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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hockey Log: Sunday Edition

How’s everyone doing?

A look at the first impressions of eager early signings

The way it’s looking right now, the peak of the annual mass college-to-bush-league conversion wave has passed through. At least as far as hastily squeezing in a little action before that itchy summer layoff is concerned.

Curiously, we don’t even see New Hampshire phenom James vanRiemsdyk (nor Captain Friar Jon Rheault for that matter) taking their first grind with the Philadelphia Phantoms, the Flyers next door affiliate. But even without that rather expectable transaction, there have been enough medium-sized splashes of intrigue.

For instance, Matt Jones, merely a sophomore for Merrimack –a team whose pool of NHL draftees is dry enough for skateboarding- shuffled down to Worcester upon signing a spontaneous ATO with the Sharks. He proceeded to sprinkle two goals, a helper, and eight penalty minutes in seven AHL games.

Speaking of shallow rosters, Maine has not ceased to be slapped with unfamiliar elements of poverty, having lost cornerstone goaltender Ben Bishop to Peoria (St. Louis’ farm club) and Andrew Sweetland –the only non-senior amongst their top seven point-getters this season- to Florida’s organization.

But here’s Bishop’s really unusual facet: in only his second of five appearances with the AHL Rivermen, he managed to charge up nine penalty minutes. In a 5-2 triumph over the Lake Erie Monsters, Bishop earned a fighting major at 9:52 of the third period, with a two-minute side dish for leaving the crease. Ninety-one seconds into his sentence –obviously served by one of his skating praetorians- Bishop picked up a two-minute tripping citation.

As mentioned above, UNH has yet to let go of their heavily profiled frosh vanRiemsdyk (although, there’s still plenty of time for that before next season). But Dick Umile has the right to proudly watch members of his hefty senior stock pick up bonus action.

With the invitation of graduating beacons Matt Fornataro and Mike Radja, the Syracuse Crunch has three new-fangled pros who had started this season in Hockey East. Although, as of Game 2 of their first round series with Cory Schneider’s Manitoba Moose, only BC runaway Brett Motherwell has laced up his blades for the Crunch.

Goaltender Kevin Regan, who in his last drop-in to Providence vacuumed a career-best 52 shots from the Friars February 15, resurfaced at the P-Bruins practice facility. He is far from likely to see any playoff action given the season-long solidity of Tuuka Rask and Jordan Sigalet, but Regan did dip back into the Granite State last Saturday to pitch a shutout against the Manchester Monarchs.

Of the three Friars who did take the chance to scrape a little more ice and get a free sample before their first full dish of pro action next year, only goaltender Tyler Sims remains obligated.

Defender Cody Wild, who took his two-way slamming and shooting skills north to Springfield, garnered 13 AHL games and 1-2-3 totals in a hurry before the Falcons snuffed out in their race for a playoff spot.

Another valuable bouncer in Trevor Ludwig had a seven-game go-around with Dallas’ AHL team in Iowa, which likewise failed to land a Calder Cup playoff berth. Now that Ludwig has a little extra time, his recent buffs here in Providence may take this moment to call up and ask for some explanations.

True, unlike Wild, he had no more collegiate eligibility to work with. But Ludwig somehow notched three helpers in his skate-whetting stint with the I-Stars versus a grand total of four points in 29 outings with the Friars this season.

Sims, also the only undrafted Friar who has successfully split for the pro ranks, has pasted Reading and Las Vegas stickers on his suitcase since parting from the Divine Campus less than five weeks ago. Already with a cumulative 1-2-1 ECHL record, as of this week he was manning the LV Wranglers bench doors behind starter Kevin Lalande (himself a pro newbie, and ironically two years younger) in their Kelly Cup series with the Stockton Thunder.

Included amongst Sims’ newest teammates are the two nearly inseparable Ferraro brothers, Chris and Peter, both former national champions with Maine in 1993. Nine years back, Peter was on his way to helping the P-Bruins wrest away the Calder Cup.

Eagles get extra wings

Steve Janaszak, Jim Craig’s generally forgotten backup throughout the “Miracle on Ice” run of 1979-80, once noted in Wayne Coffey’s 2005 chronicler, Boys of Winter, his rapid back-to-earth transition after the nationwide confetti was cleaned up. Reflecting on his debut the Baltimore Clippers in the long-deceased Eastern League, Janaszak wondered how the laws of cosmology had brought him from the White House to a bush-league barn in the span of a week.

