Sunday, March 23, 2014

Another Banner to the Rafters

It never gets old.

As any successful coach will always say, each team has its own distinct personality. One team's sins of one season should never be passed on to its successor, and the same goes for its successes. Here at Bishop Hendricken, we have have learned those lessons well, in that our coaches and athletes have a pretty good track record of never taking success for granted and approaching each new season as just that - a blank slate, on which the story has yet to be written. 

The story for this basketball season began with cautious high hopes, but truth be told, Coach Gomes probably didn't know what to expect. Yes, his young team of the year before had begun to jell toward the end of the season and make a nice playoff run, but they were far from a complete picture. With another year of experience and players who were willing to improve with each game, those cautious high hopes were the starting point back on December 1st. 

To be sure, there were bumps along the way, bumps that all teams encounter along the road of a long season. Perhaps the biggest bump - one that truly tested the mettle of which these kids were made - was the shellacking that they took at the hands of our archrival, LaSalle, in the semi-final game of the Division I tournament. There was no doubt - it was time for them to look in the mirror and decide both who they were and who they were going to be. 

This morning we know - our guys are the champions of the Rhode Island basketball world.

Coach Gomes reacted to the win in the locker room after the game:

After surviving a scare from the tough, determined East Greenwich Avengers in the opening round at CCRI, the Hawks took their play to another whole level and carved a path straight to the title. While there were contributions from seemingly every player, it's hard to argue that it was seniors Garfield Coustard and Will Parmlee who put the team on their back and refused to fall short of anything but the final goal. Garfield, was, in fact, named Hendricken's Player of the Game. He was straight to the point during the celebration:

Some of their highlights can be seen here: Will's dunk that got things going for the Hawks in the first half...

...and Garfield and Justin Mazzulla working the lane.

In addition to getting the interviews after the game, The Network's Max Zweiner was high above courtside taking care of highlight action. All those highlights can be seen HERE

In fact, although The Network was unable to carry the game live, we were there in force...Cam Brennan and Stone Freeman did the pre-game and halftime gig live in the Ryan Center.

The halftime show can be seen at the top of the page, and the entire pre-game show can be seen here:

Video streaming by Ustream

The Providence Journal's slideshow from the game can be seen HERE

Over the course of the second and third games of the tournament - the quarterfinal win over Mount Hope and the semi-final win over LaSalle - the Hawks showed that while they are a defensive-minded team first and foremost, their offensive capabilities should never be underestimated. After struggling to score points against East Greenwich, it was apparent that Coach Gomes and his staff saw the need to step up the offensive game. Last night, however, our guys went back to their foundation - stifling defense. Over the course of 11 minutes of the 32-minute contest, Central was held scoreless - a six-minute span early in the first half and a five-minute span early in the second. With only 21 remaining minutes of play to generate some scoring, then, it's no surprise that the Knights only tallied 35 points for the game. 

Despite the Hawks' engaging the defensive clamps once again, they still had their moments of free-flowing offense. Case in point is EJ Nygren, who completed his fantastic senior senior season by continuing to rain threes from far and away:

And, finally, the venerable Mr. Yeamen, long a mainstay on the Hawks' bench, offered these words of wisdom on yet another banner being raised to the rafters:

So ends the winter sports season, folks. All our teams did us proud. The indoor track, hockey, and swimming teams were right there to the very end but fell just short, so there's certainly no reason for anyone to hang his head....just a reason to pick up and to move forward. The wrestling and basketball teams both put two more banners on the Pepin Gym walls, and it's a good bet that the spring sports season will produce a couple more as well.

Onto the spring...and The Network will be there. Count on it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Not This Time

It's the best of high school rivalries, a rivalry that is simultaneously based in mutual respect and really bad blood. 

There's no questioning the fact that LaSalle has a rich athletic tradition, both in the past and the present. And, while they certainly have won some games against us in various sports, the more recent editions of this rivalry have...well...gone our way. 

It seems when the real chips are on the line, no matter the sport, the Hawks more often than not find a way. One only need to think of the two recent super bowls in which our schools went up against each other, and now we have last night. 

While many high school hoops fans across the state had every reason coming into this year's  winter sports season to expect the Hawks to have a very good basketball team , it was more or less universally acknowledged that this was LaSalle's year. Indeed, the Rams showed that that was probably the case, sporting a 27-1 overall mark and a Division I championship on its resume coming into the Ryan Center for last night's Final Four matchup with the Hawks. Many people felt that while the Hawks were no doubt good and would do everything that they could to stand in the way, this LaSalle team was on an express to the state title. That thinking was only further validated by the results of this season's two previous matchups between the rivals, both won by the Rams: a 76-66 win down on Academy Avenue (a game largely controlled by the Maroon) and an impressive 79-62 march over the Hawks in the Division I semi-final game at CCRI. While many fans didn't expect as result as unbalanced as the second game, it was generally believed that the Rams would prevail and advance to the state championship game. 

