Friday, September 30, 2011

Pre-season Preview, St. Francis Xavier at BU

Finally an actual hockey game to cover. Its been exactly 200 days since BU lost to Northeastern in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Since then, there has not been much to talk about over the past 6 months. I, along with the rest of the BU hockey community, should be looking forward to tomorrow's game. Granted it is an exhibition game, but it is a game none the less.

Millan will likely get the start in net and then be relived by Grant Rollihiser either in the middle of the second period or at the end of it.

Yasin Cisse will miss the game with a concussion and defenseman Ryan Ruikka will be out with a hair-line fracture in his right foot.

Run Down On the X-Men
Unlike BU, St. Francis Xavier has already played two games this season winning both games decisively against other Canadian schools. The Nova Scotia located college, finished last season ranked 8th in Canada's equivalent of the NCAA, the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) with a 17-10-1 record.

Chris Hulit was SFX leading scorer with 15 goals, 16 assists in 26 games for a total of 31 points in the regular season. Xavier also has an incredible goalie in Joseph Perricone, who stopped 50 shots against BU back in October 2009. Perricone only allowed two goals that night, but the effort was only good for a 2-2 draw with BU. My guess is that he will be in goal tomorrow, though I honestly can't say for sure.

** Note that Canadian college teams wear half shields and not full face mask like American colleges, also most of the SFX roster (along with every other CIS team) is made up of older players who have dropped out of the Canadian Major Junior Leagues.**

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

BU Picked 2nd in Hockey East Coaches Poll; Assistant Captains Named

Justin Courtnall
(photo by Matt Desens)
Today, the Hockey East coaches sat down for their annual pre-season meeting and released the coach's poll.

BU was tabbed to finish second in the league behind Boston College.  BU picked up three of the possible 10 first place votes, while BC claimed the other seven. Yesterday, BU was picked to win Hockey East by the Writers and Broadcasters of the league.

Coaches poll:
  1. Boston College (7)
  2. Boston University (3)
  3. Nw Hampshire
  4. Maine
  5. Merrimack
  6. Vermont
  7. UMass
  8. Northeastern
  9. Lowell
  10. Providence 
Assistant Captains named today
Alex Chiasson
(photo by Matt Dresens)
Following the conclusion of last season, we all knew Chis Connolly would once again be Captain of the Terriers. What we didn't know was who the assistants would be. Today it was released that Alex Chiasson and Justin Courtnall will wear the "A" on there sweater this season.

Injury Report (already?)
According to the Boston Hockey Blog, Junior defenseman Ryan Ruikka will be out three weeks with a hairline fracture in his right foot. 

The tough luck for Yasin Cisse continues. Cisse suffered a concussion in a practice some time last week. He will be listed as day to day.

"He got a concussion in practice so there's a limitation that way right now," BU coach Jack Parker said.

Both players have missed entire seasons with injuries. Ruikka missed his entire freshman campaign with a separated shoulder. Last season Ruikka re-injured the shoulder mid-way though the year. Cisse, also missed all but two shifts in his freshman year. He blew out his knee in the season opener against Wisconsin. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

At the Polls

The pre-season rankings have been coming in from the major college hockey websites in the last few weeks. BU has been ranked as high as 2nd in the nation by College Hockey News.

Today, BU was slotted at #10 in the USCHO poll (the poll that everyone looks at at actually cares about). I had BU at 5 in my preseason ranking. Of course these rankings are heavily based on last years results and that may explain why BC is ranked 5th. I mean did they look at who the Eagles lost this off season?

***First place votes in parentheses***

Here is the complete USCHO rankings:
  1. Notre Dame (11)
  2. Miami (12)
  3. North Dakota (5) 
  4. Denver
  5. Boston College (2)
  6. Michigan
  7. Colorado College
  8. Minnesota Duluth (10)
  9. Yale (1)
  10. Boston University (2)
  11. Union
  12. New Hampshire
  13. Western Michigan
  14. Nebraska Omaha
  15. Merrimack
  16. Maine
  17. Wisconsin
  18. RPI
  19. Minnesota
  20. Cornell
USA today also came out with there top 15 rankings today. BU a tad higher in this one at six, one place below arch rival BC. BU did pick up three first place votes, BC had one.

