Terriers add local boy Noonan for upcoming season

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

It might sound a little bit like the last hole in Caddyshack at BU road games this season. There won’t be explosions or dancing gophers, but there could be taunts of “Nnnnoonan!”

That’s because defenseman Garrett Noonan has committed to the Terriers for the upcoming season, according to the Vernon Vipers’ team website.

The 19-year-old Norfolk, Mass., native played with fellow incoming freshman Sahir Gill for the Vipers this past season, helping the team win the Royal Bank Cup, which is awarded annually to the Canadian Junior “A” champion.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound left-handed shot tallied two goals and 16 assists in 58 regular-season games before collecting three goals and three assists in 19 playoff games.

Prior to joining the Vipers, Noonan played at Catholic Memorial School — BU coach Jack Parker’s alma mater. He helped lead the Knights to a state title his senior year in 2008-09, registering 12 goals and 22 assists in 30 games. He was named Catholic Conference co-MVP and earned Boston Globe All-Scholastic honors.

Noonan is regarded as a physical, defense-first player. The Globe called him “one of the most physical players in the state” his senior season and Vipers assistant coach Jason Williamson called him “a big body, steady, stay-at-home defenseman” in a profile on Vipers TV. Williamson added that “he’s really competitive, he hates losing.”

With the addition of Noonan, the Terriers now have eight defensemen for next season, meaning they’re likely set on the blue line barring any summer departures or de-commitments.

With only 13 forwards as of now, BU will likely add at least one more player up front before the season.

A source close to the team said Yasin Cisse, a forward whose arrival had been pushed back to the fall of 2011 because of an ankle injury, will come this season if he’s healthy enough. The team has yet to make a final decision on Cisse.

From the FreeP: Terriers land ‘Sidney Crosby of women’s hockey’

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

The Boston University men’s hockey team will have its usual fair share of highly touted recruits arriving on campus this fall, but the most hyped and most accomplished incoming freshman will be suiting up for the women’s team.

Marie-Philip Poulin, who has been dubbed the “Sidney Crosby of women’s hockey” by Canadian media, has committed to BU for the 2010-11 season, according to The Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald.

Read more at www.dailyfreepress.com.

Bruins blow 3-0 Game 7 lead and 3-0 series lead with 4-3 loss to Flyers

By Sam Dykstra/DFP Staff

The 1942 Detroit Red Wings. The 1975 Pittsburgh Penguins. The 2004 New York Yankees. And now, the 2010 Boston Bruins.

The teams on that very short list are the only squads in North American major professional sports history to lose a seven-game series after winning the first three games.

But when the Bruins officially blew their 3-0 series lead Friday night in a 4-3 home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference semifinals, perhaps the biggest story wasn’t just that they had done something few teams before them had. It was precisely how they finally blew that series lead in Game 7.

In what can only be described a microcosm of the series, Boston was able to jump out to a 3-0 lead—sound familiar?—on two goals by forward Milan Lucic and another by forward Michael Ryder in the game’s first 14 minutes.

But these Flyers, like they have all series long, never said die. They took it one goal—and one game—at a time.

A wrist shot by forward James van Riemsdyk that deflected awkwardly off Bruins forward Miroslav Satan and past goalie Tuukka Rask was the first chip away at the Boston lead with 2:48 left in the first. Second-period goals by forwards Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere completely wiped away said lead.

Finally, forward Simon Gagne, who entered the series in Game 4 after missing two weeks with a broken right toe, put home the eventual game-winner with just over seven minutes remaining in the game after the Bruins were whistled for a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, a penalty that has plagued Boston all season, 1:42 earlier.

With that, the Bruins’ lead in the game, lead in the series and season collectively were over.

“It’s huge,” Rask said. “You’re up 3-0, and you let things slip. If hockey games would be decided by the first 10 minutes, we would have won today, but obviously they’re not. The whole season got together there in the third period when we got that too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty. It’s what our problem was the whole year, and they scored. It’s a huge disappointment.”

That penalty truly appeared to be the tipping point in the third period. Both squads had exchanged long possessions in each offensive zone, but neither was able to capitalize. Then, Boston center Vladimir Sobotka hit the ice while fellow center Marc Savard failed to come off to give the Bruins six skaters. The referees immediately blew the whistle, giving the Flyers the man-advantage that allowed Gagne to score the game-winner.

At least one Bruin didn’t agree with the decisive call.

“I think that’s a terrible call,” said Bruins forward Mark Recchi. “It’s a 3-3 series [in a] Game 7. You don’t make that call.”