A funny thing happened, however, on their way to the coronation. A different Hawks team - different in the sense that if you had been sitting in the stands watching as they emerged from the locker room and onto the court, the sense of confidence, determination, and belief were palpable - showed up, took an early lead, extended it to 15 points by halftime, and then did what they needed to do to fight off a furious charge from the Rams in taking them down, 70-62.

The Hawks took a quick 5-0 lead and never trailed. As the first half unfolded, it was, at times, difficult to believe what we were watching. Not that our guys aren't a good team; it was more a sense that the Hawks were playing as if they truly felt they were going to be the better team on this night. Once EJ Nygren buried a three from the right corner, putting the Hawks up 17 late in the first half, the unimaginable was beginning to seem as if it would actually happen. Some highlights from the first half tell the tale, the calm composure that our guys were exhibiting in staking themselves to a big lead:

The Network staff did a lot of Instagram work throughout the game. All of those highlights can be sen HERE.

The Providence Journal's slideshow from the game can be seen HERE. 

Of course, no one in the Ryan Center last night expected the Rams to simply lay down and die trailing 15 at halftime. As expected, the Rams mounted a furious second-half comeback that the Hawks managed to withstand. The Rams did cut the lead to two points with about a minute-and-a-half remaining, but Kyle Henseler scored a key basket and nailed two free throws to effectively put the game out of reach.

So, the Hawks return to the Ryan Center tonight for the state championship game, where they will take on the cinderella team in this year's tournament, the Central Knights. Game time is 7:30, and while The Network is unable to broadcast, we will have live pre-game and halftime shows, with anchors Cam Brennan, Stone Freeman, and Johanthan Feeny bringing you the info, insights, analysis, and storylines.

The Hawks go for another banner tonight. As one of the all-time great Hawks, Matt Colucci, stated on Twitter after the game last night,

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hawks' Basketball Podcast for March 20, 2014, Parts 1 & 2

In Rhode Island High School sports, games don't come much bigger than this one. 

The Hawks and Rams will meet on the hardwood for a third time this season, but this time they do it with a berth in the state championship game on the line. The Rams have pretty much had their way with our guys in the two previous matchups, so Coach Gomes, his staff, all his players, and, most especially the Hendricken fans, will be hoping that the regular season contest and the Division I semi-final game provided the right amount of game experience and learning to help them meet the challenge when it matters most. 

Unfortunately, The Network will be unable to broadcast the game live, due to the state's contractual obligations. We are, however, tentatively planning to do a pre-game and halftime show. That hasn't yet been finalized, so if you're interested in watching, check back at The Network site for any details. 

Network anchors Cam Brennan and Stone Freeman break all down the relevant info about tomorrow night's game in today's podcast.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tragic Reversal of Fortune

As anti-climatic as this may be, it's still warranted - the Hawks' hockey team, once again, had a great season and has nothing of which to be ashamed. As bad as last night's loss to the Mount may hurt right now, eventually our guys will come to see just how well they played all season. 

Obviously, however, that's not much solace in the here and now. Our guys went through this season with only a single loss until the second game of the state final series against the Mounties, a record that included winning the Mounties' own Christmas tournament in addition to sweeping them during the regular schedule. 

In the world of common sense, this makes no sense. Except to say, of course, that the Mounties played an exceptional series and carry that intangible of determined pride rooted in the tradition of their program. They really, really don't like to lose. 

Not only did this 'tragic reversal of fortune' manifest itself in the Hawks' dropping two games in a row all season - to a team to which that they hadn't yet lost - but the title series itself played out in the most ironic of twists possibly imaginable. In game 1, the Mounties had positioned themselves to take the win, leading 2-1 with about ten minutes to play; in the final four minutes of the game, however, the Hawks exploded for four goals and won going away, 5-2. Consequently, fans were wondering whether the Mount could recover from such a shocking turn of events. 

The answer seemed to have played itself out when the Hawks largely controlled game 2, leading 3-1 about midway into the third period and seemingly well on their way to the state title.

It was at that point that the game, and, for all intents and purposes, the series and the entire season turned on a dime. The Mount found a way to tie the game and then the series with the winning goal in sudden-death overtime. Now, the question was whether the Hawks could find it in themselves to respond to the shocking turn of events. 

