Archive for September, 2009

UVM announces hockey TV schedule

September 30, 2009

ESPNU will televise four University of Vermont men’s hockey games this winter and two more will appear on NESN, the school announced Wednesday.

UVM home games vs. Boston College (Oct. 18), New Hampshire (Dec. 6) and Boston University (Feb. 28) are scheduled to appear on ESPNU, along with the Catamounts’ Jan. 24 game at Massachusetts.

NESN will show UVM games Feb. 19 at New Hampshire and Feb. 26 at home against BU.

Report: Voelkel verbally commits to Cats

September 30, 2009

The University of Vermont men’s basketball team received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-5 forward Brian Voelkel, who will join the Catamounts in 2010, according to a report on the New York Daily News’ Web site.

The New Rochelle, N.Y., resident said in the story he preferred to stay close to home and considered Manhattan, but had a change of heart after visiting UVM.

“I kind of just really liked everything about the school,” Voelkel said to the Daily News. “I like the program because I wanted a winner, and they win a lot. They’re always going to have a shot at going to NCAAs.”

UVM received another verbal commitment in July from Ryan McKeaney, a 6-foot-9 post player from Marlton, N.J.

Under NCAA and UVM rules, head coach Mike Lonergan cannot comment about a recruit until he has signed a national letter of intent and been admitted to the university. Voelkel’s and McKeaney’s commitments are contingent upon admission.

The Catamounts lose Marqus Blakely, Nick Vier and Maurice Joseph at the end of the season. leaving Lonergan another scholarship to hand out for the 2010-11 season.

Two NFL players have ties to Vermont (updated)

September 30, 2009

Here’s something not seen often, if ever: Two guys currently starting for NFL teams have Vermont colleges on their resumes.

Middlebury College graduate Steve Hauschka is a place kicker for the Baltimore Ravens while Pierre Garcon, who played a season at Norwich University, is an Indianapolis Colts receiver.

Hauschka, who has drilled 4 of 5 field-goal attempts for the Ravens this season, played three years at Middlebury, holds the school’s single-season (10) and career (20) field goal records and helped the Panthers claim the NESCAC title in 2007. Holding a year of college football eligibility after he graduated from Middlebury, the Needham, Mass., native walked on North Carolina State’s team while working on a post-grad degree and led the ACC in field goal percentage (88.9).

“It’s a joy to watch him (on Sundays),” Middlebury College coach Bob Ritter said. “In NESCAC, there’s one (NFL player) every few years or so, but it’s not a common occurrence. It’s rare that someone from NESCAC will have the impact that he has so quickly.”

Garcon has two touchdown receptions for the Colts this season and had the game-winning score against Arizona on Sunday.

He piled up 13 touchdowns and 990 yards as a freshman at Norwich before transferring to NCAA Division III powerhouse Mount Union. The West Palm Beach, Fla., product finished his college career with 60 TDs.

(Update) Here’s the Hauschka feature that appeared in Sunday’s Free Press.  Hauschka didn’t have a field-goal attempt during his homecoming game, a loss to the Patriots.

UVM men’s hockey picked to finish tied for fourth

September 30, 2009

The University of Vermont men’s hockey team can expect a fight for home ice in the Hockey East playoffs if the league coaches’ preseason predictions are correct.

Hockey East released its league preseason poll Wednesday afternoon and the Catamounts were ranked in a tie for fourth. UVM and New Hampshire each received 59 points, just two more than sixth-place Northeastern.

The top four teams play at home in the quarterfinal round of the Hockey East tournament.

Defending NCAA and Hockey East champion Boston University was made the league favorite, receiving six first-place votes and 84 points in the poll. Second-choice Massachusetts Lowell (79 points) and No. 3 Boston College (76) split the other four first-place votes.

Massachusetts (47 points), Maine (32), Providence (24) and Merrimack (23) were picked to follow Northeastern in the 10-team league.

Sound bites from UVM’s Hockey Media Day

September 29, 2009

Below are a few snippets from University of Vermont’s Hockey Media Day, held this afternoon at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Both teams will play preseason games Sunday at the Gut, the men taking on New Brunswick at 4 p.m., and the women following at 7 against McGill.

Here’s video clips from the press conference, courtesy of UVM.

Be sure to check out the Free Press’ comprehensive season previews in the print and online editions next week.