Whether the call should have been made or not, the Boston penalty kill, which entered Game 7 as the best penalty-killing unit in the playoffs with an efficiency of 91.5%, failed to achieve its own goal in that final frame.

“You can’t blame the refs for that,” said Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. “You got to do the job on the penalty kill, and we didn’t do it.”

Although Richards’ power-play goal off that failed Bruins penalty kill was no doubt the game’s biggest goal, van Riemsdyk’s in the first was seemingly just as important.

With a 3-0 first-period lead, the Bruins seemed to be cruising along just fine. Any questions concerning a lack of offensive firepower or inability to hang with the confident Flyers were answered swiftly and seemingly completely.

Then, the rookie flung a wrist shot, almost as an afterthought, toward Rask with only minutes left in the first. It deflected off Satan’s stick, and when Rask finally relocated the puck, it was already behind him. The Bruins’ momentum had come to a screeching halt with just one flick of the wrist.

“We had lots of energy,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “We got a 3-0 lead, and that’s something we wanted to do tonight—come out that way. Unfortunately, they scored that goal from a broken stick and through a couple of guys, it trickled in. That gave them some life. That was certainly something that would have been nice to come into the dressing room with a 3-0 lead instead of a 3-1.”

“We took it one goal at a time,” Richards said. “Like I said, [van Riemsdyk] had that goal for us and got us momentum at the end of the first. We then started relaxing and playing hockey and feeling more comfortable on the ice. We got a couple bounces, and they went in.”

It was those kinds of bounces that Philadelphia benefitted from all evening.

Hartnell’s goal came after a shot by Ville Leino ricocheted off Rask and right to Hartnell, who put a backhander past Rask from the right doorstep. Briere had to bank his wraparound off Rask’s leg. Even Gagne’s goal was the result of a collected deflection.

But what perhaps hurt the Bruins the most in both Game 7 and the series as a whole was the injury bug. Forwards Marco Sturm, the team’s leading goal-scorer in the regular season, and David Krejci, who tied for the team lead in points, both missed Games 4-7 with injuries.

Yet regardless of injuries, the 2009-10 Boston Bruins will forever be on the wrong side of history because they still had four opportunities to win a single game but came up short. For that, their coach says there is no excuse.

“I’m not going to stand here and find excuses,” Julien said. “The bottom line is we had a 3-0 lead in the series, we had a 3-0 lead tonight and we blew both. So there are no excuses. We have to take the responsibility that goes with it. Everyone.”

GAME NOTES: Coming into the game, the team that scored first in a Game 7 won 72% of the time. … Home teams were 80-52 in Game 7 coming in. However, with the Bruins’ loss, the home team is now 0-4 in Game 7 during this year’s playoffs. … Julien is now 1-3 in Game 7s with his only win coming against Boston in 2004 when he was coach of the Montreal Canadiens, the Flyers’ opponent in the upcoming Eastern Conference Finals.

Flyers ground Bruins in 4-0 Game 5 thrashing

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

Forty years to the day after Bobby Orr went flying, the Bruins failed to get off the ground Monday night as the Flyers cruised to a 4-0 Game 5 victory to cut Boston’s series lead to 3-2.

The Bruins struggled at both ends of the ice all night. Bad passing spoiled a number of breakouts, weak forechecking consistently derailed offensive chances and dumb penalties ensured momentum stayed on Philadelphia’s side.

“For whatever reason, we just didn’t have it tonight,” said Bruins forward Mark Recchi. “I thought after two days we’d be well rested and ready to roll, but we weren’t on our toes and we weren’t sharp, and they were the better team. They were more committed.”

The lackluster effort was lowlighted by the last 10 minutes of the second period, during which Boston completely unraveled by allowing two goals and taking three penalties.

After the Flyers held possession in the Bruins’ end for well over a minute, Scott Hartnell made it 2-0 Philadelphia when he batted home Danny Briere’s chip shot over a hopeless Tuukka Rask (27 saves) with 8:44 remaining in the stanza.

“[Rask’s] playing well … but we’re just losing our guys in the defensive zone,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic. “We just have to sharpen up and play more as a five-man unit down there.”

Boston responded by taking back-to-back penalties — a roughing by Marc Savard and a boarding by Steve Begin.

After successfully neutralizing the Flyers’ first four power-play chances, the Bruins’ penalty kill finally cracked with Begin in the box. Mike Richards held the puck behind the net before finding Simon Gagne all alone at the top of the crease for a one-time tally.

