Posts Tagged ‘men’s hockey’

It’s simple for Hockey Cats: Just win two

March 1, 2010

It was nearly the perfect weekend for the University of Vermont men’s hockey team, a scenario that seemed improbable at best, impossible at worst a mere two weeks ago.

Back then, UVM had its most disastrous weekend of the Hockey East season at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Twice in two nights, the Catamounts nursed along 2-1 leads against Merrimack heading into the last five minutes of the third period.

They won neither game, settling for a 2-2 tie the first night, then losing 3-2 on two goals in the final two minutes the next evening.

At that point, for anyone other than a UVM coach or a player to describe the Catamounts’ future as anything other than bleak would have been a unwarranted optimism. Look at what remained: road trips to New Hampshire and Lowell sandwiched around a two-game set vs. defending national champion Boston University at The Gut. How could that team, playing as it was, expect much good to happen any of those weekends?

Even when Vermont played very well at UNH, the only tangible reward was a single point that left the Catamounts sitting ninth, taking into account the head-to-head tiebreaker in Massachusetts’ favor, and out of the playoffs had the Hockey East tournament begun this weekend.

Now, optimism has overshadowed pessimism. The Catamounts defeated BU twice inside of 48 hours. They’re tied for fifth place. They have their destiny back in their own hands, not only for securing a playoff berth but for arising from the near-dead to potentially clinching home ice for the Hockey East quarterfinals.

That says volumes about two things: The resilience and character of an emotionally battered band of Catamounts and the parity of the league. Hey, this morning, three points separate the six teams residing in the Nos. 4 through 9 rungs of the standings — three.

Of course, with the standings that packed and six teams going for five playoff positions, someone will lose out, and that could still be Vermont with a no-point trip to Lowell on Friday and Saturday.

While UVM needed plenty of help this past weekend — and got it — the Catamounts can eliminate the need for outside assistance by sweeping the River Hawks; they might even get by with a win and a tie.

So now it’s set up for a fun final weekend of the regular season. UNH and BC will play for the regular-season title and the tournament’s top seed. Maine can eliminate slumping UMass. BU and Northeastern can hurt each other. UVM can overtake Lowell. Of the six 3-through-9 teams, Merrimack appears to have the easiest road with Providence on tap for a home-and-home.

For UVM, here’s the situation with ties in the final standings: the Catamounts will have the head-to-head tie-breaker against Lowell (0-0-1 now, but UVM would have to have at least a win and a tie this weekend just to finish tied with UML), BU (2-0-1) and Northeastern (2-1-0), but loses it to Massachusetts (1-2-0) and Merrimack (0-2-1).

So it’s simple: Win twice at Lowell and come on back to The Gut for the quarterfinals.

Well, it’s that simple on paper. On the ice, however …

Advertisements

The Milo cause-and-effect: Is it real?

February 27, 2010

The play of the University of Vermont men’s hockey team in its last three games certainly begs the question of whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship regarding the recent dismissal of forward Justin Milo from the team.

There is no way to be certain that Milo’s absence has resulted in three of UVM’s more consistent and better games, including Friday’s 7-3 victory over Boston University, and no one connected with the Catamounts is going to say that on the record even if he agreed.

Rumors, opinions and theories still abound as to why Milo was cut so late in the season and seemingly trustworthy sources have given credence to some of the speculation, but it’s all off-the-record. Still, 11 days after the announcement by head coach Kevin Sneddon, there’s growing evidence that the Catamounts have finally grown together as a team after laboring for team leadership off the ice and results on it.

UVM played valiantly in a 5-4 overtime loss at UNH, a game the Catamounts deserved to win. The next night, they stormed back from a 2-0 deficit in Durham, N.H., for a 3-2 lead, settling for a 3-3 tie. Friday, they simply outplayed a very talented BU team.

The results aside, Vermont had not had a three-game stretch of such energy, effort and consistency all season; hence, the question of cause-and-effect. Clearly, had the players been upset by Milo’s dismissal, it hardly seems likely that it would be manifested by some of their best play of the season.

Quite frankly, at UNH and Friday vs. BU, the Catamounts looked like a team no longer playing with a burden on their backs. The fun appeared to be back in the game for them and don’t underestimate the value of fun in determining how a team plays.