KEVIN SNEDDON, UVM men’s coach:

About turning the page on last season’s Frozen Four trip: “We gained a lot of valuable experience last season that can be utilized this year with our returning players. With that being said, probably our biggest challenge this year is to focus on what’s important now. We are real proud that we were able to contribute to our rich tradition here, but at the same time this is a new journey. We can’t be focussed on last year, we have to move forward, which isn’t always as easy at it seems. We get asked a lot of questions from the media and from around town about last year’s season.”

About replacing Viktor Stalberg, who left after his junior season to play in the NHL: “I know everyone is questioning how we are going to replace Viktor Stalberg. We’ve had that problem in the past and our guys have risen to the occasion. There’s no reason not to think that with our current players, when they are given more opportunities that they will rise to the challenge.”

About improving on special teams: “I look back at it and it’s somewhat amazing that we made it all the way to the Frozen Four with one of the worst penalty kills in the country.”

BRIAN ROLOFF, senior forward and captain:

About replacing leadership lost from last season: “I don’t think we take it as pressure. I think Dean (Strong), Corey (Carlson), Peter (Lenes); we watched  them play for three years, we learned from them and saw how they got the job done. We can just kind of step into their shoes which they molded out nicely. I feel like the guys in my class are ready to take on the challenge.”

TIM BOTHWELL, UVM women’s coach:

About team’s mission to reach the Hockey East playoffs for the first time in program history: “Without a doubt, it is in each and every person’s mind on the team that (Hockey East) playoffs are what we are after this year. We were very close last year; two or three goals over the course of a season at the right time would have put us in the playoffs. Conversely, keeping out two or three extra pucks at the right time could have put us in the playoffs, as well. With that quote, we are really excited about the challenge of trying to make that happen this year and make a little bit of history for this program.”

About improving on defense: “The defensive side of things is really where we have to make our biggest improvement this year. We really kind of took a step backward in that area last year. It’s a real focus for us this year to block more shots, to limit more scoring opportunities, to limit the shots on goal and to just be a better defensive team.”

PEGGY WAKEHAM, Junior defenseman who led the team in scoring last year:

About the team playing its first eight games at home: “Really important to have these game at home because last year we gained a lot of confidence at the end of the season. We started last year rough, so I feel like having them at home this year — we are more comfortable at home — is a better schedule for us.”

About team’s mindset: “We are all ready. Last year we were so close, a couple goals here and there. We all knows how it feels not to make it and now we are ready to make it.”

Reports: Stalberg makes Maple Leafs

September 29, 2009

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson, in several Toronto newspaper reports, said former UVM hockey star Viktor Stalberg made the team and wiviktorll play in the team’s season-opening game against Montreal on Thursday.

“In my mind’s eye, for sure, Stalberg will be in the lineup on opening night, but he will probably be the only one (of the college players),” Wilson said in Sunday’s National Post. “He deserves a spot on our team.”

Stalberg led Toronto with six preseason goals.

“Some nights he’s been our best player,” said Wilson in Saturday’s edition of Toronto’s The Star. “His speed is incredible.”

The Maple Leafs’ Web site lists Stalberg on the 29-man roster. The site’s season preview story said Stalberg made the team.

Update, quote from UVM coach Kevin Sneddon: “Lot of other colleges are having problems with guys leaving college early, not graduating, and going to the National Hockey League. I don’t have a problem with it at all when you see the success that they have immediately. It’s when guys leave early and end up playing in the low-level minors that you question. When guys like Torrey Mitchell (San Jose Sharks) and Viktor Stalberg can step out from their junior year and make an NHL team, it shows they are developing in our program. I think they made the right decisions, as tough as they were, for their careers.”

Other former Cats currently in the NHL

Torrey Mitchell, San Jose
Mitchell played two seasons with Vermont, the last in 2006-07. He 20 points in 82 games during his rookie campaign with the Sharks.

Patrick Sharp, Chicago
Sharp played two seasons at UVM (2000-2002). A three-year NHL veteran, Sharp had 44 points in 61 games last season for Chicago

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay
St. Louis, Vermont’s career leader in points, is entering his 11th NHL season and ninth with Tampa Bay. St. Louis was the NHL’s 2004 MVP when Tampa Bay won Stanley Cup. St. Louis recorded 80 points last season.

Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
One of the NHL’s premier goaltenders, Thomas had a 36-11 record with a league-leading 2.10 goals-against-average and 93.3 save percentage last season.

Binghamton cleans house; dismisses 5 more players

September 26, 2009

Well, here’s one way of dealing with the problems at Binghamton, although it all but obliterates the Bearcats’ hopes of defending their America East Conference crown. This from the Associated Press:

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) — Binghamton released five more basketball players on Friday, a day after star player Emanuel “Tiki” Mayben was arraigned on cocaine distribution charges and kicked off the team.

