 seconds remaining. Look for him to try to get on the scoreboard early against Vermont, and get his 2014-2015 campaign off to a hot start after racking up 12 points in the first six games last season.

5. Discipline- After leading the conference with 13.8 penalty minutes per game last season, Northeastern will look to nip that Achilles Heel in the foot early on this season. After taking 19 penalty minutes Sunday afternoon, the Huskies will be tested even more against Vermont and their high tempo offensive attack, and physical play they are known for.

jbrown The Dog Pound

Acadia downs Northeastern in Exhibition

October 5th, 2014

BY: JOSH BROWN

Despite goals from Zach Aston-Reese and Kevin Roy, the #16 Northeastern Huskies started off the season on a sour note loosing to the Acadia Axemen 3-2 in the team’s only preseason game.

Northeastern scored the only goal of the first period on a Zach Aston-Reese penalty shot at 10:05 in the period. Aston-Reese, who had a breakaway was brought down by Stephen Woodworth from behind to earn the penalty shot. He beat Acadia goalie Brandon Glover 5-hole to give the Huskies the lead.

“I kind of wanted Kevin [Roy] to take it,” Aston-Reese joked. “I saw his legs open up so I just wanted to get it out as quick as possible.”

Acadia would come out with all the offensive momentum in the second period. Liam Heelis beat Huskies goalie Clay Witt over the left shoulder to tie the game at one 6:04 into the period. Witt would leave the game 5 minutes later finishing the evening with 9 saves on 10 shots.

The Axemen would take the lead with just 53 seconds remaining in the period when Boston Leier redirected a Matthew Pufahl shot by the glove of Derick Roy. The teams combined for 17 penalty minutes in the second frame.

Junior Kevin Roy would score the equalizer 8:19 into the third period on a power play goal assisted by Colton Saucerman and newcomer Garret Cockerill. Roy cleaned up a deflected Saucerman pass and shot it right over the glove of Brandon Glover for the score.

Unfortunately for the Huskies just 1:31 later the Axeman would take the lead for good when Alex Beaton beat Derick Roy blocker side to take the 3-2 lead. Despite a couple of power plays late in the game and an open net opportunity for Kevin Roy, which landed just wide, the Huskies could not find the back of the net and went home with a loss.

Derick Roy ended the day saving 13 of the 15 shots he faced after taking over for Witt. The Huskies were tacked with 19 penalty minutes on the afternoon.

“It was a fresh start, I just wanted to prove to everyone I was here to play as hard as I can,” said sophomore transfer Brendan Collier after his first action as a Husky. “I’m five minutes down the road from my old school [Boston University], and I’m five minutes still from my house. I’ve played in this building when I was in middle school, elementary school….I love playing here.”

Despite the loss Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan was happy with the focus his team showed Sunday afternoon.

“I was pleased with the effort, you can never sacrifice effort,” Madigan said. “I thought we got a little bit to loopy at times. We have a little more skill this year.”

The Huskies will begin the regular season Saturday night against Vermont, a game Madigan perceives as a big test early on for Northeastern.

“We know on Saturday with Vermont the way they play it’s up tempo, it’s fast paced, the tempo will be a lot faster,” Madigan said.

That game can be heard on WRBB with pregame beginning at 6:45 from Matthews Arena.

jbrown Hockey, The Dog Pound

7-footer Sajon Ford commits to Northeastern

September 30th, 2014

By: Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Sajon Ford, the 7-foot little brother to Northeastern forward Quincy Ford, has officially committed to Northeastern, according to the elder Ford.
Sajon is one of 10 siblings from Quincy’s St. Petersburg, Fla family. The two brothers will have one year to play together after Quincy red-shirted last season due to back surgery.

In addition to confirming his brother’s vocal commitment to a OBW reporter, Quincy also took to Instagram to show support for his brother, writing:

“Big [shout-out] to the little bro [Sajon Ford] and his commitment to Northeastern! Welcome to the NU Family! So proud of you and all the hard work you put in. Lookin forward to a year playin wit ya boi !!”

This article can also be found on OneBidWonders.com

jbrown The Dog Pound