Monthly Archives: January 2014

Women’s Hockey – Friday 1/31/14

Clinton, NY. –Middlebury scored three power-play goals as the second-ranked Panthers recorded their fifth shutout of the season, blanking host Hamilton 3-0 in NESCAC action in Russell Sage Rink. The Panthers (12-1-3, 8-0-3 NESCAC) outshot Hamilton 27-6 over the first two periods and capitalized on three of their 10 power play opportunities. Katie Mandigo and Emily Fluke scored first-period goals, while Katie Sullivan added a five-on-three score in the second period. Annabelle Jones made 11 saves for Middlebury and picked up her eighth career shutout and third this winter. The Panthers finished with a 34-11 advantage in shots. The teams conclude their weekend series Saturday with a 3:00 p.m. game.

Northfield – Senior forward Tori Charron scored twice to lead the Norwich University women’s ice hockey team to a 4-0 win over Southern Maine on Friday night at Kreitzberg Arena in Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East. Senior forward Meghan Papagno and junior forward Madyson Moore each scored as well, while junior goalie Loren Carrier stopped all five shots she faced to pick up the shut out. Norwich (16-3-0, 11-0-0 ECAC East) won its seventh straight game and stayed perfect in league play. The Cadets also set a new attendance record with 879 fans showing up on Cancer Awareness Night in honor of local Northfield student Konner Drury, who passed away earlier this month after a long battle with neuroblastoma.

South Burlington  –  Saint Michael’s College women’s ice hockey team skated to a 1-1 tie against Plymouth State University in Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East action for the second time this season on Friday evening at Cairns Arena. The Purple Knights move to 1-14-3 overall and 0-9-2 in the league, while the Panthers stand at 3-14-2 and 1-8-2. Sophomore Amanda Kempainen scored the Saint Michael’s goal, while first-year goalie Abby Burke made 30 saves in the draw for her fourth 30-save game of the season.

Worcester, Mass. – Castleton was shutout by a conference opponent for the first time this season as they stumbled on the road, falling 2-0 to Holy Cross in Worcester on Friday night. The Spartans were outshot 24-19 by the Crusaders, who earned their second win over Castleton this season. Crusader goalie Krista Manzanares stumped the Spartans, making 19 saves for the shutout win. Paula Stephens made 22 saves in net for the Spartans in the loss.


Men’s Basketball Wrapup – Friday 1/31/14

MIDDLEBURY – Williams came back from an 18-point deficit early in the second half to earn a 64-61 road win at Middlebury (12-6, 3-2) on Friday night. The 11th-ranked Ephs (16-3, 5-1) took their first lead since the opening bucket with just 39 seconds remaining. Dylan Sinnickson led Middlebury with 16 points and eight boards, while Hunter Merryman scored 15 and Jack Roberts grabbed eight rebounds with eight points

Bangor, Maine – Castleton managed just three points in the final two minutes and Husson hit its free throws down the stretch to finish with a 69-64 victory on Friday evening in a battle for first place in the North Atlantic Conference. The Spartans committed 21 turnovers including two in the final minutes as they dropped into second place in the NAC at 9-2 and 11-7 overall. Husson shot just 38.6 percent from the floor but his nine triples as the team improved to 9-1 in conference action and 15-2 on the year. Castleton shot 41.9 percent from the floor and out rebounded the Eagles 32-26 on the evening. Troy Davine led the Spartans with a game-high 18 points, including three shots from beyond the arc, along with four rebounds and three steals. Chad Copeland was held to just nine points but pulled down 11 rebounds. Logan White was in double figures with 12 points and two steals.


Women’s Basketball Wrapup – Friday 1/31/14

Bangor, Maine – Castleton withstood a late run by Husson to remain unbeaten in conference play with a 62-55 win over the Eagles on Friday evening in North Atlantic Conference action. The Spartans shot 46.2 percent from the floor and connected on six threes as they improved to 11-0 in the NAC and 16-2 overall. Husson, meanwhile, finished the game at 35.1 percent from the field but dropped to 8-9 overall and 7-3 in conference action. Junior Jade Desroches scored all 14 of her points in the second half while Alyssa Leonard led the offense with 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Shelby LaBarge added eight points and three rebounds while Liz Douglass had seven points and five assists. 

