It’s another Thursday, so time for this week’s edition of Thursday Thoughts. While they often get a retweet on Twitter, you won’t find any posts here on 210Sports talking about the retirement of a career minor league player that never once appeared on a Worcester game roster.
With all the players that have suited up for the IceCats, WorSharks, Blades, and Railers there’s plenty of people to keep track of, and in the vast majority of cases, a minor leaguer retiring without any sort of local connection would simply fall by the wayside and pass without me or anyone else locally acknowledging their leaving the game.
But goaltender Nick Niedert is certainly an exception.
Folks will likely remember Niedert for his “feel good” story about being the surprise starter for the ECHL’s Reading Royals and winning the game 2-1. But there’s a lot more to Niedert than that one moment. His entire career has been about playing the game he loves and playing it the right way.
Since turning pro in the 2004-05 season, Niedert has played games for at least 30 different teams. The number of teams that Niedert was the emergency backup netminder and sat on the bench for is incalculable using his career statistics, but it’s easily over a dozen. In his tweet announcing his retirement, Niedert says he was involved in 817 games.
Even accounting for some of those being from his amateur career that’s an amazing number of games for a goaltender that only once spent an entire season with the same pro team. That was in 2008-09, with the Jersey Rockhoppers of the Eastern Professional Hockey League. He was the MVP of the EPHL in its lone season and guided his team to the league playoff championship. Both the league and team have long since folded.
Niedert almost went back-to-back with championships when he joined the West Michigan Blizzard of the All American Hockey League for the second half of their season and playoff run, only to lose in the finals to the Evansville IceMen. Both that team and league are also defunct, never to play another game.
And now, unfortunately for hockey, it appears neither will Niedert.
Local Collegiate Results
In Women’s lacrosse the Becker Hawks started strong in the first half, providing plenty of offense in their 18-7 victory over the Mitchell Mariners on a rainy Thursday evening in New England Collegiate Conference play. Clare Conway finished with five goals and four assists as she continues her climb up the all-time career scoring list. Her 131 career points have her with the sixth-most points in program history. Arianna Calouro scored four times for the Hawks, all coming in the first half. Julia Ravenelle added three goals as she approaches the 100 career points mark. Kylian Kelly (Shrewsbury High) stuffed the stat sheet once again, finishing with one goal, two assists, seven draw controls, six ground balls, and five caused turnovers. Freshman Chloe Isola made seven saves in the victory, improving to 3-4 on the season. Also on Thursday, the Worcester State University women’s lacrosse team took down Fitchburg State University by a final score of 15-3 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference action at a cold, rainy John F. Coughlin Memorial Field. Kylie Hill and Shea Jarvis (Auburn High) both had hat tricks for the Lancers, while Abby Magnuson chipped in two goals. Senior Chloe O’Brien (Tantasqua Regional) made two saves in 46 minutes of action to earn the win. In relief, sophomore Savanna Rosado (Milford, High) turned aside the only shot she faced in 13:48.
On Saturday in Men’s lacrosse Assumption University battled their way to a Northeast-10 Conference victory over the Purple Knights of Saint Michael’s College. The Hounds held a three-point advantage at half time and both teams put up nine points over the final two quarters as Assumption took the final 16-13 victory. The Greyhounds got four goals each by Ryan Bogar and Anthony D’Angelo (Grafton High), while freshman Colin Malone made 13 saves in net for Assumption. Also in Men’s lacrosse, Clark University notched its first win of the year on Saturday afternoon as three goals and three assists from Jacob Brandes and five goals from Chris Rasco fueled the Cougars offense in a 14-12 triumph at Stagg Field over Springfield College. Rasco notched his third straight five-goal performance dating back to last season and inched closer to the program’s all-time goal-scoring record, now needing just nine goals to pass Brandon King. Ryan Mickelson tallied a career-high 18 saves and picked up his first collegiate victory in net for the Cougars. In Women’s lacrosse Assumption used 10 first-half goals to secure a 16-4 victory Saint Michael’s College. Allison Foley and Olivia Catanzarite led the Hounds with four goals each and both added an assist in the victory. Junior Allie Collins made four saves in net for Assumption and improves to 4-2 on the season. Freshman Hope Msumba (Grafton High) saw action in the Saint Michael’s net, making two saves.
In football, Holy Cross won its eighth Patriot League Championship and second-consecutive conference title when it defeated Bucknell 33-10 in the first-ever Patriot League Championship Game. Junior defensive back John Smith was named the Championship Game MVP after recording an interception with a 58-yard return, along with four tackles, one tackle for loss, and two pass breakups. Holy Cross’ defense came up with five interceptions and four sacks on the day while holding Bucknell to just 22 net rushing yards. Sophomore linebacker Jacob Dobbs had nine tackles and an interception, junior linebacker Liam Anderson recorded seven tackles with a sack and interception, and senior defensive lineman Benton Whitley had six tackles and a pair of sacks. Freshman quarterback Matthew Sluka had three touchdowns, including a pair of rushing touchdowns, recording 78 yards on 8-of-11 passing while adding 61 rushing yards. Peter Oliver (St John’s) had 67 yards on eight carries and scored a touchdown. Holy Cross will now face top-seeded South Dakota State in the FCS playoffs, Saturday at 3pm ET.
