By Scott Jarosz ’21
The Providence College Men’s Hockey Team is ready to jump back into action for the 2019-2020 season after enjoying much success in its previous campaign. The 2018-2019 season was certainly one to remember for the Friars, as they made a deep playoff run which ultimately came to an end at the Frozen Four in Buffalo, NY. PC’s impressive playoff run was cut short in the semifinals of the Frozen Four with a 4-1 loss to no. 1-ranked University of Minnesota-Duluth, who would go on to win the 2019 National Championship over the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Although a loss in the Frozen Four was certainly not the way the team and its fans would have liked the season to end, it was certainly not a reflection of the success that PC enjoyed throughout the entirety of the season.
PC finished with a record of 24-12-6, which consisted of wins over multiple ranked teams including an upset postseason wins over no. 3-ranked Minnesota State University, Mankato and no. 10-ranked Cornell University. These underdog wins are certainly something that PC will look back on and use to build momentum heading into the new season.
The Friars graduated six seniors last season, but are returning a core group of talented leaders that the younger players can look up to for guidance.
Key returning players for this year’s team include newly announced captains Michael Callahan ’22 and Spenser Young ’20, both of whom made significant contributions to the team’s success last season and showed promising leadership abilities. The presence of these experienced returning players helped PC get voted third-place in the Hockey East preseason coaches poll behind only Boston College and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
In addition to the core returning group that will look to guide this year’s team, PC also boasts an impressive freshman class of 11 players that look to fill the gaps left by the graduating class. Another addition to the team will look to fill the place of former goaltender Hayden Hawkey ’19.
Michael Lackey ’19 GS will take on the starting goalie position this season. Lackey played four years at Harvard University prior to joining the team at PC.
Lackey started six games his first year for the Crimson and earned accolades such as Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week. Lackey was unable to play his second season due to an injury but returned for his third season and made 10 total appearances.
During this third season, Lackey had multiple memorable performances including 41 saves against Quinnipiac University and recording his first career shutout against Saint Lawrence University.
In his fourth and final season at Harvard University, Lackey stepped into the starting goaltender role and did not disappoint. In the 26 games that he started in net for the Crimson, he boasted a .918 save percentage, was recognized as the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week for the week of Jan. 14, and was a semifinalist for the Walter Brown Award, which recognizes the best American-born Division I College Hockey Player in New England. Lackey also participated in the Buffalo Sabres Development Camp before making the move to PC. With a core group of returning players, a strong incoming class, and Lackey taking over as the starting goaltender for PC, the team took the ice on Oct. 5 for its opening game against the University of Maine with high expectations.
PC, sporting new gray uniforms, kicked off the 2019-2020 campaign and did not waste any time against the visiting Black Bears of the University of Maine.
After two early penalties against UM, PC had a five on three opportunity early on and took full advantage of it.
Just 2:23 into the opening period, Vimal Sukumaran ’20 notched the 25th goal of his college career as he knocked a rebounded puck into the back of the net to give PC the 1-0 lead.
PC did not slow down from this point, as just a few minutes later, Jack Dugan ’22 ripped a shot past UM’s goaltender on a swift assist from Greg Printz ’21 to double the lead to 2-0. Printz continued the scoring for PC into the second period as he tapped home an assist from Parker Ford ’23 and Dugan to make it 3-0. Tyce Thompson ’22 also got on the score sheet in the second period with a hard shot that slipped by UM’s goaltender. Printz would go on to score an additional three goals for PC in the third period for a total of four goals in the game, and the Friars would go on to win by a score of 7-0.
PC’s triumph over of a reputable University of Maine team provides a good indication of the level of talent that this year’s team possesses in all facets, and there is good reason to believe that PC will look to bring the positive takeaways from this game to its next contest against the College of the Holy Cross on Friday, October 11 and throughout the season.