Defending champion Plymouth State again will enter the season with the target on its back. That’s become an annual burden.
But its closest pursuers might not be looking at a huge gap.
“The whole league should be pretty exciting this year,” said Westfield State coach Bob Miele. “There were a lot of good seniors on every team, so it should be an interesting year.”
Plymouth (17-8-3) got its March breakthrough last season, defeating upstart Salem State (10-17-1) in the championship game, 3-0, before bowing out of the NCAA tournament in the first round at Hobart.
But the Panthers graduated five of their top seven players, some of whom were dynamic playmakers, as well as goalie Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.). Leading them into the new season is standout defenseman Victor Bergstrom (9-13-22), who is a two-way threat on the blue line and should again be one of the league’s top players.