            MIDDLEBURY – Despite a double-double from Elizabeth Knox, Middlebury dropped a closely contested NESCAC game to 14th-ranked Williams 60-55 in Pepin Gym. The Panthers (6-11, 1-4) held the largest lead of the game with an early 11-2 advantage, but the Ephs (18-2, 4-2) closed the gap, eventually retaking the lead in the second half. Knox and Laura Lowry each netted 17 points, while Knox added 10 rebounds for Middlebury.  Knox was a crisp 8-12 from the field, while Lowry sank four three-pointers and dished out five assists.


by Bill Murphy
Rice defeated St. Johnsbury last March 48-40 in overtime in Patrick Gymnasium to claim the Vermont Division I Basketball championship. The win was one more signal, that Rice was unquestionably, the number one program in Vermont boys basketball circles. For the Burlington Parochial school, it was the fourth title in seven years and the teams sixth title game appearance in those same seven years. Paul Pecor and his team are certainly familiar to the big game spotlight.
Monday night, Rice traveled to St. Johnsbury and the Hilltoppers were able to come out of the contest with a little bit of payback with a 46-39 victory. The word little bit is used because a regular season game comes nowhere near being equal to a title game. Even a regular season sweep, would not add up in most persons book.
St. Johnsbury is considered the best team in the state right now by anyone who has the pulse of a basketball IQ. Their record is 10-2 and the official Vermont Principal Association standings have them listed third, but that is only because everyone is not created equal. The Hilltoppers play a tougher schedule and as a result, they have two losses, both coming in a trip to Pennsylvania to play top level competition. They were beaten by Allentown Central Catholic 74-45 and by Pennsbury 64-50, but one may bet their final dollar, that this team is better for having played the games. In Vermont competition, every Hilltopper game has been a win by fifteen points or more, except two, at Burlington 47-39 and the Rice game 46-39. St. Johnsbury, Rice and Burlington all have to be considered title threats and the real question may be, is their anyone else who stands a chance?
The VPA official rankings have Burr + Burton rated first with a 12-0 record. Respect has to be given to the Bulldogs and the odds are that they will end up being seeded in one of the top four positions, but the eye test says, they are not one of the best four teams. Their schedule does not compare in toughness with any of the other top five teams and if they do finish first or second, they will most likely give someone an easier route to the finals, if they advance as far as the semi-finals. On the other side of the coin, even if they are not as good as whomever they possibly meet in the semis, if they are good enough to be seeded one or two, they probably are good enough to beat a superior opponent on a given night. B+B has been challenged by Rutland at home 45-42 and Brattleboro recently on the road 49-46, but have handled those challenges well. One thing is certain, as has been proven by early season North-South match-ups, Rutland and Brattleboro are no St. Johnsbury, Rice or Burlington.
The Burlington Seahorses are second by the numbers at 11-1 and their lone loss was to St. J by that 47-39 count. The Seahorses won at Rice 51-50. Pecor’s defending champions are currently fourth at 9-3. In addition to bowing to their two northern rivals, they fell to a New York State team, Jamesville Dewitt, 81-73. Like St. J, Rice scheduled out of state to upgrade their competition. Rice’s closest game, other than against the already mentioned contenders was a 61-60 home victory over Mount Mansfield, who is lined up fifth in the present rankings at 9-3 also. MM’s other losses came at Burlington 64-49 and at home against St. J 86-60. If the Vermont standings were done by a poll, they would likely read St. Johnsbury, Burlington, Rice, Mount Mansfield and Burr + Burton in that order.
Back to the question, does anyone other the top three have a chance, it says here that either Mansfield or B + B is likely to advance to the Final Four, but the thoughts are, that neither one of them is likely to win two games there and capture the title. If another team, moves on to the D-I Final Four, it will be a total surprise.
Each year we take a look at the state divisions through the eyes of the defending champion coach and Pecor sees things in a similar way that we do. “We are all chasing St. Johnsbury,” he told The Northeast Sports Network last Friday afternoon, a full three days before he traveled to the Hilltoppers for the Monday Night contest. He went on to say “they basically have everyone back from last year and they have both experience and a large number of seniors, which makes them a tough team to beat.”
Pecor holds out hope for his own team and we doubt that will change unless they become eliminated. He went on to tell us last Friday that “our goal is to keep getting better and hopefully we will be ready when the time comes for the biggest games of the season.”
Obviously Burlington peaked Pecor’s attention when the Seahorses  defeated his team and the veteran coach is aware that all the top teams have Rice circled on their calendars. “There is no doubt we get everyones best punch,” he said going on to add, “this is our chore, but it’s also an incredible opportunity. The tradition of Rice basketball has been here a long time, long before I was here. This is a special thing.”
He is exactly right. Rice has been to 28 title games over the years. The six appearances in seven years is their best stretch ever, BUT, Rice had gone to the Final Four eight times in eleven years before the current streak and prior to that, following a four year absence from the party, they had five FF’s in seven years and then going back even further, there was another three year absence, preceeded by six Final Four appearances in a row. I think you kind of get the idea.
It would really be a surprise if any other team claims a spot in the Final Four, BUT, stranger things have happened. At this moment, the best of the rest in the VPA rankings are Mount Anthony (6th/8-4), Middlebury (7th/6-5), Colchester (8th/8-5), Brattleboro (9th/7-5), South Burlington (10th/7-5), and Rutland (11th/7-6). All these teams are listed together,r because eventhough they do not appear to match-up with the top tier, they all have winning records. If there was just one team from that group to single out, it would have to be Rutland, because they defeated Mount Anthony, Colchester and Brattleboro and lost by four (60-56) at home versus Burlington.
The remainder of the field is led by Spaulding (12th/5-8), who is followed closely by North Country (13th/4-8), Champlain Valley Union (14th/4-9) and Essex (15th/4-9). The field is rounded out by 16th place Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans (2-9) and Mississquoi (17th/1-11).
This appears to be an unusual year in Division I, with just a few elite teams. Then there is always the possibility of Vermont basketball, acting like Vermont weather: wait a few minutes and things will change.

