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Chris Duffy's Sports Editor's Notebook: A sweetheart of a local sports night

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 13. 2018 11:52PM

If you think Valentine’s Day, you think college basketball and hockey, right?

Today, you just might. It’s a big night for the basketball teams at St. Anselm and Southern New Hampshire University, who will take their local battle downtown to the SNHU Arena. Meanwhile, over in Durham, the UNH hockey team faces rival Maine (7 p.m.) in what will be coach Dick Umile’s last regular-season game against those Black Bears. More on them later.

First, the Hawks and Penmen. SNHU communications director Eric Coplin says they’ve sold about 2,000 tickets to the doubleheader — women at 5:30 p.m., men scheduled for 8 p.m. — but expect a significant walk-up crowd, too. The Penmen and Hawks men’s teams last played at the big arena (when it was called the Verizon Wireless Arena) on Dec. 14, 2003. The Penmen won that one, 84-55, but expect a closer game tonight. The women’s teams have never played there.

The St. Anselm men are 18-6 overall, 13-5 (first) in the Northeast-10’s Northeast Division. SNHU is 13-10 and 9-9 in the division. The Penmen have the league’s top scorer and rebounder in Chris Walters (24.5/9.4). The Hawks have the league’s fourth-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder in Tim Guers (22.3/7.7), and will also send out the NE-10’s second-leading 3-point shooter in Londonderry’s Cody Ball (47.7 percent).

The women’s game should be a dandy. Both clubs are 11-7 in the Northeast Division — both aiming for the No. 3 seed — and have terrific star forwards. SNHU sends out junior Kylie Lorenzen, who is second in the league in scoring (18.4) and fifth in rebounding (9.3); St. Anselm counters with 6-4 sophomore Shannon Ryan, a Boston College transfer, who stands third in the NE-10 in scoring (18.2) and first in rebounding (10.8).

The schools’ men’s hockey teams will use the arena, too, on Saturday afternoon at 3. It’s the NE-10 finale for both before moving on the league tournament at St. Anselm.

Tip of the cap to SNHU right wing Chris Moquin, who had a big weekend in a pair of Penmen wins over Stonehill. On Friday, he had a hat trick and on Saturday he added a goal and assist, earning him the NE-10’s player of the week honors. Moquin, a senior from Hooksett and Trinity High, leads the conference in goals (19).

Around the colleges

Rochester’s Darian Berry, a guard at St. Joseph College in Standish, Maine, is the Maine Men’s Basketball Coaches & Writers Association’s player of the week. Berry averaged 17.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in a 1-1 week for the Monks. He leads the team in scoring, at a 16.7 points-per-game clip. ...

Windham’s Connor Hopkins had a role in breaking four St. Michael’s school records at last weekend’s NE-10 swimming championships. His 50 freestyle was a St. Michael’s school record as was his 1:46.24 for the 200 freestyle in the leadoff leg of the 800 free relay. He was also part of relay team records in the 800 free relay and 200 medley relay.

For the meet, he took third in the 50 freestyle, fourth in the 100 backstroke and sixth in the 100 freestyle. ...

Kudos to coach Paul Hogan’s always-tough NHTI men’s basketball team that finished 15-1 in Yankee Small College Conference play (21-4 overall) and will host the league tournament beginning Friday. Team captain Joe Simpson, of Manchester, averages 11 points and 5.8 assists for the Lynx. ...

The dedication of SNHU’s new Penmen Stadium, rescheduled from the fall, is now set for Saturday, Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. The men’s lacrosse team will then christen the stadium by playing the first game, against Georgian Court, at noon.

Around and about

Two New Hampton School grads are participating in the Olympics: Andover, Mass., resident Annalisa Drew (Class of 2011), in freestyle skiing (halfpipe), and Eastvale, Calif., resident Cayla Barnes (Class of 2017), a freshman at Boston College, who’s on the U.S. women’s hockey team. ...

When Bishop Brady’s Kelly Monahan Owen earned a Walter A. Smith Coaches Award at Sunday’s “The Leaders” sports dinner, we got to wondering if she and her dad, Frank Monahan, are the first father-daughter duo to both win the award.

So we asked Pete Cofran, the chairman of the Union Leader Board of Judges, who informed us that they’re the second such combo. The first was Ken Parady and his daughter, Vicki Parady-Guay.

Wildcats-Black Bears

The UNH men’s hockey team isn’t doing itself any favors lately. By earning only one out of a possible four points at home against Vermont last weekend, the Wildcats are now in desperation mode, starting tonight against rival Maine, to earn home ice for the first round of the Hockey East tournament.

To review: Teams that finish in spots 1-through-5 earn a first-round bye. Teams 6-through-8 host teams 9-through-11 in the first round. UNH sits in 10th, with 15 points, one behind UMass and two behind UVM. UNH and UVM have four games remaining, UMass three.

After tonight, UNH plays at Merrimack on Friday, then concludes the regular season with a home-and-home series against Northeastern.

There is no doubt the Wildcats, despite their troubles over the last two months, can play with the top teams in the league. They already have.

Against the clubs currently sitting in the top three positions, UNH has:

• Lost to Boston College only after Eagles goalie Joseph Woll made a diving save in the final minute that likely prevented the teams from going to overtime. The dive also earned him the No. 2 spot on ESPN’s plays of the day;

• Beat Providence College, 1-0;

• Tied Northeastern two weeks ago, 1-1.

Umile is 43-46-9 in his 28-year coaching career against Maine. He’s 6-0-3 in his last nine games, including a pair of ties in Orono in January.

Maine, tied for fifth in the league with UConn, has lost two straight after beating Merrimack on Feb. 2, a win fueled by a hat trick from Nashua’s Brendan Robbins. The Black Bears’ goalie is freshman Jeremy Swayman, a 2017 fourth-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins.

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