Men's Ice Hockey Gears Up for 2019-20 Season

Men's Ice Hockey Gears Up for 2019-20 Season

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Johnson & Wales Men's Ice Hockey team found themselves in the midst of a learning curve during the 2018-19 season. Participating in one of the strongest conferences in the country, JWU battled through their New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) schedule learning that toughness and precision is key to survival.  Now, the 2019-2020 season opens with the Wildcats in flux as new head coach Eric Graham will look to guide the crew through the choppy waters of the NEHC.  Graham, recently an assistant coach at Bowdoin, will look to implement his system to allow the Wildcats to change the conversation in the conference.  JWU opens up their first home match on Friday when they entertain the Post University Eagles at the Lynch Arena / Blackstone Valley Sports Center in Pawtucket, R.I. with a 7 p.m. start.

Johnson & Wales posted a 4-18-3 overall record in 2018-19 with a 2-13-2 record in the NEHC. The conference sent three schools to the NCAA tournament that year which included the conference champion and NCAA runner-up Norwich University, NCAA semi-finalist Hobart College, and University of Massachusetts Boston. In the recent coach's poll released on October 23rd, the Wildcats were picked 10th for the 19-20 campaign.

 Full NEHC Preseason Coaches' Poll

Full NEHC Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. Norwich University (6) 95
2. Hobart College (2) 88
3. University of Massachusetts Boston (1) 76
4. Babson College 74
5. Skidmore College (1) 59
6. New England College 56
7. Suffolk University 36
8. University of Southern Maine 30
9. Castleton University 25
10. Johnson & Wales University 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connor Bechtel, the senior from Doylestown, P.A. led the Wildcats in scoring in the previous campaign and will take to the ice again in '19-'20.  Bechtel amassed ten goals and ten assists last year for his team leading twenty points.  He'll be joined by Anthony Scarcella, a junior from Providence, R.I. and Craig Hessenius, a junior from Brookfield, C.T.  Scarcella was second in the conference in power play goals with three while Hessenius was tied for second in shorthanded goals.  Mike Rockwell, Jr. returns to play between the pipes for JWU.  Rockwell finished fifth in saves in the conference and had a career high 58 saves against Babson last year.

This season the Wildcats have nine first year players on the roster along with nine sophomores making this JWU team young and eager to tackle the mountain that is the New England Hockey Conference. With upperclassmen playing pivotal roles under a new coach the Wildcats look to be the upstart team in an always tough NEHC.