Don’t Really Know, But!

Ok here’s my Super Bowl prediction. I’ve been back and forth on this all week and I have been leaning toward Denver until now. First off I’m not a big one for what has happened in the past because it still has nothing to do with the next game, but I found a few things interesting and it still might’ve swayed by choice a little bit.

Of the past six Super Bowls when the #1 defense met the #1offense, the #1 defense won four of them. Of the last nine teams that were #1 in offense, only one has won the Super Bowl and that was the1999 St. Louis Rams.

I’m still not sure that  Seattle defense can stop Peyton Manning, but I am going with Seattle to win 27-21.

Jenny Dell will no longer be the sideline reporter on NESN Red Sox telecasts. She will be still have other duties at NESN though.

I have mentioned this in other venues, but in case you missed it for 2013:

Vermont sportscaster of the year is Mike McCune from Channel 3 WCAXTV

Vermont sportswriter of the year is Anna Grearson from the Barre Times Argus

National sportscaster of the year is Mike Emerick  NBC

National sportswriter of the year is Peter King   Sports Illustrated

Also there will be two inductees into the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame

Sportscaster inductee is Marv Albert of TBS

Sportswriter inductee is Rick Reilly of ESPN

Congratulations to all!!! Well deserved!



Women’s Hoop: Norwich, Curry Top Simmons 58-34

Courtesy Norwich Sports Information

NORTHFIELD—Eleven different players scored to lead the Norwich University women’s basketball team to a 58-34 win against the Sharks of Simmons College in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action on Thursday evening.


With the win, the Cadets improve to 9-8 on the season and 2-3 in GNAC play, while the loss drops the Sharks to 2-13 overall and 0-4 against league opponents.


Junior Aliah Curry (Windsor, Mass.) scored 12 points on the evening. Entering today’s game, she needed just four points to move into second-place on Norwich’s all-time leading scorers list. Following today’s 12 points, Curry sits firmly in second-place with 1,398 and takes the title from Kate Devine ’00, who scored 1,389 points in her four-year career at Norwich. Curry is now 164 points away from breaking a 19-year-old all-time scoring record of 1,561 points held by Lisa Trujillo ’95.


In addition to Curry, the Cadets had two more players score in double figures, led by a game-high 13 points from junior Kelsey Lotti (South Yarmouth, Mass.). Senior Erin Clark (Newbury, Vt.) recorded a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Heather LeBlanc (Sanford, Maine) scored eigh points and added eight rebounds, while senior Kristin Brown (Williamstown, Vt.) dished out a game-high five assists.


