Boston College announced Monday that redshirt sophomore quarterback/wide receiver Troy Flutie has been suspended from the team after his weekend arrest for operating under the influence of alcohol.

Troy Flutie appeared on court Monday after being arrested over the weekend for OUI. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Troy Flutie appeared in court Monday after being arrested over the weekend for OUI. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Boston College announced Monday that redshirt sophomore quarterback/wide receiver Troy Flutie has been suspended from the team after his weekend arrest for operating under the influence of alcohol.

Flutie, the nephew of BC legend Doug Flutie, was arrested around 1 a.m. Saturday after hitting a curb in his hometown of Natick, police told The MetroWest Daily News. The 20-year-old was arrested for OUI, possession of an open container of liquor while driving, being a person under 21 in possession of liquor, and marked lanes violations, the Daily News reported.

“Troy has been suspended from the football team by Coach Steve Addazio pending further investigation and faces the possibility of additional University sanctions pending the outcome of the court proceedings,” BC said in a statement.

Flutie was released without bail at his arraignment Monday. He is due back in court June 20 for a pretrial conference.

Flutie appeared in eight games as a quarterback last season and completed 24-of-49 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He is transitioning to wide receiver for the 2016 season.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

On Saturday, Boston College retired the No. 3 in honor of Pete Frates.

On Saturday, Boston College retired the No. 3 in honor of Pete Frates.

Frates played baseball at Boston College from 2003-07, including being the team’s captain in 2007. He was diagnosed with ALS on March 13, 2012 and now has set out on a mission to raise awareness and find a cure for the disease, most notably the Ice Bucket Challenge. He is now BC’s director of baseball operations.

“My brother, some of his best years were here,” Frates’ brother Andrew said to WCVB. “In fact, my parents and my best years were here and following my brother throughout the country and watching him play baseball for Boston College. Really special time for our family.”

Blog Author: 
WEEI
Harvard's Jimmy Vesey won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Harvard senior forward Jimmy Vesey won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey Friday night in Tampa.

Vesey was a Hobey Hat Trick finalist last year as well, but lost out to Boston University freshman forward Jack Eichel. This year he beat out Boston College junior goalie Thatcher Demko and Michigan freshman forward Kyle Connor.

Vesey, a North Reading native, finished seventh in the country in points per game this season with 24 goals and 22 assists in 33 games. He helped lead Harvard to a second straight NCAA tournament appearance, although the Crimson lost to BC in the opening round.

Vesey’s win is sure to stir some debate in college hockey circles, as Connor ran away from the country in terms of goals and points, finishing with 35 goals and 36 assists in 38 games. Vesey certainly had a great season, but it is somewhat surprising that he beat out a player who had nearly half a point more per game.

Vesey becomes the fourth Harvard player to win the Hobey and the first since Lane MacDonald in 1989. He also becomes the third straight player from a Boston school to win, joining BU’s Eichel (2015) and BC’s Johnny Gaudreau (2014).

Vesey turned down the chance to sign with the Nashville Predators (the team that drafted him in the third round in 2012) after the season, electing instead to become a free agent in August. The hometown Bruins are considered one of the leading candidates to sign him, along with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where his father works as a scout.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin
Quinnipiac is heading to the national championship game for the second time in four years after beating BC. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Quinnipiac is heading to the national championship game for the second time in four years after beating BC. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Quinnipiac was something of an outsider at the Frozen Four given its lack of history compared to longtime powerhouses Boston College, North Dakota and Denver, but the Bobcats were the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s NCAA tournament for a reason.

They were the best overall team in college hockey this season, and they showed that again on Thursday when they beat Boston College 3-2 in the national semifinals at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Their two early goals and dominant start to the game may have come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t seen them much, but it really shouldn’t have.

The Bobcats ranked top five in the country in scoring offense, scoring defense, shots for, shots against and Corsi this season. They don’t have a weakness, and they definitely don’t need any help from their opponent. Unfortunately for BC, the Eagles gave Quinnipiac some help Thursday.

It started two and a half minutes into the game when Casey Fitzgerald turned the puck over behind BC’s net, allowing Scott Davidson to poke it out to Kevin McKernan in the slot for a 1-0 lead.

