Salve Regina’s goal was to pick up where it left off.
The best part of the Seahawks’ season last year was the finish, a nice home stretch and a couple wins in the ECAC Northeast tournament that earned them a spot in the championship game against first-place Wentworth.
With just four players graduating off that team and a strong class of seven newcomers arriving, hopes were high that last year’s late-season run could be used as a springboard for this year.
So far, it has.
The Seahawks are off to their first-ever 3-0 start (1-0 ECAC Northeast), averaging 4.67 goals a game. The core of the team is back, and coach Andy Boschetto (Watertown, Mass.) is mixing in another strong incoming class, something that’s been his trademark since coming over from league rival Curry, where he was an assistant.
“We didn’t lose much at all,” said Boschetto, who is in his fourth season at Salve.
It’s been a pair of sophomore forwards leading the way early. Peter Gintoli (Monroe, Conn.) has two goals and three assists through three games, while Marc Biggs is at 1-4-5.
One player who hasn’t cracked the scoresheet but figures to soon is another sophomore, defenseman Lucas Sousa (Billerica, Mass.), whose strong, two-way game landed him on the All-Rookie team in the ECAC Northeast a year ago.
“Sousa’s very dynamic,” said Boschetto. “He’s very good with the puck, a very good skater, a lot of offense from the ‘D’ position. He’ll turn nothing into something very quickly.”
Like last year’s freshman class, this new class figures to make an immediate impact, too. Jake Williams, a transfer from Division 1 Mercyhurst, has played two of the first three games in goal, posting a .902 save percentage. Forward Justin Jones, the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, is a transfer from Division 1 Denver.
Without a rink on their Newport, R.I., campus, the Seahawks practice and play up Route 114 at Portsmouth Abbey.
Start notwithstanding, the Seahawks should know more about their place in the New England hierarchy after the next three weeks.
They have a big league game tonight, facing off against two-time defending champion Wentworth at Tsongas Arena in Lowell. Three more league games follow, and then a road weekend against a pair of NESCAC foes, Trinity and Wesleyan.
Player of the Week
Bart Moran, fr., F, Castleton State
The freshman collected two goals and three assists as the Spartans swept Southern Maine (4-2) and the University of New England (5-4) over the weekend to open their first season under new coach Steve Moffat.
Game of the Week
Bowdoin at Middlebury, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Due to construction around its new field house, Middlebury isn’t charging admission to hockey games this winter. Watching a NESCAC season open with a game between present and past powers: priceless.
NEHJ Division 3 Power Rankings
1. Bowdoin (0-0, 0-0 NESCAC)
Polar Bears jump right into the league fire, opening slate with games at Middlebury and Williams this weekend.
2. Babson (3-0, 2-0 ECAC East)
Beavers have allowed just two goals in three games this season.
3. Norwich (2-0, 1-0 ECAC East)
Cadets’ only action this weekend was a dominant, 5-0 win at St. Michael’s that saw them hold a 51-4 edge in shots.
4. Williams (0-0, 0-0 NESCAC)
Ephmen are home for their first two, against Colby and Bowdoin Saturday and Sunday.
5. UMass-Boston (2-1, 1-1 ECAC East)
Travis Daniel’s OT winner to beat St. Anselm Saturday salvaged a weekend split for the Beacons.
6. Amherst (0-0, 0-0 NESCAC)
Lord Jeffs open with a home-and-home against Hamilton Friday and Saturday.
7. Salem State (1-0, 0-0 MASCAC)
Chad Goodwin’s strike in the opening minute of OT completed a come-from-behind, 2-1 win against Wentworth.
8. Middlebury (0-0, 0-0
Bowdoin and Colby come to Kenyon Arena Saturday and Sunday as the Panthers get things started.
9. Nichols (2-0)
Sophomore goalie Alex Larson made 37 saves in 2-0 shutout win over Curry Saturday.
10. Salve Regina (3-0, 1-0 ECAC
Seahawks will put the program’s first 3-0 record on the line Tuesday against Wentworth.