The NEC men’s ice hockey team finished the 2018-2019 season with an overall record of 16-5-5, a NEHC record of 9-4-5, and an unfortunate quarterfinal loss to Hobart.
“As they are every year our team expectations are to win the NEHC,” said Assistant Coach Travis Banga. “It is a great challenge as we feel we have the strongest conference in division III.”
The Pilgrims started the season 2-3-1 through six conference games. However, they bounced back after Christmas break with a dominant performance in the Boston Landing Collegiate Invitational, with a 4-1 win over Nichols and a 10-1 win over Lebanon Valley College.
This triumph was a part of a 16-game unbeaten streak, which spanned from November 17th, 2018 to February 8th, 2019, before falling to eventual conference champions, Norwich.
“It was a total team effort that contributed to the streak. Every game we had different players step up and contribute,” said Coach Banga. “We bought in as a team and played unselfish to do what was needed.”
Some of these victories included a 3-2 win over UMass-Boston and a 3-0 win over Skidmore.
“Our team had gone on quite the winning streak and found a lot of home ice success that we’d love to carry over into the 2019-2020 season,” said freshman defenseman Joshua Chamberlain. “We faced some struggles on the road early in the season that were very winnable games, so heading into next season we’d like to improve our record on the road.”
Fellow freshman defenseman, Connor Dunn, echoed the same sentiment of wanting to improve on the road next season, noting that the team has a “strong group of returners” and will enter next “season with a chip on our shoulder from a first-round loss.”
As the returners look forward to working towards next season, freshman forward Connor Inger stated he personally wants to come back “more prepared” to help add to the offense. Departing senior, Connor Fries, wants the team to remember that success will not come easy in their conference.
“You have to work and battle each day whether it’s in practice or a game. To be a winning team you have to not only push yourself but push your teammates day in and day out, nothing is handed to you,” said Fries.
Junior goaltender, Anthony Pupplo, was solid in the net throughout the season for the Pilgrims. Leaving the 2018-2019 season behind, Pupplo had this to say: “Thank you to everyone who supported us throughout the season. Your passion and steadfast dedication created an exciting atmosphere in which to play and greatly contributed to our success, especially at the Lee Clement Arena. For graduating players, I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, whether it be in hockey or in life. Your commitment to the game and to New England College is admirable, and makes me proud to be a Pilgrim.”