Vinny Saponari reportedly headed to Northeastern

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

According to a tweet by Ryan Clark, former Boston University forward Vinny Saponari will play for Northeastern University next season. After his dismissal from BU last May, Saponari joined the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League. He recorded an 18-46-64 line through 56 games played during the regular season while serving as an assistant captain.

Saponari showed interest in transferring to Boston College earlier this season, but was denied by BC admissions.

Northeastern could use a forward, as it lost its top four leading scorers this season. Seniors Wade MacLeod, Tyler McNeely and Steve Silva will graduate and freshman Brodie Reid elected to leave Northeastern to join the San Jose Sharks organization.

Clark is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and covers the USHL, the Fargo Force and Minnesota high school hockey. Clark announced he will post more information about Saponari’s decision to attend Northeastern on his blog, Slightly Chilled.

Former Union boss Nate Leaman to coach Providence

By Sam Dykstra/DFP Staff

Providence College named Nate Leaman as its 12th head coach in program history Friday. Leaman was coming off his eighth season as the Union College bench boss, the most successful campaign in the program’s history. The Dutchmen finished with a 26-10-4 record, captured its first regular-season ECAC title and earned its first-ever NCAA tournament berth before bowing out to eventual national champion University of Minnesota-Duluth in the first round.

Leaman, who recently won the Spencer Penrose Award as the national coach of the year, takes over a Friars squad that finished last season with an 8-18-8 overall record with a 4-16-7 mark in Hockey East play. He replaces Tim Army, who relinquished his head coaching duties after failing to lead the team to its first winning season since 2005-06 (his first as coach of the Friars).

Before earning a 138-127-35 in his time at Union, Leaman had served as an assistant at Harvard University and a volunteer assistant at University of Maine, where he helped coach the 1999 national championship team.

Providence was the last Hockey East team left without a head coach for the 2011-12 season after University of Massachusetts-Lowell announced the hiring of Norm Bazin on Thursday.

UMass-Lowell introduces Norm Bazin as new head coach

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell introduced Norm Bazin as its new hockey coach Thursday afternoon. Bazin, a 1994 UML graduate, replaces Blaise MacDonald, who was fired after 10 seasons at the helm.

Bazin registered 32 goals and 36 assists for 68 points in four seasons as a River Hawk forward. He began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater in 1996. Four years later, Bazin moved on to Colorado College, where he served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for eight seasons. He landed his first head coaching gig with Division-III Hamilton College in 2008. He compiled a 38-31-7 record with the Continentals and was named the NESCAC coach of the year each of the last two seasons.

“I actually didn’t subscribe to the theory that just because you’re an alum, it means you’re going to be a better hockey coach,” UML chancellor Marty Meehan said. “I felt strongly, and this is the way it was implemented, that we wanted to get the best coach we could get. And all things being equal, we would take an alum.

“Well, all things weren’t equal. We had great candidates, but when Norm came, he was outstanding. Somebody said he blew everyone away with his presentation. He was prepared. He was fabulous.”

Bazin said he has been impressed with the school’s increased devotion to the hockey program in recent years and that he is excited to take over as coach.

“I love the challenges,” Bazin said. “When I met with Marty, I certainly felt the passion in his voice in challenging anyone he met with to love the university as much as he does. I think I got my point across that day that I was with him. I’m as passionate about winning and as passionate about this school as Marty is.”

To read the school’s press release, click here.

From the FreeP: For Holly Lorms, home is where her team is

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff

If Holly Lorms has a Wisconsin accent, it’s barely detectable. Although she hails from Brookfield, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee, she often wears a worn-out Red Sox hat and says she wants to stay on the East Coast after graduation.

After four years with the Boston University women’s hockey team, the senior forward and captain who was born in University of Wisconsin Badger territory is one of the defining figures of the program’s early years and hopes to stay around Commonwealth Avenue for years to come.

“I was actually at prep school in Connecticut for three years prior to college, and something about the East Coast and the opportunities, academically but also athletically, kept me out here,” Lorms said. “I did look at Wisconsin – it was one of my official visits, it was one of my top choices to go there, but something about Boston University – my official visit was actually really short here.

“I had just torn my ACL and I think I was here on campus for less than 12 hours…but there was something about coach [Brian Durocher] and how he took a chance on me, and the city that I just fell in love with.”