USA Today Rankings:

  1. Miami (15)
  2. Notre Dame (4)
  3. North Dakota (3)
  4. Denver
  5. Boston College (1) 
  6. Boston University (3)
  7. Colorado College
  8. Yale (2) 
  9. Michigan 
  10. Minnesota Duluth (6)
  11. Union
  12. New Hampshire 
  13. Western Michigan
  14. Nebraska Omaha
  15. Maine

My rankings:
  1. Miami (Ohio)
  2. North Dakota
  3. Noter Dame
  4. Denver
  5. Boston University 
  6. Yale
  7. Colorado College
  8. Union
  9. Michigan
  10. Minnesota Duluth 
  11. Boston College
  12. Nebraska Omaha
  13. New Hampshire
  14. Western Michigan 
  15. Merrimack
  16. Cornell
  17. Wisconsin
  18. Maine
  19. RIT
  20. RPI 
Kieran Millan was named the 6th best goalie
 in the  nation by USCHO. UNH's Matt DiGirolamo was
 ranked #1.... is he really that good? 
or was I seeing a different game last year? 
I don't remember him even being the best goalie in 
Hockey East, never mind the nation.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

News and Notes

>>>The NHL pre-season is under way and several former Terriers are seeing some action. Last night, Colin Wilson of the Nashville Predators posted a goal and two assists in the Pred's first exhibition game.

Two more members of the '09 National Championship Team played in an exhibition match this evening. Colby Cohen and David Warsofsky both suited up for the Bruins tonight against Ottawa. Ottawa has some familiar Hockey East foes including UNH's Bobby Butler and Merrimack's Stephan DaCosta.

>>> BU was ranked 2nd by College Hockey News in their preseason rankings.

>>> The National Collegiate Hockey Conference picked up two new members for the 2014 season. Western Michigan and St. Cloud State join North Dakota, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska Omaha, Denver, and Colorado College, the six founding members of the NCHC.

Monday, September 19, 2011


The Bavis family finally settled their 9/11 lawsuit today. Former BU star Mark Bavis was one of the many people killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in september 2001. Bavis was on a plane back to LA for the start of the Kings training camp where he was a scout for the Kings.

Bavis family settles 9/11 lawsuit

The family of Mark Bavis of Roslindale reached a settlement today with United Airlines and its security contractor, after nearly 10 years of wrongful death litigation against them. The family was the lone holdout among the thousands that either accepted money from a $7 billion Victims Compensation Fund or settled their lawsuits.

The amount of damages is confidential. The Bavis family attributed its change of heart to frustration over the legal system.

“For almost 10 years, my family never even considered the word ‘settle,’” said Mike Bavis, the identical twin brother of Mark Bavis, a pro hockey scout from Roslindale killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “We were always going to trial. How that changed has everything to do with the court, the legal system and the rulings from Judge Hellerstein.” The trial was set to begin Nov. 7 in federal court in Manhattan with Judge Alvin Hellerstein presiding.

Mark Bavis was one of the 56 passengers on United Flight 175 out of Logan International Airport, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center. He was 31 years old, headed to a Los Angeles Kings training camp in Los Angeles. Families of the other victims either settled their complaints or were granted awards through the fund set up by the US government to handle claims and to stabilize the airline industry after 9/11.

The settlement came 12 days after after Hellerstein ruled Sept. 7 that United Airlines and its security contractor, Huntleigh USA, had to prove that they adhered to federal aviation safety standards, not the state standards of wrongful death that the plaintiffs had sought. The defense asked the judge to dismiss the case.

In response, the Bavis’s attorneys Friday filed a 100-page brief with 127 exhibits outlining the evidence they intended to present at trial, including depositions obtained from more than 200 screeners working on Sept. 11, 2001, at Logan International Airport, their supervisors, chiefs of security for the airline, and FAA officials.

The testimony revealed that the five terrorists who boarded Flight 175 passed through screeners at United Airlines who did not speak English — one even required a translator for her deposition — did not know who Osama bin Laden was or what Al Qaeda was, and were inexperienced and underpaid. In addition, many of the screeners on duty that day “did not know what Mace and pepper spray were.”

According to the documents, both screeners and their supervisors failed to act on the suspicious behavior of two of the hijackers, who were let through even though they didn’t speak English and could not respond to security questions. Additional screening of them, the Bavis attorneys allege, would have included a hand search of their carry-on bags, which contained knives, Mace and pepper spray.

With the release of the depositions, the Bavises were able to accomplish a major goal of theirs, says Mike Bavis: to make public the airline’s failure to adequately screen passengers. “The public should realize this private law firm went way beyond the federal commission appointed to investigate 9/11,” he said. “We took it as far as the court allowed us to.”

Asked how he felt about the turn of events, he replied: “Is this a moral victory? It depends on what happens. If the government and the FAA are more accountable in doing their jobs, then it will be worth it.”

