MANSFIELD, Mass. – The Southern New Hampshire University ice hockey team was selected to finish second in the Northeast-10 Conference this season, at the league office announced the results of its annual Preseason Coaches' Poll on Tuesday. The reigning champion Penmen totaled 32 points.
Saint Anselm College, the regular season champions from a season ago, finished atop the poll with 33 points and three first-place votes. The Penmen also received three first-place tallies, and finished ahead of Assumption College, which tallied 26 points. Saint Michael's College checked in behind the Greyhounds with 22 points and the remaining first-place vote, and Franklin Pierce University (14), Post University (13) and Stonehill College (7) rounded out the remainder of the poll.
Southern New Hampshire returns 20 letterwinners from last season's championship squad, including four All-Conference selections and four of its top five scorers. Graduate student Brett Strawn (Wareham, Mass.) returns after registering 23 points on nine goals and 14 assists en route to earning a place on the All-Northeast-10 First Team. Strawn is joined up front by sophomore Jake Cox (Columbus, Ga.), an All-Rookie Team honoree, who also eclipsed the 20-point plateau in 2018-19 with eight goals and 13 assists. Sophomore Joe Fiorino (Willow Grove, Pa.) was also an All-Rookie choice a year ago after scoring five goals and handing out 11 assists from his spot on the blue line. Senior Kurt Gutting (Weymouth, Mass.) will anchor an experienced Penmen backend, as the reigning Northeast-10 Goaltender of the Year returns for his final season between the pipes. Gutting posted an 11-5-4 mark as a junior that featured a .935 save percentage and 2.17 goals against average, and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2019 Northeast-10 Championship after stopping 62 shots in victories over Saint Michael's and Saint Anselm.
Sean Walsh, the 2019 Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year, returns for his third year behind the bench for Southern New Hampshire. In his first two seasons, Walsh has guided the Penmen to a 26-18-7 mark, its first NE10 Championship since 2013-14 and SNHU has posted back-to-back seasons above .500 for the first time in over a decade.
Southern New Hampshire kicks off its title defense on November 1 when it hosts Bryn Athyn College at the Ice Den for a 7:20 p.m. puck drop.
For the latest on Southern New Hampshire University athletics, follow the Penmen via social media on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. You can also sign up to receive text message alerts and e-mail newsletters about your favorite Penmen teams.