Quinnipiac names Turner interim women’s coach after Seeley’s resignation

Quinnipiac has named Cassandra Turner its interim head coach after the resignation last week of Rick Seeley.

Seeley was under investigation by the school for what was termed “potentially abusive behavior.”

Turner has been on the Bobcats’ staff for the last seven seasons, serving as associate head coach for the last four.

Quinnipiac made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 2015.

Turner, a two-time captain in a four-year career at Brown, also was the head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team in 2014-15.

Barber signs with Washington, gives up final season at Miami

RachelLewis USCHO 20141018 Miami OSUMIH 12 Barber signs with Washington, gives up final season at Miami

Miami’s Riley Barber had 20 goals and 20 assists in his junior season (photo: Rachel Lewis).

Miami forward Riley Barber has signed with the Washington Capitals, giving up his final season of collegiate eligibility.

Barber, a sixth-round pick of the Capitals in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, scored 20 goals as a junior. For his 116-game collegiate career, the Pittsburgh native had 54 goals and 123 points.

He was the CCHA freshman of the year in 2013, when he had 15 goals and 39 points for the RedHawks.

The three-year, entry-level contract he agreed to with the Capitals on Friday makes him the fourth Miami player to sign a pro contract this offseason. He joined seniors Austin Czarnik (Boston, NHL), Alex Wideman (Binghamton, AHL) and Cody Murphy (Reading, ECHL).

Current NCAA quartet named to 2015 U.S. World Championship team

141115 20352056 Current NCAA quartet named to 2015 U.S. World Championship team

Yale goalie Alex Lyon will make his Team USA debut as he has been named to the 2015 World Championship team (photo: Melissa Wade).

When the first 17 players were named this week to the United States team for the 2015 IIHF World Championship that starts in May, four players were named that skated in the NCAA ranks during the 2014-15 season.

Forwards Dylan Larkin (Michigan) and Jimmy Vesey (Harvard), defenseman Mike Reilly (Minnesota) and goaltender Alex Lyon (Yale) will all suit up for the Americans when the tournament starts next month in the Czech Republic.

One of Team USA’s assistant coaches is St. Lawrence head coach Greg Carvel.

The United States begins tournament play May 1 against Finland.

USCHO coach of the year Leaman builds another championship-level program

DSC 0563 USCHO coach of the year Leaman builds another championship level program

Providence’s Nate Leaman won the national championship in his fourth season with the Friars (photo: Matt Eisenberg).

A year ago, Nate Leaman watched as a program he helped build won its first national championship, three years after he left.

It did not take him long to match Union’s 2014 triumph with his new team.

Leaman guided Providence to the 2015 national championship, continuing a program resurgence under the fourth-year head coach.

In a crowded field of deserving candidates, Leaman’s NCAA tournament success helped him earn USCHO’s coach of the year award.

Leaman’s Friars had only the nation’s sixth-best record (26-13-2). They had just one player in the national top 50 for points.

In the end, however, they were the last team standing after getting the last at-large spot in the NCAA tournament.

Leaman, 42, did not take a conventional road to major college hockey coaching, but his recent success has put him among the best young coaches in the country.

He won the Spencer Penrose Award as the top Division I men’s coach at Union in 2011, when he led the Dutchmen to their first Division I NCAA tournament appearance.

Leaman left Schenectady, N.Y., after that season to join Providence, and after two seasons of building, he has taken the Friars to the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history.

This season, Providence lost consecutive games only once, and although the Friars were bounced from the Hockey East playoffs in the quarterfinals, they rebounded in the national tournament.

USCHO’s postseason awards were selected by USCHO staff members during the Frozen Four.

The All-USCHO teams were unveiled on Tuesday, and the player and rookie of the year were named Wednesday.

Here are recent USCHO selections for coach of the year:

• 2015: Nate Leaman, Providence
• 2014: Rick Bennett, Union
• 2013: Norm Bazin, UMass-Lowell
• 2012: Norm Bazin, UMass-Lowell
• 2011: Jeff Blashill, Western Michigan
• 2010: Jerry York, Boston College

Former Lake Superior State goalie, assistant coach Muio loses battle with pancreatic cancer

Former Lake Superior State goaltender and assistant coach Don Muio died on April 12 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was 65.

Muio resided in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., with his wife, Barb.

He is survived by Barb, three daughters and five grandchildren.

Muio was the director of human resources for Cross Country Automotive Services prior to retirement. Muio had a variety of coaching stints, including as an assistant at LSSU in the early 1980s and served as a volunteer goaltenders coach for seven seasons from 2004 to 2011.

