By Lance Reynolds and Matt Fournaris
Record-breaking milestones and teams in tournament contention highlight a positive season for the St. Michael’s winter sports teams. Here is a look at how each team is faring:
For the first time in modern Ea
stern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) history the St. Michael’s men’s alpine ski team took first place at an event.
Thanks to the trio of Guillaume Grand ’19 (2nd), Mathias Grimsrud ’18 (5th), and Danny Duffy ’19 (6th) claiming finishes in the top six, the Purple Knights won the Giant Slalom at the Vermont Carnival in Stowe on Saturday.
Anna Willassen ’20 also etched her name into the St. Michael’s alpine skiing record books during the carnival, with an overall silver medal showing in Friday’s slalom, a women’s program best.
To no one’s surprise, the Grand siblings continue to dominate on the slalom. Guillaume placed second overall at three straight carnivals for the men, while sister Meggane ‘18 consistently grabbed either first place or second place for the women’s team during the first three weeks of the season – coming in first during the first two weekends of the season, and placing second on the team at Stowe this past weekend. With three weekends left in the regular season, the siblings look bound to make another appearance at the NCAA Championships in early March.
The team travels to Dartmouth, NH this weekend to compete in the Dartmouth Carnival.
Men’s Ice Hockey:
After a one-year hiatus from postseason action, the men’s ice hockey team is heading back to the NE10 tournament. The Purple Knights (8-14-2 overall) finished their NE10 portion of their regular season schedule with a 4-1 record, earning the No. 2 seed and a home semifinal game set for Feb. 18.
Junior forward Eric Salzillo has recorded 9 goals and 14 assists to lead the team with 23 points, while sophomore forward Sam D’Antuono sits one back with 22 points.
Senior forward Connor Mitchell became the 14th player in history to appear in 100 games for the program, last Friday at UMass-Boston.
Off the ice, seniors Danny Divis and Justin McKenzie, the co-creators of Hope Happens Here, which promotes mental health awareness and wellness among college students, were recently named finalists for the 2017 Hockey Humanitarian Award, an award given annually to collegiate hockey student-athletes who make notable contributions to their communities through volunteerism.
The team hosts Norwich Saturday at Cairns Arena for senior day.
Surpassing their win total from last year on Jan. 21, The Purple Knights (11-10 overall) seemed destined for the NE10 playoffs when they rattled off 7 wins during a 9 game stretch, but they dropped their next three contests, finding themselves against the wall entering early February.
However, first-year guard Brianna Purcell came through with a career high 20 points in last Saturday’s 79-67 win against Southern New Hampshire, keeping the Purple Knights in the thick of NE10 tournament contention, with a 9-7 record in conference play. To qualify for the tournament, teams must compile a top-five record in their respective division. St. Michael’s sits tied for third with Assumption and Stonehill in the Northeast, with five games remaining on their regular season slate.
Junior guard Leah Spencer paces the team, averaging 15.0 points per game, while sophomore forward Sam Delaney boasts an 11.4 point per game average. Senior guard Indira Evora sits 21 points shy of the 1,000 point mark, she would become the 20th player in program history to reach the milestone.
Senior forward Matt Bonds continues to make his mark for the men’s team (5-16 overall), reaching the upper-echelons of NE10 history.
During Saturday’s upset of 24th ranked Southern New Hampshire, Bonds pulled down 21 rebounds, to go along with 28 points – his 15th double-double of the season. The 21 rebounds bring him to 1,044 rebounds, which is tied for fifth in NE10 history.
Bonds is averaging 22.5 points per game and 12.6 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Levi Holmes and senior guard David Sullivan are also averaging double digit points per game at 15.0 and 10.1, respectively.
Swimming & Diving:
While the records show that it has been an average season, there is plenty going on under the surface of the St. Michael’s swim team.
Lindsay McNall, ’17, set the school record earning her 100th career win against St. Lawrence University on Jan. 29. During the fall semester, Athletic Communications Director Josh Kessler brought it to Lindsay’s attention that she was nearing her 100th win, already having 94. This was when she realized that she had beat the previous record set by Eileen Maloney, ’12.
Meanwhile, sophomore Patty Kohn is second in wins with 18 for the women, who are 5-3 overall.
On the men’s side (2-5), sophomore Pat Thornton and first-year Connor Hopkins are tied for the team lead in wins with 13. Thornton leads the team in individual wins with 10, while Hopkins has one more relay win at 4.
The teams compete next weekend in the NE-10 Championships at Southern Connecticut State University.
The trio of senior Torin La Liberte and sophomores Liam Schmelzle and Aaron Deeter have all claimed the top three placements for the Purple Knights in each of the team’s three carnivals, to date.
Schmelze had an impressive showing during the Vermont Carnival at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe in the freestyle sprint, recording a team’s season high placement of 38, among 84 finishers.
On the women’s side, junior Emma Barnes, sophomore Amy Duclos and first-year Aimee Sala rounded out the team’s top three last weekend at the same carnival as the men. Senior Julia Snyder has also recorded top-three placements for the team in three events so far this season.
The squad competes Oak Hill Cross Country Center in Dartmouth, NH this weekend.
With a goal in last Friday’s contest against Manhattanville, senior forward Erin Dwyer became the ninth player in her program’s history with 50 career points.
The Purple Knights (3-17 overall) picked up three wins in a four game stretch during January, with an 8-2 victory against Nichols being their biggest win of the season.
The team travels to Plymouth State Friday.