With 38 seconds left in the middle frame, Andrew Ference joined the parade to the sin bin after crosschecking Ville Leino, who netted the Flyers’ first goal.

“Usually when the other team outworks you, you tend to take penalties,” Lucic said. “We have to start taking the play to them so they take penalties like that against us.”

Gagne capped off the scoring with his second goal 6:48 into the third when he collected a loose puck that Dennis Wideman couldn’t hold in the offensive zone and beat Rask blocker-side on a breakaway.

It appeared that a door may have been opening for the Bruins when Flyers goalie Brian Boucher (9 saves)) had to leave the game five minutes into the second period. But Boston let backup Michael Leighton (14 saves), who was playing for the first time since March 16, off the hook by failing to put any sort of consistent pressure on him.

“We didn’t do a great job of generating too many shots,” Lucic said. “We didn’t get shots through. We didn’t set up shots too well.”

After jumping out to a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Bruins now have to head back to Philadelphia on Wednesday night for Game 6 with the Flyers looking to force a decisive Game 7.

The Bruins stressed that it isn’t time to panic, though.

“We’re still up 3-2,” Recchi said. “As disappointed as we all are, we have to forget about this. And we will. We’ll get some good video tomorrow on what we can do to get better. The one thing we all know is that we can all be better as individuals and more desperate as a team. I think we’ll be fine.”

Disciplined hockey players among 13-15 drinking before semifinal, sources say

By Jake Seiner/DFP Staff

The three Boston University men’s hockey players recently suspended or dismissed from the team were not alone in a St. Patrick’s Day drinking incident, according to multiple sources who are close to the team, many of whom were with the players that night.

Sources said the threesome was among 13-15 BU hockey players –– including multiple freshmen and a current team captain –– who were drinking at a bar near BU’s West Campus at about 1 a.m. on March 18.

Read more at www.dailyfreepress.com.

Vinny Saponari ‘Shocked’ by dismissal

Sophomore Vinny Saponari, a two-year starter with the Boston University men’s hockey team, said Tuesday he was “shocked” by his dismissal from the Terrier squad earlier that morning.

“I just found out today, like all of you, and I’m pretty shocked, just as shocked as everyone else,” Saponari said. “I didn’t see this coming. I know I’d made some mistakes as far as rules go, but I really didn’t think it would lead to this.

Read more at www.dailyfreepress.com

Saponaris dismissed from team; Trivino suspended

Junior Victor Saponari and sophomore Vinny Saponari have been dismissed from the Boston University men’s hockey team, and sophomore Corey Trivino will be suspended for multiple games to begin the 2010-11 season, according to a press release put out by the team yesterday.

“Over a period of time, there have been cumulative instances in which Victor and Vinny Saponari have displayed conduct unbecoming of a Boston University hockey player,” BU coach Jack Parker said in the release. “In a related issue, Trivino will be suspended for the early part of next season.”

The statement was released by the team after all parties were finally informed of the punishments this morning, according to a source with the team.

Read more at www.dailyfreepress.com.

Lucic nets winner as B’s top Flyers

By Jake Seiner/DFP Staff

Don’t call it a comeback.

At least not so far in this series. No, the Boston Bruins –– the same squad that had to battle back after succumbing early leads to the Buffalo Sabres in five of six First-Round games –– are 2-for-2 when it comes to starting on the right skate in Round Two against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Monday night, the Bruins got a big first goal from Johnny Boychuk, who scored 5:12 into the first, but, for the second time in two nights, again failed to maintain the lead through the rest of the game.

Luckily for Boston one of the squad’s star centers was once again ready to answer the call late in the game. In front of a sold out TD Garden, it was Milan Lucic who netted the game-winner for Boston, his with 2:57 left in regulation to snap a 2-2 tie and help the Bruins capture a 3-2 win.

The win put the Bruins up 2-0 on the Flyers in the series, which continues Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

Lucic netted his winner on a broken play started by David Krejci. Krejci, working from the right corner of the Flyers’ zone, tried passing to Lucic as he skated through the right slot. Philadelphia D-man Lukas Krajicek tipped the puck into the air with his stick, and the knuckler evaded a swinging clear attempt by Ryan Parent and fell near the right hashes.

As the Flyers’ defenseman raced to swat the puck away, Lucic put a body into Parent, boxed him out, and spun a laser by unsuspecting Flyers’ goalie Brian Boucher.