Imagine how members of the newly crowned Boston College Eagles will respond to the collegiately commonplace grind of final exams in a few weeks. After all, when they’re cramming in the libraries and mixing ink with sweat in their pens, they will only be a month removed from the following:

a1) Averting an inconceivably wretched three-peat of runner-up finishes and spiking the NCAA trophy back into eastern ice for the first time in seven years.

2) Filing through the Red Sox clubhouse to high-five baseball’s world champions –who themselves have had some unique over-before-you-know-it journeys of late- and Mike Brennan and Matt Greene tossing the first pitch before Boston’s bout with the Yankees. All that within 24 hours of their 4-1 lashing of Notre Dame out in the Mile High City.

c3) A Tuesday night stroll onto the ice at the Garden –a sheet that’s was particularly good to them this season- during a TV timeout of another stirring rivalry game, i.e. Game 4 of Bs-Habs.

d4) A note of kudos from Bay State senator and fellow puck devotee John Kerry. (By the way, Kelly Sullivan, the lone senior on UMass-Lowell’s team this year, will see Kerry in person when he speaks at UML’s commencement, as was reported in Wednesday’s Lowell Sun).

To think that now all the BC boys will need to really shut their 2007-08 diaries securely is a note of kudos from their professors.

And to think that only 55 weeks ago, the likes of radiant rookies John Muse and Brian Gibbons were vainly steering the Cape Cod Whalers –a conglomeration of Mass prep school all-stars- in the USA Hockey championship, under the watchful eyes of this writer. (I was a senior at the Minnesota-based Shattuck-St. Mary’s, covering that team’s drive to the 18-and-under national title). Oh, the wonders that sport can do to your life.

Crashing out of her Schell

Northeastern women’s apprentice Florence Schelling backstopped the startling Swiss national team to a berth in the bronze medal game at last week’s world championship event, where they eventually submitted to Friar Mari Pehkonen’s Finns, 4-1.

According to a Husky athletics news release, the 19-year-old Schelling has already scraped up six years worth of international competition for the blossoming program, including a dip in neighboring Italy for the 2006 Olympics, as well as a Manon Rheaume-like stint in the Swiss National Men’s League.

In her latest impression, Schelling placed second amongst all WWC goaltenders, even outshining the likes of Canada’s Kim St.-Pierre and Sweden’s Kim Martin. She charged up a 3-2-0 transcript, pushing away 170 of 185 shots faced, blanking Germany in the tourney opener, and pitching in an assist in the consolation tilt.

Could Schelling’s forthcoming arrival in the Hub be much timelier for the dysfunctional Huskies? Well, rising sophomore Leah Sulyma made an adequate impression down the stretch this year, answering hefty bushels of opposing rubber on a nightly basis, to establish herself as the starter.

But if Northeastern is to fix the shallow digits in their W column, they have a choice: sneak current assistant skipper Chanda Gunn –three years removed from her dazzling days in the Husky cage- into the pads or give Sulyma a desirable fraction of rest. With Schelling, who gulped 49 shots by Team USA on April 6, no more pucks should still be unturned in that debate.

Quick Feeds: Surprise, surprise: BC’s radioactive Nathan Gerbe, who unleashed 22 points in the stretch drive en route to his long-craved title and New Hampshire women’s beacon Sam Faber, who inserted six points in as many games, were Hockey East’s final players of the month for this year…PC’s Danielle Ciarletta and Amber Yung were recognized as runners-up for March’s top goaltender and rookie respectively…The Friars’ web site recently announced a $150,000 donation by 1960 alumnus Bill Leary, given specifically in the name of the women’s team, but aimed at renovating and enriching the Friends of Friar Hockey Room at the south end of Schneider Arena…Distant multi-sport Friar athlete and former women's hockey coach Jackie Barto, whose full-time occupation is now behind Ohio State’s bench, struck gold for the first time as an international skipper at last week’s Women’s World Championship final.

Softball sweeps DH at Rutgers

Breaking even

Double-slugging of Rutgers improves PC to 6-6

Report based on CSTV's Gametracker service

Piscataway, N.J.- The former was statistically authoritative and ultimately breezy. The latter was cringe-inducing and mythically epic.

Both of the installments of Saturday’s visit to the Rutgers Softball Complex involved the Friars veiling a quaky defense. First, top hurler Danielle Bertollette stuffed up three unstable innings while her teammates proceeded to shower on the hits towards a 7-1 victory.