“Don Muio was a good man, a great husband, proud father, loyal friend and a fierce competitor,” noted former LSSU director of athletics and current LSSU broadcaster Bill Crawford in a statement. “He was a quality goaltender on the great Laker teams of the early championship years. He was such a positive influence on the Laker goalies. He was a very successful business man who used his LSSU degree to his family’s advantage. He was proud of his Laker heritage, a Hall of Fame team player, and he will be missed. Don fought his battle with cancer as he did opponents on the ice — with every ounce of effort and strength.”

“The Lakers have lost one of their own and it saddens us all.”

“My only focus is to help the goalie prepare and improve his game,” Muio said during an interview in 2009. “The single focus is much easier to deal with. There aren’t all of the challenges you face as a head coach. I particularly enjoy the interaction with the individual goaltenders. Lake Superior State is so fortunate to have a bunch of great gentlemen come in. Their character lends to the learning process.”

While playing at LSSU from 1969 to 1973, Muio posted a career GAA of 3.94, along with 2,161 career saves and a career save percentage of .873. He was a member of the Lakers’ 1972 NAIA national
championship team that was inducted into the LSSU Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

Funeral details are available on Soo Today.

Union’s Di Pauli von Treuheim named Goldwater Scholar

Union junior forward Theo Di Pauli von Treuheim has been named a 2015 Barry Goldwater Scholar – one of 12 recipients from Illinois honored with the scholarship. The purpose of the award is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields. Di Pauli von Treuheim is a bioengineering major who holds a 3.96 overall GPA.

Gillies gives up senior season at Providence, signs with Flames

121207 02223631 Gillies gives up senior season at Providence, signs with Flames

Providence goalie Jon Gillies will go out on top a national champion after signing with the Calgary Flames Wednesday, forgoing his senior year with the Friars (photo: Melissa Wade).

The Calgary Flames announced the signing of Providence junior goaltender Jon Gillies on Wednesday.

Gillies, who recently was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Frozen Four and a CCM All-America East Second Team nod, tallied a career-high 49 saves against Boston University in the national championship game to lead the Friars to the program’s first national title with a 4-3 win over the Terriers on April 11.

“We are excited and proud that Jon has earned this opportunity,” PC coach Nate Leaman said in a statement. “He’s had a great three years as a Friar, culminating in Saturday night’s NCAA Championship game. We know he will represent Providence College well and we look forward to seeing Jon back on campus in the future as he continues to work toward his Providence College degree.”

“It has been an indescribable honor to wear the Friar jersey and represent Providence College for the past three years,” Gillies added. “I am forever a Friar and that makes me one of the luckiest people in the world.”

Gillies went 24-13-2 during the 2014-15 season and posted the second-best GAA in program history (2.01). He finished the season with the nation’s seventh-best save percentage (.930), while his GAA ranked 12th in the country. Gillies made 1,029 saves on the season, which ranks sixth all-time at Providence. In 38 starts this year, he allowed two or fewer goals on 29 occasions.

In Hockey East, Gillies was selected to the Hockey East First Team. He also earned that honor in 2012-13 to become just the fifth goaltender in Hockey East history to earn multiple First-Team honors.

During the 2014-15 regular-season conference schedule, Gillies posted the sixth-best GAA (1.74) and the fifth-best save percentage (.939) in league history. He posted four shutouts this season, including a 43-save effort in Providence’s 1-0 win against Boston College on Nov. 29.

Gillies is Providence’s all-time leader in shutouts (13) and career GAA (2.08). He owns three of the top-four lowest single-season GAAs in Friar history (2.08, 2.16 and 1.95).

This season, Gillies moved into second place in career wins at Providence (60-34-13). He ranks second at Providence in career saves (3,000) and fourth in goaltender appearances (108).

In the NCAA tournament this year, Gillies made 52 saves in the East Regional and stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced against Denver in the regional final to earn All-East Regional Team honors. Gillies then helped Providence clinch a spot in the Frozen Four championship after a 25-save performance during the Friars’ 4-1 win over Omaha in the national semifinal April 9.

USCHO player of the year Eichel excels in the face of lofty expectations

2015041120 04 0222267 USCHO player of the year Eichel excels in the face of lofty expectations

Boston University’s Jack Eichel finished his freshman season with 71 points (photo: Jim Rosvold).

There were high expectations on Jack Eichel entering his freshman season at Boston University, and he met them.

Eichel, the national scoring champion and Hobey Baker Award winner, is USCHO’s player of the year and rookie of the year for the 2014-15 season.

As one of the most watched rookies in college hockey in recent years, Eichel just went about his business of putting up points and helping the Terriers to an 18-win improvement over the 2013-14 season.

The North Chelmsford, Mass., led the country in assists (45), points (71) and plus/minus (plus-51), and he was tied for third with 26 goals.

Boston University was 18-0 when he scored a goal, and he was held without a point only seven times in 40 appearances.