Read more at dailyfreepress.com.

Connolly sole captain of 2011-12 Terriers, Millan named Team MVP of 2010-11 squad

By Sam Dykstra/DFP Staff

Forward Chris Connolly was going to be the only returning captain next season from the 2010-11 Boston University men’s hockey team with co-captain Joe Pereira graduating and assistant captain David Warsofsky joining the pro ranks in the Boston Bruins system.

But as it turns out, Connolly, who will be one of five rising seniors along with forwards Corey Trivino and Kevin Gilroy and goalies Kieran Millan and Grant Rollheiser, was also named the only captain of next year’s squad as well. BU coach Jack Parker made the official announcement at Saturday’s Friends of Boston University Hockey Banquet. He did not name any assistant captains.

In the awards section of the evening, Millan took home the biggest prize in the George V. Brown Most Valuable Player Award. The junior netminder set a program record with 1,085 saves in 36 games last season and posted a 16-10-8 record to go along with a 2.68 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. The latter two stats were good for fourth in Hockey East. Millan had been previously named a Hockey East Player of the Year Runner-Up and conference Second Team All-Star. This was the eighth time in the last 12 years that a netminder was named Team MVP but was the first since John Curry won it in 2006-07 and Millan’s first such award.

Pereira, who was honored as one of two graduating seniors along with goalie Adam Kraus, became the first player in BU history to take home both the Bennett McInnis Award for Spirit and Albert Sidd Unsung Hero Award in consecutive seasons.

Here’s a breakdown of the remaining awards as well as a few other notes from Saturday’s banquet:

Ed Carpenter Award: Alex Chiasson
Given to team leader in scoring. . . The sophomore had 34 points on 14 goals and 20 assists last season. . . Was also a Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star

Most Improved Player Award: Justin Courtnall

The sophomore went from a season in which he played 21 games without scoring a point to producing a line of 3-3—6 in 32 games played last season. . . Became a mainstay as the left wing on the very solid fourth line alongside Ben Rosen and a rotation of Kevin Gilroy and Ryan Santana. . . Award voted on by teammates.

Regina Eilberg Scholarship: Ryan Ruikka
Given to player “who combines the highest standards of Terrier athletics and academic performance”. . . Ruikka has the highest GPA of any junior or senior student-athlete at BU with a 3.82. . . The redshirt sophomore – or junior according by academic standards – has been on the Dean’s List each of the five semesters he’s been on campus. . . Played in 34 games after missing first two seasons with injury. . . Also won award back in 2008-09.

Clifford P. Fitzgerald Scholarship: Sean Escobedo
Given to outstanding rising junior or senior defenseman. . . Played in 36 games with a line of 1-5—6. . . Scored game-winner in Ice Breaker championship against University of Notre Dame on Oct. 10. . . Will join classmate Max Nicastro as only blue-liners with two years of ice experience next season.

Notes:

-It was announced that BU’s 2011-12 season opener will be played uncharacteristically against a conference foe: University of New Hampshire on Oct. 8

-The overarching theme of the night was looking forward to next year. After speaking about his two departing seniors, Parker noted, “The guys who are back are going to have to play better next year.” In his speech following the announcement of his captaincy, Connolly added, “We have high expectations. We would start tomorrow if we could. . . We’re really looking forward to October.”

-Parker talked at length about both departing seniors. On Kraus, he noted how great a team player the netminder was despite playing in just five games in his four-year career, saying, “Nobody could have been a better teammate and happier for Kieran than Adam was.” On Pereira, Parker noted that the forward had been “a pain in the ass to play against” and joked that he had also been “politicking” for a spot on the BU coaching staff following his graduation this spring. Below is the illustration handed out to guests celebrating the two seniors as well as team managers Whitney Delorey and Pat Walsh.

From the Freep: The worthiest cause

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

Some of the Boston University men’s hockey team may be sporting a new hair-do this summer.

Sophomore forwards Ross Gaudet, Wade Megan and Ryan Santana as well as former junior assistant captain Dave Warsofsky all plan to shave their heads at Gillette Stadium on June 5 in an effort to raise money for children and families fighting pediatric cancer.