In 2002, Mary Bavis and her six surviving children filed the wrongful death lawsuit against United, Huntleigh and Massport, which runs Logan Airport, but Hellerstein dismissed the claim against Massport in July.
Bella English can be reached at

Friday, September 16, 2011

National Top 20 Predictions

September has turned into a month full of predictions, now here is my Pre-season National Top 20 prediction.

  1. Miami (Ohio)
  2. North Dakota
  3. Noter Dame
  4.  Denver
  5. Boston University 
  6. Yale
  7. Colorado College
  8. Union
  9. Michigan
  10. Minnesota Duluth 
  11. Boston College
  12. Nebraska Omaha
  13. New Hampshire
  14. Western Michigan 
  15. Merrimack
  16. Cornell
  17. Wisconsin
  18. Maine
  19. RIT
  20. RPI 
Most likely way off, but what the hell it might be close to the final rankings at the end of the season.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2012 Season Preview

Chris Connolly will again be the
Captain of the Terriers. He is one
of only a hand full of players to
Captain the team twice.
(photo by Matt Dresens)
We're less than a month away from the season opener against UNH, so its once again, time to put out my season preview.

A few days ago, I picked BU to win Hockey East. Before I get too far ahead of myself, I have some explanation why I think BU can not only be a dominant force in the league, but in the national picture too. 

Coming into this season, the Terriers will return all but three players from last year's roster. David Warsofsky decided to forgo his senior year and head to the Bruins organization, where he finished the year in AHL Providence. BU also says goodbye to four year seniors Joe Pereira and Adam Krause. Pereira had a career year last season, racking up a team best 15 goals along with 6 assists. Pereira is now with Tingsryds AIF in a professional Swedish league. Krause did not play one minute last year, but was a leader on the bench, according to many of the players.

Some of BU's big returnees are Charlie Coyle, and Alex Chiasson. Both have the capability to be the first 50 point men since Colin Wilson and Nick Bonino both accomplished the feat in 2009 on route to a national championship. Also coming back to BU, is Kieran Millan, an absolute stud in net. On defense, Adam Clendening and Max Nicastro will likely run the power play from the point. Look for Garett Noonan to also have a big year for the Terriers.

Justin Courtnall lays a hit on a
Northeastern skater in a game in
late March of last season. 
Last year's most improved player of the year was Justin Courtnall, an award picked at the end of the year team dinner, by Jack Parker. While Courtnall was limited to only six total points (3g, 3a), he did score two of those points in the Hockey East Playoffs. Courtnall was also the sixth man after Parker pulled Millan to try and even up game three vs Northeastern. That (at least to me) shows that Parker is going to give Courtnall a real shot this year, and now its up to the Vancouver draft pick to produce.

Yasin Cisse appeared in only one game last season, the season opener against Wisconsin in the Icebreaker Invitational. Midway through the first period, Cisse suffered a season ending knee injury. The year prior to coming to BU, Cisse suffered another season ending injury while playing for the Des Moines Buc's of the USHL. Cisse had a tendon sliced in the back of his leg in mid-December 2010. His year ended there and he has only played one real hockey game since. Cisse played the entire exhibition game vs The University of Toronto and looked pretty solid. Who knows if he can come back and be the force he was prior to being injured in 2010, when he scored 13 goals in just 18 games.

With Cisse's return and the emergence of Courtnall that means some players who had a regular spot in the lineup will be seeing some pine this fall. Ross Gaudet fell off the map in terms of prouction last season compared to 2010. Gaudet potted 10 goals in 35 games played in 2010. Last year, he found the back of the net only twice, in 39 games.

The New Guys
BU's recruit class is highlighted by defenseman Alexx Privitera, who Parker singled out as a "big get for the program". Cason Hohmann and Evan Rodrigues are the two new incoming freshman forwards. In two seasons with the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders, Hohmann racked up 91 points (31g, 60a) in 113 games. Parker called Rodrigues a "pure sniper" in the press release when the roster was anounced. Rodrigues played for the Georgetown Riders of the OJHL, where he picked up 105 points (41g, 64a) in 93 games. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