He became the first freshman since Maine’s Paul Kariya in 1993 to win both the Hockey East player and rookie of the year awards, and joined Kariya as the only first-year player to win the Hobey.

Eichel is expected to be among the top two picks in the NHL Entry Draft in June.

“He’s as competitive as you’ll find,” Terriers coach David Quinn said in an USCHO feature on Eichel in March. “He wants to be the best player possible. He’s a great teammate. He wants to win, and not just for him. For all the notoriety and all the attention he gets, he just wants to be another hockey player. There’s no entitlement. With someone getting all the attention that he gets, it has the potential to be a nightmare. And it has been anything but.”

USCHO’s postseason awards were selected by USCHO staff members during the Frozen Four.

The All-USCHO teams were unveiled on Monday. The coach of the year award will be announced later this week.

Here are the recent recipients of USCHO’s player of the year award:

• 2015: Jack Eichel, Boston University forward
• 2014: Johnny Gaudreau, Boston College forward
• 2013: Eric Hartzell, Quinnipiac goaltender
• 2012: Jack Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth forward
• 2011: Andy Miele, Miami forward
• 2010: Blake Geoffrion, Wisconsin forward

Fans celebrate Providence’s run to the national title at campus ceremony

150411 22422586 Fans celebrate Providences run to the national title at campus ceremony

Drew Brown (wearing T-shirt) celebrates with Providence teammates on Saturday (photo: Melissa Wade).

PROVIDENCE, R.I — A packed crowd occupied Schneider Arena on Tuesday afternoon, with its full focus turned to the video scoreboard that was replaying the final period of last Saturday’s NCAA championship game.

The crowd burst out cheering as the screens showed Providence goaltender Jon Gillies sprawling out across the net for a game-saving stop in the final minute. The cheer was one-upped a few minutes later as the final seconds ticked off the clock and the celebration of the Friars’ first hockey national championship played.

I00008LCfRa6dljo Fans celebrate Providences run to the national title at campus ceremony

2015 Frozen Four

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Moments later, the championship celebration started with these words: “We’ve arrived; we’re the 2015 national champions.” At this proclamation, the crowd roared, showing their respect and devotion to their team.

As the Friars players were announced, the biggest applause was given to a player that did not lace up his skates throughout the season: Drew Brown, a senior who has been battling a rare and vicious form of bone cancer.

As Providence athletic director Bob Driscoll put it, Brown is “the toughest Friar in the house,” and was the “inspiration” behind the run to the championship.

School president Brian Shanley and Providence mayor Jorge Elorza were among those who spoke during the event.

“On behalf of the city, I am so proud that you are our national champions,” Elorza said.

Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna had a champion to celebrate no matter whether Providence or league foe Boston University won Saturday.

“I was one of the few people in the building Saturday night that was not stressed out,” he said, “because I could not lose.”

In his time at the microphone, Friars coach Nate Leaman praised the team effort that culminated in a 4-3, come-from-behind victory over the Terriers in Boston.

“We had a great team this year,” Leaman said. “The players, our staff, our administration, our alumni, our community, our state — we all came together as a team. That’s the best part of this year’s championship.”

Driscoll gave a lot of the credit to Leaman, who helped transform a program that had been in the depths of Hockey East into a champion in four seasons.

Leaman executed a similar turnaround, albeit over a longer period of time, at Union, which won the 2014 national title.

Leaman “is actually the architect of the last two national championship teams,” Bertagna said.

As Leaman came toward the close of his speech, he gave an immense amount of credit to the Friars faithful, noting their importance in the tough East Regional bracket that Providence escaped not far from home.

“We had 14,000 fans over the two games in Providence, which led all the other regions by about 5,000 fans,” Leaman said.

Leaman made a touching tribute to his co-captain, Ross Mauermann, who is one of the few players to spend his entire four-year career under Leaman’s wing.

“Ross Mauermann came to us four years ago as a walk-on … but he leaves here as a champion and I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Leaman said.

The Friars coach ended his speech with a poke at his captain: “You can always spot him on campus with the red hair,” Leaman said.

With the crowd laughing, Mauermann walked to the stage.

“It’s been an unbelievable ride,” he said. “It’s still kind of setting in for us, but we are national champions.”

Colorado College’s Harstad recognized by NSCA

Colorado College senior Aaron Harstad has been named a 2015 All-American Athlete Award recipient by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and EAS Sports Nutrition. The All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year Award program recognizes collegiate and high school athletes whose athletic accomplishments, in the opinion of their strength coach, reflect their dedication to strength training and conditioning.

Providence, Boston University net half of All-USCHO first team spots

2015041122 16 1523981 Providence, Boston University net half of All USCHO first team spots

Providence goaltender Jon Gillies allowed more than two goals in only two of his final 15 appearances this season (photo: Jim Rosvold).

