December 18, 2012

Around the Region: Rockhoppers, Kingfish ready for NALL

By NELJ staff


The first week of January will see New England’s two newest indoor lacrosse franchises swing into action in the North American Lacrosse League (NALL), as the Boston Rockhoppers visit the Kentucky Stickhorses on Jan. 5, and the Rhode Island Kingfish host the Baltimore Bombers on Jan. 6.

The Rockhoppers played in two road exhibition games against Kentucky last year, as the NALL struggled through franchise changes and ownership issues that pushed back its first full season. The Rockhoppers had planned to join the league full-time in 2013 and will host their six-game home season at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Mass., with the team’s first home game set for Jan. 12 against Baltimore.

The Kingfish, meanwhile, will play their home games at Boss Arena in Kingston. In late Setpember, the Kingfish named Charlie Blanchard, a member of the original Boston Blazers franchise and a respected collegiate coach in the Rhode Island area, as their head coach.

On Nov. 1, the NALL held its player draft, helping to stock the Kingfish and adding to the roster of Rockhoppers who were on the team last year. With the first pick in the draft, Rhode Island selected Michael Maggio, a former star at Lasell College who also has been a member of the Boston Cannons practice squad. Later in the first round, the team picked Dan MacIssac of American International, and then chose Brian Krol of Cortland — another player with Cannons ties — in the second round.

The rest of the team’s 24 total draft selections were David Kemp (Herkimer CC), James Schutt (Monroe CC), Rich Symanski (St. Lawrence), Kyle Scinkey (Vermont), Dan Kelly (Salem State), David Wood (St. John Fisher), Gareth Fabian (Cazenovia), AJ Laffin (St. John Fisher), goalie Joe Evans (Salisbury), Craig Bunker (Colby), former Boston Cannons draft pick JJ Gilbane (Cornell), current Cannon Matt Smalley (Hobart), Steven Boyle (Johns Hopkins), Parker Brown (Brown), Tim Harder, Ryan Licht (Nassau CC), Gary Crowley (Bryant), Matt Vozzolo (New England College), Kyle Norchi (SUNY-Plattsburgh), Jameson Love (Bryant) and Brandon Noble (Georgian).

The Rockhoppers, meanwhile, went for faceoff specialist Peter Vlahakis from Fairfield University with their first selection, and followed that up by selecting twins Roman Lao-Gosney and Cameron Lao-Gosney from Lehigh University in the second and third rounds. Later in the draft, they selected former UMass star and former Boston Cannon Brett Garber, Steve Kennedy (Clarkson), recent Cannons Garrett Pedley (Albany) and Ethan Vedder (Cornell), former Boston Blazer Ryan Hotaling (Nazareth), Rob Schlesinger (Brown), Ryan Hoffmeister (Hartwick), former Blazer and Cannon Jason Duboe (Harvard), Vermont Voyageurs goalie Vincent Talbot, Tom Palasek (Syracuse), Keene State’s former dynamic attack duo of Griffin Meehan and Matt Schairer, Rian Kearney (Roger Williams), faceoff specialist Nick Maggio (Merrimack) — younger brother of Michael, who went with the draft’s top pick to Rhode Island — and Lantz Carter (Salisbury).

The North American Lacrosse League started in 2012 but wound up being split into two leagues after various ownership factions could not agree on things as simple as the best time to hold the season. As a result, some of the owners formed the Professional Lacrosse League, which debuted this fall. Many of the players will appear in both leagues, with the PLL completing its season prior to Thanksgiving.

Men’s coaching changes

Tim McIntee, who spent the last 15 seasons as head coach at Manhattan College, has been hired as an assistant coach for Dartmouth, replacing Ryan Danehy, who left the Big Green to become an assistant coach at the University of Michigan. McIntee turned a fledgling Manhattan program into a perennial contender in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, leading the team to an undefeated regular season, a conference championship and an NCAA tournament berth during his best season with the Jaspers (2002). McIntee had an All-American playing career at C.W. Post and played seven seasons with the now-defunct New York Saints of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League, the precursor to the current National Lacrosse League. …

Colin Hulme has joined the staff at Fairfield University as an assistant coach, and will serve as the team’s defensive coordinator, while assisting with recruiting, game planning and day-to-day operations of the program. The Framingham, Mass., native spent the past four years as the primary defensive coach at the University of Vermont, and coached at Holy Cross prior to joining the Catamounts. As a player, Hulme earned Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-Patriot League during his senior season at Colgate, and he spent two seasons on the roster of the Boston Cannons playing both defense and short-stick defensive midfield. Fairfield is coming off the best season in program history. …

University of Vermont men’s lacrosse head coach Ryan Curtis added Ryan Browning to his staff as a full-time assistant coach, and Patrick Cairns as a volunteer assistant. Browning spent the 2012 season as a volunteer assistant at Virginia, but previously coached at Goucher College and Washington College. Browning attended Salisbury University, where he was part of the 2007 and ’08 NCAA national championship squads. Cairns, who graduated from Princeton in 1997, was a three-time All-Ivy League selection in the cage and will work with the goalies for the Catamounts. …

Springfield College graduate Lars Keil, most recently an assistant coach at Bates and Endicott Colleges, was named the head coach at Pfeiffer University, an NCAA Division 2 program in North Carolina. …

Holy Cross named Dan McKeon as an assistant men’s lacrosse coach. The 2009 Albany grad had been an assistant at Siena.

Women’s coaching changes

Interim head coach Liz Longley has been promoted to the permanent position of head coach of women’s lacrosse at Connecticut College. Longley, a former All-American and captain of Hamilton College’s 2007 NCAA Elite 8 team, joined Connecticut College on an interim basis in October 2011 and promptly directed the Camels to their best finish in the highly competitive NESCAC in four years. …

Catherine Conway, who played both goaltender and midfielder during her career at Boston College, has been named an assistant coach at Manhattan College. Conway, who starred in high school for Acton-Boxboro (Mass.), graduated in 2012 after her finest season at BC, where her career-best 10.2 goals-against average helped the Eagles to a 10-8 record. …

Mary Teeters has joined the University of Vermont women’s lacrosse staff as an assistant coach, joining the Catamounts after an outstanding four-year career as a goaltender at Towson University.

This article originally appeared in the November-December 2012 issue of New England Lacrosse Journal.

Have an item for Around the Region? Email it to editor@laxjournal.com