If they can continue what they started, the Wildcats should be in good shape this season. Johnson and Wales got off to a 2-8 start, but got hot when it counted, knocking off number three seed Suffolk and top-seeded Wentworth to reach the championship game. A five-goal second period was all that kept the Wildcats from reaching the NCAA tournament.
“Right now, we are just looking to start the season stronger than we did last year,” coach Erik Noack said. “We are going to try and break our schedule up into smaller parts and try to achieve success in increments rather than trying to look too far ahead. It is a long year, and we need to cognizant of the fact that their will be highs and lows and we need to stay somewhat emotionally stable throughout. I think the wins in last year’s postseason tournament should help with this idea.”
Johnson and Wales ranked third behind Curry and Wentworth in team scoring last season, and return most of its firepower this season, led by sophomore Jay Pietrasiak (24-16), who was a member of the conference’s All-Rookie team in 2009-10. Also back is junior Jeremiah Ketts (10-26). Junior Domenic Recchia (4-11) and sophomore Max Carter (5-7) are the top returners on defense.
In net, sophomore Matt Cooper closed the season strong and secured a spot on the All-Rookie team, but Noack said sophomore Jake Menzel will also push for playing time this season.
Noack said the Wildcats will look to play an up-tempo offensive game while at the same time remaining methodical in their own zone.
“I think for the first time in a while our experience in tough situations will be one of our strengths. We have been in tight, important games and now realize that any mistake can be the one that changes the flow of the game.”