While the Hawks no doubt toughed out the entire third game, the Mounties seriously dented the Hawks' hopes by getting out to an early 2-0 lead on their way to, in the end, a complete reversal of fortune - the Mounties won going away, 5-2, which was the result of game 1, only in the Hawks' favor. 

The Providence Journal's slideshow from the game can be seen HERE.

There's no doubt that our hockey program is now on par with the Mount's, which is no small consideration (though certainly not a consolation), especially given the years when we simply could not beat them. We've won three titles since 2006; it seemed, however, that we were primed for number four this year. 

The takeaway from this bitter pill is a simple one - the Mount will never be an easy out, no matter the record or the circumstances.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Network Bracket-Busting

The final four of the Rhode Island Open State Basketball tournament (where the Hawks and Rams go head-to-head once again) isn't the only game in town this week.  While it might seem that way, there is another tournament that will be garnering a few headlines as well. In fact, our own Big East champions, the Providence College Friars, have secured a first-round date against the always-powerful North Carolina Tar Heels.

In an effort to ramp things up, The Network's Cam Brennan, Stone Freeman, Zach Johnson, and Rob Bernard went in-studio this afternoon to break things down in our first Bracket-Busting Spectacular.   The boys go through all the regions, explain the reasoning behind their picks, and make predictions on the Final Four.  

The entire show can be seen in the lower viewer (Hawks Sports Network 2) at the top of the site.

Who needs ESPN, FoxSports1, NESN, or CSNNE to bring you first-rate bracket analysis, when we have The Network's own experts right here in school?

The billion dollars is as good as ours.  That's a lot of cameras and mics right there.  Yessir. 

Hawks' Indoor Track & Field Squad Wraps up the Winter Season

To this point in the school year and with the beginning of the spring sports season upon us, it's pretty much been business as usual for our runners and track athletes. The cross-country team collected its sixth consecutive state title in the fall, and the indoor track team had a very successful winter season, finishing third at the states. Some of our best athletes did, however,continue to perform well in the last of the winter meets. 

Following the state meet, the Hawks competed in the New Englands, where Colin Tierney placed fifth in the two-mile race, while Lee Moses finished second in the long jump and Alex Cerbo sixth in the weight throw. This past weekend, our guys competed in the NBNationals, where eleven of our athletes - Ben Murphy (high jump), Lee Moses (long jump), Colin Tierney (set new state record in the 5000 by nine seconds), the 4 X 200 team (Kwity Paye, Lee Moses, Nick Stravato, and Ronnie Ganor), the 4 X 1 mile team (Tierney, Sam Gauthier, Avery Ingegneri, and Jared Boulanger),and Eddie Barber and Chris Celona (weight throw) - all performed very well. 

The Network's Bobby Bordieri caught up with Coach Brennan and got his reaction to the team's performance at the nationals.

With winter in the books, the boys head outside into the cold to get the outdoor season underway.

Basketball Routs Mt. Hope, Advances to State Semi-Finals vs. LaSalle

One more go-'round.

Let The Hype begin.

Hawks-Rams.  Round Three.

The third head-to-head hardwood matchup between the state's greatest rivals is set for this Friday night, at 8 pm at the Ryan Center. The Hawks and Rams assured all high school basketball fans of a third contest when both teams prevailed yesterday afternoon at the Pizzatola Center at Brown University in the quarterfinals of the Open State Basketball tournament. 

The Hawks, after surviving a scare from East Greenwich in the opening round at CCRI, blew the doors off the Pizzatola Center in cruising to an 82-52 win over Mount Hope. The Rams, after having a relatively easy time with Middletown in the first round at RIC, survived a scare of their own yesterday in their win over defending state champion Classical, 56-52. 

So, the date and the combatants are set. The Final Four in this year's Open State Basketball Tournament will feature Central and Coventry in the first semi-final at 6 pm, and then the Hawks and the Rams will square off at 8.  The Ryan Center is sure to be jumpin'.

Of course, the Rams have been the best team in the state all season from right out of the gate. They're currently sporting a 27-1 mark, which includes two wins over the Hawks. The first was down on Academy Avenue, when the Rams prevailed 76-66 in a rare Sunday event. The Rams largely controlled that game from about the mid-way point of the first half, but our guys managed to hang tough throughout. That game can be seen, in its entirety, right here.

