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Acto’s Federico standing tall on defense for Quinnipiac hockey

Acton’s Federico boosts Quinnipiac

When he lines up on the blue line awaiting the national anthem at Quinnipiac University, Danny Federico (inset) says, he can usually spot about 10 to 15 family members in the seats.

He also wears a St. Thomas medal as a reminder of the man who is there in spirit: his late father, Thomas Federico, who died of brain cancer three years ago at age 52.

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“My dad’s date of birth is on the medal,’’ said the 6-foot-1 junior defenseman from Acton. “I just have that feeling, as the anthem is being played, he’s also watching me and that he would be proud.’’

A graduate of Acton-Boxborough Regional High, Federico also kills penalties and handles the left point on the power play for the Bobcats (13-3-3 overall, 6-2-2 ECAC), ranked seventh in the NCAA Division 1 men’s hockey rankings.

He was fourth on the team in assists (8) and plus-minus ranking (plus 7).

Sizing up his top defenseman, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said Federico “brings character to our room and a little edge to his game. He makes great decisions with the puck and has been a big reason for our success.’’

Federico was coached in soccer by his father, who played the sport at Boston College, until the ninth grade, when he decided to focus on hockey.

“The part of soccer that stays with me,’’ said Federico, “is that if my stick is tied up along the boards, I have that ability to move my feet to get control of the puck. I like to think I’m one of the guys our coaches can call on late in the game, whether we’re trying to maintain a lead or create offense out of our zone.’’

Federico was honored with Quinnipiac’s Seventh Player Award last season, when the Bobcats advanced to the championship game of the NCAA’s Frozen Four against Yale.

Before he arrived on campus in Hamden, Conn., he skated for the Marlborough-based Boston Junior Bruins, where he was coached by Chris and Peter Masters , Lexington natives who played at Boston College.

His father and mother, Mary, whom Danny called “an inspiration to me,’’ were so respected by the Junior Bruins organization that it established the Thomas C. Federico Memorial Award last year.

It is given to the player and his family “who best typifies what Tom represented, and what his son and his wife continue to do.’’

Chris Masters said Federico has been an elite player at every level. “It was always team first with Danny,’’ said Masters. “His parents instilled that in him, and I have so much admiration for them.’’

Federico played one year of baseball in high school before focusing on his development with the Junior Bruins.

“I have a lot of great memories with them,’’ he said. “Chris and Peter helped me develop my strength and quickness and to simplify my game, but I learned quickly in college that I still had to play at a higher pace.’’

To do so, he found out that less produced more. A 200-pounder back then, he has dropped more than 10 pounds through diet and strength and conditioning programs.

“Now I’m quicker to the puck, I have more energy and I can play more minutes down the road,’’ said Federico, who called last year’s run to the national title game “awesome.’’

Last season, Federico led the Bobcats with a plus-22 rating, was selected to the ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team, and had 11 assists in 42 games, including a career-high four helpers March 16 in the conference playoffs against Cornell.

A finance major, Federico hopes to pursue a hockey career after college, but he maintains an interest in the law.

His father was a senior partner with a Boston law firm, Morrison Mahoney LLP; his sister, Kathleen, is practicing law in Boston; and his brother, Tim, who played varsity baseball and hockey at Acton-Boxborough, is in his first year at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law.

“It’s nice to see Kathleen and Tim following in his footsteps,’’ said Federico, “and maybe I will some day.’’

Thorpe on the mark

Emerson College sophomore guard Michael Thorpe (inset) of Newton poured in 21 points as the host Lions halted a 29-game winning streak by defending Division 3 national champion Amherst on Saturday, 90-79.

Thorpe, who was a three-sport athlete and volleyball captain at Newton North High, “does a little bit of everything for us and he’s a real coachable kid,’’ said Emerson head coach Jim O’Brien.

O’Brien, the former head coach at St. Bonaventure, Boston College, and Ohio State, now walks to work from his home in the Back Bay.

“I’m really happy for Michael and for our team because they’ve worked really hard and usually under the radar,’’ added O’Brien, whose roster also includes sophomore guard Tyson Hallowell of Lincoln, a Middlesex School grad.

A budding photojournalist, Thorpe said he wanted to stay close to home and his mom, Susan, and he wanted the opportunity to improve his game under O’Brien and his staff.

“It’s a win you’ll always remember,’’ said Thorpe, who was 6 of 10 from the floor while scoring 19 in the second half Saturday. “It seems that my role . . . has changed lately from a facilitator to a scorer, and thankfully it’s been working out.’’

MVP for Flannery

Babson College freshman men’s basketball forward Joey Flannery of Acton was named New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Player of the Week after averaging 26.7 points and 6.7 rebounds, while shooting 81.2 percent (26-for-32) from the floor, in a three-game span. He was MVP of the Big 4 Challenge Championship, won by Babson.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.
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