Earlier this week, coach Kevin Sneddon would not comment on the effect of Milo’s dismissal on team morale, but after Friday’s win, he said, “Right now, the strength of our character is really shining. The guys through adversity — and we haven’t had a lot of bounces go our way this year — and I think they’re getting stronger as a unit, pulling together and trying to get it done. It’s a good a sign that we’re doing it at this point of the season and hope to be playing out best hockey moving forward.”

That is not a direct comment on Milo or his effect on the team, but his situation was certainly part of the adversity this team has endured and is now trying to use as a positive.

Josh Burrows, the defenseman-turned-wing who scored twice Friday, was not directly addressing the Milo affair but rather the team’s belated melding as a unit when he said, “We just know this is a stretch where we know we needed to do what we can do and we’ve kind of struggled with that at times during the year.

“I think everyone’s on the same page now and we’ve got the effort that we need and with that kind of effort, we’re going to get the results that we want.”

If the Catamounts continue to play today as they have for the past three games, the cause-and-effect question will grow in validity.

Will Hockey Cats gain from adversity?

February 25, 2010

The last couple of weeks have been tumultuous for the University of Vermont hockey team.

Included in the emotional rollercoaster were:

 The benching and eventual dismissal of No. 2 scorer Justin Milo;

 A weekend series with Merrimack in which UVM lost third-period leads in the final five minutes (tie) and final two minutes (loss) of regulation;

 The one-game suspension of freshman forward Chris McCarthy for a match penalty vs. Merrimack;

 The addition of Jay Anctil to an injury list that included one of UVM’s top scorers, Wahsontiio Stacey, and No. 2 goaltender, Mike Spillane;

 The shifting of defenseman Josh Burrows to forward to bolster the depleted front ranks;

 A valiant but one-point weekend at New Hampshire;

 Finally, a plunge into ninth place in the Hockey East standings, one position out of a playoff berth.

Despite all this, plus five overtime games in seven games and a 1-3-4 record over the last eight games, the Catamounts say they are optimistic and feeling good going into this weekend’s series against Boston University at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Asked last week how the Milo affair, as well as the injury toll, might be affecting team morale, head coach Kevin Sneddon said he wouldn’t respond directly.

However, he said, “I can just say right now that right now the energy on the team is very positive. Our guys understand that injuries are part of the game. Everybody’s gone through it in the league … That’s part of the cards that you’re dealt,” Sneddon said. “Our guys did a great job of playing through it last weekend; we had a suspension in Chris McCarthy the first night, a bunch of injuries, the dismissal of a player, a defenseman playing forward.

“Our guys did a great job of doing whatever they possibly could to help the team,” Sneddon said. “To me, that’s a good sign of character; that’s a good sign of moving forward. Now as we try to get some of these guys back, hopefully in the near future, we can set ourselves up for some good hockey down the stretch.”

Throughout the year, the Catamounts have had difficulty all getting on the same page at the same time. Perhaps the adversity of recent weeks has finally coalesced UVM into a team.

“You see it a lot with teams with injuries, with other things that are going on, guys kind of pull together,” captain Brian Roloff said. “I think you really could see that (Friday vs. UNH) with the fact that we gave up a goal 20 seconds, you think it could have crushed us, and we turned around and played a pretty solid week.”

Perhaps in a couple of weeks, if UVM does take five or six of the remaining eight points and gets to postseason, this will be remembered as the time when adversity forged a Catamount team.

Hockey Cats in intensive care

February 22, 2010

For the first time during their five seasons in Hockey East, the University of Vermont Catamounts are on the verge of failing to qualify for the league’s tournament.

Throughout most of the Hockey East season, the Catamounts have sputtered along, never gaining momentum, never crashing to a full stop. They tiptoed around the .500 mark, never surpassing it but always staying in a position where a nice run could propel them into the top four to guarantee themselves a home quarterfinal series.

In the last three weeks, the lose one/win one scenario crashed. Between injuries, blown third-period leads, critical mistakes and an on-the-rise challenger in Merrimack, the Catamounts have sunk into ninth place, one position out of the playoffs, and the road back is filled with obstacles that might prove to be insurmountable.

Beginning with the second home game against Maine on Jan. 30, here’s a capsule of the Catamounts’ fall from contention: leading 4-2 vs. Maine in third period, 4-4 tie; tied last-place Providence, 1-1; leading 2-1 vs. Merrimack with five minutes remaining, 2-2 tie; leading 2-1 vs. Merrimack with two minutes remaining, 3-2 defeat; leading New Hampshire 3-2 after two periods, 3-3 tie.