Video streaming by Ustream

In the second matchup, the Rams punched our guys square in the mouth from the opening tip with some early lights-out shooting, and, for all intents and purposes, the Hawks never recovered in a 79-62 loss to the Maroon in the semi-finals of the Division I tournament. That game can also be seen in its entirety, right here.

Video streaming by Ustream

Video streaming by Ustream

Video streaming by Ustream

Yesterday, the Hawks put the pedal down from the opening tip, taking a 14-2 lead and never looking back. By halftime the score was 45-19, and the Hawks finished off the Huskies with a 30-point win. Garfield Coustard and Matt Duffie led the way for the Hawks with 19 points apiece, followed closely by Will Parmlee with 17.

It's time to ready ourselves for Round Three. Let's hope it's different this time.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Unified Hoops Gets the Season Off on the Right Foot

The winter sports season is winding down, and there's a lot going on this week in Hendricken sports.

Tomorrow night, our guys take to the ice and face off against the Mount at 8pm at Meehan Auditorium for the winner-take-all third game of the state title series.  The basketball team throttled Mount Hope on Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Open State tournament, and they now advance to face the winner of Sunday night's other quarterfinal between LaSalle and Classical.  And, finally, the indoor track team competed in the nationals over the weekend.

The Network site will have coverage of all three in the coming days.

With spring sports coverage on the horizon, therefore, most people will be looking forward to Hendricken baseball and lacrosse, amongst other sports. One spring team has already gotten their season underway, however, and they got their season started with a big win on the basketball court.

When last we left the Unified sports team, they sat down for an interview with The Network's Bobby Bordieri  to talk about their having captured their first-ever volleyball state championship.


Last Wednesday, the gang started their spring basketball season with a 20-14 win over Cranston West. Anthony Piccarillo scored the Hawks' first points on a layup, and our guys never looked back. "AP" was the team's leading scorer, and his offensive efforts were supported by Matt Mangilli and Chris Zimmerly. On the defensive side of the ball, Mitchell Moore and Josh Mernick played excellent defense and protected the Hawks' lead. Other strong efforts were turned in by Austin Crawford and Joe Fera.

The Network's Max Zweiner caught up with Coach Graney immediately following the game and got his reaction to the opening win.

The team will be in action again this Wednesday afternoon, at 3:30 at East Greenwich.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hockey Saves Best for Last, Levels the Mount with Furious 3rd-Period Rally, Takes 1-0 Lead in Title Series

It might be fair to say that the Mount St. Charles Mounties never knew what hit them. It happened so fast, with such force, and was so decisive that it probably wouldn't surprise anyone if the Mount players left the ice last night wondering what happened during the final four minutes of last night's first game of the state title series.

The Providence Journal's slideshow from the game can be seen HERE.

Over the course of the school year, we here at The Network have brought as much live coverage of games to Hendricken fans as we've been able. Last night, however, we were unable to cover the game live, because Cox Sports owns the rights to broadcasting the championship series. As I do not have Cox Cable at home (I'm a Dish Network guy), I was only able to follow the action on Twitter....but what came across The Network's Twitter feed at around 9 pm was unbelievable.

From what I could gather from the intermittent Tweets over the course of the game, the 'theme' of the night, so to speak, for the Hawks was "respond". It seemed that each time the Mounties scored, the Hawks went right to the attack and answered. For example, Mount scored the game's first goal in the second period at the tail end of a power play; 45 seconds later, Andrew Fera tied the game for our guys.

Mount scored a goal toward the beginning of the third period, and when this tweet came across the feed, things were beginning to feel a a bit bleak:

A short time later, though, what felt like an unbelievable sequence of events took place.

Brandon Mitchell tied the score at two goal apiece with this goal...

...Jonathan Finelli followed immediately after that...

...and then Jamie Armstrong finished things off with another goal at 12:09 and an empty-netter for good measure.



So, tonight's game #2 will answer one of two questions: can the Hawks take that ferocity into tonight's action and keep their proverbial skates on the throats of the defending state champions, or can the Mount pick themselves up off the mat and recover in time from such a swift and shocking change in momentum?

Stay tuned.

On Cox Sports.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Amy Purdy and Evan Strong Both Medal at the Paralympics in Sochi

Everyone at Adaptive Action Sports are proud to announce the amazing success of Amy Purdy and Evan Strong at the Paralympics in Sochi.  Evan had the extreme honor of receiving the first gold medal for the U.S. at the winter games while Amy won the bronze in snowboarding's debut at the Paralympics.