Coach Kevin Broadus announced that D.J. Rivera, Malik Alvin, Corey Chandler, Paul Crosby and David Fine were released. Spokesman John Hartrick said in an e-mail no players, staff, or administrators would be made available for further comment.

Hartrick did not return calls seeking comment.

He told the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton that the five were released because “they are not toeing the line. Their attitude and behavior … is not what we expect from our student-athletes.”

In a statement announcing the releases, Broadus said, “If any of the young men in our program don’t respect the decisions that have been made or the rules we have in place, then they need to move on with their lives.”

On Thursday, Mayben was arraigned in Troy on felony drug charges and athletic director Joel Thirer later said Mayben had been permanently dismissed from the basketball program. A sealed indictment charged Mayben with selling cocaine twice on June 29 and police said they found 3.4 grams of cocaine on him when he was arrested.

Broadus signed a contract extension in June through the 2013-2014 season, on the heels of a season that featured the team’s first-ever conference championship and NCAA tournament berth.

The Bearcats went 23-9 last season and won both the America East regular season and tournament titles. They were 13-3 in league play and won a school-record 11 straight games before losing to Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Rivera was second in the America East in scoring last season but was left off the All-America East team in the voting by the league coaches.
Mayben’s arrest is the third legal problem for a player since Broadus took over the program in 2007.

Former player Miladin Kovacevic, who wasn’t recruited by Broadus, left a classmate in a coma after a barroom brawl in May 2008. In November, Alvin, a transfer student brought in by Broadus, was charged with stealing condoms from a Wal-Mart.

Binghamton is part of the State University of New York system, which is led by chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who is known to take a hard line on problems within athletic programs. She was the president of the University of Cincinnati when men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins was pressured to resign in 2005 after the program had a history of low graduation rates, suspensions and arrests of Huggins’ players over the years. Huggins also had a drunk driving conviction in 2004.

Stalberg gunning for Maple Leafs’ roster spot

September 25, 2009

Former University of Vermont hockey star Viktor Stalberg is on the cusp of earning a Toronto Maple Leafs’ roster spot, according to an article in the Toronto Star.

A sixth-round pick in the 2006 NHL draft, Stalberg left UVM after last season’s Frozen Four  march, opting to forgo his senior year in order to pursue a professional career. A player who has bulked up from 180 pounds as a freshman to 200 pounds last year to 218 pounds as a pro,  Stalberg appears to be battling Tyler Bozak (University of Denver) and Christian Hanson (Notre Dame) for a Leafs’ roster spot.

Update: Stalberg scored twice in Toronto’s 5-4 win over Detroit and netted another goal in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Red Wings. The Maple Leafs wrap up their preseason schedule Sunday with a home game against Buffalo.

Binghamton coach, AD on thin ice

September 25, 2009

There’s been a loud buzz about Binghamton University basketball player Tiki Mayben. Make that former player. Arrested and facing felony drug charges, the senior guard was booted from the team.

Outraged with the repeated off-court issues surrounding the basketball program, Binghamton president Lois B. DeFleur offered a stern warning to head coach Kevin Broadus and athletic director Joel Thirer on Thursday.

“I am reiterating to our athletic director Joel Thirer and coach Kevin Broadus that we will not tolerate this behavior in our student-athletes,” she said in a statement to the press. “This behavior does not reflect the quality of our program and the hundreds of student athletes at Binghamton University.

“We appreciate that Coach Broadus has given second chances to athletes, but our program can not take these risks and I have made this clear to both Thirer and Broadus.”

Here’s the coverage in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. The Albany Times Union chronicles the demise of a Troy, N.Y., kid who went from top prospect to drug suspect.

Binghamton hoops star arrested on felony drug charges

September 24, 2009

Binghamton basketball player Emanuel “Tiki” Mayben was arrested Wednesday night and is being arraigned on felony drug charges, according to a Capital News 9 report.

The guard helped lead Binghamton to an America East Conference title and a trip to the NCAA tournament last season, averaging 11.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and a team-best 4.6 assists a game.

Just the latest in a long line of off-court issues that has engulfed Binghamton’s program in recent years. For a refresher course, here’s the New York Times’ expose on the Bearcats that was published in February. Perhaps UVM fans can take pride in this fact: I’ve been covering the Catamounts for four years and have yet to write a story about a player being arrested or suspended.