The teams that played in the national championship combined to take three of the six spots on the 2015 All-USCHO first team.

Boston University forward Jack Eichel, Terriers defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and Providence goaltender Jon Gillies were selected for the first team.

Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly is the only returning member of the teams. He was a second-team selection this season after being part of the first team in 2014.

Here are the All-USCHO teams, with links to player statistics pages:

First team

• Forward Jack Eichel, Boston University freshman
• Forward Tanner Kero, Michigan Tech senior
• Forward Jimmy Vesey, Harvard junior
• Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Boston University junior
• Defenseman Joey LaLeggia, Denver senior
• Goaltender Jon Gillies, Providence junior

Second team

• Forward Daniel Ciampini, Union senior
• Forward Matt Garbowsky, Rochester Institute of Technology senior
• Forward Zach Hyman, Michigan senior
• Defenseman Mike Paliotta, Vermont senior
• Defenseman Mike Reilly, Minnesota junior
• Goaltender Zane McIntyre, North Dakota junior

Third team

• Forward Sam Anas, Quinnipiac sophomore
• Forward Bryce Gervais, Minnesota State junior
• Forward Evan Rodrigues, Boston University senior
• Defenseman Rob O’Gara, Yale
• Defenseman Robbie Russo, Notre Dame senior
• Goaltender Ryan Massa, Omaha senior

Six of the players selected were from Hockey East teams, with ECAC Hockey having four on the teams. The NCHC produced three All-USCHO selections, while the WCHA and Big Ten each had two and Atlantic Hockey one.

The All-USCHO teams were selected by USCHO staff members during the Frozen Four.

Individual awards for player, rookie and coach of the year will be announced later this week.

Ohio State names former Trinity coach Potter as new women’s coach

Jenny Potter has been named the new head coach of the Ohio State women’s team.

Potter, who is just the third coach in Buckeyes’ team history, replaces Nate Handrahan, who resigned in March.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Jenny Potter to the Ohio State family as the head coach of the women’s hockey program,” OSU associate athletics director for sport administration Shaun Richard said in a statement. “Her experience in the sport of hockey as a highly decorated player both at the NCAA and Olympic level will give the student-athletes an instant winners’ mentality.”

“I am very excited for this opportunity,” Potter added. “The Ohio State University has a storied tradition of academic and athletic excellence, and I look forward to contributing to this standard of excellence. I am proud to be a Buckeye, and I look forward to coaching and mentoring these young women.”

Potter recently completed her second season at the helm of the Trinity women’s program. She led the Bantams to their first NESCAC conference championship and second NCAA tournament berth in program history, as the squad concluded the 2014-15 campaign with an overall record of 18-7-2.

A native of Eagan, Minn., Potter was a standout at Minnesota Duluth for three years and at Minnesota for one year. Earning All-America honors in all four seasons, she won an NCAA title with the Bulldogs in 2003.

Potter is also a Minnesota-Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame inductee and three-time Patty Kazmaier Award finalist. She ranks as the Bulldogs’ all-time leading scorer and shares the NCAA record for goals in a game with six. In the 1999-00 season, she not only led the nation in scoring, but also was named the WCHA’s Most Valuable Player, an accolade she again received in 2002-03.

Potter, a longtime player and contributor for the United States national team, began making a name for herself on the international stage as a player in the first Olympic women’s hockey tournament. Registered as the second-youngest player on Team USA, she helped guide the United States to a gold medal at the 1998 Olympic Games. Potter went on to skate in three more Olympics, claiming silver medals in 2002 and 2010, when she was also team captain, and a bronze medal in 2006.

In 2010, she led the U.S. in scoring, became the first Olympic player to net hat tricks in back-to-back games and set a U.S. single-game record with five points.

In 1998, Potter and her husband, Rob, founded Potter’s Pure Hockey, a development program for high school and professional athletes. Through Potter’s Pure Hockey, she has trained and coached more than 30 women for the women’s national and Olympic hockey teams, as well as approximately 600 male and female athletes who advanced to collegiate, NHL and Olympic teams.

Boston University finally gets too close to the fire in title game loss

2015041122 25 1524040 Boston University finally gets too close to the fire in title game loss

Boston University senior Cason Hohmann reacts after the Terriers’ loss to Providence (photo: Jim Rosvold).

BOSTON — You can play with fire only so many times before you get burned.

And in the national championship game, less than nine minutes away from its sixth title, Boston University went up in flames.

I00008LCfRa6dljo Boston University finally gets too close to the fire in title game loss

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The Terriers led 3-2 when Tom Parisi flipped the puck in on BU goaltender Matt O’Connor from center ice. O’Connor caught it, but then disaster ensued.

“I was going to throw it to [a teammate], then I wanted to hold it for a whistle, and then I thought maybe it was starting to fall out of my glove, so I dropped,” O’Connor said. “Next thing I know, it was in.

