Hockey East cooks with many potential Bakers

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Hockey East cooks with many potential Bakers

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

The Hockey East is one of the deepest talent pools in the nation. Six teams are currently peppered throughout US College Hockey Online's Top 20: No. 10 Boston College, No. 12 Maine, No. 15 New Hampshire, No. 17 Vermont, No. 18 Massachusetts and No. 20 UMass-Lowell. Boston University is also receiving votes.

But a better example of the caliber of athletes playing in the Hockey East is in the number of Hobey Baker Award candidates the league houses. To even be considered, the Hobey Baker site writes that a player must "exhibit strength of character both on and off the ice, contribute to the integrity of his team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game.''

Lofty standards for any student athlete.

Which is exactly why it's so impressive that 20 of the 70 preliminary candidates were plucked from Hockey East teams. Each is special in his own way, but all possess a standard for excellence that has placed them in this elite group.

See who made first cut.

BOSTON COLLEGE: JUNIOR FORWARD BRIAN GIBBONS
Quick Hits: 26 games played, 10 goals, 25 assists, 35 points, 1.35 pointsgame, 2 game winners, 3 power-play goals, 1 short-handed goal
Coach knows best: "He's a very explosive hockey player for us," Jerry York said. "He has terrific quickness and plays at a high tempo. He has outstanding stick skills, which I like. He competes really hard. He can hit you pretty hard for a 170-pounder. Hes clearly one of the elite players in our conference."
Highlight reel: Named semifinalist for the 58th Annual Walter Brown Award. Earned Hockey East Co-Player of the Week Honors, Nov. 9. Is the 2009-10 recipient of the Schiller Family Scholarship.
Also flying high: Cam Atkinson - So - F - 26GP, 17G, 14A, 31Pts, 1.19PtsGm, 1GW, 7PP, 1SH
BOSTON UNIVERSITY: JUNIOR FORWARD NICK BONINO
Quick Hits: 21GP, 6G, 18A, 24Pts, 1.14PtsGm, 0GW, 2PP, 1SH
Coach knows best: "He's the key guy on our offensive end this year, no doubt about it," Jack Parker said. "Nick Bonino is a Hobey Baker candidate, he's an All-America candidate and he's an All-Hockey East candidate and nobody knows about him. He's as good a player as there will be in college hockey."
Highlight reel: Named semifinalist for the 58th Annual Walter Brown Award. Scored his 100th career point in a three-assist performance in a 6-2 victory over UMass on Jan. 29. Bonino ranks fourth in career points (103) among current Hockey East players. Bonino is currently riding a seven-game point streak (1g, 11a). He also has at least one point in 14 of his last 16 games.
Nipping at his heels: Kevin Shattenkirk - Jr - D - 26GP, 4G, 17A, 21Pts, 0.80PtsGm, 0GW, 1PP, 1SH

MAINE: SOPHOMORE FORWARD GUSTAV NYQUIST
Quick Hits: 26GP, 14G, 26A, 40Pts, 1.54PtsGm, 3GW, 5PP, 0SH
Coach knows best: "Gustav is our leading scorer and can change the course of a game in a moment. He is one of the premier players in the country," said Tim Whitehead. He is a dynamic offensive player who has improved tremendously on defense as well. He's fun to watch and can bring you out of your seat with his creativity. He is not only a skilled player, he is a gritty competitor who wins a ton of loose pucks.
Highlight reel: Named Athletic Republic Hockey East Player of the Month for December. He had scored at least one point in 10 straight games between Nov. 20 and Jan. 15. Over that span, Nyquist had eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points. Is currently tied for 4th in scoring and 4th in assists, nationally, as well as in Hockey East play.

MASSACHUSETTS: JUNIOR FORWARD JAMES MARCOU
Quick Hits: 27GP, 9G, 32A, 41Pts, 1.52PtsGm, 1GW, 3PP, 0SH
Coach knows best: "I think, clearly, James is one of the most creative players in all of college hockey. His ability to see the ice, create space and make plays is uncanny," Don "Toot" Cahoon said of Marcou. "He rises to the occasion and he does it in big moments. He stirs the drink. He finds guys in a variety of ways. People do all sorts of things to eliminate him, but he's savvy. He's found a way to get it done."
Highlight reel: Ranked 2nd overall in scoring, 1st in assists. Named semifinalist for the 58th Annual Walter Brown Award thanks to 119 points on 31 goals and 88 assists in 101 games. Oct. 12, Named Hockey East Player Of The Week, Nov. 3, Named Hockey East Player Of The Month, Nov. 10, Named HCA National Player Of The Month Runner-Up
Another sharp shooter: Justin Braun - Sr - D - 27GP, 3G, 19A, 22Pts, 0.81PtsGm, 0GW, 1PP, 0SH