More Bavis Articles

September 11, 2001
USCHO Staff Report 
The hockey world was not spared the tragedy of Tuesday morning’s terrorist attacks on the United States.
Former Boston University star Mark Bavis was among the 65 people on board United Airlines Flight 175 that were killed when hijackers crashed the plane into the World Trade Center. The flight departed from Boston’s Logan Airport, bound for Los Angeles.
Bavis, a native of Roslindale, Mass., had been working for the past year as an amateur scout for the Los Angeles Kings. Also aboard the plane was fellow scout, and former NHL forward Garnet “Ace” Bailey, who played 14 years of pro hockey from 1967–81, including time with the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals.
Mark Bavis scored 32 goals and 80 points in four seasons at BU.
Mark Bavis scored 32 goals and 80 points in four seasons at BU.
First and foremost, we are shocked by the tragedies that have occurred today and the tremendous loss of life that has taken place,” said Los Angeles Kings general manager Dave Taylor. “We had a number of scouts traveling to Los Angeles today from all parts of the world as we prepare for the opening of training camp on Wednesday and, unfortunately, two of our staff members, Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis, were scheduled to be aboard United Airlines Flight 175.
We have received confirmation from their families that both Ace and Mark were in fact on that flight and our entire organization is deeply saddened and shaken by the loss of these individuals.”
Bavis, 31, and twin brother, Mike — currently an assistant coach at BU — played for the Terriers from 1989–93, participating in four straight NCAA Final Fours. Mark Bavis, a ninth-round draft pick of the New York Rangers, played three seasons of minor pro hockey in the AHL and ECHL, before leaving to coach in the USA Hockey program. He was an assistant at Harvard, and then with the Chicago Freeze of the NAHL junior league before joining the Kings’ staff last year.
The plane Bavis and Bailey were on, one of four apparently hijacked early Tuesday morning, was the second of two that crashed into the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Both skyscrapers and a number of surrounding buildings eventually crumbled.
Five years ago, former Harvard defenseman Michel Breistroff was killed when TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed off the coast of Long Island. Speculation said that was part of a terrorist act, too, but that was never confirmed.

Friday, September 9, 2011

College Hockey News' Story of BU's Mark Bavis

September 12, 2001

Minute after minute, as events unfolded, millions of Americans sat riveted in horror to the events of an eerie Tuesday morning, wondering what could happen next.

And then it happens. Already shaking our heads in disbelief, along comes another blow.Someone you know is among the carnage.

Former Boston University forward Mark Bavis (1989-93), along with fellow Los Angeles Kings scout, and long-time NHL player, "Ace" Bailey, were headed back to L.A. for the start of Kings camp. That's when fate stuck them in the middle of a historically tragic event.

The hockey community is well-known for being a tight-knit group. When the news struck that Bavis was among those lost when a plane was deliberately slammed into the side of one of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, word spread quickly.

Among the first to hear was Jack Parker, BU's coach of 28 years. Soon thereafter, word got to UMass-Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald, an assistant for three years at BU while Bavis was there.
MacDonald was particularly shaken because he had just been with Mark less than two days ago. When he got the call from Parker, the tone in his voice told the story.

"As soon as I picked up the phone, I knew something tragic had happened," MacDonald said.
"Jack Parker is like a father figure to me, and he's been through an awful lot in his life. He taught me how to deal with these kinds of situations, but you're never conditioned for these types of events. It always tests your faith."
"Here I am, we had opening day at the school, and word hits. A good percentage of these kids are from New York. So I'm running, handing out notes to kids, telling them their mom called or their father's OK. It was like the military, delivering messages to kids. Then I get called in out of blue, and I saw my wife crying ..."
— Dan Donato, former BU teammate of Mark Bavis

When Parker told MacDonald, he still hadn't gotten a hold of Bavis' twin brother Mike, a current BU assistant who was on a recruiting trip at a tournament in Calgary.

When news finally reached Mike, that's when it got to Dan Donato, now the head hockey and baseball coach at Salisbury (Conn.) Prep School, who was a year behind Bavis at BU. In another symbol of the tight-knit hockey community, the cousin of Donato's wife is Nebraska-Omaha assistant coach Tom Mutch, who was also in Calgary.

"We got a call pretty much right away," said Donato. "He [Mutch] knows how close I am with those guys. We grew up since I was 5 years old with those guys. We went to Catholic Memorial together, then we each did a post-grad year, and met back at BU."
The news spread like branches on a tree. One branch would get the news, and before you knew it, the shock waves hit the entire forest of the BU family.

Donato and his brother, Ted, a star at Harvard and long-time NHL player, played together with the Bavis twins on the same Catholic Memorial team, and shared that connection, too.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Hockey East Pre-Season Power Rankings and Predictions

This season, Hockey East has the potential to have a large gap between the top teams and the basement dwellers. Three teams, Northeastern, Lowell, and Providence will have brand new Head Coaches and other teams lost a great deal of talent, either to the NHL or graduation, not to mention that NU lost basically it's entire recruiting class following the explosion of the former coaching staff.