The second game had an ominous start as Jennifer Maccio found herself in a 3-1 deficit through one inning, part of it attributable to two PC errors (by day’s end, the Friars had a two-game total of five blunders). But like Bertollette before her, Maccio recompensed. Heavily helping her own cause with two credited put-outs and five assists, she held the Scarlet Knights scoreless even as they snuck in at least one hit for every inning but the seventh.

By that point, Providence had inched its way back against the unyielding Rutgers starter Crissy Yard. Trailing 3-2 with three outs to work with, they launched a decisive offensive towards a 6-3 victory, sweeping the set and improving to 6-6 in conference action.

Yard, who had only allowed one run in the first and fourth while stamping 1-2-3 ventures in the second, third, and fifth, went all roly-poly when it came time to wrap things up. Julie Fowler brought Samantha Pittmann home from third to knot things up and hustled to second when Katelyn Revens bunted her way to first.

Yard’s crumbling process explicitly surfaced when a wild pitch to Jen Garcia put both runners in scoring position. And by the time Garcia had hit a productive fly to Amanda Heller in right and PC’s top slugger Mary Rose Sheehy cleared things up with a home run, the score was solidified and Yard’s once-fail-safe complete game was cut off by 1/3 of an inning.

Nicole Lindley, who took the bulk of PC’s punishment in Game 1, finished the top half of the inning before Maccio wrapped up her less likely CG, even after leadoff Malory Miller tiptoed to third on an error, a sac grounder, and a wild pitch. She would be stranded when Mandy Craig, already 2-for-2 with two RBI on the game, flew out to Gina Rossi in left.

To start their go-around with Maccio (now 8-5 overall this season), the Knights made a burning point of doing what they couldn’t do in Game 1 to her cut-above colleague Bertollette: cash in when the ball got buttery.

Maccio issued a leadoff walk to Amanda Shaw , who completed the tour home on a Mallory Miller single to left and an error on the part of Revens at third, which put Kate Valiante on first and Miller at second. Both of those runners inched into scoring position on a wild pitch against Craig who knocked them both home and then took a free ride to second on Justine Stratton’s misfire out of right, officially branded the Friars’ second error of the inning.

In the next two innings, Maccio virtually laid out and singlehandedly escaped from her own muddle. With two on and one away in the second, she zapped a liner by Heller and thrust it to first for a spontaneous double-play. In the third, she cut down Miller by handing a Craig grounder over to Revens before Kim Hodges grounded to third, pacifying another red scare.

Meanwhile, PC’s bat rack –which, Jen Garcia’s first inning bomber aside, took the first three innings to recuperate from its indulgent Game 1 scoring spree- thawed out in the fourth for its first legitimate threat against Yard. Leading off, Sheehy –who at day’s end was tops in the Big East with a .404 batting average- doubled to right center and Christy Becker singled to place runners at the corners. Stratton’s sac fly to left field brought Sheehy home to cut the deficit to 3-2, but Pittmann grounded out to end the round.

The Friars spilled a glowing opportunity to pull ahead in the sixth when Yard, in regular Maccio fashion, snared Rossi’s grounder and turned to first for the second out, placing the likes of Sheehy and Becker in scoring position. But Stratton flew out to left for the third out, forcing PC to save its epic juice for the final inning, wherein Yard would double her hit count from four to eight and bloat her batters-faced total from 23 to 31.

Game 1: Through the completion of Game 1, the Friars had stamped the first half of their Big East schedule and replenished the strength of their record with a fourth straight intra-league triumph.

Bertollette, who bulked up her record to 11-8 in her team-leading ninth complete game on the year, breezed through the fifth and sixth innings after Rutgers put her through a flustering tangle in the previous three frames. Over the second, third, and fourth, Bertollette admitted half of 18 faced batters to the bags, two of them hit batsmen, five on singles, and another a run-scoring double by Craig in the second, which halved the Friar lead to 2-1.

Otherwise, the Providence defense had their unflagging hurler’s back, restricting the salivating Knights to that single run. Two batters after Craig, with the sacks juiced, Bertollette foiled Kim Hodges’ scoring attempt from third by tossing a grounder right back to catcher Teresa Bertels.

In the third, Rutgers threatened with the same royal flush laid out with one out before Hodges chopped on to shortstop Jenna Garcia. Garcia likewise cut down aspirant scorer Amanda Heller –the only Knight who hit Bertollette twice on the game.

