|Memories Galore for Noonan Brothers' Ice Reunion
|By Jack Weland, sports writer, The Patriot Ledger
But it was a title in name only.
Noonan, a Southie product who starred at Archbishop Williams High School before going on to a 12-year NHL career with five different teams that included the Stanley Cup-winning New York Rangers in 1993-94, returned to the Hub this weekend to coach his Naperville, Ill., high school club team against three Ledgerland squads.
Saturday night, Naperville North down North Quincy, 6-3. Yesterday, the team defeated Milton - in the rink he and his family, including Milton coach Paul Noonan, grew up in - 5-0. Today, the former NHLer will take on his alma mater for a 10:30 a.m. contest at Quincy Youth Arena.
''I forgot how cold it was in here,'' he said of Murphy Rink, which was an outdoor facility when he was a kid.
''This was where we all played,'' Brian Noonan said after the game.
''This is the only rink around in Southie, so this is where we all played. This is where we learned how to play. Every Friday night public skating we'd come here and when I won the Cup, I was able to bring it back here. So this rink definitely has a lot of memories.
''It feels weird when you say 30 years,'' he said later. ''It doesn't seem that long, but it's always good to get back home. It's good to be back and see friends and family.''
The game was close throughout, until Naperville scored three times in the game's final 3:34 to put it out of reach. The visitors held a 1-0 edge after one period, thanks to a Todd Burtar goal with just 37 seconds left in the opening frame. They made it 2-0 in the second period when Jack Collins slammed home a rebound with 4:21 left. In the third, Collins picked up a loose puck near the Milton blue line and ripped a slap shot five-hole for his second goal of the game with 3:34 to play.
Burtar found the net again less than a minute later, making it 4-0.
Kyle Smith capped the scoring with 47 seconds left in the contest.
It was an experience Paul Noonan thinks all the athletes enjoyed.
''It's a different team from a different state, a different place, so they'll never see them again,'' Paul Noonan said. ''It's a nice experience and I think it's great for the kids from Chicago to be able to come here and play three different teams, have a nice weekend for themselves.''
For the record, Brian Noonan's win knotted the all-time series of organized play between the brothers. Paul held a 1-0-1 advantage going in, from his days at Boston College High School when Brian was at Williams.
Now? Dead even. Bring on the rematch.
Copyright 2006 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Monday, January 16, 2006