Salve Regina Starts as CCC Men’s Ice Hockey Favorite Following Deep NCAA Tournament Run

Salve Regina Starts as CCC Men’s Ice Hockey Favorite Following Deep NCAA Tournament Run

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Salve Regina, coming off the first-ever appearance by a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) program in an NCAA title game, will start the year as the CCC Men’s Ice Hockey preseason favorite. The Seahawks received 59 points in the preseason coaches’ poll.

Included among the 59 poll points were four of the eight first place votes cast by the leagues’ eight men’s ice hockey head coaches.

The Seahawks finished the 2017-18 regular season as the CCC Regular-Season Champion compiling a record of 14-2-2 in league play (22-6-2 overall). However, the No. 1 seed was bounced early from the CCC Championship Tournament in the semifinal round by eventual CCC Tournament Champion Nichols.

However, Salve’s strong body of work throughout the year earned it an at-large bid into the 2018 NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championship tournament. The Seahawks avenged their loss to the Bison in the NCAA Quarterfinals to advance to Lake Placid for the NCAA Division III Frozen Four. They picked up a 3-0 win in the semifinals against Wisconsin-Stevens Point to earn the first-ever trip to an NCAA national championship game by a CCC team in any sport. The Seahawks battled hard against St. Norbert in the national championship game, taking the Green Knights to double overtime. However, St. Norbert was able to earn the 3-2 victory ending the Seahawks’ championship hopes.

Landing second in this year’s poll was Endicott, which gathered 54 points and three of the remaining first place votes.

The University of New England and Nichols were ranked in the third and fourth spots, respectively. Both teams also participated in the 2018 NCAA Championship with UNE earning an at-large bid and Nichols earning a spot as the 2018 CCC Tournament Champion. UNE, which earned 51 points and the final first place vote in the poll, matched up with Colby in the NCAA First Round and took a 4-2 defeat. The Bison defeated the Nor’easters in the CCC Championship game last year, 8-3, and went on to earn a 3-1 win over Fitchburg State in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. They earned 43 poll points.

Curry (31 points), Wentworth (22), Western New England (15), and Becker (13) made up the bottom half of the ledger in that order.

The puck drops in the first men’s ice hockey action on Friday, Oct. 26 with four CCC teams in non-conference play. The 17-game conference schedule starts the following week on Friday, Nov. 2. With eight teams competing, the top six teams in the conference standings at the end of the regular season will qualify for the 2018 CCC Men’s Ice Hockey Championship Tournament. The tournament will begin with the quarterfinal round on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The winners of those games will advance to compete in the semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 23. The CCC Championship will take place on Saturday, March 2 with the CCC Tournament Champion title on the line. The CCC Tournament Champion will earn the league’s automatic qualification into the 2019 NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament.

Click HERE to view the whole 2018-19 CCC men’s ice hockey schedule.

2018-19 CCC Men's Ice Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll

  Team Points (First Place Votes)
1. Salve Regina 59 (4)
2. Endicott 54 (3)
3. University of New England 51 (1)
4. Nichols 43
5. Curry 31
6. Wentworth 22
7. Western New England 15
8. Becker 13

 

2018-19 CCC Men's Ice Hockey Previews

Contributed by each school's sports information department.

1. Salve Regina

After starting his first season as a head coach by knocking off the defending national champion (Norwich) on its home ice, Salve Regina's Zech Klann brought the Seahawks to their first-ever home ice NCAA competition and advanced to the national championship game in Lake Placid. The Seahawks return ACHA All-American goaltender Blake Wojtala (Trenton, Mich.), their all-time leader in wins (46) and shutouts (eight). Wojtala has veteran defensemen in classmates Kevin Clare (Chicago, Ill.) and Nick Cyr (Mount Laurel, N.J.) along with a talented second-year crew including forwards Paul Boutoussov (Dana Point, Calif.), Danny Eruzione (Winthrop, Mass.), and Erik Udahl (East Walpole, Mass.), the latter earning NCAA All-Tournament Team honors at the Frozen Four.

