FRIDAY, OCT. 26 // 7:00 PM
SATURDAY, OCT. 27 // 6:05 PM
BOSTON – The Suffolk men's hockey team has a hectic opening weekend as the Rams entertain Franklin Pierce Friday, Oct. 26 before heading to Assumption the next day, Saturday, Oct. 27. Game time at Emmons Horrigan O'Neil Memorial Rink Friday is set for 7 p.m., with puck drop in Worcester scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Saturday.
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Suffolk punched its ticket to the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) playoffs a year ago for the first time in program history behind a 6-10-2 league ledger. The Rams fell in the quarterfinals to nationally ranked Endicott to end the season 9-13-3 overall.
NEW YEAR, NEW LEAGUE
In 2017, Suffolk Athletics accepted an invitation by the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) for the Rams' men and then freshly organized women's program to become full-time members beginning in 2018-19.
The NEHC is the third league the Rams have competed in in the history of the program with Suffolk belonging to the ECAC Northeast for many years and most recently completing a two-year stint in the CCC.
GUESS WHO'S BACK
The Rams will rely heavily on the experienced gloves of senior netminder Michael Levine to compete in the heavily competitive conference. Classmates Sean Henry and LJ Fellows return to the blue line to compliment Levine's defense in between the posts with the power scoring of junior Brian Brooks (11g, 15a) and senior Mikhail Bryan (12g, 8a) back in the action offensively. Sophomores Matt Bucher (6g, 9a), Jack Kelly (6g, 9a) and Joseph Mortillaro (10g, 3a) look to add a spark to Suffolk's scoring as well.
NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES
Suffolk's 22 returners will get a boost from some fresh skaters as eighth true freshmen in forwards Joe Feeney, John Garrity, Sean Montgomery, Derek Nussbaum and Eric Wright and defensemen Billy Roche and Nick Wardstrom are added to the mix. Junior forward Phil Kresuer will also play at Suffolk for his first season after beginning his collegiate career at Nazareth.
Suffolk's 30-man roster is comprised of national and international student-athletes mainly Bay State locals with 11 Rams calling Massachusetts home. A quartet hails from Connecticut with a trio making the cross country trip from California as well as Illinois. Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are all represented by one student-athlete each. Chris Olsson accounts for the international population with the junior goalie coming from Sweden.
The Rams senior class boasts the most members with nine hailing from Suffolk's Class of 2019. There rest of the roster is made up of equal parts juniors, sophomores and freshmen with seven from each class.
ON THE BENCH
Chris Glionna, the winningest coach in Suffolk men's hockey history, is back on the bench for his 15th season. He looks to lead the Rams to the NEHC postseason for the first time and make their second straight post-season run.
- The Rams are 8-10-1 in season debuts since 1999, including a 6-6-1 record when lifting the lid on their campaign in front of their home crowd.
- Suffolk will take on Franklin Pierce in its first game of the season for the first time since 1999.
To get ready for regular season action, Suffolk competed in a pair of exhibition outings. The Rams traveled to Becker and Framingham State last week with both contests ending in stalemates. The blue-and-gold played to a 2-2 draw against the Hawks and tied the FSU Rams, 1-1.
WATCH AND SEE
Head coach Chris Glionna sat down with GoSuffolkRams.com to preview the Rams' 2018-19 campaign. To hear what Glionna had to say and get a glimpse inside the Rams' training session, click the video below.
Skating into a new league in 2018-19, the Suffolk men's hockey team has been predicted to finish ninth in the New England Hockey Conference poll.
|2018-19 NEHC MEN'S HOCKEY PRESEASON POLL|
MORE READING: Men's Hockey Selected Ninth in NEHC Preseason Poll
WEARING THE 'C'
Suffolk men's hockey head coach Chris Glionna has unveiled that Mikhail Bryan and Sean Henry will don a "C" on their jerseys for their final campaigns in blue-and-gold with the seniors sharing the Rams' captain responsibilities.
Franklin Pierce will lift the lid on its 2018-19 slate on Friday night as well. The Ravens got prepared for the upcoming season with an exhibition outing at New England College last Saturday.
In his second season Shaun Millerick built a 32-player roster made up of 19 returners and 13 rookies. FPU will rely on the veterans of Alex Lester (12g, 10a), Cameron Shepardson (11g, 9a) and Jack Willis (6g, 5a) to lead the way this season.
After losing their main goaltender to graduation, Ian Wallace is the only experience netminder back on roster with fresh gloves of freshmen Kyle Martin and Garret Stenberg looking to help defend the pipes this season.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Suffolk and Franklin Pierce will meet for the 20th time since 2002 Friday night.
- The two foes will battle in the Rams' season opener for the first time.
- Overall, Suffolk leads the all-time series 11-5-2.
- The Ravens picked up the last meeting, 4-3, in overtime.
- In Rams and Ravens have gone into overtime seven times with Suffolk holding a 3-2-2 all-time record against FPU in OT outings.
GET TO KNOW THE GREYHOUNDS
Assumption is coming off a third-place finish in the NE10 with an overall record of 15-10-2 and 8-6-1 in conference contests a year ago.
The Hounds bring back 17 returners from an offense which averaged 3.30 goals per game and matched the program's highest win total in two decades. Half of Assumption's top six scorers are back paced by Peter McDonagh, who put together a stat line of seven goals and 13 assists. Matt Damelio compliments McDonagh's offense and is back for his final campaign after a nine-goal, 13-assist junior season.
Assumptions' defense is buoyed by 2018-19 NE10 Defensive Player of the Year Dante Tomassini, who chipped in a pair of goals and 16 helpers to the offensive output. Joining Tomassini on the blue line is John McDonagh (2g, 1a) and John Chamberlain (7g, 5a).
David Zulauf is back in net for the Hounds. In 16 starts a year ago he posted a 2.47 GAA with a .921 save percentage for a 10-6 record with 514 saves.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Suffolk and Assumption have met every year since 1999, which is when the Rams' year-by-year record books begin.
- The Rams have taken the last seven contests against the Greyhounds to hold a 14-8-1 advantage leading up to the two foes 20th meeting Saturday.
- A year ago, Suffolk downed Assumption, 5-2, in the season opener.
- The Rams and Greyhounds have gone into overtime three times in the series with Suffolk boasting a 2-0-1 OT record versus Assumption.
Suffolk is set for a slower week in the upcoming days with just one contest on the calendar at Salem State, Saturday, Nov. 3. The non-conference clash is scheduled for 2 p.m.