The Friars –who in the first had sculpted the initial 2-0 lead on a two-out passed ball break and Justine Stratton’s follow-up single- similarly tormented the Knights fielding, but left their next four potential scorers stranded, even whilst chunking the Rutgers starter Lindley on six hits.

But PC perked back up in the fourth after a throwing error and a sacrifice bunt by Fowler inched both Samantha Pittmann and Bertels to scoring position, a savory setup for Revens’ single and Garcia’s two-run double after Reven took the liberty to steal second.

By her day’s end, briefly paused in the fourth in favor of Katye Hamlin, Lindley had allowed all seven Friar runs (two of them unearned) on 14 hits, three of them two-baggers.

Bertollette stabbed the scarlet tempest for the final three innings, save for a leadoff single in the seventh by Shaw. Shaw would shuffle to second on Miller’s sacrifice effort but was left stranded when Revens stamped the final out on a line drive to third.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lacrosse Log

Friars look to pick fallen pieces

Even before the officiating crew caught PC defenseman Thomas Wenskus with an illicit pocket prior to the start of Wednesday’s second half, the starving pit bulls of host Marist were making a frightful enough impression around the Friar net.

At the time of the first 15 minute whistle, a 1-0 PC lead aside, the winless Red Foxes had gained hints of momentum through three late shot attempts. Though they only registered five total attempts in the quarter, two reaching goalkeeper Robert Bryan’s porch, the Foxes kept Bryan perked by encouraging him to assume the cleaning chores on three ground balls.

And then, Wenskus’ violation, the first infraction penned on the day’s scoresheet, warranted a savory three-minute EMO segment to start the second quarter.

By the time they still had 21 seconds worth of man-up time to spare, Marist had sculpted a 3-1 lead, which with little doubt paced them to the eventual 7-6 final –Marist’s (1-4) first triumph in 13 overall tries and the Friars’ (5-1) first falter in MAAC competition this year.

All things considered, the Friars have done a commendable job of playing to the canon, never committing more than four fouls per game leading up to Wednesday’s venture.

Superficially, the drop-in at Marist was routinely moderate with a day’s total of three citations. And even when shorthanded, Providence came in with a respectable 23-for-27 PK rate.

But their first non-releasable equipment infraction of the year translated accordingly. The Foxes dumped five goals before the half, making for the worst single-quarter profusion PC has suffered since a 13-5 throttling at almighty Maryland March 3. Marist’s third strike –the finishing touch on that table-turning flurry- came amidst a two-man discrepancy with Friar Joe Watkins serving a one-minute slashing sentence.

Light as PC’s penalty bushel was on Wednesday, it contained a lumpy pair of personals to go with the stick violation. An illegal bodycheck on the part of Ben Johnston, occurring early in the suspenseful fourth quarter with Marist up 6-3, at best deferred the Friars’ rally effort. After a Bennett Murphy strike with 6:16 left, Bobby Labadini inserted a pair within the final five minutes, but that was as far as Providence went.

Wrinkled faces: Apart from the deep implications in Wenskus’ penalty, PC’s other flaw Wednesday was a one-sided difference in the way of face-offs. Marist middie Dan Needle singlehandedly raked away 13 of the game’s 16 draws versus the likes of Wenskus, Watkins, and Chris Hanlon.

Another look: Frank Cicero temporarily relieved Bryan in the third quarter Wednesday, standing in for 7:40 of playing time and scooping one ground ball. It was Bryan’s first incomplete game in four opportunities and Cicero’s first appearance since he closed a 12-4 win over Manhattan March 15.

Cicero, the second most frequently employed keeper this season, bulked his totals to four games and 104:45 played. Associates A.J. Battaglia and Jake Goodelman have mere slurps of java to speak of from the waning stages of a March 22 blowout of the Virginia Military Institute.

Ground Balls: The Friars get their last hack at an interleague win on Saturday when they visit Brown. The Bears, led by sizzling sophomore Thomas Muldoon and league-leading goaltender Jordan Burke, lay claim to a 9-2-0 transcript, good for #18 in the latest national coaches’ poll, and are 4-0 in Ivy League action…Muldoon has already equaled his freshman total with 23 goals…Brown thoroughly owns the all-time Divine City series, having won all 14 meetings. The current collegiate generation has only renewed this rivalry once: last season when Brown nabbed a 7-3 victory on the PC campus. Friar Devin McBride and Bears Muldoon and Kyle Hollingsworth all charged up two goals in that game…The Friars last stepped on Brown’s turf on April 23, 2003 when they submitted an 11-5 deficit.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lacrosse Log

Bryan nailing his post

How much hardware can’t be wrong?