Things got worse for BC five minutes later with more sloppy defense. A turnover on a Michael Kim breakout pass allowed Quinnipiac to maintain possession in the offensive zone. Then Travis St. Denis won a battle against Scott Savage down low and found Andrew Taverner all alone in the slot to make it 2-0 Bobcats.

Given how good Quinnipiac is defensively, a two-goal deficit seemed borderline insurmountable. The Eagles, to their credit, came out much stronger in the second and cut the lead to 2-1 just 23 seconds into the period. Ian McCoshen made a nice keep-in at the left point, then Casey Fitzgerald sent a shot toward the net that Colin White deflected. Michael Garteig made that save, but Alex Tuch was right there to bury the rebound.

BC continued to create chances for the next couple minutes, but it couldn’t get the tying goal. Then BC gave Quinnipiac some more help when McCoshen took an unnecessary crosschecking penalty at the 4:23 mark of the second. Landon Smith made the Eagles pay just nine seconds into the power play on a scramble in front after the puck bounced behind Thatcher Demko, making it a two-goal game once again.

The Eagles did put 15 shots on goal in the second period, but they still entered the third trailing 3-1. They struggled to generate offense through the first half of the third period and couldn’t take advantage of power play midway through the frame, but then they got another man advantage with 6:07 to go.

Garteig made several big saves and Quinnipiac nearly killed it off, but the Eagles finally broke through with 4:16 left in the game to cut the Bobcats’ lead to one. Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald won a faceoff to Garteig’s right, some nice puck movement led to a one-timer for McCoshen, and then Fitzgerald pounced on a rebound for his team-leading 24th goal of the season.

The Eagles pressed for a late tying goal and pulled Demko for an extra attacker with 1:37 to go, but Quinnipiac held on for the win. McCoshen had two late looks on one-timers, including one with just three seconds remaining, but Garteig made a pair of great glove saves.

BC was aiming for its fifth national championship in the last 16 years. The Eagles last won it all in 2012, which was also in Tampa. Instead, they’ll have to settle for a season that ends with a 12th Frozen Four appearance in the last 19 years.

This is Quinnipiac’s second Frozen Four appearance and second time reaching the national championship game. The Bobcats lost to rival Yale in the 2013 final in Pittsburgh. They’ll take on the winner of North Dakota vs. Denver in Saturday night’s title game.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

HOUSTON — North Carolina and Villanova reached the national championship game Monday night at NRG Stadium largely because they can shoot the ball better than most. So it turns out that in a game that had “shootout” written all over it, a shootout is precisely what happened.

Kris Jenkins, plagued by foul trouble early in the game, hit a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired, giving Villanova a 77-74 victory over the Tar Heels. For the Wildcats, it is their second national title in school history, and their first since a 1985 win over Georgetown.

Both teams began the game with a case of jitters. Following its red-hot shooting performance (71 percent) in a semifinal win against Oklahoma, Villanova missed its first two attempts and turned the ball over on its third possession of the night. But a Josh Hart 3-point jumper got the Wildcats on track and gave Nova its largest first-half lead at 14-9, before UNC could fire up its own engines.

With Villanova concerned about North Carolina’s length and size inside, the Heels put on an offensive display from the outside. Normally not a great long-distance shooting team, UNC hit five of its first seven 3-point attempts, turning a 19-14 deficit into a 27-23 lead (13-4 run) with Justin Jackson, Marcus Paige and Joel Berry connecting on consecutive treys.

The Wildcats’ quick solution to the outside onslaught was to re-insert Jenkins, who picked up two quick fouls in the opening three minutes. Jenkins, Villanova’s best outside shooter, hit back-to-back baskets to tie the game at 27. Berry then scored seven straight points himself (15 total in the first half) to put the Tar Heels back up, 34-30 with 1:56 remaining.

Jackson then found himself alone for a corner 3 that gave the Heels their largest lead of the half at seven, before a Phil Booth jumper in the lane pulled Nova back within five at the break (39-34). Carolina turned around Villanova’s strong defensive start by blistering the nets themselves in the half, hitting 7-of-9 treys and shooting 54 percent overall from the floor.