On Sunday in baseball, Anna Maria took down Great Northeast Athletic Conference opponent Rivier University in a doubleheader by scores of 22-4 and 13-1. Game one started with the AMCATS dropping seventeen runs in the top of the first on the hosting Raiders. The top of the first was highlighted by James Powers hitting a two-run bomb to right field. Top performers for Anna Maria were Jarrod Marifiote, who finished the game 3-for-5 with four runs batted in. Kosta Drosidis (St. Peter Marian) continued his hot streak at the plate with another two hits and two RBI’s. Jason Shell also tallied a multi-hit game, going 3-for-5 with one RBI. Game one saw Anthony Pingeton (Holy Name) get the win to improve to 3-0 on the season. He completed three innings of work, allowing just one hit and two strikeouts. Game two was another big game for the visiting squad as they put up another 13 runs. This time they put together two big innings, starting again in the top of the fist with a four-spot and following up with a five-run inning in the top of the sixth. Top performers in game two were Adam Twitchell (Shrewsbury, MA), Noah Holland, and Greg Gehring. Twitch finished game two with three hits and three runs batted in. Gehring was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI’s. Holland finished the game with a game-high four hits out of his five at bats with an additional two RBI’s. Jake Usenia (Uxbridge High) got his first collegiate win on the mound. He finished five innings allowing just six hits with no earned and seven punchouts. Alex Currie (Uxbridge High) went 2-6 with an RBI on the afternoon for Rivier.
Back to Women’s lacrosse on Monday, in one of the most back-and-forth games of the season, the Becker Hawks came out with a 13-11 victory over the New England Pilgrims. Julia Ravenelle scored five goals to go with one assist and became the 11th player in program history to reach 100 career points. Kylian Kelly (Shrewsbury High) scored a career-high four times for the Hawks while adding six draw controls, five ground balls, and two caused turnovers. Freshman Chloe Isola made a career-high 11 saves, winning her third straight game to improve to 4-4.
Becker Women’s lacrosse was back it again Tuesday, and they continued their winning streak with a 22-5 victory over the Mitchell Mariners. Clare Conway finished with 10 goals and five assists for 15 points on the afternoon. The 10 goals are a career-high as she becomes only the third player in team history to score at least 10 goals in a game. The 15 points are also a career-high and are tied for the second-most in a game in program history. Chloe Isola made nine stops for the Hawks, improving to 5-4 with her fourth consecutive win.
Boston Teams This Week
Phoenix @ CELTICS, 7pm
Seattle @ RED SOX, 7pm
BRUINS @ Buffalo, 7pm
CELTICS @ Brooklyn, 7:30pm
Seattle @ RED SOX, 7pm
Seattle @ RED SOX, 1pm
REVOLUTION @ DC United, 8pm
CELTICS @ Charlotte, 1pm
Seattle @ RED SOX, 1pm
BRUINS @ Pittsburgh, 3pm
BRUINS @ Pittsburgh, 7pm
Oklahoma City @ CELTICS, 7pm
RED SOX @ NY Mets, 7pm
RED SOX @ NY Mets, 6:30pm
Charlotte @ CELTICS, 7:30pm
Worcester Hockey Alumni Highlights
Thursday Joe Pavelski goal
Friday Spencer Asuchak goal
Friday Tomas Hertl goal (two views)
Saturday Arnaud Durandeau goal
Saturday Joe Pavelski goal
Sunday Matt Lane two goals
Monday Yanni Gourde OT game-winner
Tuesday Jeff Kubiak goal
Tuesday Joe Pavelski goal
Wednesday Tomas Hertl goal
RIP Bob Fouracre
Last weekend I was saddened to hear of the passing of longtime Holy Cross broadcaster Bob Fouracre. He did play by play for Crusader football almost my entire life, starting in 1970 and ending in 2015 when he was unable to travel to all of the road games due to health issues and Holy Cross wanting the same play by play person calling every game home and away. “Was I pushed out? Yes,” Fouracre said at the time. “Do I feel like I was pushed out? No. I think it’s time for me to cut back.”
Fouracre continued to call the Crusaders basketball teams, finally reducing his schedule to just the Women’s games in 2015 and then retiring completely in 2018. All in all, he covered Holy Cross sports for 48 years.
But many people outside of central Massachusetts will know Fouracre for another reason, being the host of both Big Shot Bowling and Big Shot Bowling. Fouracre, who was inducted into the International Candlepin Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 2008, worked with fellow candlepin Hall of Famer Dan Murphy on Big Shot Bowling.
Murphy posted some thoughts in a Facebook candlepin group. “So sad to hear the news of Bob passing. I worked with him on Big Shot Bowling. He marched to his own music but certainly loved and supported candlepin bowling. Rest in peace my friend.”
Paul Berger, who is the only candlepin bowler to roll a 500 series on television, added, “Bob was a great fan of the game and in his own ‘superlative way’ pushed the game forward during the best times of candlepin bowling.”
I got to meet Fouracre once, at a Worcester Bravehearts game that was sponsored by Castle Island Brewing, who had developed a pale ale called “Candlepin”. The pregame festivities had ended and Fouracre was on his way out of the ballpark. I walked up to him and introduced myself, and my wife snapped a couple pictures. He was gracious, and we had a great conversation about Holy Cross football and Basketball.
Well, by a conversation I mean he told several stories as I laughed and nodded. I wished he could have stayed longer because I could have listened to him all night.
Perhaps the best story I’ve heard about Fouracre lately was tweeted by Dave “Peterman” Peterson, who currently is the General Manager of the Bravehearts but years ago was the sales and marketing guru for Worcester’s entry in the Can-Am Baseball League, the Tornadoes. Peterman tweeted, “I hired Bob Fouracre to judge the Cheeseburger Challenge with the Tornadoes in 2009. Upon tasting all of the fan recipes, I asked him on the PA mic what he thought. He replied, ‘Peterman- when you get to be my age, you never know which meal will be your last. So they all win.'”
As Fouracre would say, “superlative”.
Stuff you may have missed from 210Sports this week
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Not so big finish
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