Men’s Hockey Preview: Experienced Rams Have High Expectations
The Suffolk men’s hockey team is preparing for their 2014-2015 season. The Rams finished last year 9-15-1 overall, (6-8-1 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference).
The Rams qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2010 season, but fell to Johnson and Wales, 7-0, in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Rams will have 20 players returning from last year’s squad, including six seniors. With experience all around, the Rams have potential to make a run for the postseason.
“I think senior leadership is our biggest asset,” said coach Chris Glionna. “With guys like Tim Sprague, Andrew Ball, Brett Roman, Tim Benedetto, and Woody Woodworth in our locker room, we got some great character kids who bleed blue and gold. That group brings a razor sharp focus to the rink every day.”
The departures of senior captains Charlie McGinnis and Jon Stauffer will leave some holes to fill for the Rams. McGinnis (37 G, 37 A) had 74 points in 85 games played for the Rams. Stauffer, a standout defenseman, recorded 50 points in 98 games. The Rams also lost Carmen Mastrangelo to graduation. Mastrangelo had 13-13–26 totals in 50 games for the Rams.
Forward Simon Leahy will be a player to watch for Suffolk. Leahy is coming off a phenomenal freshman season, where he was named ECAC Northeast Rookie of the Year. His 19 points tied McGinnis for the team lead. Also on offense, Sprague will be another player to watch, as he’s recorded 40 points in 60 games.
Defense will be a focus point for the Rams. Stauffer’s loss leaves the team looking to fill his top-line minutes. Senior captain Ball will make his return to the blue line. Younger players like Scott Wood, Shaughn Shields, and Connor Lawrence will also look to fill the top spot.
The Rams are deep in net. Their top three, Brandon Smolarek, Brett Roman, and Kevin Venturoso, can steal games. Smolarek, who posted a 6-3-1 record in conference and a 93.7 save percentage last season, looks to be the starter.
Sprague, a senior captain, is optimistic for the upcoming season.
“I am excited to see what we can do this year,” said Sprague. “With a strong core of returners, a few key transfers, and a wealth of talent in the freshman class, we will make a strong case at becoming the class of the ECAC Northeast.”
Suffolk kicks off its season on Saturday against Assumption at 4:30. Stay tuned to The Suffolk Voice for updates the Rams.