OCTOBER 28 | 7:30 PM
BOSTON – The Suffolk men's hockey team is set to open its 2017-18 season this weekend as Assumption will pay visit to Emmons Horrigan O'Neil Memorial Rink Saturday, Oct. 28. Puck drop between the Rams and Greyhounds is slated for 7:30 p.m.
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OUT OF THE GATES
The Rams are 7-10-1 in season openers since 1999, including a 5-5-0 record in front of their home crowd. For the eighth straight season, Suffolk begins its season against Assumption. The Rams are 6-1 when opening versus the Greyhounds including six straight victories. Last season, Suffolk escaped Assumption, 5-4, thanks to a pair of goals in a 53 second span by Tommy Bishop. Suffolk has only needed extra time on opening night three times, with the Rams owning a 1-1-1 OT Game 1 ledger.
GUESS WHO'S BACK
Chris Glionna returns to the bench for his 14th season as head coach and looks to guide Suffolk back to success after a down year (7-13-5, 4-11-3 (CCC). To aid the winningest coach in Suffolk men's hockey history is veteran coaching staff, John Burgess and Greg Fowke.
On the ice, Suffolk welcomes back eight of its top 10 leading scorers from a year ago. Tommy Bishop headlines the Rams returners with the junior coming off a 17 point season with five markers and 12 assists. Bishop's classmate Connor Parent is back in blue and gold after a 10-point outing last season with six scores and four assists. Fellow junior Connor Henry along with Jack Jenkins will looks to add a spark to Suffolk's attack.
Suffolk will call upon the experienced netminder junior Michael Levine to be the back bone of the defensive unit. A year ago, Levine defended the between the pipes for the Rams in 16 games, starting 13, for a 3.79 goals against average and save percentage .894. Anchoring the blue line for the blue and gold are senior Shayne Bailey and juniors Mikhail Bryan, Sean Henry, and LJ Fellows.
NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES
There will be 13 new skaters donning blue-and-gold this season; 10 true freshman and a trio of sophomore transfers: Nick Abbene (Tufts), Joe Admirand (UNE) and Chris Olsson (Salem State). The newcomers are comprised of eight forwards, four defensemen and one goalie.
The two skaters continue a long tradition of Suffolk Hockey captains dating back to the program's first season of play in 1980-81 when James Tropsa led the blue-and-gold. Counting the new additions, over 60 Rams have worn a letter at Suffolk University in the program's 38-year history.
To get ready for regular season action, Suffolk hosted a pair of exhibition games. The Rams took down Framingham State, 5-2, Oct. 21 and will use tonight's matchup with Post, which is set for a 7 p.m. puck drop at Emmons Horrigan O'Neil Rink, as final tune-up for Saturday's season opener.
GET TO KNOW THE GREYHOUNDS
Saturday's showdown in Charlestown serves as Assumptions 2017-18 season opener as well.
The Greyhounds are coming off the program's first-ever NE10 Championship and return 24 skaters from an offense that average 2.89 goals per game. The team's top four scorers return to the ice, anchored by Cam Laughlin, who had 11 goals and 11 assists a year ago to pace the pack with 22 points. Tommy Mahoney was second on the squad with eight markers and 11 handouts including two game-winner goals. Brian Farrell (13g, 5a) and Mike Sorenti (8g, 10a) round out the top four, accumulating 18 points apiece last year.
Assumption welcomes back three experienced goalies in Brian Nazzaro, David Zulauf and Robbie Campbell. Nazzaro made eight starts last season, posting a 3.75 goals against average and a.903 save percentage for a 4-4-0 record, while Zulauf was 0-3 with a 4.40 goals against average and a .883 save percentage. Campbell appeared in four games for the Greyhounds and is coming off a 4.21 goals against average, .889 save percentage campaign.
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INSIDE THE SERIES
Suffolk and Assumption have played every year since 1999, when the Rams' record books date back. The Rams, which have taken the last six contests, hold an 11-6-1 advantage leading up to the two sides 19th meeting. A year ago, Suffolk downed Assumption, 5-4, in lift the lid on the 2016-17 season.
WHAT'S TO COME
Suffolk remains in the friendly confines of Emmons Horrigan O'Neil Rink as it lifts the lid on its Commonwealth Coast Conference campaign Friday, Nov. 3 versus Nichols. Game time is set for 7 p.m.