The Seahawks finished first in the CCC regular season (14-2-2 CCC; 26-6-2 overall) with the fewest goals allowed (33; goals against average 1.81). Klann is excited with his cast of newcomers including Matt Dillon, Sage Englund, Brent Hill, Matt Kidney, J.J. Layton, Derek Neal, George Sennott, and Louis-Felix St-Jean. "Five of these guys won a league championship together (Islanders Hockey Club) while setting a record for most wins," says Klann, "And they're ready to contribute at the next level."

   
Erik Udahl, SRU

2. Endicott

The Endicott men's ice hockey team looks to return to championship glory in 2018-19 behind its cast of returners who led the Gulls to a No. 2 nationally ranking in both the D3hockey.com and USCHO.com polls last season.

Among those returners are the program's all-time leading scorer Ross Olsson (Billerica, Mass.), Tommy Besinger (Milton, Mass.), Thomas Pisciotta (St. Louis, Mo.), Ryan Dougherty (Sterling Heights, Mich.), John Carricato (Ridge, N.Y.), Carter Horwitz (Tustin, Calif.), Josh Bowes (Edmonton, Alberta), Joseph Slovak (South Yarmouth, Mass.), Lloyd Hayes (West Newbury, Mass.), Daniel Kucerovy (Bethel Park, Pa), and Mark Specia (Rindgwood, N.J).

The Gulls open up their 2018-19 season against Norwich at home on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 4 p.m.

  Ross Olsson, EC

3. University of New England

The University of New England and fourth-year head coach Kevin Swallow return all but four players from the 2017-18 roster, including over 91 percent of the goal-scoring production. Senior Brady Fleurent (Biddeford, Maine) (16 goals, 35 assists) led the nation in points/game (1.89) for a second straight season, and was not far ahead of junior linemate Ryan Bloom (Northville, Mich.) (19 goals, 28 assists); both garnered First Team All-CCC and All-America accolades. The same distinctions can be said for senior defenseman Ryan Burr (Toms River, N.J.) (five goals, 21 assists). Tyler Seltenreich (Littleton, Colo.) (19 goals, 16 assists) is coming off a CCC Rookie of the Year campaign. The Nor'easters will look to improve on a record-setting season in which they achieved 20 victories, ascended to as high as No. 4 in the national polls, hosted the league championship game as the third seed, and earned one of four at-large berths into the NCAA field before hosting in the opening round. UNE also repeated as the Division III leader in power-play efficiency (35.9%).

   Brady Fleurent, UNE

4. Nichols

The Nichols College men’s ice hockey team enters the 2018-19 campaign looking to prove that last season’s surprising run to the NCAA Quarterfinals was no fluke. Last season’s top two goal scorers are back in juniors Vincent Crivello (Rosemere, Quebec) (16) and 2016-17 CCC Rookie of the Year JB Baker (Columbia, Md.) (15), as well as top d-man Ian Spencer (Hawthorne, N.J.) (8-15-23). Senior Matthew Menta (Lima, Pa.) was second on the club in assists (26) and established a career-high with 34 points last season playing on the top line. Sophomore netminder Henry Burns (Camillus, N.Y.) and freshman Brett Epp (Edmonton, Alberta) are competing for time between the pipes.

