For Canton’s Rooneys, getting back to Garden
Hockey is a common thread at the Rooney residence in Canton. So, too, is taking the ice at TD Garden.
Chris Rooney, a junior forward at Providence College, laced up his skates for the first time at the Garden on Saturday night in the Hockey East semifinals. The Friars were eliminated with a 4-2 loss to Boston College, the No. 1 team in the nation.
His older brother, Joe, a 2007 graduate of Boston College, played at the Garden as a collegian. And their father, Steve, also a Providence alum, played five seasons in the National Hockey League, winning a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1986.
“Being a local kid from this area, it was always a dream to skate at the Garden, and it was an amazing experience,’’ said Rooney. “A lot of my friends have had the opportunity to play there, and of course I watched my brother play there when he was at BC. So it was nice to finally get the chance.’’
The only downer was the outcome. The seventh seed in the tourney, the Friars were knotted at 2-all until BC took the lead early in the second period.
“Chris brings a lot of good energy to our program,’’ said first-year Providence coach Nate Leaman. “I think he has to continue to improve his offensive game, but next year, I think he’ll probably be in a similar role where he’s a player that brings a lot of energy and physical play to our team. I think he’ll also be looked to for a greater leadership role.’’
Rooney (2 goals, 8 assists) battled a nagging groin injury that slowed him for the first half of the season. “We didn’t get him back at full strength until after Christmas,’’ said Leaman.
At 5-feet-9, 170 pounds, Rooney needs to be healthy to play the grinding physical game that he is known for.
“I’m a smaller guy, but obviously one of my strengths is my speed, and I try to bring energy to the team during every shift,’’ he said. “I really like to play physical and stick my nose in there and use my speed to my advantage.
“It was tough to start the season with the injury, and it would have been nice to provide a little more offensively. But I’m happy for the senior class to get us back on the map.’’
The Friars (14-20-4) qualified for the Hockey East playoffs for the first time in four seasons, and Rooney is already looking forward to next season, when Providence will return a strong nucleus. The incoming freshman class will include a familiar face, his cousin Kevin Rooney, who led Canton High to the Division 2 state title in 2010.
Kevin Rooney, who prepped at the Berkshire School this season, has verbally committed to play at Providence.
Chris Rooney never had the opportunity to play with his older brother, four years his senior, so he looks forward to skating with his cousin for one season.
“It’s exciting,’’ said Chris. “It’s funny because he was able to play with his brother [Bryan] for a year at Canton, and we joke about how I missed playing with Joe. It’s crazy that we’ll be together next year.’’
Carey shines for BC, Carr for UMass-Lowell
Weymouth’s Paul Carey put Boston College on the board just 75 seconds into its 4-2 win over PC in the Hockey East semifinals. The Eagles, who beat Maine, 4-1, for the Hockey East crown Saturday night, are the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Division 1 tournament. BC (29-10-1) will play Air Force in a first-round game at the DCU Center in Worcester Saturday at 4 p.m. Riding a 15-game winning streak, the Eagles have not lost a game since Jan. 21. The 6-1, 196-pound senior forward has 15 goals and 11 assists on the season, including two game-winning tallies. . . .
UMass-Lowell rode the goaltending of Doug Carr (Hanover) to its first NCAA berth since 1996. The No. 3 River Hawks (23-12-1) will face No. 2 Miami (Ohio) in the opening round of the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn., Friday at 6:30 p.m. Carr, a sophomore, owns a 21-9 record and a 2.08 goals-against average.
Riley, Balboni, Shaw win weekly honors
Junior second baseman Sean Riley of Fairhaven had a sizzling week at the plate for the Bridgewater State baseball team (6-7): a .341 average, with two triples, four stolen bases, seven doubles, 10 runs scored, and 11 RBIs. He was named MASCAC Player of the Week. Senior Jim Balboni (1.93 earned run average; 20 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings ) was the Pitcher of the Week. . . . Brockton’s Jennifer Shaw, a junior third baseman at BSU, was the conference’s Softball Player of the Week after hitting .529, with four doubles, six home runs, and 23 RBIs for the 10-2 Bears.