BC wins Beanpot, Victoria Arlen an inspiration to all and Nathan Walker’s long journey

Boston College EaglesBoston College became just the second school to win four consecutive Beanpot tournaments, the annual championship to secure bragging rights among four Boston-area schools – B.C., Boston University, Northeastern University and Harvard University. They defeated Northeastern, who were seeking their first title since 1988, 6-3 at TD Garden on Monday night.

Jerry York, B.C. coach and the all-time winningest college hockey coach with 930 victories, is happy for his team, especially the seniors who will leave school having never lost a game in the tournament. From Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of Boston.com: 

“I’m so incredibly proud of our club, specifically our senior class and our captains who are in the senior class, and what they’ve done over their careers,’’ said BC coach Jerry York, who led the team to the 18th Beanpot title in school history. “They really are model citizens for Boston College hockey.’’

There was no scoring the first half of the game, though B.C. hit several posts, until junior forward Bill Arnold (drafted 108th by Calgary in 2010) opened the scoring at 10:53 of the second period. They would enter the final frame up 4-1 thanks to a goal by senior forward Stephen Whitney with one second remaining.

Two goals in the first four minutes brought Northeastern to within one, but Boston College was able to hold them off the rest of the way and and add two insurance goals.

Kevin Roy (drafted 97th by Anaheim in 2012) scored twice in the game for Northeastern and took the most outstanding player honors for the tournament as he also scored all three goals in their 3-2 win over Boston University last week.

The Beanpot takes place the first two Mondays and Tuesdays of February each year with the men playing on Monday and Women playing on Tuesday. The women’s championship game tonight will also beature Boston College against Northeastern University.

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Victoria Arlen, and 18-year-old high school senior from New Hampshire, is refusing to let her paralysis slow her down. Diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare neurological disease, when she was 11, Arlen came across the idea of sled hockey when reading a University of New Hampshire Alumni magazine and immediately took to the idea. From Michael Blinn of NHL.com: 

She gave it a try, and it didn’t take long for her to become engrossed in the game — hardly a surprise, considering her family background.

“We’re a huge hockey family. I took to it really quickly, and I was in love with it,” Arlen said. “I’m on a team with all guys, so you can imagine how they pushed me. They took me under their wings and I was like their little sister. They made me a tougher hockey player.”

She is also a model, actress and motivational speaker who is adept at swimming and won seven gold medals in her first parameet in 2011 and four medals in the 2012 Paralympics. But it’s hockey that has been the biggest motivator in her life. More from Blinn:

Her exploits in the pool earned her national headlines, but Arlen says it’s sled hockey that helps her follow her dreams.

“I would never have done what I did in London if it weren’t for hockey. It got me over that barrier of what I thought I couldn’t do because of my disability,” said Arlen. “It’s given me the confidence that I can go and do anything. It’s been a really positive impact on my life.”

Check out the link for more on her amazing story and follow her on Twitter: @arlenv1

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Nathan Walker, a native of Sydney Australia, has impressed fans, coaches and scouts so far in his time with the United States League’s Youngstown Phantoms. ‘Stormy’ scored a goal on his first shift and now has 2-9-11 with a plus-1 and 23 PIM in 11 games. From Bart Logan on the USHL’s official website:

Walker possesses a rare blend of speed, high-end offensive skills, hockey sense, and relentless work ethic. Although listed at just 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, he doesn’t shy away from the physical aspect of the game either. There are former NHLers playing in the Czech Extraliga that can attest to that.

After being passed over in last year’s NHL Draft in Pittsburgh, Walker is even more determined to hear his name called at the draft this June in New Jersey. He is far from a unique in that regard, but where he differs from countless other USHL’ers is the journey that has brought him across three continents and two oceans to achieve that dream.

From Australia to the Czech Republic where he played parts of two seasons with Vitkovice HC in the nation’s highest league and now to the United States, Walker has done a lot of traveling for a 19-year-old in order to pursue his dream. Hockey isn’t particularly big in Australia, but he credits his older brother Ryan and The Mighty Ducks franchise for getting him interested in the game. More from Logan:

For Walker, it was hockey films like The Mighty Ducks and Mystery Alaska that helped cultivate his passion for the sport because, as one could guess, Australian television didn’t broadcast too many games. In recent years, he said, there’s been progress on that front with as many as four NHL games shown a week, but growing up he looked up to Charlie Conway, the main character in the Mighty Ducks trilogy, not the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull or Mario Lemieux.

Walker is determined to become the first Australian drafted into the NHL this year after being overlooked last season despite being ranked 25th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Check out the link for more on Walker’s intriguing story.


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