PITTSBURGH — Saint Anselm senior forward Tucker Mullin received the Hockey Humanitarian Award Friday at the Frozen Four, given to “college hockey’s finest citizen.” Mullin founded the Thomas E. Smith Fight to Cure Paralysis Foundation in May of 2010 with Smith, his friend who suffered a second paralyzing injury around that time.
“The work that we’ve put together, Tom and I, when it comes together at the end of the day, it’s really about who we can help,” Mullin said. “It’s not about what him or I are accomplishing. It’s about what everyone else is getting out of that.”
Mullin has also been a part of Team IMPACT, a nonprofit that matches up children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses and college sports teams. Saint Anselm adopted Benjamin Roy, a 9-year-old who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia pre-B cell in 2007.
“It’s not about me,” Mullin said. “It’s about the causes that hockey is bringing to attention. That’s what deserves the attention.
“The Thomas E. Smith Foundation and Team IMPACT are two great organizations. They were brought to me by the game of hockey. That’s the special part of it.”
Smith, who spent two years in a wheelchair, is walking now with the assistance of a cane. As Mullin said, “If anyone is the example for never giving up, it’s Tom Smith.”
Trust in Hartzell
Quinnipiac senior goalie Eric Hartzell heads into Saturday’s NCAA Frozen Four championship with a record of 30-6-5, a goals-against average of 1.53, and a save percentage of .934.
Hartzell, named a first-team Division 1 All-American Friday night, was a wall against St. Cloud State in Thursday’s semifinal and he has plenty of praise from his teammates regarding how much they trust him in net.
When asked how much confidence Hartzell inspires, senior forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas said, “pretty high.’’
“He’s been the backstop of the team the whole year,’’ said Samuels-Thomas. “He’s bailed us out when we’ve come out flat. When we’re playing good and he’s playing good, we’re a pretty tough team to play against. [We have] a lot of confidence having him back there. He played a great game [Thursday] and I know he’s going to carry that over to Saturday night as well.’’
Senior defenseman Zack Currie said the netminder is a stabilizing force.
“Obviously, any time you have a goalie back there of his caliber, it makes everything easier,’’ said Currie. “It makes your life easier as a defenseman, personally, and I’m sure even as a forward. It’s awesome having a guy back there and it goes both ways; we make his life easy, he makes our life easy and it keeps that confidence up.’’
The Denver Post reported that the vacant job at Denver will be filled this weekend with four candidates in the mix: Boston College associate head coach Greg Brown; Jim Montgomery, the general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints; Derek Lalonde, the head coach of the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers; and Rensselaer coach Seth Appert. Montgomery is also expected to be a candidate for the vacant Maine head coaching position.
Still on the ice
Saturday’s game will be the latest date for the NCAA championship game. In 2003 in Buffalo and in 2008 in Denver, the final contest was played on April 12 . . . This is the first time since Notre Dame in 2008 that a No. 4 seed (Yale) will play in the title game since the tournament field expanded to 16 teams in 2003 . . . This marks the first time in the 16-team era that a No. 1 seed (Quinnipiac) and a No. 4 will square off in the championship game . . . Two players from the last ECAC team that won the national title in 1989 (Harvard) are Division 1 head coaches — Kevin Sneddon in Vermont and Ted Donato at Harvard . . . In the all-time series between Quinnipiac and Yale, which dates to 2006, the Bobcats are 10-5-2 . . . This is the first time two teams from the same state will face off in the national championship game since Boston College battled Boston University in 1978, when BU won, 5-3. The other same-state national championship games occurred in 1970 (Cornell over Clarkson, 6-4) and 1956 (Michigan over Michigan Tech, 7-5).