Suffolk at UMass Dartmouth
BOSTON – The Suffolk hockey team will travel to Hetland Arena Thursday night to face its in-state rival UMass Dartmouth. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.
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LAST TIME OUT
In a battle between the first and second place teams in ECAC Northeast, Suffolk surprised Nichols, 5-2, Saturday night at Levy Rink.
Justin Selep scored 1:46 into the game and Shayne Bailey added a tally at 4:40 in the first frame to put Suffolk out in front 2-0 and the Rams never looked back. Nichols' Chris Deming's goal at 16:46 of the second stanza was an attempt to fuel a comeback, but Selep tacked on his 11th goal of the season 55 seconds after Deming's market to keep the two-goal margin in the Rams' favor.
The Bison held a 34-19 edge in shots, including a 28-12 advantage over the final 40 minutes, bur Brandon Smolarek turned aside 32 shots, including 15 in the third period, to improve to 8-2-2 between the pipes.
MORE READING: Hockey Upsets Nichols, 5-2
RUN DOWN ON THE RAMS
- Suffolk snapped a three-game skid Saturday to improve to 9-4-2 on the season and 5-1-2 in league action as the Rams handed Nichols its first conference loss of the year.
- Junior forwards Justin Selep and Danyil Medvedev are leading the way for the Rams in terms of scoring. Selep boasts a league- and team-high 20 points and 11 goals to go along with nine assists, which ranks second on the squad and eighth in the league. Medvedev has collected 7-10-17 points on the year, which puts him second on the team and ties him with a skater from Nichols and Salve Regina for fourth in the league.
- Senior Brandon Smolarek has made his last season his best in goal for the Rams, amassing eight wins in 13 starts. Smoalrek's .915 save percentage and 2.75 goals-against ranks third amongst ECAC Northeast goalies, while his 377 saves sit seventh.
CATCH UP ON THE CORSAIRS
- It was a slow start to the year for UMass Dartmouth, which stumbled out of the game with a 2-5-2 record, but the Corsairs have been nearly flawless since, bringing a 5-6-3 overall record into the Suffolk matchup. After a loss to Plymouth State (4-2), the Corsairs rattled off an identical margin win over Westfield last week to prep for the Rams.
- Two upperclassmen and three sophomores have been leading the charge for UMass this season. Junior forward Mike Kelly leads all players with 14 points and also has a team lead in assists with 10. Senior Brandon Gilmore (8-5) and sophomore forward Mike Sones (6-7) have accumulated 13 points each, with Gilmore's coming off a team-leading eight goals in just nine appearances. Sophomores Jerry Laakso (2-10-12) and Casey Shea (8-4-12), a defenseman and forward, respectively round out the five with 12 points each. Laakso matches Kelly with 10 assists, while Shea has also netted a team-best eight scores.
- As a team, the Corsairs have put in 41 goals, averaging 2.93 goals per game, while their opponents have found the back of the netting 50 times.
- Sophomore goalie Drew Michals has earned all 14 starts between the pipes this season and has all five wins to his credit. The sophomore holds a 3.36 goals-against average, allowing 47 pucks past him, and boasts a .920 save percentage with 538 stops.
RIGHT ON, ROOKIES
The freshman class has made a significant impact for Suffolk this season. Rookie forward Justin Holliday's 11 points off five goals and six assists, sit third on the team. Tommy Bishop's nine points (4-5-9) rank fourth on the team, while his forward counterparts of Nick Mosher (2-4-6) and Connor Parent (4-2-6) each have six points to round out the Rams' top 10 point earners. Brendan Heinze has scored three goals and handed out one helper while Mikhail Bryan rounds out the rookies with points as the defenseman has dished out two assists.
As a whole, the Class of 2019 accounts for 29.9 percent of the Rams' offense with 18 goals and 20 assists.
Brandon Smolarek has stood tall for Suffolk between the pipes and is a major reason why the Rams are 9-4-2 this season. The senior netminder has turned away 377 attempts, the seventh most among ECAC Northeast goalies. Smoalrek boasts a 2.75 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, which both sit third in the league.
Smolarek brought his career total to 2,005 saves Saturday, a milestone that was reached by just one other Ram since 1999-00, Jeff Rose '11 who owns Suffolk's all-time saves record with 2,799.
The Chesterfield, Michigan native steered away 46 shots against Salve Regina November 4, the most by a Suffolk keeper since junior Kevin Venturoso stopped 52 attempts against Tufts January 8, 2014.
A HEAPIN' HELPIN' OF HELPERS
The Rams have done well to spread the puck around with 13 scorers registering multiple goals, led by Justin Selep's 11 and Danyil Medvedev's seven. On 52 total goals this season, Suffolk has racked up 75 assists, led by Medvedev's d10 and Selep's nine.
Six of Suffolk's nine game-winning goals this season have been scored by upperclassmen with the remaining three coming off the sticks of first-years. Junior Justin Selep leads the way with four, while freshman Justin Holliday put in two. Senior Zack Capozza, junior Stanton Turner and freshman Nick Mosher all have game-winning scores to their credit.
Suffolk closes its five-game road trip Saturday, Jan. 23 when the Rams visit Salve Regina for a 7:05 ECAC Northeast game.