The Sharks were led by Liz Brasa with 11 points and five rebounds. Leah Davis and Hannah May both chipped in with seven points, while Desh Perera recorded a game-high three steals.


Norwich scored the opening basket and would never trail, as the game saw zero lead changes. The Cadets held an early nine-point lead, 14-5, following a three-point basket by Lotti at the 12:42 mark. Norwich’s lead would reach double-figures in the ensuing minutes and peaked at 20 points, 32-12, on a three-point basket by Curry with 3:13 still to play in the half. Minutes later, Simmons’ Perera would convert a layup to mark the final basket of the first frame and set the 34-17 halftime score.


The Cadets maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game despite hitting just six field goals (20.7 percent) in the second half, a significant contrast from their 14-29 (48.3 percent) first-half effort.


Simmons connected on 12 field goals on the evening in 48 shot attempts (25.0 percent) and finished 8-12 (66.7 percent) from the free-throw line.


Norwich held advantages in points in the paint (24-12), points scored off turnovers (21-11) and second-chance points (13-6). The Norwich bench also contributed 14 points, led by Lacey Stever (Fairlee, Vt.) with four points.

The Cadets will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 1 as they host the Raiders of Rivier University in a 1:00 p.m. GNAC matchup

Durant Impressive … B’s/Habs Tonight

George Commo’s Blog – Thursday 1/30/14

Anyone who follows this space knows I’m not the biggest NBA fan in the world, but I do keep an eye on what is going on over there and last night was a measuring stick game and the OKC Thunder made a major statement … falling behind to the Heat early … then roaring back to blow them away. In the process Kevin Durant soared past the 30 point mark for the 12th straight game. So all you NBA fans out there, has Durant surpassed Labron as the leagues best player?

NHL tonight … one of those measuring stick game … and a red letter game on the calendar as the Canadiens come into the Garden to play the Bruins. They don’t play that often anymore so that will make it even more exciting tonight.


In discussions the other day about Jerry Remy  I was amused by the comments I saw in a variety of places. I don’t care whether you like him  or don’t like him or any other sports announcer because even though the public may not completely get it, it is like  “beauty because it’s in the eye of the beholder or in this case the ear of the beholder”.

The comments I found amusing were “I’m a Yankee fan, but I like Jerry or I’m not a Red Sox fan, but I like Jerry.” Why does there have to be a qualifier? I like Yankee TV announcer Michael Kay and all  the people who work with him like Ken Singleton, David Cone and Paul O’Neil etc. I like them because I think they’re good. It doesn’t matter to me that they cover the Yankees.Conversely I don’t like John Sterling and Susan Waldman. Not because they’re the Yankee radio announcers, but because “They Stink!”

It’s pretty much as simple as that for me!

Men’s Hoop: Strong Second Half Leads Vermont Past Hartford

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

WEST HARTFORD, CT. – Clancy Rugg led four Catamounts in double figures with 13 points and Vermont shot 68.4 percent in the second half to post a 67-60 win over Hartford at Chase Family Arena in America East men’s basketball action on Wednesday.

Vermont improves to 7-1 in league play and moves into first place as Stony Brook fell at Albany (77-67).  The Catamounts are also 13-9 overall.  Hartford dips to 4-4 in league place and 10-13 overall.

“Really good second half tonight. We were much tougher with the ball on offense. I thought Candon and Kurt did a great job scoring and Luke was really good on defense during the critical stretch of the second half. It was also good to see Clancy get to the line and find a little rhythm,” said Vermont head coach John Becker.

The Catamounts struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first half and were limited to 33.3 percent shooting.  Hartford led throughout, with the Hawks’ taking their biggest lead of the game, 12-4, at the 11:59 mark.  The Catamounts came back to knot the game up at 20 on a 3-pointer by Candon Rusin, but trailed 22-21 at the half.

Vermont opened the second half with a 13-2 run as five different Catamounts contributed.  UVM went 4-for-4 from the field, 2-for-2 from 3-point range and 3-for-3 from the line in the spurt to take a 34-27 lead with 15:35 left in the contest.