Evan Strong Wins Gold in Sochi's Winter Paralympics

There was some strange energy around. It was hard to explain, says Evan Strong, 22, as he talked about the day of his motorcycle accident. Evan was 17 still living in Maui with his family when he was in a horrible motorcycle accident resulting in the amputation of his left leg just below the knee. Evan said goodbye to his "old self" that day and left him with a completely new look at life. The process of recovery put him in what he explains as an "infant-like" state -needing help going to the bathroom, having to be fed, and pretty much being dependant for almost everything. Today, Evan wants to show others how to lead a more fulfilling life, to help others find peace within themselves. Evan now coaches and mentors at Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit organization, that sponsors clinics where Evan teaches and mentors kids with disabilities along with adults how to mountain bike, skateboard, and hopefully in the future, to rock climb. "I want to see people break out of the shell of what they thought their limitations were."

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – On a historic day for snowboarding at the Paralympics, U.S. rider Evan Strong won the men's snowboard cross competition, leading an American sweep of the medals. Strong, 27, a longtime California resident who was injured in a motorcycle accident 10 years ago, claimed the first gold medal for the U.S. at the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games.
"I'm ecstatic, I'm over the moon, I don't even feel like my feet are on the ground right now," Strong said after his victory at the Rosa Khutor resort in the mountains above Sochi... [read more]

Amy Purdy Wins Bronze in Sochi's Winter Paralympics

Amy Purdy was a snow board sport fanatic growing up. She wanted to take several years traveling the world and snowboarding when unexpectedly, at 19 years old, her life took a dramatic turn. After suffering a day of what seemed to be the flu, Amy was taken to the hospital in a state of septic shock. She was shortly after, Amy was diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis, a deadly blood infection. Amy fought the good fight for nearly three months. When released from the hospital, she was a completely different person mentally,  physically and spiritually. Amy suffered the loss of bothlegs below the knee along with all kidney function, but it didn't stop her from following her dreams. Amy is now a medaled snowboarder, actress, TV host, public speaker  and Advocate for Element Skateboards.  

Strong, 27, a longtime California resident who was injured in a motorcycle accident 10 years ago, claimed the first gold medal for the U.S. at the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games.
"I'm ecstatic, I'm over the moon, I don't even feel like my feet are on the ground right now," Strong said after his victory at the Rosa Khutor resort in the mountains above Sochi... [read more]

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Basketball Survives Scare from East Greenwich, Advances in Open State Tournament

As with all playoff formats in any sport and at any level, there will always be disagreements about the best way to determine a champion. Obviously, there's always the standard debate about those teams with more inherent advantages than others - for example, for how many years have we heard the endless complaints about the 'big market' teams in baseball, such as the New York Yankees, having much greater financial resources than most other competitors, thus giving them a decided advantage in the pursuit of high-end free agents? Those arguments will never go away. The best that can be done is to develop a system that attempts to level the playing field as much as possible and to realize that nothing will ever be perfect. 

Count me among those who like the playoff system that we have in Rhode Island high school basketball. Every team in the state has a chance to win a championship, beginning with their regular-season and divisional tournaments. Following that, should a given team have had a successful enough season to qualify for the larger, Open State Tournament that results in a single, unified state champion, so much the better. The chance to even further validate the work that's been done by a group of players and a coaching staff is always a good thing. In a sense, it's not unlike the college conference tournaments that we all watch as March rolls around, that then leads to fans' 'doing their brackets' for the NCAA tournament. And, much like that greater spectacle, high school basketball teams in Rhode Island - particularly those in Divisions II and III - have the chance to play the role of Cinderella when they go up against the bigger dogs from Division I.

Last night, in a game broadcast live right here on The Network (with the usual broadcast team of Johnathan Feeny, Cam Brennan, and Stone Freeman doing their usual quality work on play-by-play and in-game analysis), we had the opportunity to watch - difficult as it may have been for Hendricken fans - the possible beginning of a Cinderella run. Of course, the East Greenwich Avengers wouldn't have seen themselves as a 'Cinderella' team, since they swept through their D-III schedule with a perfect 18-0 mark but were upset in their divisional tournament by eventual champion Juanita Sanchez in the semi-finals. There's a perfect example as to why the Open State Tournament is a great thing, because there's simply no way a team as good as East Greenwich should not have the opportunity to try to further validate their season. 

Fans can still watch the entire game, from beginning to end, at the top of the page in the first viewer.

The Avengers' taking it to the Hawks most of the night -  along with an added element to the potential storyline, in one of their key players, Nolan Cooney, making his first return to the Avenger lineup after battling cancer - was, so to speak, 'must-see TV'. Nolan scored a key basket during a furious push by EG during the second half to put the game away; his courage on so many fronts is, in itself, a story that transcends a mere basketball game. 