  Matthew MentaNC

5. Curry

Curry returns 17 players while welcoming 10 newcomers into the fold for the 2018-19 season. Sophomore goaltenders Frank Cundiff (Oceanside, N.Y.) and Cody Murch (Raleigh, N.C.) were both key in goal for the Colonels last season, accounting for 16 of the team’s 17 victories. The squad returns three of its top five point leaders from a year ago in senior captain Zach White (Milford, Conn.), sophomore Michael Snow (Medford, Mass.), a one-time CCC Player of the Week selection and a three-time CCC Rookie of the Week selection last season, and senior assistant captain Lionel Mauron (Lausanne, Switzerland). The final assistant captain for the 2018-19 Colonels will be senior Mack Heisinger (Winnipeg, Manitoba), the 2015-16 ECAC Northeast Rookie of the Year. Curry will also turn to sophomore forward Kasper Kjellkvist (Vaxjo, Sweden), a one-time CCC Rookie of the Week selection last season, and junior Jordan Williamson (Okotoks, Alberta) ranked in the top 10 in points on the team with 15 apiece. Seventh-year head coach T.J. Manastersky is also excited to see how his freshmen class can adapt and make an impact on the team.

  Zach White, CC

6. Wentworth

After a one-year hiatus, the Wentworth Institute of Technology hockey team qualified for the postseason during the 2017-18 season and with 17 letterwinners returning, including five of their top six scorers, the Leopards look to make another run at the postseason. Of the five players who were among the leading scorers last season, four are juniors, including Georgy Gorodetskii (Yekaterinburg, Russia) who tied for the team lead with nine goals as a sophomore and finished with 17 points. Six of his nine markers came on the power play. Nate Chase (Plainfield, Ill.) was second on the team with 10 assists to go along with 16 points, while CJ Grinnell (Burlington, Mass.) had seven goals and nine assists to also finish his sophomore season with 16 points. Rounding out the quartet from the class of 2020 is Connor Beaudet (Buffalo, N.Y.) who had 12 points (three goals, nine assists). Senior Ethan Weiss (Troy, Mich.) also returns for Wentworth after scoring 11 points on three goals and eight assists a season ago.

 
Ethan Weiss, WIT

7. Western New England

Western New England is coming off consecutive appearances in the CCC Tournament under head coach Greg Heffernan, who begins his tenth season in 2018-19.

The Golden Bears will be led by a talented senior class that includes 2017-18 All-CCC Third Team selection Steve Beck (Milton, N.Y.) and Joe Concannon Award semifinalist Matt O’Dea (Orland Park, Ill.). O’Dea recorded a team-high 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists) last season and Beck ranked second with 31 (16 goals, 15 assists).

Western New England also brings back experience on the defensive end with seniors Edmond Rogers (Creve Coeur, Mo.) and Connor Graham (Norfolk, Mass.).

Senior goaltender Kevin Gollmer (Flourtown, Pa.) returns after starting 22 of 26 games last winter, while junior netminder Kyle Carducci (Hartford, Conn.) saw action in eight contests.

Western New England’s 2018-19 campaign gets underway on Friday, Oct. 26 when the Golden Bears host rival Westfield State at the Olympia Ice Center. CCC play begins a week later on Nov. 2 when Endicott visits West Springfield.

 
Matt O’Dea, WNE

8. Becker

Michael Chartrand returns for his third year as head coach of the Becker men’s ice hockey program.

The team said farewell to last year’s team-leaders in points and goals (John Dutney and James Wallace, respectively), but look forward to returning forwards Corey Schafer (Johnstown, Pa.) and Charles Costello (Philadelphia, Pa.). The Hawks also welcome back Stephen Wolf (Somersworth, N.H.) and Alex Kielczewski (Grand Prairie, Texas) at the forward position, and return top defenders Brian Greene (Barnstead, N.H.) and Trey McMillen (Grapevine, Texas). Grant Martens (Bloomington, Minn.) will be back in goal this season, as last year he posted a team-high .895 save percentage during the 2017-18 season.

The Hawks will open their season Friday, Oct. 26 at the Worcester Ice Center against Worcester State in a “Hockey for Hopes” ALS Awareness game. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

  
Corey Schafer, BC

  

ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE

The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.

 

Stay up to date with all things latest news from the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)!
'Follow' us on
 Twitter and Instagram, and 'Like' us on Facebook!

 

-#CCCSports-