Noel Acciari steadily improving for Providence
Fresh off a National Championship with Providence College, Rhode Island’s own Noel Acciari is quickly and quietly making a name for himself for his hometown Providence Bruins, garnering the attention of his head coach, teammates and, quite possibly, the Bruins’ front office.
Signed as a free agent by Boston this past June after three seasons with the Friars, Acciari has registered four goals and four assists in 25 games this season, including an assist plus an empty-net goal in this past Saturday’s 4-2 Providence win at Springfield.
Making the jump from the college game to the professional level is obviously never easy, but according to both Bruce Cassidy, and Noel himself, Acciari is making great strides and improving game-by-game.
“I think I’ve developed quite a bit,” Acciari said about his first professional season. “Coming from college, it’s more of a dump and chase game and at the next level, it’s more of a possession game and I think I’ve adjusted really well.”
Coming off a frightening injury in which he suffered a fractured jaw after taking a Chris Castro shot to the face on December 4 — forcing him to miss 13 games — Acciari has appeared a little rusty at times but has slowly started to get his legs back under him.
“The first night was a little rough (last Sunday, January 3 against Rochester), but I played a lot better tonight (this past Friday at home vs. Bridgeport) than I did that night,” Acciari said about his return to the lineup. “I’m just trying to get back to how I was before I got hurt.”
“He’s been rusty, but as you can see, it’s starting to come back for him,” echoed Cassidy. “Sunday was tough for him, but when you miss that much, the pace just goes up and practice just isn’t the same.
“Just before he got hurt he was playing terrific hockey and would have definitely been someone on the radar to get called up to Boston if that was the type of player they were looking for. All-in-all it’s been very positive. He’s been playing both center and wing, and I think that will help his resume. Offensively, he was starting to find his game before he got hurt and he’s always been a physical, strong guy and reliable defensive player.”
While Acciari is steadily improving, he gives credit to his linemates who have helped him adjust to life in the pros.
“I played a lot with [Anton] Blidh and Caver [Colby Cave] at the beginning and now I’m playing with [Brandon] DeFazio and [Austin] Czarnik…we’re all great players, I learn from them and they learn from me, and it’s just a big learning game. We’re just trying to get better,” Acciari said, “Czarnik is very good with the puck possession-wise and had great vision and DeFazio is an older guy and has a lot of information that I can talk to him about.
“I’m a guy who likes to stay down low and around the net. If I can just be strong with the puck and be tough to play against around the net, I think I’ll be all right.”