Willliamstown, MA–The Williams College men's hockey is gearing up for another competitive season after a record breaking season last year. The Ephs finished the 2015-16 regular season 19-6-2 record, with the 19 wins setting a school record for wins in a season. Williams also finished first in NESCAC in in the regualr season, finishing with a 14-2-2 record, and qualified for a program first NCAA tournament. The Ephs won their first round game at home versus Salem State before coming up short in the quarterfinals at SUNY Geneseo.
"That was last year; the experience was great but we're going to focus on putting in the effort for this year," head coach Bill Kangas said about the upcoming season. "The team is working hard daily. Our first-years are adjusting well and acclimating to the college game. All of our players understand how important it is to improve daily, and each one serving as a positive role model, encouraging each other both on and off the ice."
The Ephs will return 19 out of the 24 players on last year's roster, including nine out of their top ten point contributors, and a stellar and stingy team defense that led the nation with a goals against average of 1.69 per game. Eight first-years have been added to this year's lineup.
Returning net-minder, sophomore, Michael Pinios, boasted a 93.9 save percentage and a 1.61 goals against average last year. Junior, Stephen Morrissey and first-year, Jake Pelton will be competing for time in the net.
First-years Max Fuld, Peter Christie, Derrick Spencer and Wilson McCloy join veteran, experienced and two-way playing defensemen seniors Frankie Mork, Sam Gray, James McNamara, and Taylor Carmola. Sophomores, Keanu Hilaire and Connor Meike round out the defensive group.
Up front, the team will look to it's nine upper classmen to serve as defensive leaders and point leaders, building on their 195 points (77 goals, 118 assists) and their 19.8% power play success last winter. They include seniors Tyler Young, George Hunkele, Luke Stickel, Alex Hagerty and juniors Colby Cretella, Dan Doherty, David Italiano, Joe Welch and C.J. Shugart. Sophomores Roberto Cellini and Marcus Mollica will look to help the upper classmen improve last year's offense and help encourage first-year forwards, Evan Johnson, Will Somers and Wyatt Glover.
"The leadership on this team is tremendous; the captains (Tyler Young and Sam Gray), assistant captains (George Hunkele and Colby Cretella) and seniors, in the way they carry themselves, will help to ensure that the team's culture remains focused and positive," Kangas said. "They're all very driven and they've all embraced their role, and it really feeds off onto the other players on the team."
The team will begins their season this weekend with two conference away games against Bowdoin (Friday, November 18, 7p) and Colby (Saturday, November 19, 3p.) After a Thanksgiving away contest at Babson on Saturday, November 26, 4p, the Ephs will return home for four consecutive conference games against Tufts, Connecticut College, Amherst, and Hamilton. After a brief trip home for the holiday's, the team will return to the ice and play in the Northfield Savings Bank Holiday Tournament hosted by Norwich University on December 30-31, competing against SUNY Oswego on December 30. Last year, the team was 11-2-1 at home, 7-3-1 on the road and 1-1-0 at a neutral site.
"Our team's daily focus will be on improving on the little things," Kangas said looking forward. "We want to get quicker and sharper in all aspects of our game."