The event, called the Kid’s Cancer Buzz-Off, is being run by One Mission, a childhood cancer foundation started by the parents of
former Children’s Hospital Boston patient Nicholas Haseotes. Nicholas was diagnosed at seven months old with AML, a form of leukemia, and spent six months undergoing treatment at Children’s. According to a biography on the One Mission website, Nicholas is currently cancer-free.

In early March, flyers about the Kid’s Cancer Buzz-Off were distributed at Agganis Arena, and Megan took one back to his room. He came across the flyer one day while preparing for practice and decided to start a fundraising page in his name on the organization’s website. Megan set his original goal for $250 before leaving for practice.

“I just had it in my room and saw it lying around, so I signed up before I came to the rink,” Megan said. “It’s just for a good cause, for kids with cancer, so I decided to get it started.”

Read more at dailyfreepress.com.

From the Freep: Living the dream

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

A few years ago, when Charlie Coyle made his first visit to Boston University as a recruit, BU men’s hockey coach Jack Parker asked for Coyle’s email address. Parker wanted to send Coyle some information, but he was a bit surprised by Coyle’s e-mail address.

“His email address was something like BUhockey03,” Coyle’s father, Chuck Coyle, recalled. “[Parker] looked at him funny and I kind of said, ‘Hey, it’s been like this forever.’”

In some ways, Coyle’s roots at BU are as deep as they come, as they go back to before the 19-year-old was even born. His cousin, Tony Amonte, played two seasons for the Terriers from 1989-1991 and was an offensive standout, scoring 136 points in 79 career games.

Coyle grew up in Weymouth, 18 miles south of Boston, and loved watching the Terriers win the Beanpot nearly every year. At age 12, when Coyle was playing youth hockey, he skated for the Boston Jr. Terriers.

According to his father, anytime anybody asked Coyle where he planned to play hockey when he was older, Coyle always said BU.

Read more at dailyfreepress.com.

Report: BU lands highly touted recruit Robbie Baillargeon

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

Right winger Robbie Baillargeon, who visited BU last week, has committed to the Terriers for the fall of 2013, according to Chris Heisenberg. Baillargeon has played for Cushing Academy in Ashburnham the past two seasons and was one of the leading scorers in New England prep-school hockey this year, registering 30 goals and 34 assists for 64 points in 30 games.

In a recent preview of the 2012 NHL draft class, NHL Central Scouting praised the 17-year-old Baillargeon for “his great hands and scoring touch around the cage.” Cushing coach Rob Gagnon has compared Baillargeon to former Terrier Nick Bonino, telling Examiner.com, “The minute I first watched Robbie play, I said this is a young Nick.” Gagnon added that Baillargeon’s “hockey IQ is very high, and he’s very humble,” and that he’s “a natural goal scorer.”

The 6-foot, 175-pound Baillargeon becomes the fifth member of BU’s 2013 freshman class, joining forwards Brendan Collier, Adam Erne and Danny O’Regan and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. It’s interesting to note that all five of those recruits are from New England, something that’s a bit uncharacteristic of most of BU’s recruiting classes.

Report: Jarrid Privitera, brother of incoming freshman Alexx, commits to BU

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

Jarrid Privitera, the younger brother of incoming freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera, has committed to BU for the fall of 2012, according to Chris Heisenberg. Jarrid Privitera is a 5-foot-6 left-shot forward who played for Gunnery Prep in Connecticut this season, registering 25 goals and 18 assists in 31 games. Last year, he tallied 27 goals and 20 assists in 35 games for the North Jersey Avalanche Under-16 team in the Atlantic Youth Hockey League.

The 16-year-old Privitera, who turns 17 over the summer, becomes the fourth member of the Terriers’ 2012 freshman class, joining forward Robert Polesello, defenseman Marc Hetnik and goalie Matthew O’Connor. O’Connor could come next season, though, if Kieran Millan elects to sign with the Colorado Avalanche rather than return for his senior season.

Ross Gaudet recovering from hip surgery

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

Redshirt sophomore forward Ross Gaudet will be spending some time on crutches for the immediate future. Gaudet underwent postseason hip surgery and is in the early stages of the recovery process. There is no definite timetable at the moment for Gaudet’s recovery.

The Burlington native saw a decrease in his production this season, tallying seven points on two goals and five assists. Gaudet totaled 12 points on 10 goals and two assists through the 2009-10 season.