“It was just a weird, fluky bounce. Maybe I tried to do a little too much to get the offense going.”

Barely more than two minutes later, BU lost a faceoff in its own end and allowed Brandon Tanev to swoop unmolested into the slot. Tanev ripped a laser beam into the top corner of the net, a goal that stood up as the game winner despite furious BU pressure with O’Connor pulled for an extra skater.

“Sports are tough, hockey is tough,” O’Connor said. “I thought I was playing a great game.

“Obviously, it’s something that’s going to be with me the rest of my life. We were really close.

“You could say I’m a big reason for that, but we were a couple minutes away. Bad bounces happen. You just have to deal with it.”

One could make the case that the seeds of BU’s destruction were sown in the two games leading up to the title contest.

O’Connor gave up a soft goal against Minnesota-Duluth to tie the game, forcing a power-play goal by Evan Rodrigues with only minutes left to get the Terriers into the Frozen Four.

The Terriers had played with fire without feeling the burning flame.

In the Frozen Four semifinal contest against North Dakota, they led 4-1 with eight minutes remaining and a power-play advantage, but a puckhandling snafu by O’Connor provided a gift goal every bit as gut-wrenching as the one to come two days later.

Then a too many men on the ice penalty led to a North Dakota power-play goal, followed by an outrageously foolish penalty that could have given the lead away entirely.

Once again, the Terriers played with fire but got away with it, advancing to the title game.

Saturday, however, with a sixth national championship so achingly close, O’Connor gave up the head-shaking goal, and his teammates allowed 20 third-period Providence shots, including the inexcusably wide-open game winner off the faceoff.

This time, the flames were all-consuming. And O’Connor wasn’t the sole arsonist.

“We got to this point because we won as a team,” BU coach David Quinn said. “And we lost the game tonight because we as a team didn’t play well enough. Bottom line.”

“Because of all our success, people lost sight of the fact [that] we’re the youngest team in the country. We had four 18-year-old defensemen playing the game tonight. We’ve had eight freshmen in the lineup.

“Sometimes experience is the best remedy for situations that we were in tonight. And we didn’t have a lot of it.

“To go from the year we had last year to be that close to winning a national title is an incredible accomplishment, and it shouldn’t be lost in all of this.”

Quinn also had special words of support for his goaltender.

“You have college sports for people like Matt O’Connor,” Quinn said. “Great athlete. Great student.

“If you spent 10 minutes with him, [you'd say] he acts like he’s 35 years old. He’s exactly what you want in a student-athlete.

“We wouldn’t be here without him. We’ve won championship after championship this year. [We had] the least amount of losses in the country. You don’t do that with just average or just good goaltending.

“It was a 60-minute game. We had chances to a get a two-goal lead. We couldn’t do it. We gave up the faceoff goal with six minutes to go.

“So there were a lot of reasons why we lost tonight. And one of them, a big one, was the way that Providence College played.”

After hitting reset button, Providence’s Gillies plays big down the stretch

2015041122 16 1523981 After hitting reset button, Providences Gillies plays big down the stretch

Providence’s Jon Gillies gets his stick down to get in the way of a third-period Boston University shot (photo: Jim Rosvold).

BOSTON — It would be disingenuous to presume that the 18,168 at TD Garden on Saturday will note Providence’s resilience as the most memorable aspect of the contest. Even the most fervent Friars fan would have to admit that the game had some other exceptionally impressive moments.

What is likely to get lost in the wash is the determination and bullish intensity with which the Friars chased the win, sparked and sustained by the Frozen Four’s most outstanding player, junior goaltender Jon Gillies.

I00008LCfRa6dljo After hitting reset button, Providences Gillies plays big down the stretch

2015 Frozen Four

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Gillies surrendered a decidedly not outstanding goal with 7:10 remaining in the first period as Ahti Oksanen slipped a short-side shot through what should have been an airtight seal against the right post.

“Obviously that’s one in a big game that you’d like to have back, but I think it’s a testament to our team where they had my back 100 percent and didn’t lose faith in me,” Gillies said. “I just tried to reset especially after that second goal. It took kind of a weird bounce … that ended up right in front of our net and Danny O’Regan was able to put it home. After those two things you take a deep breath and refocus and remember it’s a long way to the game’s end.”

The reset button worked like a charm, as the Calgary Flames blue-chipper stopped 49 of 52 by night’s end. Gillies faced a game-low 12 shots in the third period, but the flurry became a blizzard as the seconds bled away. The Terriers got pucks near the net, across the slot and into the crease, but nothing found its way through the Friars’ sticks, shin pads or goaltender.

“If it does get to me, just kind of play big. And there’s a six on five, so there’s a lot of traffic in front,” Gillies said. “You let the puck hit you. If it does squirt out or something at that point in the game, you just try to get something in front of it and try and battle for the guys that are battling for you in front.”

“Jonny held us in there,” said coach Nate Leaman. “I have a 5-year-old and a 2½-year-old and a 1-year-old, and we play knee hockey just about every night. And the frustrating thing with me is they all want to be Jon Gillies.”

“They were throwing everything at the net. Obviously Jonny, what did he have, 49 saves? They were throwing everything at the net. He had to make a lot of saves. Yeah, they squeaked one in but when they’re throwing everything at the net, that’s what they’re trying to do,” Leaman said. “And he was big time for us. He held the ship. I think it’s very much like our season. He held us in there. He held us in there. We were able to respond in the third period there, but he was our best player tonight.”

Arguably the most impressive element of Gillies’ game was his confidence … not in himself, but in his brothers in black.

“I believed in these guys 100 percent all year that we were going to be able to come back and win that thing,” said Gillies. “And it’s what happened.”

Wisconsin’s Zulinick to leave school, says ‘heart is back home’ with family and son

20140221 MichiganState Wisconsin 13 Wisconsins Zulinick to leave school, says heart is back home with family and son

Wisconsin forward Morgan Zulinick tries to keep his balance as he chases the puck against Michigan State during the 2013-14 season (photo: Dan Sanger).

Wisconsin sophomore forward Morgan Zulinick will be leaving school at the end of the spring semester and will return home to British Columbia be with his family, which includes his three-year-old son, Noah.

“I’ve decided after three years here at Wisconsin, my heart is back home with my family and my son, Noah,” Zulinick said in a news release. “I’ve found my desire to be back home with Noah outweighs my desire to continue on playing hockey. I think I really need this.”

Zulinick was third on the Badgers this season in scoring with 15 points on five goals and 10 assists in 34 games. In 78 careers games at Wisconsin, spanning two years and an injury-shortened freshman season, he posted 33 points on nine goals and 24 assists.

“We were having our year-end meetings and Morgan’s meeting was this morning at 9 a.m., the first one of the day,” Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves added. “He came in, sat down and shared his decision to return home to be a full-time dad.

“In talking to Morgan throughout his time here, he would talk all the time at how much Noah would change when he would see him after three or four months. He tried to stay up with him on the computer, but he had a heavy heart. Probably the best hockey he played this year was over semester break when his family was here. He lit it up on the scoresheet and played with great energy because he was glad his son was here.”

Zulinick will finish out the semester before returning home.

“Right now I am paying a lot of attention to school here so I finish off on a good note and don’t have any difficulties transferring over,” Zulinick continued. “I have applied to a couple schools back home and waiting to see if I get accepted. I’ve talked to my roommates and a couple other of my teammates, so word has gotten around. Some of the guys have asked me about it, and I told them, and asked them what they thought and what they would do. They have been unbelievable with their support. A lot of them said they don’t know how I’ve been doing it. Every one of them has met Noah.”

As one might assume, it was not a decision that came easy, as Eaves explained.

“He talked about the decision process and it sounds like it was a pretty thorough one,” Eaves said in the news release. “It has been on his heart for a while. What he shared was that when he was home over spring break with his mom and dad and extended family that he holds in his inner circle, they poked holes at all things, but in the end it was his need to get back and be with Noah.

“As hard as it is from a hockey standpoint, [and] he would have been a leader on our team next year, it is the right decision for Morgan at this time and we wish him well. He is a terrific young man.”

Penn State’s Musico gets Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award

DSC 4073 Penn States Musico gets Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award

Penn State goaltender P.J. Musico played in a career-high 13 games this season (photo: Omar Phillips).

Penn State goalie P.J. Musico has been named the winner of the 2015 Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award.

The award honors Hines, a former Army player who was killed in the line of duty in 2005 in Afghanistan.

Musico started the season as the Nittany Lions’ third-string goaltender but ended up playing in 13 games, winning six to help Penn State finish fourth in the Big Ten in the program’s third season.

The senior started at Penn State when the school had only a club program, then joined the varsity team when it formed in 2012-13.

Musico, a kinesiology major, is active in the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, which raises more than $13 million annually for pediatric cancer research.

He is involved with autism awareness efforts, incorporating the famous puzzle piece into his helmet design in honor of his younger brother, Patrick, who is autistic. Musico is also active with the team’s “teach hockey days,” where youngsters from Pennsylvania learn how to skate and play hockey for the first time.

The award, coordinated by the Hockey Commissioners Association, is chosen in a vote of conference sports information directors based on one nomination from each league.

The other finalists were Rochester Institute of Technology’s Matt Garbowsky, Yale’s Carson Cooper, Connecticut’s Ryan Tyson, St. Cloud State’s Nick Oliver and Bowling Green’s Ted Pletsch.