For Providence College goalkeeper Robert Bryan, recipient of the MAAC Defensive Player of the Week distinction thrice in the last five installments, a steady flurry of fun-size honor marks nothing less than a smooth straw-to-gold spinning project.

In his first season as the Friars’ chief cage custodian –coming into his junior year with a slim aggregate six games worth of experience- Bryan has exponentially established himself as a cornerstone in the team’s 5-0 league record, culminating most recently in Saturday’s 5-4 stumping of St. Joseph’s. The Hawks heaved a grand total of 28 attempted shots, getting 17 of them within Bryan’s reach.

Only the regal likes of North Carolina –familiar enough for an offspring of Apex, N.C.- have given Bryan a heavier sweat this year (20 shots in an 8-6 Tar Heel victory March 12). Right at the start of the season, Fairfield and Air Force both matched St. Joe’s 17 stockpile, putting a combined 15 of those shots through.

But, comfortably removed from the Cyclopean inter-conference portion of the season, Bryan answered the St. Joseph’s onslaught with a career best 13 saves, warding off the Hawks rally and preserving a 5-4 Friar victory.

Since delving into the MAAC slate,
Bryan has only been given regular start-to-finish duty over the last three games. Each time, he has been needed in the peak stages, and each time he has accepted charge.

The quad-OT triumph of Siena three weeks back –wherein he answered three out of 14 total stabs in the bonus rounds- speaks for itself. And in the more recent wins over Mt. St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s, Bryan’s mates have initially sculpted gratifying leads, but spilled some or all of it in the second half.

In the former case, the Friars churned their way to a 10-2 gap in the first 45 minutes, heavily outshooting the Mountaineers the way through, but tapered off in the closing quarter enough to authorize a 7-5 attempt difference in favor of their guests. In last week’s Philly venture, St. Joseph’s zapped a 3-0 deficit on the game’s only EMO conversion at 6:31 of the third quarter and later snuck back to within 5-4 after the Friars had perked back up.

Marist looking meeker

Whereas the Friars could make one of their swiftest claims to a playoff berth with a win at Marist Wednesday, the last place Red Foxes (0-4 MAAC, 0-12 overall) are amidst a dank U-turn from their former winning ways.

A year ago, Marist matched PC’s 5-3 transcript on the MAAC leaderboard, barely missing out on postseason activity. That spoiled any hopes of a tournament threematch after the Friars had snatched an 11-10 OT decision in the 2006 semi-finals, avenging Marist’s 9-5 throttling in the same round in 2005 en route to the conference crown.

Yet the 2008 Foxes, despite having discharged a mere five seniors last summer after granting best wishes to another four in 2006, have tumbled to the 55th out of 57 slots in the Laxpower rankings and lost six games by a four-goal deficit or worse.

Ground Balls: Quirkily enough, one of Marist’s better registered performances was a 9-8 home falter against St. Joseph’s that took four overtimes to decide. That was back on March 22, one week prior to the PC-Siena classic…The 2008 Red Foxes and Friars also have the commonality of having hacked and whiffed at the mighty Tar Heel. Marist’s most decisive lashing this year was a 12-3 final at the hands of UNC a week after the Tar Heels paid their visit to Friartown…Of the current Friars, graduate attacker Bennett Murphy has a leading 5 points (3 goals, 2 helpers) all time versus Marist. In the way of goals, Devin McBride has garnered a team-leading four…Wednesday’s Marist visit will be underway at 3:00…PC returns home Saturday for a visit to cross-town rival Brown, their last non-conference obligation of the regular season. Face-off for Divine City dance is slated for 7:00.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

On Hockey

Experience, emotion steamrolled stats for Eagles

Four weeks ago, dozens of rink-bound Friar Fanatics slithered up to the Boston College campus convinced that they had a weekend of slip-out-of-your-seat arm wrestling in store for the best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinals. The four passports to TD Banknorth Garden were still clearly anybody’s.

Such a proposition made sense for all that the database could tell you. It was a 4-5 seed matchup that was nearly booked for Schneider Arena instead of the Conte Forum. And even at that rate, the Friars had already charged up two wins at The Heights late in the regular season towards an eventual 2-0-1 season series triumph.