Could that Heel-hot shot continue to fall for Carolina? Not quite. With the score tied at 44, Booth scored five straight points for the Cats, punctuating a 19-5 run and propelling Villanova back into a 49-46 lead at the under-12-minute timeout. A Jenkins post-up jump shot over 6-foot-10 All-American Brice Johnson plus an Arcidiacono jumper put the Wildcats up seven at 53-46 two minutes later, extending their run.

Villanova’s defense, doggedly nipping at the Heels most of the way, began to make a difference. North Carolina managed to score just five points in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Back-to-back scores from Marcus Paige pulled UNC back within three, until Arcidiacono hit five straight points for Villanova, giving the Wildcats their largest lead of the night at eight (65-57) with 5:58 to play. That lead grew to 10, and Carolina’s shots that fell in the first half began to catch too much of the rim in the second half.

Still, the Tar Heels were far from finished. A Berry trey capped off a 7-0 UNC run to put the Heels within 67-64 with 3:42 remaining, only to have Booth answer with a dagger deuce of his own as the possession clock expired, putting Villanova back up five with 2:44 to play.

A Paige 3 kept UNC close, within 70-67 and 1:30 remaining, and the Tar Heels then slapped a trap on Villanova, forcing Arcidiacono into a rare turnover. Johnson then scored a baseline shot with an even 60 seconds to play, setting the stage for a frantic finish with Carolina trailing by one.

With the shot clock winding down, Booth appeared to have his shot blocked by Isaiah Hicks, only to have Hicks called for a foul. Two Booth free throws were followed by a tremendous second-effort put-back from Paige to keep it a one-point game. Hart hit a couple of pressure-packed free throws to put Nova up 74-71, setting the stage for an incredible game-tying shot.

Paige managed to connect on a 25-foot double-clutch of a prayer from the right flank for 3, sending the crowd into a frenzy. But the real frenzy was still 4.7 seconds away.

After a timeout to draw up the play, Jenkins’ number was called, and Jenkins shot himself into certain “One Shining Moment” fame, delivering a deep trey as the final buzzer sounded to give Villanova the thriller.

NOTES

Providence’s Mike Stephens, in his fourth Final Four appearance, was the referee (lead official) for the national title game, joined by John Higgins and Terry Wymer on the game crew.

The game was Villanova’s third try at a national title in the school’s basketball history, having won previously in 1985. While the Wildcats did reach the Final Four in 2009 (and also 70 years earlier in 1939), they lost in the ’09 semis to, coincidentally, North Carolina. Their other appearance in the national title game came before the Big East formed in 1979, as the Wildcats lost to the UCLA juggernaut in 1971 at Houston’s Astrodome.

Villanova completes its 2015-16 season with a 35-5 record, setting a school mark for most wins in a single year. The Wildcats set another school record by playing in their 40th game overall.

Villanova and North Carolina last met in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels lead the all-time series between the two, 11-5.

When the Final Four was last in Houston in 2011, UConn was then a member of the Big East. The Huskies defeated Butler — now a current member of the Big East — 53-41 to claim the national title.

The Big East Conference now owns eight national titles in 37 seasons of men’s basketball — Georgetown (’84), Villanova (’85, ’16) UConn (’99, ’04, ’11) Syracuse (’03) and Louisville (’13). Eight of the 10 current schools in the league have reached at least one Final Four (Providence has made two, in 1973 and 1987), with three current schools owning championship trophies (Marquette won in 1977 prior to league membership). Creighton and Xavier have not yet made a Final Four, but both have been as far as regional finals (Elite Eight). DePaul has twice made a Final Four, in 1943 and 1979.

At 21.1 points per game, Providence’s Ben Bentil finished the season ranked 17th nationally in scoring.  Bentil led the Big East Conference, and also finished fourth in rebounding. Kris Dunn led the Big East in steals and finished fifth nationally (2.5 per game), while coming in 16th nationally in assists per game (6.2).  Dunn just missed out on becoming the third straight Friar (over five consecutive years) to lead the Big East in assists (Vincent Council twice, Bryce Cotton, Dunn last year).

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association announced prior to the national title game that Oklahoma’s senior guard Buddy Hield is the winner of the Oscar Robertson Trophy, annually presented to the organization’s national player of the year. Hield is the second Sooner to win the award (after Blake Griffin in ’09), and he was a two-time Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. Hield was second nationally in scoring (25.4 ppg) and had 12 30-point games this season.

