A week full of the marquee, memorable and mentionable

Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 9:00 AM / On Campus
By Bob Snow

It was quite the weekend to begin college hockey's "second season" and the road to the 65th Frozen Four, to be held April 5 and 7 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, home of the NHL's Lightning.

The marquee matchup included a doubleheader at the site of the 2010 Winter Classic in Boston; the memorable was a mega-upset game in Denver (see sidebar box); and the mentionables include the start of the Hobey Baker balloting, a local-kid-done-good, and Boston College coach Jerry York on the countdown toward becoming the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history.

The Sun Life Frozen Fenway, at Fenway Park, pitted Massachusetts against Vermont on Saturday afternoon, and New Hampshire against Maine that night in a Beanpot-type affair.
The Beanpot, college hockey's premier in-season tournament, is played at the TD Garden the first two Mondays each February among Boston University, Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern.

BC and Northeastern also play at Fenway, at 4 p.m. on Jan. 14.

The turnstiles last Saturday clicked in 38,456 fans from across New England to see two scintillating overtime games amidst balmy January conditions.

In the first game, UMass' Michael Marcou scored at 4:37 of overtime to give Massachusetts a 3-2 victory against Vermont. Assists went to Conor Sheary and Daniel Hobbs.

Hobbs and Eric Filiou also scored for the Minutemen; Kyle Reynolds and Drew MacKenzie had goals for Vermont.

"If you think about it," Vermont coach Kevin Snedden said, "it was 59 degrees out there. It's incredible that we even played hockey today. So was the puck bouncing a little bit? Yeah, but I think it was excellent considering the circumstances -- it was still a lot of fun."

"The emotion and the intensity was everything that it was built to be," Massachusetts coach Don Cahoon said. "The first thing that comes to mind, I can relate to Big Papi, (Red Sox DH) David Ortiz, when he hits a walk-off home run in the 11th, because that's what it felt like given the nature of the overtime."

"Every time you play a big game like this outside in front of a lot of people," said Marcou, a senior defenseman, "you always envision you scoring the overtime winner. It was my first one ever, so it's a pretty good experience to have here at Fenway."

It only took 1:29 of overtime for the Maine Black Bears to take down archrival New Hampshire in another border war between these two storied programs.

"What a great night," Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. "With both games going to overtime, obviously being on the winning side is a real thrill for us. The fans were unbelievable, really a great atmosphere. It was electric in there. It was great experience for all of our guys and we were pleased to get the last bounce."
"I just crashed the net and I'm fortunate it hit my stick and popped over (UNH goalie Casey) DeSmith's head," said Maine's Brian Flynn, who initiated that last bounce for the game-winning goal. "It was mostly great to get the win as a team. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and to get this win in front of the Maine fans, and our friends and family in that fashion, it was special."

Hobey Baker balloting begins -- Fan balloting has opened for the 2012 Hobey Baker Award, presented annually to college hockey's top player. Last year's recipient was Miami's Andy Miele, now with the Coyotes.

Fans can vote at Hobeybakeraward.com. Click on the "Vote for Hobey Baker" icon and make your selection from this year's slate of 77 players. The first phase of fan balloting runs through March 4; phase two of fan balloting begins March 16 and will consist of the 10 finalists.

Three finalists will be announced March 29; the award will be presented April 6 at the Frozen Four in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Hannan honored by Penguins -- Niagara University's Jeff Hannan was honored by the Pittsburgh Penguins as a "Local Hero."

The native of Venetia, Pa., is being honored by the Pittsburgh Youth Hockey Network, operated by the Penguins, as part of the "Local Hero" video series. The "Local Hero" video series honors collegiate hockey players from the Keystone State, highlighting their road to collegiate hockey.
In 53 games for Niagara, Hannan has 8 goals and 16 points.
His father, Dave, played 16 seasons in the NHL, spending the bulk of his career with the Penguins. The elder Hannan won Stanley Cups with Edmonton in 1988 and Colorado in 1996.

York heading to hallowed ground -- If the Boston College Eagles run the table the next seven games, long-time coach Jerry York will reach the 900-win plateau Feb. 6 -- the first night of the Beanpot Tournament, when the Eagles draw Northeastern.

York will become only the second coach in history to reach 900 wins. That will begin the big countdown, to Ron Mason's all-time mark of 924, mostly at Michigan State.

York currently has 426 wins at BC since returning to his alma mater in 1994; he's won three NCAA titles at BC, in 2001, 2008 and 2010. He also won a title at Bowling Green in 1984, his second coaching stop after Clarkson.