Hartford closed to within three at the 10:41 mark, but Vermont out scored the Hawks 15-6 over the next 5:23 to open up an 11-point advantage with just over five minutes remaining.

The Hawks cut the lead to single digits, but the Catamounts went 5-for-8 from the stripe to hold off Hartford for the win.

Vermont shot 13-for-19 from the floor in the second half and was 5-for-7 from 3-point range.  The Catamounts also went 19-for-26 from the foul line, 15-fo-19 in the second half alone.

Hartford also shot the ball well in the second half, 56.5 percent, but did not get to the line as much as the Catamounts (9-for-15) in the final 20 minutes.

Sandro Carissimo added 11 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Brian Voelkel and Rusin chipped in 10 points.

Yolonzo Moore led all scorers with 17 points to pace the Hawks.  Corban Wroe added 14 points and went 3-for-4 from 3-point range.  Hartford played without its leading scorer and rebounder Mark Nwakamma who was injured in pregame warmups.

Vermont travels to Albany on Saturday (Feb. 1) to begin the second round of the America East schedule. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. as the second contest of a basketball doubleheader at SEFCU Arena. The UVM and Albany women precede the men’s game at 5 p.m. Both games can be seen online via ESPN3.

NOTES: Sandro Carissimo inched closer to the 1,000-point milestone and sits six points shy of the mark … Brian Voelkel is seven assists away from becoming the all-time leader in assists at UVM and passing the mark of 624 career assists set by Mike Trimboli ’09 … Voelkel is the only Division I player to post over 1,000 rebounds and 600 assists in a career … Vermont has won 23 of the last 25 meetings against Hartford … The Catamounts improved to 14-4 when Candon Rusin scores 10 points or more.

Women’s Hoop: Hartford Tops Vermont 64-51

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON – Niki Taylor scored a game-high 15 points and Jordan Eisler added a career-high 14 points, but the Hartford bench combined for 43 points to lead the Hawks to a 64-51 win at Patrick Gymnasium in America East women’s basketball action on Wednesday.

Hartford improves to 8-13 overall and 5-3 in America East. The Catamounts fall to 6-15 and 3-5 in league play.

“I’m disappointed because I thought that was a pretty evenly matched contest,” said Vermont head coach Lori Gear McBride.  “Hartford did a nice job with their pressure it kept us from really getting it inside as much as we hoped.  Niki Taylor played great, we had some foul trouble early that hurt us and kept them in the game with free throws. We took some steps tonight in continuing to battle and not giving up. Our young team now has an understanding of what needs to be done having gone through the America East schedule one time and we will look to avenge some losses the second time around,” continued McBride.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball from the floor in the first 20 minutes. Hartford shot 34.6 percent, while the Catamounts shot 32 percent from the field.

Vermont held an 18-11 lead after a pair of free throws by Taylor at the 6:12 mark. However, the Hawks out scored UVM 16-8 over the final five minutes to take a 27-24 lead into the break.

The Catamounts climbed back within one, 29-28, in the opening minutes of the second half on a basket by Kaylea Britton, but Hartford answered quickly.  The Hawks used a 14-0 run and UVM went 0-for-8 from the field in a four-minute span to open up a 15-point lead, 43-28, with 13:21 remaining in the game.

Vermont closed to within 10 with 1:48 left, but Hartford went 7-for-10 from the line to post its fourth straight win.

The Hawks shot 47.8 percent in the second half, while Vermont shot 28.1 percent and 29.8 for the game.  Hartford was also aided by a 20-for-27 effort from the foul line, while Vermont went 12-for-14 from the foul line.

Cherelle Moore scored a team-high 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench to pace Hartford.  Morgan Lumb added 12 points and Taylor Clark chipped in 10 to round out the leading scorers for the Hawks.

Vermont travels to Albany on Saturday (Feb. 1). The Catamounts face the Great Danes at 5 p.m. in the first game of a basketball doubleheader at SEFCU Arena.  The UVM and Albany men follow the women’s game at 7:30 p.m.  Both games can be seen on ESPN3.
Alumnae are invited to join Vermont Women’s Basketball for an Alumnae Day on February 22.  Support the current senior players on Senior Day and then join us for a postgame reception.  Please contact our Victory Club Office at 802-656-0956 or to register or for more information.