That’s nine points the Catamounts had in their grasp late in games; they held on to just four. Even three of those lost five points would have improved UVM’s condition immeasurably.

Instead, with four games remaining, they trail Merrimack by a single point, but realistically it’s two since if the Catamounts wind up tied with the Warriors, Merrimack has the head-to-head tiebreaker; more reason why that weekend vs. the Warriors was so disastrous.

They also trail Massachusetts and UMass-Lowell by only two points and UVM has one game-in-hand on UMass. Plus, if UVM can stay within two points of the Riverhawks, then Vermont’s season-ending series at UML could determine which team gets in as the No. 8 seed and which doesn’t.

However, for any scenario in which Vermont catches some team above it, the Catamounts must produce points. That won’t be easy this weekend with Boston University coming to The Gut. The Terriers have motivation of their own since their grip on fourth and home ice for the quarterfinals is slippery; BU has a one-point edge over Northeastern and the Terriers and Huskies wrap up the regular season against each other.

That’s why the weekend series at New Hampshire was so emotionally devastating to UVM. For all the character and resilience the Catamounts showed despite injuries and the aftermath of the Justin Milo affair, Vermont came home with only a single point when it probably deserved more.

Given the respective schedules remaining, UVM is up against it. Lowell faces last-place Providence this weekend; Merrimack catches the Friars on the final weekend. The best shot might be to catch slumping Massachusetts, which plays its final three games at Boston College and Maine (two games).

It’s not over, but it might be if Vermont doesn’t get a few points this weekend.

Remaining schedules:

The remaining regular-season schedules for teams 5 through 9 in Hockey East:

5. Northeastern (11-11-1, 23 points): UNH, at UNH, at BU, BU;

6t. Lowell (10-11-2, 22): Providence, at Providence, UVM, UVM;

6t. Massachusetts (11-13-0, 22): at BC, at Maine, at Maine.

8. Merrimack (10-11-1, 21): at BC, Maine, Maine, at Providence, Providence.

9. Vermont (7-10-6, 20): BU, BU, at Lowell, at Lowell.

Hockey Cats go down fighting

February 19, 2010

If nothing else, the University of Vermont men’s hockey team displayed its pride and character Friday night at the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore Center.

On the record books, it was a 5-4 defeat in overtime and for now it moved UVM out of a playoff position in Hockey East.

With five games remaining in the regular season, UVM is 7-10-5 in HEA. That’s 19 points, the same as Merrimack. The Warriors, however, are 9-11-1, which means they have six games left.

In addition, should Merrimack and Vermont wind up tied for any playoff position, the Warriors own the head-to-head tiebreak, 2-0-1 this year.

That’s why even a tie Friday night at New Hampshire would have been a “win” for UVM. The Catamounts would have 20 points and be tied with UMass-Lowell—whom UVM plays on the final weekend—for seventh.

Friday, the Catamounts faced a daunting task. Vermont has seldom have any good fortune in Durham, N.H., going all the way back to the inception of the UVM program.

Nor was this Vermont team in the best of shape for such a critical encounter. Junior forward Wahsontiio Stacey, second only to Brayden Irwin in goals scored, is still sidelined; maybe for the season. Chris McCarthy, one-third of a dynamic freshman line, had to sit out a one-game suspension for a game disqualification against Merrimack on Saturday; he’s due to return tonight.

And, of course, there’s still the fallout from the dismissal of junior forward Justin Milo, who, like Stacey, was second only to Irwin in goals scored.

Yet Vermont played with an intensity and desperation that seemed to keep the Wildcats on their heels for much of Friday’s game. But this New Hampshire team just has too much offensive skill to give even the smallest of openings, and eventually that cost UVM dearly.

Still, the anguish and the pride were evident in the voice of head coach Kevin Sneddon late Friday evening. He hurt for his players and he praised their grit and effort. He said his team had practice hard all week, refusing to let the Milo situation affect their morale.

The road ahead is no easier for UVM: UNH tonight, two games against Boston University at The Gut next weekend; a final trip to UMass-Lowell.

All they can do is give it their best shot, just as they did Friday, and hope a couple bounces of the puck go their way.

