Men’s Hockey Picked Second In AHA Preseason Poll
WINTHROP, Mass. – The Atlantic Hockey Association released its 2019-20 Preseason Poll on Tuesday. The Purple Eagles, Atlantic Hockey runners-up a season ago, were picked to finish second with 78 points.
|Coaches’ Poll (first-place votes)|
Niagara retains nearly 87 percent of its scoring from a season ago, including one of the highest scoring freshman classes (50 G, 76 A) from the 2018-19 season. The team’s leading scorer from last year, Ludwig Stenlund (23 G, 19 A), returns after being named the runner-up for the Tim Taylor Award, given annually to the top rookie in the country.
Noah Delmas enters his fourth season in the purple and white with the captain’s “C” on his jersey after serving as an alternate captain as a junior. Delmas finished fourth among all defensemen in the nation in terms of both goals (15) and points (40) while pacing the Purple Eagles with 25 assists. Delmas was also invited to development camp with the Carolina Hurricanes in June. Stenlund and Eric Cooley also spent time with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders, respectively, over the summer.
Along with Delmas, Niagara’s senior class consists of Tyler Hayes, Ben Sokay, and Kris Spriggs, as well as Ryan Cook, a Lancaster, New York native who has transferred from Merrimack.
In addition to Cook, there will be eight more new faces to the team. Chad Veltri is the team’s addition to the goaltending corps. The defense has been bolstered by the arrivals of Scott Persson and Croix Evingson, with Evingson transferring from UMass Lowell. Incoming forwards include Ryan Naumovski, Jason Pineo, Brandon Stanley, and Walker Sommer. Sommer is the team’s third incoming transfer, having played his previous two seasons at Air Force. Jack Billings, who redshirted during the 2018-19 season after coming in from Salve Regina, will be eligible to play for the Purple Eagles this year.
Another new face to the program will be Jack Marchetta, who joined the team on September 14. Marchetta, a 7-year-old from Williamsville, New York, was brought into the team through Team IMPACT, an organization that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming lifelong bonds and life-changing outcomes. Marchetta was diagnosed with an immune dysfunction at birth and plays hockey and soccer to keep his health up.
The Purple Eagles host Ryerson in an exhibition match on October 5 at 4 p.m. The team will then open the regular season at Minnesota with games on October 18-19. Tickets for all home games are available on PurpleEagles.com.
The first round of the 2020 Atlantic Hockey playoffs begin on March 6, with the quarterfinal to open the following week on March 13. Four teams will then advance to the AHA semifinal and championship on March 20 and 21, which will once again be held at HarborCenter in Buffalo.