Out of the gate when the teams jumped it up, it looked as though the Hawks might run away and hide, taking a reasonably quick 8-0 lead. From that point on, however, it's a pretty safe argument to say that the Avengers outplayed our guys for the rest of the game. Ira Lough came off the bench about mid-way into the first half and provided five key points (including a big three-pointer), several huge rebounds, and aggressive play that helped to keep the Avengers at bay until intermission, at which point the Hawks held a slim 20-17 advantage. As the second half unfolded, it became clear that the Avengers had no intention of laying down for Hendricken - or any other team, for that matter, if they had the opportunity to advance - and were not going away. The Hawks were in a dogfight against a D-III team, but for all intents and purposes, the labels no longer applied. These were simply two basketball teams trying to survive. Of course, matters weren't being helped by the Hawks' inexplicable inability to score points; nonetheless, East Greenwich was controlling the game. 

The Avengers actually held a five-point lead, 30-25, with about five minutes to go. From there, however, the Hawks found themselves, to an extent, and took control of the last part of the game. Matt Duffie's two consecutive baskets and Chris O'Brien's huge, game-tying three-pointer pulled the Hawks back from the brink.

So, what's the takeaway from this game? It's unfortunate that the Avengers can't advance, because they really are a tough, talented team. 

The Hawks? They're gonna have to, as Coach Gomes is wont to say, "score the ball" if they hope to move on in the tournament.

The Hawks move on to the next round and will face Mount Hope, Sunday at Brown. The Huskies prevailed in their first round game in the 4-13 matchup when they upset West Warwick, 74-62. The original time for Sunday's game was slated for 2 pm, but because of our Open House in the afternoon, that time may change. 

Stay tuned for details.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Network's Coverage of Hawks Basketball Continues

When we last left the Hawks' basketball team, they were walking off the court after having been soundly beaten by (The School That Shall Not Be Named) LaSalle.  


We here at The Network also were led to believe that that was a wrap, so to speak, on our coverage for hoops action for the season, despite the fact that the Open State Championship was still to come. Ordinarily, those rights belong to Cox Sports.  During the course of the school day today, however, it was learned that Cox does not, in fact, own the rights to the early rounds this year, and with the blessing of the Interscholastic League....

The Network lives to broadcast another day.

As a result, Johnathan Feeny and Cam Brennan will once again don the mics and bring you all the action from CCRI tomorrow night.  If you can't make the game, then tune in - let's build the online support. Remember, you can interact with the broadcast team throughout the game at the following Twitter handles -

The Network - @bhsportsnetwork
Cam Brennan - @Cam_Brennan
Johnathan Feeny - @JThanFeenSports

You can also like us at Facebook (Hendricken Sports Network), and you can follow the in-game highlights at Instagram (hawkssportsnetwork).

The Madness Lives On.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Okay, folks...we lost to the Rams in the Division 1 semis.  Does it hurt?  Yes.  We do, however, have a chance to redeem ourselves.

The Open State Championship Tournament begins this Wednesday, and our guys have been seeded fifth in the field of 16.  The Hawks' first game is Wednesday, 6 pm, against the East Greenwich Avengers at CCRI.  Let's come out in force to launch the Hawks on the road to the Ryan Center.  The Network cannot broadcast the game live, but we'll be there bringing live updates via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  Let's get an online #mangate can interact with The Network team throughout the game at Twitter, @bhsportsnetwork.  Johnathan Feeny and Cam Brennan will also be doing a delayed audio stream that we hope to post on Thursday.

Let's get this party started.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hockey Holds Off Smithfield, Advances to State Finals Against Mount

To suggest that the Hawks were looking past Smithfield in the semi-final round of the state hockey tournament would be grossly unfair to the Sentinels. That's a good hockey team over there, and they gave the Hawks everything they could handle throughout the course of the season and this series. 

Still, it's not always easy not to think ahead to a potential championship showdown with the Mounties, simply because that's what most hockey people around the state have been expecting to happen this month and because the prospect of another memorable chapter in the Hendricken-Mount hockey championship series is fun to think about. 

Now we have it. 

Smithfield did, however, stand in the way. As noted in the previous post here on The Network site, the Sentinels have proven to be, time and again, that team that 'just won't go away'. True to form, they never did, and although the Hawks swept the series 2-0, the Sentinels never made it easy for them. 

Both games were, in a sense, mirror images of one another.