Boston University’s Eichel gets Tim Taylor Award as nation’s top rookie

150321 21021500 Boston Universitys Eichel gets Tim Taylor Award as nations top rookie

Boston University’s Jack Eichel is third nationally with 26 goals entering the national championship game (photo: Melissa Wade).

Jack Eichel’s afternoon of hardware Friday started with the Tim Taylor Award as the top rookie in Division I men’s college hockey.

Eichel, the Boston University freshman who on Friday was named the winner of the Hobey Baker Award, leads the nation with 70 points.

The Tim Taylor Award, announced by the Hockey Commissioners Association, is based on a vote of assistant coaches.

In addition to leading the country in points and assists (44), Eichel is tied for third with 26 goals.

He was named Hockey East’s player and rookie of the year, becoming the first player since Maine’s Paul Kariya in 1993 to win both awards.

Expected to be among the top two picks in this summer’s NHL draft, Eichel will first play in the national championship game against Providence on Saturday.

Five schools net a pair of All-American selections

140411 12383608 Five schools net a pair of All American selections

Minnesota’s Mike Reilly repeated as a first-team All-American (photo: Melissa Wade).

Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly is the only repeat first-team All-American among the players honored with 2015 awards on Friday.

Reilly led the nation’s defensemen with 42 points.

Five schools had two All-Americans each: Boston University, Denver, Michigan, Minnesota State and Yale.

Here are the full lists:

East first team

G Alex Lyon, so., Yale
D Matt Grzelcyk, jr., Boston University
D Rob O’Gara, jr., Yale
F Daniel Ciampini, sr., Union
F Jack Eichel, fr., Boston University
F Jimmy Vesey, jr., Harvard

West first team

G Jake Hildebrand, jr., Michigan State
D Joey LaLeggia, sr., Denver
D Mike Reilly, jr., Minnesota
F Zach Hyman, sr., Michigan
F Tanner Kero, sr., Michigan Tech
F Matt Leitner, sr., Minnesota State

East second team

G Jon Gillies, jr., Providence
D Mike Paliotta, sr., Vermont
D Robbie Russo, sr., Notre Dame
F Sam Anas, so., Quinnipiac
F Matt Garbowsky, sr., Rochester Institute of Technology
F Kevin Roy, jr., Northeastern

West second team

G Zane McIntyre, jr., North Dakota
D Zach Palmquist, sr., Minnesota State
D Colton Parayko, jr., Alaska
F Austin Czarnik, sr., Miami
F Dylan Larkin, fr., Michigan
F Trevor Moore, so., Denver

Czarnik became a three-time All-American, adding a second-team selection to the same award in 2014 and a first-team honor in 2013.

Four others were honored for the second time: Reilly, LaLeggia, Parayko and Gillies.

Six players were from Hockey East, with five from ECAC Hockey, four each from the Big Ten, NCHC and WCHA and one from Atlantic Hockey.

Hobey winner Eichel on comparison to Kariya: ‘It’s the greatest compliment’

CW7R0563 Hobey winner Eichel on comparison to Kariya: Its the greatest compliment

Boston University’s Jack Eichel pretends to grimace at the weight of the Hobey Baker Award (photo: Melissa Wade).

BOSTON — As anticipated, Boston University forward Jack Eichel capped off a year of individual honors with the 2015 Hobey Baker Award.

The freshman from North Chelmsford, Mass., is just the second rookie to win the award, joining Maine’s Paul Kariya (1993).

I00008LCfRa6dljo Hobey winner Eichel on comparison to Kariya: Its the greatest compliment

2015 Frozen Four

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“It’s the greatest compliment,” Eichel said about being compared to Kariya.

Eichel leads the nation in points (70), assists (44), and plus/minus (plus-51). He has 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in seven postseason games so far, with Saturday’s national championship game against Providence still to come.

“What an honor to win something that I’ve dreamed about my whole life,” Eichel said.

After getting the award at a ceremony at Matthews Arena on Friday, he thanked his family and teammates for “making this the most memorable year of my life.”

Hobey finalists, winners: Full list

Reflecting on his family, Eichel said: “When they called my name, mom and dad were sitting in the front row. I choked up for a minute because of how important my parents are and what they’ve done for me.”

“Every year has been his best year,” said Eichel’s father, Bob. “It’s just gotten better and better. This year, it’s been nice to have him at home.”

Eichel beat out Hobey Hat Trick finalists Zane McIntyre of North Dakota and Jimmy Vesey of Harvard in voting by a selection committee after the NCAA regionals.

 Hobey winner Eichel on comparison to Kariya: Its the greatest complimentLooking back on his season so far, Eichel said he was trying not to get caught up in winning the Hobey because his focus is on Saturday’s national championship game.