After all, they’re just four points out of fourth.

Milo’s dismissal another blow to Hockey Cats

February 16, 2010

The most tumultuous season of the Kevin Sneddon coaching era took another stunning twist Tuesday with the dismissal of junior forward Justin Milo from the University of Vermont men’s hockey team.

Sneddon declined to be specific about the reasons, saying only that he, his staff and the leadership had agreed that it would be in the best interest of the team to move forward with No. 7 no longer on the ice.

Tuesday evening, Milo said he had been told he was dismissed for inconsistent effort and play and a lack of commitment to the team. Basically, he said, he was baffled by the reasons given for banishing the team’s No. 2 goal scorer. For more of Milo’s reaction, check Wednesday’s Free Press print or online editions.

From the outside, it’s impossible to say one side was right or one side was wrong; whether the coach failed in his duties to reach the player or if the player didn’t want to be reached.

Seeing the games can provide some perspective, but no one outside of the team knows what goes on daily in practice, in the locker room, off the ice or in meetings. Maybe it’s a shared failure.

Only one thing can be said definitely: It’s sad that such situations ever arise.

Milo is a hockey talent, a scorer who loves to shoot the puck. He has been inconsistent this year, as have most of the Catamounts.

It wasn’t difficult to figure out that Milo was in the coaching doghouse. He had been there for the St. Lawrence game in December when he was listed as a “healthy scratch, coach’s decision.” Since UVM is consistent in announcing game absences for illness, injury or violations of the student-athlete code of conduct, Milo’s benching, one can surmise, had to do with his hockey.

Friday, Milo was scratched again, another indication that things were not running smoothly between coach and player. When Milo didn’t suit up for Saturday’s game, it was obvious the matter was serious.

But serious enough to warrant dismissal? Maybe; maybe not. Sneddon believes it was; Milo doesn’t; the eternal clash of perspectives of coach and player.

About the only positive note in all of this is that Milo will remain in school (though he might join the Yankees’ training camp for a time) and graduate this spring.

For the team, it will be a challenge to put this aside and focus on the weekend at New Hampshire. Vermont is vulnerable, its hold on the eighth and final playoff spot tenuous (it should also be noted that UVM is also only three points out of fourth, though trending the wrong way).

Certainly at season’s end, if not sooner, the coaching staff in particular as well as the players will have to do some soul-searching, trying to figure out why this season has become so difficult, and not just in terms of wins and losses. For one reason or another, three players are no longer with the team. Leadership has been questioned. Play has been inconsistent.

All in all, it’s been a harsh winter at Gutterson Fieldhouse, harsher than the one outside, and the forecast for the immediate future isn’t bright.

Glades forward commits to Hockey Cats

February 12, 2010

Zemgus Girgensons, a forward with the Green Mountain Glades, has verbally committed to joining the University of Vermont’s Class of’16, according to the Glades’ Web site.

A native of Regal, Latvia, is a 6-foot-1, 175-pound forward. Among the schools he was considering were Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern, Maine, Merrimack and New Hampshire.

Girgensons, 16, began the season with Green Mountain’s U-18 team, scored a team-high 17 goals and 12 assists in 19 games before joining the Glades’ A team in the Eastern Junior Hockey League. He has seven goals and 10 assists in 18 games in a league featuring many 19- and 20-year-old players.

Girgensons’ decision is contingent upon admission to the university. UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon cannot comment on prospective student-athletes until they are admitted by the university and have signed an NCAA letter-of-intent.

Current Glades teammates Connor Anthoine and Thomas Forgione have also given commitments to UVM. The three are scheduled to begin their Catamount careers in the fall of 2012.

Hockey Cats’ fate still uncertain

February 9, 2010

To win three of four Hockey East points on a road weekend is a reasonable accomplishment for any Hockey East team, even if the opponent is last-place Providence.

That said, the University of Vermont could have and probably should have swept the Friars, barring only the play of PC goalie Alex Beaudry’s in Saturday’s 1-1 tie.

Of course, the Friars had a say in the outcome; all opponents do and Providence was desperate for points and played like it only 24 hours after a lackluster 5-1 loss to the Catamounts.

Still, even without forwards Wahsontiio Stacey (lower body injury; out indefinitely) and Tobias Nilsson-Roos (illness; expected to return vs. Merrimack), Vermont should have taken all four points.

Several factors played in Vermont’s failure to do so, including the aforementioned Friars, Beaudry and the UVM absentees. Yet the Catamounts also let the point slip away for other reasons, including:

** A power play that continues to struggle; Saturday night, in a 1-1 game early in the third period, the Catamounts went on a five-minute power after a major penalty against the Friars. According to head coach Kevin Sneddon, Providence presented a different kill strategy, packing the defense in tight, and UVM never scored. That’s when a power play must succeed.

The tendency is to be too tentative, to just move the puck around the perimeter and not use off-the-puck movement wisely, especially when players need to get the puck on goal or near goal in the quest for redirections or rebounds. Instead, UVM struggles to adjust to penalty kills and to read the potential plays; the confidence simply isn’t there.

** Another factor is the lack of consistent production recently from the veteran line of Colin Vock, Brayden Irwin and Justin Milo. In their first four games together, they produced 10 goals and 22 points, including the 5-goal, 10-point night against Northeastern.

That’s an incredible pace few lines could sustain. Still, in the six games since, they are have a collective four goals and nine points; not terrible, but not what UVM needs to move up in the standings.

In Hockey East this season, nothing is certain. Runaway leader New Hampshire found out that last week when Maine swept the Wildcats.

Going into this weekend’s game, UNH, Boston College and Maine are well positioned to capture home ice for the quarterfinals, although the order of finish has yet to be decided.

Massachusetts has a four-point cushion over Boston University, UMass-Lowell and Vermont, all tied for fifth, but the Minutemen have lost three of four.

The Terriers, the River Hawks and the Catamounts are still within striking distance of fourth — UMass owns the tie-breaker vs. UVM — and Merrimack, which comes to Gutterson Fieldhouse on Friday and Saturday, will be playing with urgency in order to make the playoffs.

What all this means for UVM is that one big weekend can propel the Catamounts up the standings; one horrendous, or even mediocre, weekend can be a disaster.

A week to forget for UVM hockey and basketball

January 29, 2010

It’s been a brutal week for the University of Vermont’s Big Three of intercollegiate sports: men’s hockey, men’s basketball and women’s basketball.

Going into today’s games, the Catamounts are a collective 1-4 since Sunday — 0-4 after Sunday — and the salt in those wounds are that those UVM teams have been losing just the kind of games they need to win to assert themself in the Easts, Hockey and America.

Let’s start with the hockey team. Friday night, the Catamounts had the opportunity to gain ground in the chase for home ice for the conference quarterfinals.

To be polite, they tripped over their own skate laces, stumbling to a 6-3 defeat by Maine..

Maine is a good team and the Black Bears definitely did what they needed to do to win. Credit them for that. Yet their task was made much easier by UVM’s baffling ability to make crucial mistakes, failure to produce at key times and not play with the necessary urgency until the game was out of reach.

This was an ugly loss. Four power play goals yielded; no power play goals scored when the outcome was still in doubt (and they had plenty of opportunities); tentative play, except for the likes of freshmen Tobias Nilsson-Roos, Sebastian Stalberg, David Pacan and Chris McCarthy.

It appears more and more likely that this team, once thought to have the potential to be at least a darkhorse challenger for a league title, is a mediocre, middle-of-the-pack team at best.

If something doesn’t happen soon, as much as last year was the wonderful season that was, this one will go into the record books as one of the most disappointing of what might have been. By the end of tonight’s rematch with Maine at 7, the Catamounts might be more worried about just making the playoffs than getting home ice.

As for the men’s basketball team, it, too, has a chance for some redemption with a 2 p.m. game against Albany at Patrick Gym.

After a 5-0 league start, the men have lost three straight, including road decisions to Binghamton and New Hampshire this week. Before that, they let a potential home win against Stony Brook slip through their hands.

The Catamounts have one win over Albany and they need another. Like the hockey team, it seems to be something different every night: failure to make a clutch play here, having no outside game there, defensive breakdowns everywhere.

Once a contender for the America East title, Vermont now must rebuild is confidence and its status. No time better to start than today.

And the women? They split this week, thrashing Stony Brook on Sunday after a slow start but coming up short in their biggest league game to date, 38-36 to Hartford at Patrick.

That win all but assured Hartford of the top seed for the tournament, pending a UVM win at Hartford and the Hawks unexpectedly stumbling somewhere.

Hartford’s defense, plus Diana Delva, played major roles in the Hawks’ win, but so did Vermont’s poor shooting: 1-for-12 from 3-point range, 24.5 percent from anywhere overall, and that includes way too many easy chances when the Cats beat Hartford’s defense.

Sunday, the women will try to regain their swagger against New Hampshire — the Wildcats nearly beat them in Durham — at 2 p.m.

Time has nearly run out on the hockey team for the regular season; it’s getting there for the basketball teams.

Bits and pieces, part 2 …

January 25, 2010

A few games ago, Vermont women’s basketball coach Sharon Dawley made a point of how senior Courtnay Pilypaitis was effectively distributing the ball among her teammates. As the Catamounts’ all-time assist leader, Pilypaitis has the numbers to back up Dawley’s statement.

Dawley called Pilypaitis’ play selfless, saying Pilypaitis could also score just about any time she wanted.

Fortunately for UVM, Pilypaitis recognized it was time to shoot, not pass, in Sunday’s game against Stony Brook. When the Catamounts were struggling to find their offensive rhythm, Pilypaitis went on the offensive with a drive to the hoop, two 3-pointers — one seemingly launched from Winooski — and a free throw to ignite another easy America East victory.

When Pilypaitis puts on that kind of show, it reminds opposing defenses that she’s far from a one-dimensional player and that opens up other opportunities. Pilypaitis, ready to pass or shoot and knowing when to do each, is a fearsome player, one UVM will need Tuesday against Hartford in the dispute over first place.

The outcome will no doubt be a prime factor in determining the top seed for the AE tournament and thus home court for the championship game.

* * *

The UVM men’s hockey team stayed true to form this weekend: lose the opener, rebound with a stellar game in the rematch. That’s fine; it shows character, but it won’t propel the Catamounts up the Hockey East standings. Only a couple weekend sweeps will do that; like against Maine, which pulls into town Friday.

* * *

How times have changed for UVM’s penalty killers. From allowing three goals in six chances in a home game against UMass and 13 goals in 37 chances over seven games, the Catamounts have a 12-game run in which they are 50-for-53 — 94.3 percent success rate — including Sunday’s 9-for-9 kill against UMass. Sunday’s effort was incredible given that UMass’ James Marcou and Casey Wellman are so dangerous when their team’s a man up; the Cats can attest to that, having yielded five goal to the two in two previous games this year.

Much credit is due the penalty killers, but it’s also due to the resurgence of goaltender Rob Madore, who was spectacular in Sunday’s 3-0 win. Madore missed a couple of days of practice due to a death in the family. Madore’s goals-against average is down to 2.60 and his save percentage is up to 91.0 after yielding two goals this weekend.

* * *

No details of the violation were released, but UVM hockey coach Kevin Sneddon again held a player accountable for actions off the ice. Junior Jack Downing was suspended for three games — he’s now served two — for violation of the university’s student-athlete code of conduct. His seven goals and 15 points could have been helpful against UMass and this Friday against Maine, but violations call for punishment.

* * *

A shocking weekend for the Middlebury College men’s hockey team: First, the Panthers lead New England College 4-2 after the second period Friday and give up five straight goals in the third to lose 7-4. Then St. Anselm pins a 4-0 loss on Middlebury on Saturday. The losses were the Panthers’ first of the league season.

* * *

With two straight league losses after opening the America East season 5-0, the UVM men’s basketball team needs to regain control of its destiny. The Catamounts are fourth in the standings, behind Maine (5-1), Stony Brook (6-2) and Boston University (6-2) going into Wednesday’s game at New Hampshire.

* * *

It’s the fuddy-duddy part of my nature, and colleges, high schools and pro teams feature some remarkable talent when it comes to performing the Star Spangled Banner, but I’m never thrilled with those who add their personal twists to the national anthem, whether it’s by holding high notes forever, taking twice the normal time to perform it or inserting cute little riffs.

For me, the national anthem has a steady, crisp pace and the same melody with no personal variations, no matter who is performing it; to me, anything else is “look at me” exhibitionism. And it’s not about “me” but “us.” Save that personal display for your other performances.

Even more annoying are those who can’t wait until the conclusion to applaud and cheer, or have to yell during it. Yes, that’s freedom of speech, but nothing says it’s mandatory it be exercised at that time. Show a little class and respect.