BOSTON – After its 2017 opener versus Franklin Pierce was postponed due to winter weather, the Suffolk men's hockey team will put its skates on the ice for the first competition of the New Year Thursday, Jan. 19 when the Rams visit Johnson & Wales. The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) contest is set for a 6:55 p.m. puck drop.
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LAST TIME OUT
In its first semester finale, the Suffolk men's hockey team came back from a four-goal deficit and forced overtime versus Salem State. During the extra session the Rams could not find the back of the net and held off the Vikings to end the non-league game in a 4-4 stalemate Dec. 8 at Rockett Ice Arena.
MORE READING: Men's Hockey's Comeback Ends in 4-4 Tie at Salem State
RUNDOWN ON THE RAMS
Suffolk had an up-and-down first semester that saw the Rams go 3-7-4 overall.
The blue-and-gold is potting 2.57 goals per game with Tommy Bishop's five scores leading the way. The sophomore forward also paces the pack in points with 13 on a team-high eight handouts. Senior Danyil Medvedev is second on the squad in points with nine on four goals and five assists with sophomore Justin Holliday (5-3-8) also adding an offensive spark for Suffolk.
In net, Michael Levine has seen the majority of the action, playing 11 games and starting 10. The sophomore goalie has made 314 stops (.897) and allowed 36 goals (3.71 GAA) for a 2-3-3 ledger. In six appearances Kevin Venturoso has built a .913 save percentage (115) and 3.26 goals-against average (11). Rookie Will Ribas rounds out the three-headed Rams netminder tangent with the freshman saving 37 pucks, letting in six goals in three appearances.
Johnson & Wales has split its 2017 action including its most recent outing a 4-0 setback at Fredonia to bring a 5-8-2 overall ledger and 1-6-1 conference mark into Thursday night.
The Wildcats 2.80 goals per contest is bolstered by a threesome of skaters with double figure points. Connor bates leads the way with 13 points on six scores and seven handouts. Fran Mackin is second on the squad in points (12), but paces the pack in goals with eight to go along with four assists. Ben Brouillard rounds out the double digit point earns thanks to a team-best eight assists and three tallies for 11 points.
In net, three different netminders have seen action. Joey Ballmer is the most consistent figure between the pipes for JWU with the senior goalie owning a 4-7-2 mark with a .910 save percentage and 2.84 goals against average. Tyler Ellor picked up the Wildcats other victory and boasts a .852 save percentage and 3.75 connection rate, while Antony Giordano rounds out the goalies with a .500 save percentage and 5.36 GAA.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Suffolk and Johnson & Wales will meet for the 28th time since 1999 Thursday night. The Rams trail the all-time series, 3-21-2, with both meetings a year ago going to the Wildcats.
Thursday, Jan. 5 will go inside Suffolk men's hockey record books as the Rams took the ice at legendary Fenway Park apart of the Capital One Frozen Fenway 2017.
MORE READING: Men's Hockey Holds Intersquad Scrimmage at Frozen Fenway
Luke Miller's first goal of the season came in short-handed fashion at Western New England Nov. 10. The junior forward is the first Ram to net a man-down score since Justin Selep '16 put one away in a 5-2 win at Nichols Jan. 16, 2016.
CCC FROZEN FIRST
Simon Leahy's first goal of the season turned out to be a historic one as the senior from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the first player across the CCC to find the back of the netting on the inaugural night of play for the first-year league. Since the tally was on the power play, he added to the historics, as the forward also became the first CCC skater to put one away on the man advantage opportunity.
CCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tommy Bishop of the Suffolk men's hockey team will go down in history as the first-ever Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Player of the Week as the sophomore grabbed the initial award of the inaugural season after a career opening night, the conference office announced Oct. 31.
MORE READING: Bishop Grabs First-Ever CCC Player of the Week Nod
Suffolk remains on the Road Saturday, Jan. 21 as it pays Becker a visit for a 8:30 p.m. showdown.