Senior captain Peter Roundy and the Skyhawks will be looking to pick up right where they left off last semester when they open the second half of their season at Westfield State on Thursday night.
COLLEGE NOTES: Stonehill men look to pick up where they left off on ice
Stonehill men return to action after six-week hockey break
By Jim Fenton
The Stonehill College hockey team ended the first semester riding high with a five-game winning streak.
The Skyhawks put together back-to-back shutouts for the first time in program history, defeated UMass-Dartmouth for the first time ever to end a 41-game losing streak against the Corsairs and had a winning record in the first half for the first time ever.
Then came a 43-day gap in the schedule for final exams and the semester break, leaving Stonehill on hold since a 2-1 victory over Salve Regina back on Dec. 9.
On Thursday night, the Skyhawks finally return to the ice, traveling to Westfield State College, looking build on what they did in November and December.
"That's our hope, to pick up where we left off,'' said third-year head coach Garry Hebert. "We've talked about that at practice this week. We need to possess a focus regarding what we did to be successful.
"(The long break) is not ideal, but we have managed over the last few years to parlay that break and make it a positive. It's a chance to heal and get healthy and have more energy. Right now, there is a lot of zip and snap in our legs and a lot of eagerness.''
Sophomore Tyler Jackson leads the NE-10 in GAA, save percentage and shutouts.
Stonehill, which struggled with injuries in the opening days of the season, was 2-6-1 in its first nine games, but is now 7-6-1, thanks to its winning streak.
"This team never lost faith,'' said Hebert. "We had some real serious injuries, but they were playing hard. The coaching staff loved what we were seeing, and we just had to weather the storm. There was one game (an 8-6 loss to Nichols) where we had five of our best forwards and two of our best defensemen out. We were staying right in games. We were doing it with tape and glue.''
Defense was the key to Stonehill's late first-semester surge with sophomore goaltender Tyler Jackson (5-2, 2.00 goals against average) leading the way.
Stonehill allowed just four goals in its five-game winning streak, and Jackson shut out Southern New Hampshire and Worcester State in back-to-back games. He earned a mention in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd'' section.
"Our team defense was tenacious, and Tyler just caught fire,'' said Hebert. "He played great. He's the type of goalie who is very efficient. He lets the puck hit him. He doesn't get overdramatic.''
Junior Eric Scholl has been a leader for the Skyhawks on defense.
Junior Eric Scholl, sophomore Matt Doherty and freshmen Shawn Unis, Tyler Gordon and Min Seong Kim lead the defense.
Senior captain Peter Roundy leads the offense with five goals and 10 assists, playing on a line with Angelo Todesca (four goals) and Chris Rogers (one goals, five assists).
"Peter is the best all-around player in the Northeast-10, unquestionably'' said Hebert. "He's just one of the most complete, two-way players you'll ever see.''
The second line consists of center Andrew Diozzi (eight goals), Pat Greene (four goals, seven assists) and Zachary Cantin (two goals, seven assists), while three freshmen are manning the third line, including Coyle-Cassidy graduate Dana Borges of Taunton (one goal, five assists), George DeMello (six goals) and Christopher Gorovitz (four goals, two assists).
Stonehill, which plays its first home game of the second semester on Jan. 28 in Foxboro against Wentworth, has 10 freshmen and only four seniors on the roster.
"The learning curve of this team was accelerated with all the freshmen, and the leadership of the four seniors has been truly impressive,'' said Hebert.