In a game broadcast live right here on The Network - with Cam Brennan and Remy Morris doing an outstanding job of play-by-play and analysis - Brandon Mitchell and Patrick Creamer scored the two goals that sent the Hawks into the locker room at intermission with a 2-0 lead, and then the Hawks hung on over the course of the third period and walked out of Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink with a 2-1 win and their ticket punched to the finals. 

The end of intermission and the entire third period can still be seen in the viewer at the top of the page, and the first and second period can be seen here:

Video streaming by Ustream

Video streaming by Ustream

Much like Game 1 - during which the Hawks took a seemingly commanding 4-0 lead, 4-1 into the locker room at intermission, but had to fight off the Sentinels in their opening game 5-3 win - the Sentinels refused to give in, scoring an early third period goal off the stick of Nick Paiva to cut the Hawks' lead in half. From there the 'chippiness' that had been part of the game to that point continued on, as a number of penalties landed some Smithfield players in the penalty box and even placed them in a couple of precarious situations in which they were two men down on the ice. 

Still, Smithfield dug in and hung tough. They pulled their goalie as expected with about a minute remaining in the game, and even then, the Hawks were only able to put the issue to rest when they cleared the puck out of their own zone with about eight seconds on the clock.

From here, the Hawks and Mounties have most of the week to prepare for their showdown. The series is scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and, if necessary, next Monday. All games will be played at Brown's Meehan Auditorium. Unfortunately, we will be unable to broadcast any of those games live, but The Network will have a team present for all the action at the games, as we'll be social networking with updates via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We're also planning on doing a recorded audio stream that we can post the day after the game.

The Hawks beat the Mounties three times this season. It's a pretty good bet, however, that Coach Creamer and his staff will never allow those games to have any bearing on what our guys will be facing when they lace up their skates to face the Mount. The Mounties are the defending state champions, a position with which they're pretty familiar. When the red, white, and blue of Mount St. Charles comes out onto the ice, only a fool takes for granted the possibility of knocking them off. 

The Mount always has an unspoken seventh man on the ice - its tradition.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Hockey, Basketball Split Playoff Matchups; The Network Continues to Expand

There was a pretty good amount of press and hype that went into last night's Hawks' athletic matchups, for a number of reasons. 

First and most obviously, the Hawks and Rams were going to do their rivalry thing once again. While we can clearly claim more than our fair share of triumphs in those head-to-heads across all sports....well, last night didn't go so well. More on that in a moment. 

Just across town at Thayer Arena, the hockey team, fresh off its having claimed the Cimini Division title with a 1-0 win over the Mount last weekend, began their playoff run as the top seed with a 5-3 win over Smithfield in game 1 of their semi-final matchup. Game 2 will be tonight at Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink. the puck drops at 8 pm, and The Network will be there with live coverage.

And, finally, we here at The Network expanded our broadcast horizons a bit more, as we unveiled the Hawks Sports Network 2 on UStream, and consequently, we were able to bring the viewers simultaneous coverage of both games. Since we're accustomed to breaking things down here on The Network site, perhaps a brief explanation of what went into this groundbreaking decision is in order. 

As a result of hockey's win over the Mount last weekend, followed by basketball's first-round victory over Smithfield on Wednesday night, we were asked on quite a few occasions which game we'd be carrying live. There was obviously a stronger demand for the Hawks-Rams semi-final matchup because of the combatants, but there were still plenty of people asking about hockey. Since we're (for now, but not much longer) limited to a single camera, one would think that trying to stream both games live would be pretty close to impossible...but, yet, when we discussed it, there were options available that we were willing to try. 

The initial step here was to create a second Network site on UStream and to embed into our central site another viewer, which would be below the one on top. 

Presto! It worked. 

Once one of our new laptops came in, we'd then have the ability to live audio stream the hockey game - much like listening to a game on the radio - while broadcasting the basketball game. So, last night, Network anchors Cam Brennan, Stone Freeman, and Remy Morris got themselves set up at Thayer...only to discover that there were wi-fi issues. 

I hate wi-fi.

I mean, I hate being dependent on wi-fi. Whatever. 

Thinking on his feet, Cam Brennan then conceived of the idea of video streaming the hockey game via his cell phone. Without going into all the smaller, gory, and relatively uninteresting details, it worked. The quality is not what the viewer would normally be accustomed to, but Cam, Stone, and Remy made it work. We said we'd broadcast the game, and they made it happen. That's taking responsibility right there. 

It should be noted, though, that once our new cameras arrive, quality will never again be an issue. 