“That was actually my thought, to try to box the defenseman out and try to shoot,” Lucic said. “It worked out pretty good.”

The late-game heroics are nothing new to the Bruins, who beat the Flyers’ in Game One on an overtime winner by Savard. In the First-Round series against Buffalo, the B’s earned three of their four wins against with goals either in the third period or in overtime.

What has been new in this series has been Boston’s propensity to get on the board early –– a trend most recently kept alive by Boychuk.

One of the key questions facing the Bruins in lieu of Marco Sturm’s season-ending ACL and MCL tears was how Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi would respond with a new forward filling in at their now-vacant wing spot.

It didn’t take long to find an answer –– get creative, and maybe a little bit lucky.

The line, featuring Daniel Paille on the spare wing, took its first shift together just over five minutes into the game –– Bergeron and Recchi had taken previous shifts during a Boston power play 47 seconds into the game.

Bergeron took the draw at the left dot in the Flyer’s zone, and won the faceoff, pulling the puck back to his left.

Moving from the far-left hashes, defenseman Johnny Boychuk met the puck about halfway up the circle’s circumference. Boychuk fired from there, ripping the disk by Mark Recchi, who timed his skate in front of Flyers’ netminder Brian Boucher perfectly, blocking the goalie’s view and leaving an open window for Boychuk on the short, stick side. Boychuk didn’t miss.

The tally was Boychuk’s second goal and fifth point in his last seven games, strong production for a D-man who tallied just five goals and 15 points in 51 games this season.

“I think they were trying to win it to [Zdeno Chara],” Boychuk said of the goal. “But it just landed right beside Bergy, and everybody went to Z, I think because they thought I might pass it back to him, so I figured I’d wrist it on net.

“It wasn’t a set play at all. I just jumped at the loose puck tried to shoot it.”

After the Flyers responded with a Mike Richards’ tally late in the first, Miroslav Satan put Boston back on top with an even-strength goal midway through the second.

The Bruins held off a handful of Philadelphia scoring chances through the next nine or so minutes, but with just 24.8 seconds left in the second, Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask and the Boston defense faltered, allowing the Flyers to tie the game at 2.

Daniel Briere picked up the tally for Philadelphia, his fourth of the playoffs. Briere charged the zone from the right wing, holding off Satan while staying wide of Andrew Ference, the D-man defending from the right slot.

Briere corralled the puck until he was just below the right faceoff dot, then ripped a wrister into the top-left corner of the net. The shot was a good one, but was also one Rask –– who had the puck whiz by his right ear –– should have been in better position to play.

At least in the immediate aftermath, Bruins’ coach Claude Julien agreed Rask should have made the save, slamming the glass behind him and yelling Rask’s first name in anger.

Rask would respond with perfection the rest of the way, turning away all five Flyers’ shots he faced in the third.

“He doesn’t get rattled,” Julien said. “He gets mad, but he doesn’t get rattled, and I think you see his competitiveness there when he lets in a goal he doesn’t like. I think that’s both our goaltenders. They get mad and they react and they usually react positively. That’s what Tuukka did. He closed the door in the third and that’s what we needed.”

Carcillo: Savard’s bite was ‘Cowardly’

Early in the second period, during a scrum resulting from Savard’s slashing of Boucher, Flyers’ forward Dan Carcillo claimed that the Bruins’s star bit him in a move Carcillo deemed “pretty cowardly.”

“The last time I’ve been bit was in grade school,” Carcillo said to reporters after the game.

The alleged bite came as Carcillo –– still wearing his gloves –– attempted to facewash Savard in the corner of the Philadelphia zone.

“I think he tried to pull my teeth out,” Savard said. “If that’s biting, I don’t know what to say.”

“Yeah, that’s what I do when I get into a scrum,” Carcillo said sarcastically. “I try to pull people’s teeth out.”

The incident was the second time that Savard has been accused of biting –– the first was in 2003 when the then-Atlanta Thrasher received a one-game suspension for biting Toronto Maple Leafs’ winger Darcy Tucker.

Savard received a two-minute minor for slashing on the play, while Carcillo received no punishment.

From the FreeP: Three Terriers to be punished in connection with drinking incident

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

Rising senior forward Victor Saponari will be released from the Boston University men’s hockey team and rising junior forwards Vinny Saponari and Corey Trivino will be suspended in connection with an alcohol-related incident that occurred less than 48 hours before a playoff game, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

Rising senior goalie Adam Kraus, who was also involved in the incident, could possibly be suspended as well.

Read more at www.dailyfreepress.com.