Kicking a soccer ball around with teammates has become a fashionable way of getting ready for a hockey game.
Unfortunately for Boston College senior defenseman and Clifton Park native Patch Alber, kicking a soccer ball has probably cost him the rest of the regular season.
Alber tore his meniscus in his right knee prior to the Eagles game against Alabama-Huntsville in the first round of last Saturday’s Mariucci Classic at the University of Minnesota. After attempts to put the meniscus back failed, an MRI on Monday revealed the severity of the damage. Alber had surgery Tuesday morning and is expected to be sidelined three months. The earliest he is expected back is in late March, when the NCAA hockey tournament regional rounds take place.
“We were going through our pregame routine where we play soccer, and I just landed awkwardly,” Alber said. “At first, I thought it was just sore. As time went on, something didn’t feel right.”
Alber tried to have the meniscus popped back in place Sunday. But after seeing the MRI results, Alber realized that getting his meniscus back in place without surgery wasn’t
going to work.
“Looking back at it now, it wouldn’t have done anything anyway,” he said.
Alber was disappointed he needed the surgery because it means he will be out of action for a while. But he will do his best to follow the rehabilitation process.
“I’m on the road to recovery right now,” Alber said. “For right now, I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me and try and make sure I do everything right so it’s not a long-term problem for me.”
Alber has had an amazing career at BC. He was a walk-on out of Eastern Junior Hockey League’s Boston Junior Bruins and wasn’t expected to get much playing time his freshman year. But injuries gave Alber the opportunity, and he showed the coaching staff what he could do. He ended up playing 17 games and had a goal and two assists. His goal came in the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four semifinal against Miami (Ohio), a 7-1 win for the Eagles. BC beat Wisconsin, 5-0, in the championship game for Alber’s first title.
After getting two goals and seven assists in 34 games his sophomore season, Alber was given a full athletic scholarship. Last season, Alber played 44 games and had a goal and 13 assists as the Eagles won the NCAA title again.
This season, Alber had three assists in 14 games. He has played 109 career games, and had four goals and 25 assists.
“I want to get back as soon as I can,” Alber said. “But I also don’t want to put the surgery in jeopardy and have another procedure done. For right now, it’s a waiting game for me.”
ECAC Hockey honored two Capital Region players on Thursday for their accomplishments last month.
On the men’s side, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute freshman forward Milos Bubela was named rookie of the month. Bubela had five goals and four assists in six games, leading the team in scoring. He had a two goals and an assist in Monday’s 6-2 win over Sacred Heart. He also had a two-goal game in last Thursday’s 4-3 victory over St. Cloud State. Bubela also had a goal and two assists in RPI’s 6-1 win over Yale Dec. 7.
On the women’s side, Union’s Shenae Lundberg was named ECAC Hockey women’s goalie of the month.
Lundberg, a sophomore, was 2-2-1 overall a 2.18 goals-against average and a 928 save percentage. Both of her wins came against Maine Dec. 14-15. She tied her career-high of 41 saves in a 4-1 loss to Quinnipiac Dec. 1.
Lundberg is the first Union player to win an ECACH monthly award. She won goalie of the week twice this season.
The other men’s winners were Colgate freshman forward Kyle Baun, who was named player of the month, and Quinnipiac senior Eric Hartzell, who won goalie of the month.
For the women, Harvard senior forward Jillian Dempsey took home player of the month, and Clarkson freshman defenseman Erin Ambrose won rookie of the month.
Good news for ECACH fans who don’t want to make the trip to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., for the final conference championships there.
The conference announced Monday that FOX College Sports Atlantic will televise the semifinals and championship game March 22-23. It marks a return to TV after not having last year’s games televised. CBS College Sports (now CBS Sports Network) carried the games in 2011, the first year of the championships in Atlantic City after moving from the Times Union Center.
The semifinals will be played at 4 and 7:30 p.m. The championship game is at 7 p.m.
YORK THE BEST
BC coach Jerry York became college hockey’s all-time winningest coach when the Eagles beat Alabama-Huntsville, 5-2, last Saturday.
The 67-year-old York has 925 victories, surpassing Ron Mason. York’s coaching career began at Clarkson in 1972. He also coached at Bowling Green from 1979-94, where he won his first NCAA title in 1984.
A 1967 BC graduate, York returned to his alma mater in 1994 and has guided the Eagles to four NCAA championships.