College Hockey Notebook: BU’s Wiart slowly regaining strength

For several years, Queensbury native and Boston University forward Nicki Wiart played in pain.

For several years, Queensbury native and Boston University forward Nicki Wiart played in pain.

Wiart’s kneecaps were shifting to the side, a condition she had been dealing with since she was playing at Berkshire School. Despite the pain, Wiart collected 24 goals and 19 assists in her first two years at BU.

But eight games into her junior year, the pain became too much for Wiart to bear.

So, on Dec. 28 of last year, she decided to have season-ending surgery on both knees to move her kneecaps back where they belong.

“My knees have been hurting for a while,” the 5-foot-4 senior said when the Terriers were at Messa Rink to face Union two weeks ago. “I eventually decided that it was easier to get surgery and redshirt a year. I’m getting back slowly. Hopefully, I’ll get there.

“It got to the point where I couldn’t even walk after practices. That’s when I decided I should get the surgery. “[The kneecaps] were rubbing against the bone, so it was pretty painful.”

Asked how she managed to play through the pain, Wiart said, “A lot of ice, a lot of Advil.”

BU coach Brian Durocher was amazed how Wiart played through the pain. She was the team’s third-leading scorer her freshman year with 12 goals and 13 assists, and fifth her sophomore season with 12 goals and six assists.

Last season, Wiart had two goals and an assist.

“I guess it’s something more common in female [athletes],”

Durocher said. “One of the muscles start to dominate, I believe, on the outside, and they pull the kneecap to the side. She probably, for the good part of three years, fought through with a lot of pain, and a lot of agony, and decided to get them both done at the same time so that she would have a full four months to rehab both of them, and then go from there, even to the second stage of rehab.

“She’s made it back here. She’s not quite all the way back, but we’re happy to have her with us. … She’s a kid who — and I hope everybody takes this as the perfect compliment — her sum is sometimes better than her parts. She’s not the biggest kid in the world, she’s not the fastest, she’s not the fanciest, but she produces results.”

Wiart was scheduled to make her season debut against Union. But Durocher said that Wiart had some pain, and she was held out. She has missed the Terriers’ first four games.

When Wiart does play her first game, she will have two years of eligibility after being granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA.

“We’re hoping like crazy that she has long-term relief for her life,” Durocher said. “It was getting to the point where she couldn’t walk 18 holes of golf. She’s going to want to golf, or play tennis, or run and exercise in her life, so, hopefully, her quality of life will be that much better. The bonus is that she’s going to be able to participate at this level in athletics.”

Wiart’s goal is to try to get some speed and jump back in her step.

“That’s still lacking,” Wiart said. “My head’s back in the game, but I want to do something, and I don’t have the speed to get there.”

The confidence isn’t back yet. That doesn’t mean she is afraid to be back on the ice.

“I’m confident that I’m not going to be in pain,” Wiart said. “That’s the big thing.”

banner raised

Boston College raised its NCAA championship banner prior to last Friday’s season-opener against Wisconsin. The Eagles beat Notre Dame in last April’s final for its third championship.

BC sophomore defenseman and Clifton Park native Nick Petrecki had a great view of the ceremony.

“Obviously seeing the champ-ionship banner being raised in our teams home opener was just great,” Petrecki wrote in an e-mail. “Everybody was really excited to start off another season, and to start it off with the banner being raised, it was really a great moment not only for our team and coaches, but for the fans of BC hockey and the Boston College community. To accomplish the goal we set out to attain at the start of the last year, and to finally have the banner put in the rafters was just awesome.”

D’Amigo anxious

U.S. National Under-18 left wing Jerry D’Amigo can’t wait to get to RPI next season.

D’Amigo, a Binghamton native, committed to RPI over the summer. He is excited to be coming to Troy.

“It’s always on my mind,” D’Amigo said Sunday after the Under-18 team beat RPI, 5-4, at Houston Field House. “It’s a good thing for the future, and for me as a player to develop.”

D’Amigo helped set up the Under-18 team’s first of three power-play goals in the second period. Shaking off a check by future teammate Erik Burgdoerfer behind the RPI net, he got the puck to Chris Brown. He passed it to Cam Fowler at the left point, and he skated up the left wing, went behind the net and stuffed it past RPI goalie Allen York.

“He’s a solid player for us,”

Under-18 coach Ron Rolston said. “He’s a great, great character kid. He has a lot of leadership abilities for our team. He competes every night. You know what you’re getting out of him every single night. He’s got great speed. He makes things happen with his speed.”


Former Union forward Augie DiMarzo made his debut for St. Lawrence last Friday against Michigan. He picked up an assist in the Saints’ 3-2 loss to the Wolverines.

It was DiMarzo’s first game since Nov. 4, 2006, against Princeton. He was dismissed from the Union hockey team for violation of team rules.


Here’s a look at how players from the Capital Region did over the past week.

u St. Lawrence junior forward Tara Akstull (Clifton Park) was named ECACH player of the week. Akstull scored the game’s first goal in a 3-1 win over Providence last Friday. The next day, she tallied the game-tying goal early in the third period, helping the Saints to a 4-4 tie with Connecticut.

u Vermont junior defenseman Melanie Greene (Queensbury) scored a goal, which proved to be the game-winner, and also had an assist to help the Catamounts to a 3-1 victory over Union last Saturday.


Over the summer, the NCAA gave conferences the option of experimenting with a shootout as a way to decide a game if it was tied at the end of overtime. The CCHA decided to try it, and it came into use in the very first conference game of the year last Friday.

Ohio State beat Miami (Ohio), 4-3. The Buckeyes outscored the RedHawks, 3-1, in the three-round shootout.

The Buckeyes are credited with two points, one for the tie and one for the shootout win, and Miami got one for the tie. However, since the shootout rule is experimental, it goes down as a tie in the overall records of both teams.

Categories: College Sports

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