Finally, I'd be terribly remiss if I didn't point out the willingness of the entire Network staff to work hard, which I get to see every day; however, last night, everyone had the opportunity to see it, even if they weren't aware of it. Anchors Cam Brennan, Stone Freeman, and Instagram/highlight man extraordinaire Max Zweiner not only covered the hockey game - they then packed up and hustled across town to join the crew of Johnathan Feeny and Dylan Brennan at CCRI for the basketball game. Work ethic such as that is only borne out of one thing: the desire to see something succeed. So, then - a tip of The Network hat to all involved last night. 

Now, onto the coverage. 

This past Wednesday afternoon, the Hawks and the Smithfield Sentinels squared off on the basketball court in their first-round playoff game. Last night, they did the same thing in hockey. 

Perhaps a tip of the hat to Smithfield is in order first. The Sentinels have had an outstanding winter athletic season, and, for whatever reason, have intermittently proven to be the proverbial 'team that won't go away' for Hendricken. The most important example of this is that the Sentinels have become the first team in a quarter century to take the state swimming championship from our guys. Not that one can expect such a streak to continue forever - even the Mount hockey dynasty eventually came to an end - but what the Sentinels accomplished there is an outstanding feat. They also were the only basketball team to prevent LaSalle from sweeping through their regular-season schedule, and they finished the year with a record identical to our guys', 13-5. Our win over Smithfield back on Deecember 30th at Pepin Gym was the only reason we were able to secure the #4 seed rather than the #5, which the Sentinels took for themselves. And, in hockey, they dealt the Hawks their only league loss of the season, a 3-2 overtime thriller at Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink back several weeks ago. There is, therefore, no reason to take these guys lightly. 

The Hawks didn't. 

As pointed out above, Cam Brennan, Stone Freeman, and Remy Morris broadcast the game live, right here on Network 2. Mind you, the quality of the video and audio is lesser that what we normally provide here on The Network, but as I said, this issue will be completely addressed very shortly. Roughly the final 10 minutes of the game can be seen in the viewer at the top of the page,and the rest of the game can be seen right here:

Video streaming by Ustream

Video streaming by Ustream

Over the course of the first period and some into the second, the Hawks struck early and often, jumping out in front 4-0, going into the locker room at intermission with a 4-1 lead, and then hanging on against that 'team that won't go away', walking out of Thayer with a 5-3 win in game 1. Jamie Armstrong scored two goals, and Pat Creamer, Andrew Fera, and Reilly Miller had one each. Four of the goals can be seen here....

...Pat Creamer....

...Jamie Armstrong's first....

...Andrew Fera....

...and Reilly Miller.

Matt Kenneally stopped 14 shots and stood tall when he had to.

Game 2 is tonight at 8pm, and we'll carry it here, live, on The Network.

Having read a lot of the articles in the local press about the coverage, the hype, and the number of people who were likely to pack Cullen Gymnasium at CCRI for the re-match of the Hawks and the Rams, The Network staff decided to arrive to set up early. 

REAL early.

The voice of the basketball Hawks, Johnathan Feeny, had ample time to prepare. 

It's a good thing we set up early, too...even having secured a prime spot, we still had people crawling all over us by the time the first game began. The entire game was broadcast live right here on The Network, with Johnathan Feeny doing his usual bang-up job on play-by-play. Cam Brennan joined him for some analysis at halftime and in the second half following the hockey game.  The entire game can be seen here:

Video streaming by Ustream

Video streaming by Ustream

Video streaming by Ustream

Coming off their convincing win over Smithfield in the Division I quarterfinals, our guys had every reason to believe that they could avenge the defeat to the Rams from several weeks back, pull the upset, and advance to the D1 finals. 

The Rams put that notion to bed pretty quickly. 

LaSalle continually used their fast break, the extra pass, and dagger-like three-pointers from Adrian LaFleur to jump out to a ten-point lead and never looked back. By halftime, it was already a pretty discouraging sight.

During the course of the second half, the Hawks never managed to get the lead much below 20 points. Our guys do, however, deserve some credit, for despite the chances of their coming all the way back, they continued to fight:

For the Hawks, Justin Mazzulla (20 points) and Matt Duffie (13) led the way, but they were tough points. The ball just seemed as if it didn't want to go into the hoop for our guys throughout the game, but, in the end, there are no excuses. The Hawks were soundly beaten last night.

From here, the Hawks await to find out where they will be placed in the state tournament. They'll have some time to regroup, but if they're going to make a run at the state championship, there's no doubt that the road to that possibility is, for right now, anyway, painted maroon.