Suffolk vs. Johnson & Wales
BOSTON – The Suffolk hockey team looks to remain unbeaten and win its fifth straight this weekend when it entertains ECAC Northeast rival Johnson & Wales at Emmons Horrigan O'Neil Memorial Rink Saturday at 7 p.m.
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LAST TIME OUT
The Suffolk hockey team kept its unbeaten streak alive Thursday night with its fourth straight victory, a 6-3 win over Stonehill at Emmons Horrigan O'Neil Memorial Rink. The Rams took control early, netting two goals within 15 seconds of each other, an outburst that proved too much for the Skyhawks to recover from.
MORE READING: Hockey Beats Stonehill, 6-3, Wins Fourth Straight
THE FIRST LINE
- Suffolk has won fourth straight, the longest win streak for the Rams since putting together four victories to open last season.
- At 5-0-2, the Rams are one game away from matching last season's eight-game unbeaten streak, the longest in Suffolk's history books, which dates back to 1999-2000.
- Heading into the week, Suffolk (5-0-2, 3-0-2 ECAC Northeast) is the only unbeaten team in ECAC Northeast. Nichols, who stands at 5-1 overall, is undefeated in conference play and sits atop the standings at 4-0-0.
- Suffolk enters Saturday with the nation's longest unbeaten streak through seven games (5-0-2).
RUN DOWN ON THE RAMS
Senior Justin Selep has led the charge for the Suffolk's offense through seven games, leading the team in points (eight) and goals (five). Selep's eight points rank third in the league, while three Rams are tied for fifth in the conference with six points each; freshman Justin Holliday (3-3-6) and juniors Danyil Medvedev (2-4-6) and Stanton Turner (4-2-6). Senior defenseman Tyler Heineman is the top-scoring blue liner (0-4-4) and junior forward Simon Leahy (0-5-5) leads the team in helpers with five.
Senior goalie Brandon Smolarek has played the majority of minutes for Suffolk this season, seeing action in six of seven games. He enters Saturday's match with a league-best 205 saves, holding a 2.11 goals-against average and .940 save percentage, which sit fourth and third amongst ECAC Northeast netminders, respectively. In his first start this season, Kevin Venturoso also stood tall for the Rams between the pipes as the junior turned away 28 attempts for a .903 save percentage and 1-0-0 record.
Johnson & Wales makes the trip to Boston with a 2-1-2 overall mark and 1-1-2 record in ECAC Northeast play. After opening the year with two straight wins, a 5-0 shutout at Franklin Pierce and a 7-4 win at Becker, the Wildcats played to back-to-back draws, at Curry (1-1) and at Wentworth (0-0), before having its unbeaten streak halted by Endicott, 3-2, Thursday night.
A threesome of Wildcats have recorded four points to lead JWU's offense. Connor Bates put in a team-high four goals, while Mciahel Mazzotta (1-3-4) and Ryan Sete (2-2-4) have balanced points of scores and assists.
In net, Joe Ballmer has seen all the action. The junior has accumulated 111 saves, while allowing just eight pucks past him for a .933 save percentage and 1.56 goals-against average, the best amongst ECAC Northeast goalies.
Suffolk and Johnson & Wales will meet for the 25th time since 1999 Saturday. The Rams trail the series 3-19-2. Both regular season contests a year ago went into overtime. Suffolk won the first meeting, 2-1, with JWU taking the second 3-2. The two teams last met in the ECAC Northeast Playoffs and the Wildcats shutout the Rams, 5-0.
THAT'S A FIRST
Three different Rams recorded their first points of the season against Stonehill. Brendan Heinze netted two goals, the first of the freshman's career, while sophomore J.B. Sweeney recorded two helpers for his first collegiate points. Zack Capozza etched his name in the scorebook with an unassisted, short-handed goal.
Zack Capozza put his name in the scorebook for the first time this season as the senior netted an unassisted, short-handed goal against Stonehill. The short-hander is the first by a player in blue-and-gold since Justin Selep and Tim Sprague '15 netted one apiece against Wentworth February 21, 2015.
RIGHT ON, ROOKIES
The freshman lass has made a significant impact for Suffolk this season. Rookie forward Justin Holliday's six points are tied for second on the team off three goals, including a game-winner, and three handouts. Freshmen forwards Nick Mosher (0-4-4) and Tommy Bishop (2-1-3) have contributed four and three points, respectively, while rookie defenseman Mikhail Bryan (0-2-0) and forward Brendan Heinze (2-0-0) have chipped in two apiece.
As a whole, the Class of 2019 accounts for 28.3 percent of the Rams' offense with seven goals and 10 assists.
Brandon Smolarek has been a tremendous backstop for Suffolk and is a major reason why the Rams are unbeaten this season. The senior netminder has turned away 205 attempts, the most amongst ECAC Northeast goalies. Smolarek boasts a 2.11 goals-against average and .940 save percentage, which both sit fourth in the league statistics.
The Chesterfield, Michigan native steered away 46 shots against Salve Regina November 4, the most by a Suffolk goal keeper since junior Kevin Venturoso stopped 52 attempts against Tufts January 8, 2014.
Smolarek's career total is now 135 shy of 2,000 saves.
QUICK START RAMS
The Rams have been nothing short of tremendous to start any given game this season. Suffolk is outscoring the opposition, 9-2, in the opening period. The Rams have attacked first in all, but one contest this year en route to a 5-0-2 ledger.
A HEAPIN' HELPIN OF HELPERS
The Rams have done well to spread the puck around with seven skaters registering multiple goals, led by Justin Selep's five. On 27 total goals this season, Suffolk has racked up 37 assists, led by Simon Leahy's five.
WE'RE GOING INTO OVERTIME, AGAIN
Suffolk's first three games this season needed extra time, marking a first in the Ram's hockey record books, which date back to the 1999-2000 season.
Last season the Rams played five four-period contests (2-1-2) including three in the month of November.
The most overtime games Suffolk has played in a single season dating back to 1999-2000 is six, which happened on two occasions; 2012-13 and 2005-06. The Rams went 1-0-5 in four-periods in 2012-13 and 1-1-4 in OT games in 2005-06.
Suffolk takes a week off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday before entertain Salem State Sunday, Nov. 29 at 1:35 p.m.