10. UMass Lowell 
Last season, Lowell finished dead last in Hockey East and I can't see this season being any different for the RiverHawks. They will welcome in a new head coach and the transition to a new bench boss will be quite tough for a program that does not have any top notch recruits in line for next year, or years to come. Lowell, sorry its going to be a long, rough road for the foreseeable future. 

9. Northeastern University 
Ever since the Huskies beat BU two out of three in last year's Hockey East Quarterfinals, everything that could go wrong for NU did go wrong. Their Head Coach Greg Cronin sparked the powder keg by fleeing the school to take the assistant coaching job with the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs. Following that, many of NU's other coaches left for other jobs. Then, a wave of de-commits from top recruits took place, leaving the school, which once had one of the top incoming freshman classes in the league, with little to no new talented hockey players coming to school this winter. The one bright side for NU is that they will welcome former Terrier Vinny Saponari to the team. 

8. Providence College
Despite also having to welcome in a new head coach, Providence does have the best goalie in the league in Alex Beaudry (photo). The is what puts PC over the hump to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008 when they finished 5th.

7. University of Massachusetts 
UMass is the first team on this list that does not have to bring in a new head coach, but that does not mean they don't have holes to fill. The main hole is in net, with four year starter Paul Dainton now graduated and in the AHL with the Springfield Falcons. Jeff Teglia will be the man to fill Dainton's void between the pipes. Teglia played in 9 games last season, two of which were against BU (a tie and a loss). Teglia has no career wins as a starting goaltender with the Minutemen.

6. University of Vermont 
Last season the Catamounts eked out seventh place and lost in two games in to UNH in the Quarterfinals of the HE playoffs. Vermont graduated no real big name seniors and had no other early departures, along with one of the better goalies in the league in Rob Madore. I think UVM can't do much worse than 6th.

5. Maine
Unlike Vermont, Maine did lose a lot of talent in the off season. Key losses include Gustave Nyquist to the Red Wings and two year Captain Tanner House. Maine has a much better recruiting class coming to Orono this fall than Vermont does and the Black Bears have some very high-skilled players left over from last year. So, that's why I put Maine over Vermont.

4. Merrimack College
The Mack lost a lot of talent over the Summer including leading scorer Stephan DaCosta, along with top producing Seniors,  Fraser Allen, Joe Cucci, and Adam Ross. MC will be returning a brick wall in net with Joe Cannata (photo). The season could start off slow for the Warriors but come February/March, MC should be right in the thick of things and have a very good chance at picking up home ice in the league playoffs.

3. University of New Hampshire 
Despite losing arguably the best line in the league last year, Seniors Paul Thompson, Mike Sislo and Phil DeSimone all graduating, UNH still brings a lot of talent to the table this year. Rising Senior, Stevie Moses potted 14 goals and 12 assists last season and goaltender Matt DiGrolamo looks like he can hold the fort in between the pipes for the Wildcats. Lets be honest. UNH will always be in the picture when discussing who's going to win the league.

2. Boston College 
Like every other team mentioned in the rankings, BC lost their fair share of talent over the Summer. Notables include two time National Champion   and four year starting goalie, John Muse, two time 30+ goal scorer Cam Atkinson, and Jimmy Hayes, who was a second round draft pick by the Maple Leafs back in 2008. Ok. So BC lost a lot of high profile players. That's not to say they don't still have a ton of talent on the team. The Eagles will return two sophomore defenseman (Patrick Wey, and Brian Dumoulin),who both played on the USA World Junior Championship team last Winter. The big issue for BC this season will be in goal. Untested Parker Milner looks to be the guy right now. Milner started against BU in 2010. Thankfully, now former Terrier Colby Cohen gave Milner the loss with a game winning overtime strike. Competition for net time at BC will likely be between Milner and incoming freshman, Brad Barone, a Medfield MA native who attended Nobles for high school.

1. Boston University
Unlike BC and UNH, BU loses only two notables. David Warsofsky, skipped his senior year to join the Providence Bruins (AHL). Last years Captain and only skating Senior, Joe Pereira graduated and is now also in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. BU's only other loss was third string goalie Adam Krause. Besides that, the Terriers return their entire roster. Also, BU will welcome high-profile recruits, Alexx Privitera, Casson Hohmann, and Evan Rodrigues. BU has the most depth at goalie by far with Millan and Rollheiser in net. Like last year, it's probably Millan's job to lose, but Rollie is a very capable backup. Look for a big year from both Charlie Coyle and Alex Chiasson (photo). Both have the capability to put 30 in the back of the net.

Just to clear things up. This is the first time I've picked BU to win the league. So don't think I'm being overly biased here.

(Season Preview coming soon)