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Chris Duffy's Sports Editor's Notebook: Penmen, Hawks set to do battle

April 20. 2018 11:27PM

Good morning! Is that the sun up there?

If we can safely say we’re past the unusual weather, as the Cowardly Lion would call it, this might be a good weekend to check out the two local college baseball teams: Southern New Hampshire U. and St. Anselm College, who play three times at the Hawks’ Sullivan Park — once today at 11 a.m. and twice on Sunday, starting at noon.

The Penmen look like they’re heating up. They’ve won 10 of their last 12 and carry a 22-12 overall record (9-5 in the Northeast-10 Conference) into the weekend. The Hawks are 9-17 and 3-10.

Speaking of the weather, to give an idea of how rough the spring has been, we asked Plymouth State University sports publicity man Christopher Kilmer to provide a list of PSU postponements and cancellations. He dutifully responded, and let me tell you that it took a while to read.

Then their baseball game on Thursday was postponed, too.

• With all the attention devoted to Stan Spirou’s retirement as head basketball coach at SNHU, the question had to be asked: What of Spirou’s longtime right-hand man, Jay Dufour?

In a text, Dufour says he is not a candidate for the opening and that he’s “still under contract as the assistant coach at this time.” So stay tuned on that front.

• Still speaking of SNHU ... I asked recently if anyone had any stories from the days when Mike Andrews and Jerry Moses ran a summer baseball camp at the college (then New Hampshire College). Hooksett’s Ernie Greenberg, the longtime public address announcer for Penmen basketball games, responded that he had the pleasure of not only meeting them but playing tennis against them.

“I was playing a lot of tennis back then,” writes Greenberg. “They were not tennis players, but they were so athletic and competitive you had to work for every point. They were two of the nicest, most down-to-earth guys you would ever meet. No phony airs about them.”

• Today’s trivia question: In the history of NCAA Division I men’s basketball and Division I men’s hockey tournaments, only three schools have played in both tourneys in the same season for five straight years. Name the three. Small hint: One school will be seeking to extend that streak to six next winter. Answer at end of column.

• The fight card for the April 28 boxing event at the Castleton Banquet and Conference Center in Windham has two feature bouts: Tommy O’Connell of North Andover, Mass., vs. Bruce Boyington of Brewer, Maine (four rounds, welterweight) and Julio Perez Campusano, of Boston, vs. Eric Abraham of Schenectady, N.Y. (four rounds, heavyweight).

• The name of the Ivy League baseball rookie of the week (last week) may ring a bell.

Yes, Dartmouth catcher Bennett McCaskill of Torrey Pines, Calif., is a son of former major league pitcher Kirk McCaskill. The younger McCaskill homered that week and was hitting .300 at the time. There’s no mention of hockey in his Darmouth bio — in contrast to his dad, who was all-ECAC in both hockey and baseball at the University of Vermont. Kirk played a season for the Sherbrooke Jets of the AHL before winning 106 games for the Angels and White Sox.

UVM’s baseball team, by the way, is unbeaten since 2009 — in the same way the University of New Hampshire baseball team is unbeaten since 1997.

• Canaan, N.H.’s Gavin Bayreuther and his Texas Stars opened the AHL playoffs at home on Thursday with a 4-3 overtime victory against the Ontario Reign, the top affiliate of the L.A. Kings. Bayreuther, a defenseman, had a good regular season. He played in 71 games and notched seven goals and 25 assists and finished with a plus/minus of plus-11. The Reign goalie these days is Cal Petersen, last seen standing on his head for Notre Dame in the NCAA Northeast Regional here a year ago.

The Providence Bruins opened the AHL playoffs on Friday night at home against Lehigh Valley. The teams play Game 2 of the series tonight in Rhode Island.

• New England Hockey Journal ranks UNH 10th next season in the 11-team Hockey East. Among the Wildcats’ commits is 6-foot-3, 200-pound goalie Ty Taylor, who posted a 2.46 goals-against average and .929 save percentage for the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League. His save percentage was third-best in the BCHL.

• If you weren’t watching Game 4 of the Vegas Golden Knights-Kings contest on Tuesday — OK, I stay up late — you missed an interesting story with a local twist.

Play-by-play announcer Chris Cuthbert was talking about how the Knights’ Ryan Carpenter was a big Orlando Solar Bears fan while growing up in Oviedo, Fla. Carpenter apparently idolized Manchester’s Hubie McDonough, who was in the midst of finishing his pro career with the Solar Bears, then an International Hockey League (IHL) team. McDonough is formerly the director of hockey operations for the Monarchs and now has the same job for the Reign.

So here was Carpenter facing the idol’s organization, Cuthbert noted. And then color man Ray Ferraro chimed in that he played with McDonough on the New York Islanders and McDonough was a great teammate.

All of this happening about 3,000 or so miles from JFK Coliseum.

• Trivia answer: Michigan State (1998-2002), Michigan (1992-96) and Providence College. The Friars will be going for six straight next winter.

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