The Rams enter the season with a young roster, but that hasn’t dampened the hopes of coach Chris Glionna, the conference’s coach of the year in 2009-10.
“We are hoping to take the next step,” Glionna said of his team, which used a five-game winning streak at the end of last season to grab home ice and finish third.
“I think we need to manage expectations. Three years ago, we made it to the semifinals and going into the next year I think we just assumed success would come again and we struggled out of the gate. This season, we need to attack every game with the same focus we did last year.”
Suffolk loses leadership in the form of captains Brian Smusz and Nick Davis, along with its two leading scorers from a year ago, Niles Moore and Pat Welch.
However, a young team will be back-boned by a rock solid Jeff Rose in net. Rose, a senior, was the ECAC Northeast Goalie of the Year last season and had a .919 save percentage and 2.68 goals-against-average in 22 overall games.
“We think that Jeff is one of the best in the nation,” Glionna said.
Returning seniors Paul Weisser and Tom Coulstring have been winners throughout their careers, and will be relied upon as leaders on a young Suffolk team, which starts the season with a tough nonconference schedule.
“Besides the tough Northeast schedule, we will play Bowdoin, Colby, Babson, Utica, Tufts, and Mass.-Dartmouth,” Glionna said.
The presence of Rose, combined with a fast, uptempo style of play, should serve Suffolk well this season.
“We’re one of the better skating teams in the Northeast, and we hope we can use that to our advantage,” Glionna said. “We will try to pressure the puck in all zones and allow our players to be creative in the offensive zone.”