Green plays for Div. III hoop crown
CONNOR GREEN'S freshman season with the Amherst College men's basketball team has beeen a memorable one.
Green, a Bedford resident who helped Bishop Guertin of Nashua claim the Division I boys' basketball championship in 2011, will be one of the key players for a team that will play Mary Hardin-Baylor of Belton, Texas, in today's Division III national championship game in Atlanta (12:30 p.m., CBSSN TV).
Green, a 6-foot-4 guard, came off the bench to average 9.1 points and three rebounds per game in 29 games. He scored eight points in a 52-44 semifinal victory over North Central College of Naperville, Ill.
Today's game marks the third time in seven years that Amherst has reached the Division III title game. Amherst won its only national title in 2007.
Amherst competes in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, which is arguably the top Division III conference in the country. Two other NESCAC schools, Williams and Middlebury, reached the Elite 8 this year.
Green spent a year at Phillips Exeter Academy after he graduated from BG.
How about those Quinnipiac Bobcats? How about the ECAC? And the Frozen Four field?
For the first time since 1983 - two years before the formation of Hockey East - the ECAC has placed two teams among the final four in the NCAA Division I hockey tournament.
Quinnipiac, coached by Bedford native Rand Pecknold, is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and survived a scare in the first round of the East Regional in Providence last weekend to advance to its first Frozen Four.
The Bobcats, 29-7-5, take on St. Cloud State, 21-15-1, in one semifinal on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
Yale, 20-12-3, joins Quinnipiac as the other ECAC team in the field and goes up against UMass-Lowell, 28-10-2, in the Frozen Four opener at 4:30 on Thursday.
The championship game is Saturday night at 7.
Lowell took out New Hampshire, 2-0, in the Northeast Regional championship game on Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Yale stunned Minnesota and then North Dakota in the West Regional last weekend to move on to Pittsburgh.
Here's the definitive thing about this year's national tournament: A brand new champion will be named on Saturday night.
That is, none of the four champions have ever won a title. So, for the second time in the last three years a new champion will be named. Minnesota-Duluth won its first title with a 3-2 overtime win over Michigan in 2011.
Before that, the last first-timer to win was Maine in 1993.
There is this, too. The last time the field for the championship round was made up of four teams that had never won a title was 1958, the 11th year of the national tournament.
Yale is the only team of the four headed to Pittsburgh that has even been made it to the championship round and the Bulldogs last went in 1952.
Quinnipiac trailed Canisius, 3-1, as the third period of its NCAA opener neared the halfway point and rallied for three goals in six and half minutes to escape. Matthew Peca scored three goals in a span of 3:12 in the first period on Saturday night to lead the Bobcats to a 5-1 win over Union and a spot in the Frozen Four.
Pecknold, who is in his 19th season as head coach at Quinnipiac, has already been named the ECAC Coach of the Year and is a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award that goes to the national coach of the year.
Pecknold played at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Mass., and then at Connecticut College.
Quinnipiac and Yale are each trying to become the first ECAC team to win the NCAA championship since Harvard did it in 1989.
Harvard and Providence, then an ECAC team, were the league's teams in the 1983 Frozen Four.
Matt Lindblad, who recently completed his junior season with the Dartmouth men's hockey team, signed a professional contract with the Boston Bruins Thursday evening and will reports to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League.
"I want to wish Matt well as he takes the next step in his hockey career," head coach Bob Gaudet said. "Matt is a tremendous talent and I wish him nothing but the best as he begins his time in professional hockey. The entire coaching staff enjoyed having him as a member of the Dartmouth hockey program for three seasons."
Lindblad finished second on the team in scoring this season with 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points in 30 games. He scored two game-winning goals as a junior and was one of the better two-way players in ECAC Hockey.
In 89 career games with the Big Green, the Winnetka, Ill., native registered 80 points on 29 goals and 51 assists.