In the annual East-West College All-Star Game held over the weekend at NRG Stadium, Butler’s Kellen Dunham and Georgetown’s DeVauntes Smith-Rivera represented the East squad from the Big East.  The West beat the East, 89-85.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 10 members of the Class of 2016 to be honored Sept. 8-10 during this year’s enshrinement festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts. This year’s class includes 27-year NBA referee Darell Garretson, 11-time NBA All-Star Allen Iverson, two-time NABC Coach of the Year Tom Izzo, the first African-American coach in a professional league John McLendon, three-time NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O’Neal and four-time WNBA Champion Sheryl Swoopes.

Additionally, distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas from the game selected four directly elected members. They include Zelmo Beaty from the Veterans Committee, Yao Ming from the International Committee, Cumberland Posey from the Early African-American Pioneers Committee and Jerry Reinsdorf from the Contributor Committee.

Blog Author: 
John Rooke

HOUSTON — Providence fans know Villanova has an offense. And what the Wildcats did to Oklahoma in the national semifinals Saturday night certainly could be described as offensive.

Having lost to Villanova in the Big East Tournament semifinals 76-68, and having dropped seven of their last eight overall to the ‘Cats, the Friars know all too well what the ‘Cats are capable of doing to an opponent. When they’re on, they’re hard to beat, as Oklahoma found out in a stunning 95-51 loss at NRG Stadium that puts Villanova into Monday’s title game against North Carolina (an 83-66 winner over Syracuse in the nightcap).

“We own that. We’re not shying away from that,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said after the carnage had ended. “Villanova was great. They played great. We didn’t. So it was a combination of the two.”

With a performance reminiscent of their near-perfect play in the 1985 championship win over Georgetown, Villanova scorched the Sooners for 66.7 percent shooting (18-for-27) from the floor in the first half and raced to a 42-28 advantage. It wasn’t just the offense that performed impressively, however.

The Wildcats defense covered Oklahoma like cream gravy on Texas Toast, forcing the Sooners into nine first-half turnovers, with five of those coming on consecutive possessions that broke open a one-point game. Several defenders limited OU All-American Buddy Hield to seven first-half points on 3-for-8 shooting, with just one 3-pointer, and he finished the game with only nine points altogether.

“We tried to keep fresh bodies on him, tried to make him take tough, contested shots,” said Villanova senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono. “It just happened he didn’t make them tonight. We’ve seen him when he’s knocking them down from everywhere.”

Unlike a November matchup in Hawaii with the Sooners, which saw OU blitz Villanova 78-55, the Wildcats had no problem running in, out, around and through Oklahoma’s defensive game plan in this one.

Junior Josh Hart, a first-team All-Big East guard, consistently poked holes in the Sooners defense — better than most running backs can find room to run through the OU football team. Hart led six Wildcats in double figures, with a game-high 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting.

“Today we were just so dialed in,” Hart said. “We saw what they did to us in Pearl Harbor. We were dialed in defensively, ready to step up for each other.”

The second half featured more of the same, where things came completely unhinged for Oklahoma. A Ryan Spangler layup with 12:56 to play in the second half pulled OU within 54-41, but also lit a fire into Villanova’s charges. The Wildcats followed with a crushing 25-0 run over the next 6:03 that sealed the decision and delivered the Big East regular-season champs to the national championship game Monday night.

“That was just one of those games that could happen to anybody,” said Villanova coach Jay Wright, adding: “I’m happy we had one of those games where we just make every shot.”

It sure seemed that was the case. Villanova’s 71.4 percent shooting is the second-highest field goal percentage in a Final Four performance, topped only by the 1985 Wildcats shooting 78.6 percent in their shocker over Georgetown. Can history repeat itself 31 years later, again on Monday night?

Friars players and fans certainly know the ‘Cats are capable.

NOTES

Providence split its regular-season games with Villanova, beating the then-fourth-ranked Wildcats 82-76 in overtime Jan. 24 in Philadelphia — one of only two Big East losses the Wildcats suffered in a 16-2 league campaign (now 34-5 overall). The win vaulted the Friars into the top 10 of the national polls the next week. Both Kris Dunn (13 points, 14 assists) and Ben Bentil (31 points, 13 rebounds) had double-double performances in the win.

