January 6, 2013

Men's Hockey Crowned Codfish Bowl Champions

BOSTON, Mass.—Six different Beacons scored and UMass Boston's (9-2-1) penalty-kill shut down Johnson & Wales (6-8) all afternoon long as the Beacons cruised to a 6-3 win and earned the title of Codfish Bowl champions for the first time since 2007. 

After losing in the championship game each of the past three years, UMass Boston swept through the field of the 48th Annual Codfish Bowl Championship presented by MorganStanley Smith Barney, outscoring their opposition 11-5 over the course of the two day tournament.

With the victory, UMass Boston earned its fourth Codfish Bowl title in 31 years, moving into third place amongst teams that have competed in the field. Johnson & Wales dropped to 3-3 all-time in Codfish Bowl games.

Tournament MVP Mike DeGrazia (Novi, Mich.) led the Beacons high-powered attack with a goal and two assists, while fellow seniors Tim Richter (Naugatuck, Conn.) and Rob Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) were named to the All Tournament Team.

Junior winger Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.) added a goal and two assists in the Beacons seventh straight victory.

But while UMB's offense continued to click, it was the team's defense and penalty-kill that helped them come away with a title. In a game where Johnson & Wales outshot the Beacons 36-35 and were even in the face-off circle, UMass Boston's penalty-kill proved to be the turning point, as they held the Wildcats to a 1-for-9 mark on the power play.

Freshman netminder Zach Andrews (Coral Springs, Fla.) was the team's best player on special teams, making a career-high 33 saves, including a handful of highlight-reel stops in the second and third period. The freshman who started the season 2-2-1, is 6-0-0 in his last six games and has given up three goals or fewer in each appearance.

Matt Cooper allowed six goals on 35 shots to fall to 6-7 on the year for Johnson & Wales.

Richter put the Beacons ahead 1-0 just 2:46 into the first period, when the senior sent a turn-around shot through Cooper's five-hole, with the puck barely trickling across the line. Freshman Derek Colucci (North Scituate, R.I.) and Tim Niedzielak (Chicago, Ill.) picked up assists on the play.

Ryan Kelly answered for the Wildcats at 8:05, with Justin DeCowski and Eddie Patterson awarded assists.

The Beacons would grab the lead for good at the 15:33 mark, when junior Mark Grinhaus (Scarsdale, N.Y.) started an odd-man rush on the penalty kill and stunned the Wildcats. The junior  snuck a shot underneath Cooper's arm and into the netting, with Mike Kuhn (Holbrook, Mass.) and Steve Weston (Henniker, N.H.) getting the helpers.

UMass Boston blew the game open in a wild second period, in which they outscored the Wildcats 4-2.

DeGrazia got things going when he picked up a pass from Max Reavis (Omaha, Neb.) and sniped a shot off the underside of the crossbar at the 4:43 mark. Almost 10 minutes later, Daniel made it 4-1 Beacons with a power-play goal.

Johnson & Wales promptly responded with two goals of their own in 76 seconds. Josh Obregon sent a high shot past Andrews on the power-play at 15:01 of the second period and the Wildcasts leading scorer Daniel Chang cut the deficit to 4-3 with a slapshot from just inside the blue line.

With all the momentum going the other way and past Codfish Bowl failures in the back of their heads, UMass Boston responded in a huge way with two more goals before the period's conclusion.
Peter MacIntyre (Norfolk, Mass.) gave UMB a two-goal cushion when he took passes from Kit Sitterley (Mooresville, N.C.) and Frankie DeAugustine (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and rocketed a shot from the point by Cooper at 16:51.

With less than a minute to play in the period, defenseman Cam Harvey (Bow, N.H.) skated the puck into the Wildcats zone and sent a hard low shot just inside the post to give the Beacons a 6-3 cushion.

That would be more than enough for UMass Boston thanks to their terrific effort on the penalty kill. Despite being called for five minor penalties in the third period, the Beacons were able to hold on to their big lead, as the team's aggressive fore-check and willingness to give up their bodies, stymied the Wildcats all afternoon long.

At the conclusion of the contest, Niedzielak was named the Lawrence F. Curran Award winner and received his trophy from last year's captain and honoree Jim Ennis ('12). The award has been given out each year since 1983 in remembrance of Lawrence F. Curran, an former assistant coach and avid supporter of the program. Each year, the award is given to the player who best exemplifies true sportsmanship and competition over the course of the two-day tournament.

48th Annual UMass Boston Codfish Bowl Tournament Final Standings
UMass Boston - 2-0
Johnson & Wales - 1-1
Wentworth - 1-1
Fitchburg State - 0-2

All-Tournament Team
UMass Boston - Tim Richter
UMass Boston- Rob Florentino
Johnson & Wales - Ryan Kelly
Johnson & Wales - Daniel Chang
Wentworth - Beau Burgau
Fitchburg State - Ryan Wysocki

Tournament MVP
UMass Boston - Mike DeGrazia