For Driscoll, Babson, Friday’s a 2d chance
Already, this is shaping up as a special season for Mike Driscoll (inset) and his teammates on the men’s hockey team at Babson College. The Beavers (19-3-1, 13-2-1 ECAC East), ranked fourth in Division 3, are unbeaten (8-0-1) in their last nine games.
Driscoll, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound forward from Milton via BC High, leads the Beavers in scoring (23 points), and his 11 goals tie him for fifth place in the ECAC East. He has two game-winning tallies and three power play goals.
Last month, skating in the Frozen Fenway, Babson dropped a 1-0 decision to Norwich.
“That was an unbelievable experience,” said Driscoll. “There’s something special about playing at Fenway. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, although for me it came twice because I played there in 2012.”
Driscoll and his teammates will get another shot at Norwich (15-5-3, 11-3-2) Friday night in Northfield, Vt., in a matchup that will decide the regular season ECAC East title.
“We know it will be a tight game,” said Driscoll. “I think it will start with strong defense and then we need to capitalize on our scoring opportunities when we get them. Norwich is such a big rival. We’re ready to play.”
Driscoll is coming off a six-game stretch in which he scored five goals with four assists, including a two-goal game in a 4-3 win over Saint Anselm.
His latest game-winning tally came in overtime Friday, when he lit the lamp to give Babson a 2-1 victory over the University of New England. Norwell’s Nik Tasiopoulos did most of the work, digging the puck out of the corner and sending a feed to Driscoll.
“It was definitely a great feeling to deliver for the team like that and it feels good to be the guy to get the big goal, but it was a team win,” said Driscoll, who has 32 goals and 29 assists in 79 career games. “I’m just happy we got the W.”
He was named to the ECAC all-rookie squad following his freshman season after leading Babson with 10 goals and adding eight assists. On the power play, he has been lethal: He connected for a team-high five man-up scores as a freshman and has 13 for his career.
“To be good on the power play you not only need skill but you need to win loose puck battles and be able to hunt down the puck,” said Babson coach Jamie Rice . “He’s got a great shot, but his ability to do the other things makes him very effective on the power play.”
Driscoll played for three seasons at BC High, but not his senior year, when he suited up for the Boston Advantage, compiling 11 goals and 15 assists in 39 games.
“Mike is on a great run for us right now,” said Rice. “He’s played well since he arrived here, but he’s a really determined kid and he wants to score. His skating ability and his hockey sense have really allowed him to blossom this year.”
He is just one of a number of players with local ties that are major contributors for Rice’s squad.
Tasiopoulos has 10 goals and nine assists, including six power play scores, which ties him for second in the ECAC East. Junior defender Joe DiPietro (Pembroke) has three goals and two assists, including goals in consecutive games this month. Senior forward Matt O’Neill of Norwell has two goals and seven assists, while senior defenseman Matt Furey of Quincy has a goal and six assists.
And workhorse sophomore goalie Jamie Murray of Scituate has been between the pipes for nine one-goal victories and set a program record with his fourth shutout in a 3-0 victory over Southern Maine on Saturday. The 6-3, 160-pound Murray (18-3-1) owns a 1.54 goals-against average, second best in the ECAC East and fifth best nationally in Division 3. His 18 wins lead the country, as does his .946 save percentage. Murray has also played the most minutes of any Division 3 goaltender, with 1,322:55.
At Bridgewater State, it’s lift-off for Lofton
Micheal Lofton, a junior from Mansfield, has put together three consecutive double-doubles for the Bridgewater State men’s basketball team. The 6-5 forward had 13 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists in a 75-67 loss to Westfield, and bounced back with a career-high 27 points, a season-high 14 rebounds, and five assists in an 86-72 win over Framingham State. Lofton earned a spot on this week’s Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference honor roll.
Lofton is making a strong case for Player of the Year honors in the MASCAC. He leads the conference in shooting percentage (65.7 percent), blocks (36), and in minutes played, is third in rebounding (8.9 per game) and fifth in steals (43). He is also seventh in assists.
“Michael has a wealth of potential and has yet to reach his potential,” said Bridgewater coach Joe Farroba . “He is very tough in and around the basket with either hand, and I think by adding a perimeter shot he’ll be even more difficult to defend. Defensively, he is very intimidating because of his leaping ability.” . . .
Freshman Tucker Bouchard (Kingston) is having a major impact for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men’s basketball team. The 6-2 guard was named Rookie of the Week in the Little East Conference last month after scoring a career-high 30 points and grabbing eight rebounds in a loss to Eastern Connecticut. The Silver Lake graduate leads the Corsairs in scoring (15.2 points per game) and is averaging 4.8 rebounds.John R. Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.