Oklahoma, by virtue of its football team losing in the national semifinals in January (to Clemson 37-17), becomes the first school to lose in both the football and basketball national semis. And neither loss was particularly, um, close.

The Sooners’ Khadeem Lattin had an unusual amount of media attention come his way this week, not just because he plays for Oklahoma (averaging 5 points and 5 rebounds per game), but because of his family lineage. He is the grandson of David Lattin, who starred on the 1966 Texas Western team that defeated Kentucky 50 years ago, and also a native of Houston. “It is kind of poetic that it happened 50 years apart exactly, and I want to win it,” Lattin said Friday. “It is awesome to see such an impactful moment and people realize how impactful it was.” As you may know, the ’66 Miners broke the college racial barrier against Adolph Rupp’s Wildcats with an all-black starting unit.

The final score made Villanova’s victory the biggest blowout in Final Four history. The last time an NCAA Tournament game had a larger margin of victory was in 2013. VCU beat Akron by 46 and Syracuse beat Montana by 47 in first-round games.

Villanova advances to its third national championship game Monday night, with the last appearance in 1985 its only title in school history.

The 75,505 at NRG Stadium marked the second-largest crowd ever for the Final Four semifinals.

With North Carolina’s win over Syracuse in the second semifinal, the two national championship game teams will be the last two teams to beat Providence this season — Villanova beat PC in the Big East semis, while North Carolina took down the Friars 85-66 in the NCAA’s second round in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Blog Author: 
John Rooke

UMass has hired St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel as its new head hockey coach, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s John Buccigross was the first to report the news.

The 45-year-old Carvel took over as the head coach at his alma mater in 2012 and led St. Lawrence to a 72-63-15 record over four seasons. He previously served as an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators and went to the Stanley Cup final with both. Carvel was also an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2015 World Championships.

The Saints had a winning record in three of Carvel’s four seasons and reached the ECAC semifinals each of the last two, but did not get to the NCAA tournament during his tenure. At the risk of getting too analytical, his teams were generally average to below-average possession teams that had high shooting percentages for his first three years and great goaltending from Kyle Hayton the last two.

UMass fired John Micheletto on March 6 after going 8-24-4 and finishing last in Hockey East for the second year in a row.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

A disastrous second period doomed UMass Lowell, as it lost 4-1 to Quinnipiac in Sunday’s East Regional final in Albany. The River Hawks led 1-0 after one thanks to a Dylan Zink power-play goal, but then Quinnipiac scored three straight in the second and outshot Lowell 13-4 in the frame.

Quinnipiac turned the 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead with a pair of goals 1:38 apart midway through the second. Landon Smith took advantage of a Michael Kapla misplay on a bouncing puck and fired a shot blocker-side from the high slot. Then Sam Anas finished off a two-on-one with a nifty backhand flip over Kevin Boyle’s right arm.

Zink had a great chance to tie the game with 4:35 left in the second when he took off on a breakaway after leaving the penalty box, but Garteig made a big blocker save. A little over two minutes later, the Bobcats made it 3-1 when Scott Davidson beat Boyle over the glove from a seemingly impossible angle. Travis St. Denis added the fourth goal with 3:54 left in the game when he picked off a breakout pass and beat Boyle from in close.

Defensive miscues and suspect goaltending were the culprits on Quinnipiac’s goals, but the River Hawks also struggled mightily to generate offense all game. They had very little sustained offensive zone time and got outshot 35-15 in the game.

Quinnipiac will now face Boston College in the first Frozen Four game at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, in Tampa.

The River Hawks were looking to make the Frozen Four for the second time in four years. Their exit leaves BC as the only one of Hockey East’s six NCAA tournament teams to make it to Tampa.

************

– Bruins prospect Danton Heinen had a goal and two assists as Denver beat Ferris State 6-3 in the West Regional final to advance to the Frozen Four for the first time since the Pioneers won back-to-back national titles in 2004 and 2005. Heinen opened the scoring with a power-play goal 5:34 into the game, assisted on Denver’s second goal, and then set up Blake Hillman with 4:32 left in the game to break a 3-3 tie. Heinen now has an 18-game point streak with 14 goals and 20 assists during that span. Denver will face North Dakota in the second national semifinal at 8:30 p.m. on April 7.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin