Thursday Thoughts: He isn’t coming here, and he came from here

Welcome to another Thursday Thoughts, and the one big thought I had this week was I might miss my self-imposed deadline to write this column because I spent too much time reading article after article on how *insert free agent’s name here* would be a good fit for the local teams or how *insert the name of a player that fans dislike for random illogical reasons* would make great trade bait for *insert name of huge superstar and/or flashy rookie here*.

Within minutes of J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans announcing Watt wanted to run away as quickly as he could from that trainwreck of an organization that they were mutually agreeing to part ways fanbases around the league were quick to jump to social media to spout nonsense about their team being a prime location for the five-time All-Pro. To make matter worse, pretty much every team had a legitimate sportswriter that covers the team post a click-bait article extolling the virtues of the team they cover as a landing spot for Watt, lending credence to the social media general managers out there.

I get that fans want the best players on their favorite teams, but in the vast majority of cases, there’s no way that a player would even think of playing for *insert your favorite team’s name here*. Going one step further, even if the player wanted to sometimes that team can’t afford to pay him what he’s worth. And please stop saying a player would take less money to play for your team. Spoiler alert: he won’t.

You don’t have to look beyond the Patriots quarterback situation to see prime examples of all of this. Every single name that pops up has a huge troop of people on social media saying he’d be a great fit for New England, obviously forgetting that the offense is a shambles and no quarterback worth anything would choose to play here right now. Heck, one of the only free agent that’s even mentioned playing for the Patriots is Ryan Fitzpatrick, and at this point I’ll gladly take a bit of Fitzmagic on the team after watching Cam Newton throw football’s equivalent of eephus pitches all last season.

But seeing as I didn’t miss my deadline, we’ll once again start with some local college action…

Local Collegiate Results
In Women’s hockey Thursday Holy Cross fell to New Hampshire 3-0 in the Hockey East Tournament Opening Round at the Whittemore Center on the campus of UNH. The Crusaders entered the tournament as the No. 9 seed, while Wildcats was the No. 8 seed. This was Holy Cross’ first-ever playoff game since joining Hockey East. Jada Brenon made 29 saves in goal for the Crusaders, including a number of impressive ones, as has come to be the norm for the junior. She now has 2,200 saves in her career, just 194 from taking over first place in the program record books. Worcester Acadamy alumna Ciara Wall plays for UNH and had a blocked shot in the contest.

On Friday, sophomore Shelby Reaugh scored the game’s only goal while sophomore goalie Amber Lee recorded her first shutout of the season in the Becker Hawks 1-0 win over the New England College Pilgrims at Lee Clement Arena in Henniker, New Hampshire. Lee made 25 saves on the night to record her third career shutout to move into a tie for second place for most shutouts in Hawks program history. The win moves her to 2-2-0 this season. Shrewsbury, Massachusetts native Kylian Kelly had the secondary assist on the Becker goal. In Woman’s volleyball, after dropping the first set Holy Cross rallied back to claim a 3-1 victory over Lafayette in its season opener. Junior outside hitter Johnna Shamley led the Crusaders with a double-double posting 16 kills and 16 digs. Senior setter Kathleen Philo dished out 16 assists, while senior libero Sophie VanSeveren had 15 digs and a service ace, and is now 36 digs away from becoming the program’s all-time career leader. Freshman Sanaea Simmons got her Holy Cross career off to a hot start with four blocks. Sophomore setter Halle Carter opened her career with the Crusaders with 11 assists and five digs.

In Women’s hockey on Saturday Sophomore Cassidhe Wozniak scored a pair of goals, including a third-period, game-deciding goal as the Becker Hawks swept their weekend home-and-home series against the New England College Pilgrims 3-2 at the Worcester Ice Center. Gabby Petrisin had the other goal for the Hawks. Maddy Morgan made 31 saves for Becker on the night, improving her record to 1-1-0 in her first win of 2021. In Men’s hockey, Anna Maria fell to second-year program Albertus Magnus at Horgan Arena in Auburn, Massachusetts by a score of 6-4. Cam Tobey, Jack Sitzman, and Lukas Radina all had a goal and an assist for the AMCATS. Guillaume Coulombe had the fourth goal for Anna Maria while Samson Mouland chipped in two assists.

Also on Saturday, Holy Cross men’s lacrosse head coach J.L. Reppert earned his first victory as a head coach as the Crusaders fought-back in come-from-behind fashion to claim an 11-10 win against Sacred Heart. Junior Peter Murphy tallied the game-winning goal for the Crusaders with just 2:36 left to play in the fourth quarter. Junior goaltender A.J. Fox made the first start of his career while posting his first win and 17 saves in the effort.

The Holy Cross volleyball team rolled to a 3-1 victory over Lafayette on Sunday to sweep of the season series. Junior outside hitter Johnna Shamley once again led the Crusaders with a double-double, notching 12 digs and 10 kills. Sophomore setter Halle Carter claimed the first double-double of her Crusader career with 16 assists and 13 digs. Senior middle blocker Clare Honan was firing on all cylinders with a match-high 17 kills and six blocks. Freshman middle blocker Sanaea Simmons posted seven blocks and seven kills for the Crusaders. Defensively, senior libero Sophie VanSeveren posted 21 digs to lead all players in the match. Senior setter Kathleen Philo dished out 21 assists to lead all Crusaders. Holy Cross is 2-0 for the first time since 2010 when they opened the season defeating Boston College and Quinnipiac.

Boston Teams This Week
Red Sox @ Orioles, 1pm (ex)
Toronto @ Celtics, 7pm
Rays @ Red Sox, 1pm (ex)
Washington @ Bruins, 7pm
Twins @ Red Sox, 1pm (ex)
Red Sox @ Braves, 1pm (ex)
New Jersey @ Bruins, 5pm
Red Sox @ Rays, 1pm (ex)
Bruins @ NY Islanders, 7pm
Braves @ Red Sox, 1pm (ex)

Worcester Hockey Alumni Highlights
Thursday Arnaud Durandeau goal

Thursday Yanni Gourde goal

Thursday Barclay Goodrow goal

Thursday Joe Pavelski goal

Friday Nic Pierog goal

Friday Brodie Reid goal

Friday Vincent Arseneau

Saturday Nick Saracino goal

Saturday Michael Pelech goal

Saturday Brodie Reid goal

Saturday Logan Couture goal

Saturday Vincent Arseneau’s second goal (no video of the first one)

Sunday Lane Scheidl goal

Sunday Ryan Carpenter two goals

Tuesday Yanni Gourde goal

Wednesday Willie Raskob goal

Wednesday Nic Pierog goal

Wednesday Michael Pelech goal

I remember him when…
One of the great things about having minor league hockey in Worcester is we get to point at some really good NHL players that came through our city and say we had a chance to see them, and in many cases talk and hang out with them before they became famous. It’s not a short list either.

I can remember the first time I ever spoke to Stanley Cup winner Andrew Desjardins. It was at Boston Billiards at the WorSharks yearly “meet the players” party for season ticket holders, and Desjardins didn’t seem convinced he’d made the team. I told him if they invited him to that event they planned on having him on the team, but they might send him to the ECHL for a short while because they’d need to give the draft pick guys a shot first.

Turned out that very night, literally minutes after our conversation, the WorSharks offered him a two-way AHL contract (which he signed on the hood of a car) and then assigned him to the Phoenix Roadrunners. I didn’t get a chance to speak with him again until the Booster Clubs holiday party when he sought me out and told me he played extra hard in Phoenix because he remembered what I said the draft pick guys having to play here, and he wanted to give them no choice but to recall him. And he did that in Worcester too when it came to an NHL contract.

I’ll gladly take an infinitesimally small amount of credit for his hard work.

Lots of fans here have stories about players like Logan Couture, Yanni Gourde, Barrett Jackman, and others. It’s one of the great things about players being so accessible in the minor leagues. And now with the Worcester Red sox coming that will hopefully lead to more fans having memorable interactions with players before they make it to the big leagues full time.

Some already have that experience in baseball with the Worcester Bravehearts. I remember talking to Aaron Civale in 2014, who back then was just a Connecticut kid out of Northeastern University playing summer ball. Like almost all the Bravehearts are he was a super nice guy who cheerfully signed autographs for the kids. The only reason I remember Civale was because he said he was majoring in mechanical engineering, and I have many friends in that field.

Civale only played half the season for the Bravehearts, but his start started to rise pretty quickly. Yesterday was a pretty big anniversary, at least locally, for Civale…

He would go on to be drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the third round (#92) of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft, and made his MLB debut on June 22, 2019. In his first game, he went six innings with six strikeouts against the Detroit Tigers and won the game 2–0. He became just the tenth Major League pitcher, and first for the Indians, since at least 1908 to toss at least 5 2/3 innings and allow 2 runs or fewer in each of his first six career appearances as a starter. I’m sure he wouldn’t recall meeting me at all.

But I get to say, “I remember him when…”.

Stuff you may have missed from 210Sports this week
February in Worcester hockey history

Not so big finish
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