But now, as the Eagles lug the NCAA championship trophy back home from Denver, it should be plain to see as to why PC was knocked loose in such brisk fashion, authorizing gaping early leads en route to a pair of 5-1 falters. This is the explanation: with playoff air having settled, Jerry York’s hockey capstone students wasted no time dissociating themselves from Tim Army’s Intro. to Clutch class.

Afterwards, USCHO quoted Army as flexibly assessing, “Everybody expects to advance but we’re not quite there yet. We’re getting there and we’ll get there, but we have to learn how to play and how to play in a [playoff] environment.”

A week later, similar lessons were learned and similar sentiments expressed by the likes of Vermont, who made their first ever trek to the Hockey East final only to submit the crown to the Eagles, 4-0.

Bam! There’s your difference, right there. Whereas the Friars and Catamounts are not quite there, the Eagles have been there and beyond time and again. They had bagged two league playoff titles in three years and hustled into the national final in 2006 and 2007. But you don’t even need to break out the Memorex to recall the double-dose of vinegar York’s pupils still tasted at training camp. No program had had the nominal honor of back-to-back runners-up since the Denver Pioneers in 1964.

The defining characteristic of the 2007-08 Hockey East season was the unreliable weekly shift of lottery balls that were the ten member schools. When New Hampshire broke away from the pack to stamp first place, they stamped that claim on February 23 through a 5-1 thrashing of none other than the Eagles, who were an iffy 11-9-7 when the ice chips settled and the playoff bracket dried.

But all BC really needed to revive their unfulfilled hardware hunger was a veiled scolding after a 3-3 draw at basement-bound Maine in late January. York –who has had bench-based duties over Frozen Four weekend seven times in the previous ten years- reportedly said that evening, “I understand that Denver in the springtime is an outstanding place to be. We’re not going to be there as a team, and that’s the worst feeling for any college coach.”

Within seventeen days, the Eagles had usurped Boston University’s jealously guarded Beanpot. And the thawing process was making headway.

Where had Nathan Gerbe gone? Well, in all fairness, he had a grand total of 46 points after a 3-2 overtime falter to Northeastern on March 7 (the same night the Friars’ home ice hopes slipped away with a loss at BU). But that was the last of BC’s shortcomings and Gerbe’s silence.

Between the end of the regular season and Saturday’s title tilt, a nine game spread, Gerbe’s scoring transcript read 12-10-22, dubious penalty shot conversion against Ryan Simpson and all. On Saturday, he went 2-2-4 with a +8 rating while linemates Ben Smith and Brian Gibbons had 1-2-3 and 0-2-2 totals respectively.

How could anybody fill Cory Schneider’s hefty pads that backstopped the last two ventures to the national final? The bar scaled higher and the doubters kept slapping, but freshman John Muse snared every question mark and tossed them aside. In the process, he consumed every last second of game action while Gerbe and the rest of his praetorian guards –including equally instinctive classmate Joe Whitney- kept inserting the points. The cumulative goal differential in eight post-season games favored the Eagles, 38-13.

What about the syrupy debacle surrounding Brett Motherwell –who bolted for the bush leagues at mid-season- or the devastating injury to forward Brock Bradford? Well, it’s not like this program wasn’t trying to convert negative energy already. In fact, they took one more emotional dent early in the championship game when valuable bouncer Carl Sneep was cracked in the foot by a low flying slap shot.

At night’s end, however, the Eagles had broken their nagging fetters whilst thwarting the hopes of yet another aspirant juggernaut: Notre Dame.

But the Friars, Catamounts, and Irish can all gladly take this lesson for living from Boston College and Aerosmith alike: “You gotta lose to know how to win.”

Quick Feeds: Eliminating the Friars is becoming a positive omen for the Eagles. In 2001, the last time BC –or any eastern school- won the title, the Eagles launched their fast-track with a conference championship victory over PC. Current Bruin Chuck Kobasew was the tournament MVP…Now that the NCAA trophy is back on the Hockey East coast, PC is guaranteed to face the defending national champion for the third straight season. Last year, the Friars dropped in at the Badger Invitational, where the 2006 champion Wisconsin throttled them, 5-0. This season, they topped Michigan State, 5-3, in the consolation game of the Great Lakes Invitational…Denver has become a regular memory factory for Boston sports buffs. The Eagles title comes less than six months after the Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies in the World Series. Not to mention, the Pepsi Center was the site of Bruins marvel Ray Bourque’s memorable valedictory game in 2001.