WORCESTER, Mass. – After clinching a spot in the Northeast 10 Conference Tournament for the fifth straight year, the Assumption men's ice hockey team looks to clinch its second championship appearance in the last three years when the fourth-seeded Hounds face top-seeded Saint Anselm on Saturday, February 23, at 1 p.m.
Last Time Out: Assumption
The Hounds lost 3-2 to the Post Eagles in their regular season finale back on February 16. Matt Damelio (Rochester, N.Y. / Northwood (Prep)) scored the first goal of the game while on the power play and defenseman David Belbin (Shrewsbury, Mass. / Boston Jr. Bruins (USPHL Elite)) scored his first goal of the season to tie the game at two. David Zulauf (Rochester, Mich. / Bridgton Academy (Prep)) made 36 saves on 39 shots against the Eagles as well.
Assumption has played to a 1.25 goals against average and a .953 save percentage in their last four contests thanks to some great goaltending from three different goalies. David Altman (Bristol, R.I. / Northern Cyclones (EHL)) made 20 saves in a 1-0 overtime loss to Worcester St., while Drew Benedict (Cooper City, Fla. / Cushing Academy) had a 35-save shutout against Post in his first collegiate game. Zulauf played to a .930 save percentage during that span, making starts against Saint Anselm and Post.
The Hounds enters the playoffs with a 2-2-1 record in their last five regular season games as well as a 2-1-2 record in their last five NE10 matchups. Assumption averages 3.08 goals per game and allows only 2.3 goals per game, second lowest in the conference. They lead the conference in penalty kill percentage (85.2%) as well as short-handed goals (eight). Damelio leads the team with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists), good enough for fifth best in the conference. Robert Holyoke (Middleboro, Mass. / South Shore Kings (USPHL Premier)) leads the team with 12 goals, only one goal away from leading the NE10 conference. John Pigott (Arlington, Mass. / Tilton School (Prep)) has played well as of late, netting two goals and three assists in his last five games.
Last Time Out: Saint Anselm
The Hawks earned the top-seed after going 10-4-1 in NE10 play, good enough for 21 points, and 15-12-2 overall this season. They lost to Southern N.H. 3-1 in their regular season finale, where Bryan Green scored the lone goal and Colin Soucy made 22 saves on 25 shots in net.
Scouting Saint Anselm
Saint Anselm enters the matchup after going 3-1-1 in their final five regular season and conference games. The Hawks average 3.07 goals per game and allow 2.81 goals per game. The team is 20% while on the power play and 84.7% on the penalty kill. Saint Anselm's Mike Ferraro leads the conference with 13 goals and has 18 points on the year. He has four goals in his last four games, including two in a 7-3 win over Franklin Pierce on February 8. It was the second time this season Ferraro had scored that many goals in a similar span, netting four goals in four games from January 5-18. Sean Verrier leads the team with 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists), while Soucy has played to a 13-11-2 record in 26 games in net. He sports a 2.81 goals against average and .896 save percentage.
The two teams were 1-1-1 in three games against each other this season. They tied 2-2 the last time they faced, while Assumption won 2-1 before that and Saint Anselm won 5-1 the first time they met this season. The Hawks hold a 28-5-2 advantage all-time against the Hounds.
What's At Stake
The winner of Saturday's contest moves on to the championship game, which will take place on Saturday, March 2. Winner will face the winner of No. 2 Southern N.H. and No. 3 Saint Michael's, who faceoff this Saturday at 1 p.m. as well.