UMASS LOWELL: JUNIOR FORWARD SCOTT CAMPBELL
Quick Hits: 28GP, 9G, 14A, 23Pts, 0.82PtsGm, 1GW, 5PP, 0SH
Coach knows best: "Scott just gets better and better," said Blaise MacDonald. "He's strong, sees the ice, has a high hockey IQ and can play in any situation and play well."
Highlight reel: Riverhawks scoring leader. Named Athletic Republic Co-Player of the Week, Jan. 11, after tallying five points on a goal and four assists in two tough Hockey East road games. Campbell assisted on both UMass Lowell goals in a 2-2 tie at New Hampshire and scored once and assisted on two other goals in a 6-5 overtime win at Northeastern.
Swooping in: David Vallorani - So - F - 28GP, 9G, 13A, 22Pts, 0.78PtsGm, 2GW, 1PP, 0SH
Nick Schaus - Sr - D - 26GP, 4G, 18A, 22Pts, 0.84PtsGm, 0GW, 3PP, 0SH

MERRIMACK: FRESHMAN FORWARD STEPHANE DA COSTA
Quick Hits: 23GP, 11G, 22A, 33Pts, 1.43PtsGm, 0GW, 4PP, 0SH
Coach knows best: Hes just got a great feel for the conceptual part of the game, for space, for time, his heads always on a swivel, Mark Dennehy said. The game is moving a lot slower for him than it is for the rest of the players. He has incredible awareness.
Highlight Reel: The only recipient of the Hockey East Rookie of the Month honor this season. Da Costa scored five goals in his second career game. He also had an 11-game scoring streak earlier this season. Currently, he continues to lead all rookies nationally with 1.38 points per game. Overall, he's ranked 5th in the conference and 8th nationally with 29 points.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: SENIOR FORWARD BOBBY BUTLER
Quick Hits: 26GP, 14G, 26A, 40Pts, 1.54PtsGm, 3GW, 5PP, 0SH
Coach knows best: Hes one of our captains and hes leading by example," said Dick Umile. "Hes a goal scorer, we knew that coming in and hes got stronger and learned how to play at the defensive end."
Highlight reel: Named semifinalist for the 58th Annual Walter Brown Award. Hockey Humanitarian Nominee, Frozen Four Skills Challenge nominee. Named Hockey East Co-Player of the week, Nov. 16 and Jan. 11. Named Hockey East Player of the Month for November. Butler has scored a point in 21 of 27 games. In league play he ranks 1st in scoring, 1st in goals, and 4th in assists.
Clawing to the top: Brian Foster - Sr - G - 26GP, 12 Wins, 10 Losses, 4 Ties, 81 Goals Against, 1549 Minutes, 3.13 Goals against average, 0 Short handed, 758 Saves, .903 Save percentage; Blake Kessel - So - D - 26GP, 6G, 24A, 30Pts, 1.15PtsGm, 1GW, 2PP, 0SH

NORTHEASTERN: JUNIOR FORWARD WADE MACLEOD
Quick Hits: 25GP, 10G, 12A, 22Pts, 0.88PtsGm, 3GW, 4PP, 1SH
Coach knows best: "MacLeod's a special player," said Greg Cronin, "but also has to get more visible.
Highlight reel: MacLeod has notched five points in NU's last two contests. MacLeod had a six-game scoring streak between Jan. 2 and Jan. 16. Over those six games, he gathered eight points, including four goals and four assists. MacLeod recorded his 75th career point with a goal against UMass Lowell on Jan. 9. He takes 84 career points (35-49-84) into tonight's game versus Massachusetts.
Hot on his trail: David Strathman - Sr - D - 26GP, 3G, 7A, 10Pts, 0.38PtsGm, 1GW, 0PP, 1SH; Kyle Kraemer - Sr - F - 26GP, 10G, 10A, 20Pts, 0.76PtsGm, 2GW, 4PP, 0SH