“I think this season I’ve hit most things that I wanted to with the exception of one,” he said. “I hope to cap a great season tomorrow. That’s the important one.”

Eichel is the first Boston University player to win the Hobey since Matt Gilroy in 2009. Gilroy’s Terriers won the national championship the next day, defeating Miami 4-3 in overtime in Washington, D.C.

“I watched that game and that would be an unbelievable way to cap off a great season,” said Eichel. “Playing for the national championship 30 minutes from my home and in my freshman year. I’m really excited and it’s a little extra special that it’s in Boston.”

Eichel, who is expected to be one of the first players selected in this year’s NHL draft, said that a decision on returning for another year of NCAA hockey will have to wait.

“There’s positives any way you look at it,” he said. “[Staying means] another year of development, another year to play for coach [David] Quinn.

“I’m focused on winning a championship. When the time comes, I’ll make [the decision] with my family and make it with my heart. There’s no rush to go anywhere.”

Conference foes Boston University, Providence set for national title matchup

2015040921 55 1819791 Conference foes Boston University, Providence set for national title matchup

Boston University beat North Dakota for its spot in the national championship game (photo: Jim Rosvold).

BOSTON — You may think that the fact that the two combatants in Saturday’s Frozen Four championship game come from the same conference means there’s a solid level of familiarity.

That doesn’t seem the case for Boston University and Providence, at least when you talk to the respective coaches. And that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given these two clubs haven’t faced one another since October, when players might not have known all of their teammate, much less their opponents.

I00008LCfRa6dljo Conference foes Boston University, Providence set for national title matchup

2015 Frozen Four

Follow all of USCHO's coverage at Frozen Four Central.

The result on Friday was BU coach David Quinn using Thursday’s opponent, North Dakota, to compare and contrast Providence.

And according to Quinn, as much as one might think these are two dissimilar teams, the reality is that both Providence and North Dakota pose similar challenges for the Terriers.

“Both [Providence and North Dakota] have great goalies, they both have mobile D corps,” said Quinn. “Their forwards are big, strong, physical.”

Conceivably, that may make preparing for Saturday’s game a little easier for the Terriers. Or maybe it will be made simpler by the fact that Providence isn’t unlike every other opponent BU has faced since the postseason began.

“Seems like we’ve been playing teams like that all last month, to be honest with you,” said Quinn, whose Terriers have gone 7-0 since college hockey’s second season began for them on March 13. “And it’s going to be as it should be and as it always is when you play for a national championship: You have to be at your best, and we certainly know we have to be at our best tomorrow night.”

The fact that Boston University will play for a national championship on Saturday night is somewhat remarkable given where this program was a year ago. Quinn was in his first season after replacing legendary bench boss Jack Parker. And Quinn’s first Terriers team fell flat on its face, winning just 10 games, the lowest win total since 1962-63.

BU’s opponent Saturday, Providence, isn’t in too dissimilar a situation. Granted, last year’s Friars team reached the NCAA tournament and the regional final before losing to eventual national champion Union.

But Providence, a school with a rich hockey tradition, is just four years removed from one of the worst three-year stretches in the program’s history.

Like BU, the turnaround has been swift under fourth-year coach Nate Leaman. Though Leaman said he didn’t set any sort of timetable to bring the Friars hockey program back to prominence, being in Saturday’s title game with the chance to earn the school’s first ice hockey national championship is something that he said feels incredibly special.

“If you take enough little steps, big things can happen,” said Leaman. “We realized we got some bounces to get here. You don’t know sometimes when those opportunities are going to arise; you just put your head down and try to keep getting better.”

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Providence beat Omaha to earn the school’s second spot in the national title game (photo: Melissa Wade).

And getting better has been an ongoing process for Providence. Unlike the Terriers, Providence didn’t barnstorm to the national title game. The Friars lost in the Hockey East quarterfinals before putting together their three-game run in the NCAA tournament.

That has forced the Friars to worry much more about the hockey that it is playing than focusing too much on the opponent at hand. That won’t change on Saturday.

“I think [we're] just sticking together,” said Friars senior forward Shane Luke. “We’re a pretty tight-knit group. When things don’t go the right way, you have to stick together.

“This year, we had a lot of ups and downs, and during the times we were down we came together. And that’s a big thing about being back on track is keeping together and sticking in the process.”

Still, there is an understanding that the Boston University team that is standing between Providence and a national title isn’t just any old hockey team. Star forwards and puck-moving defensemen make this a tough team to contain.

“[BU has] a great transition game,” said Leaman. “[Defensemen Matt] Grzelcyk and [Brandon] Fortunato do a great job getting up in the offense. I think they’ve got a very good power play.”

And there’s one more thing.

“Obviously, I think they have the premier forward in the country [in Jack Eichel],” said Leaman.

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