PROVIDENCE COLLEGE: SOPHOMORE GOALIE ALEX BEAUDRY
Quick Hits: 24GP, 8W, 14L, 2T, 61GA, 1365Min, 2.68GAA, 0SH, 698SV, .920SV
Coach knows best: We had a number of goalies that we were evaluating, and we liked Alex the best his academic ability, his age, and his desire to get to school just kind of fit," Coach Tim Army said. We thought he was good. He was the guy we wanted."
Highlight reel: Ranked 1st in save percentage and 2nd in minutes in the league. Nationally, Beaudry is tied for 12th in save percentage. Named Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week, Oct. 12, Nov. 2, and Jan. 18. When he earned the honor most recently, Beaudry averaged 35 saves and posted a 2-1 record, a 2.34 goals against average and a .938 save percentage in three games. He was named Hockey East Goaltender of the Month for October. Beaudry finished the month with a 4-2 record, a 2.01 goals against average and a .939 save percentage. On Oct. 21 he stopped a career-best 47 shots, including 20 in the third period, at No. 17 UMass.
Keeping in step: Matt Bergland - So - F - 27GP, 9G, 9A, 18Pts, 0.66PtsGm, 2GW, 0PP, 0SH; Mark Fayne - Sr - D - 27GP, 4G, 13A, 17Pts, 0.62PtsGm, 0GW, 2PP, 0SH

Mary Paoletti is on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

BOSTON – The Bruins are undefeated this season when they manage to cobble together three goals in a game. 

It took a little extra as David Pastrnak knifed through former BC defenseman Mike Matheson in overtime for his second goal of the game, and his 15th of the season, to take a 4-3 win over the Panthers at TD Garden. 

It was thought the final offensive push they needed took place in the third period when Ryan Spooner hopped on the David Krejci line with David Backes, and fired a shot at the Boston net that Backes redirected through Roberto Luongo for his seventh of the season. 

But the Panthers tied it up on a Demers goal late in the third period, and that set up Pastrnak’s brilliant one-on-one move for the game-winner for the Black and Gold. 

The Bruins led off the scoring on a nice play by Tim Schaller winning a battle to enter the Florida zone, and then circling around behind the net before burying a one-timer from the slot as he crashed the net to connect with a David Krejci dish headed straight his way. 

The Panthers tied it a period later when the legend, Jaromir Jagr, buried a chance from the slot after his line had hemmed in the David Krejci line and Torey Krug/Adam McQuaid pairing for an extended shift in the Boston zone. It was goal No. 754 of Jagr’s brilliant NHL career as he continues to go strong for the Panthers, and it also tied the game 1-1. 

The Bruins looked like they might haven the lead for good on David Pastrnak’s 14th goal of the season, but it wasn’t mean to be. Pastrnak started it all by protecting a puck and retaining possession from his knees in the corner of the offensive zone. Eventually Patrice Bergeron fired a puck wide of the net, and Brad Marchand unleashed a spinning, no-look pass to a waiting Pastrnak for the easy score past Roberto Luongo. 

The Panthers tied it a second time in the third period when Reilly Smith stripped a puck from Patrice Bergeron going up the center of the ice, and eventually it found its way to Aleksander Barkov for a ripped shot from long distance for his fourth goal of the season. 

Then Florida tied it again in the final minutes of the third on a Jason Demers rebound bid after Mike Matheson’s shot went wide of the net and took a wild carom off the end boards in the exact opposite direction. 

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics struggling with three-pointers

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Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics struggling with three-pointers

You knew the 3-point shots were going to be flying all game long when the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets tipped off Monday night. 
 
Now whether they would go in, that’s another matter entirely. 
 
Boston’s struggles with knocking down the long ball played a pivotal role in them going into the half trailing the Houston Rockets, 58-48.
 
Houston, the NBA’s leader in three-pointers made (14.0) and taken (37.0), were 8-for-21 in the first half on 3s while the Celtics were a not-so-impressive 5-for-18.
 
Despite the shooting struggles, Boston managed to lead 37-36 after a driving lay-up by Jaylen Brown. 
 
But the Rockets had too much firepower and when they weren’t knocking down shots, they were getting to the free throw line where there 18-for-20 compared to Boston which was just 1-for-2.
Here are the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game. 

 

STARS
 
James Harden

The MVP candidate was bringing it all areas, scoring 21 points to go with seven assists. But he was far from perfect, evident by his six turnovers. 
 
Isaiah Thomas

He led the Celtics with 11 points, but looks to be growing frustrated with the lack of calls going the Celtics’ way. Near the end of the second quarter, Thomas was grimacing while holding his right groin. But it didn’t appear to be too big a deal as he hit a 3-pointer just moments later. But it’s worth keeping an eye on in the second half. 
 

STUDS
 
Jaylen Brown

He gave Boston a surprisingly strong lift off the Celtics bench. At the half, he had seven points which included a lay-up that put Boston ahead 37-36.

Trevor Ariza

He doesn’t get a ton of attention, but Ariza’s play has been one of the keys to Houston’s success this season. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds.

 

DUDS
 
Jonas Jerebko

He got the start tonight, but looks nothing like the high-energy, impact player he has been of late while coming off the bench. He was scoreless in the first half while missing all three of his shot attempts.