With the first week of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) play in the books, Suffolk University men’s ice hockey team had multiple players recognized for superb performances. Freshman forward Matt Bucher took home CCC Rookie of the Week, while junior Michael Levine was awarded Goaltender of the Week.
In a recent interview with The Suffolk Journal, head coach Chris Glionna said that he was proud of both players, but the strong performances this early on in the season did not come as a surprise to him.
“We had high expectations for both players,” said Glionna. “I was very proud to see both players recognized for the way they played.”
Bucher said to The Journal how he was satisfied with being recognized for his stellar performance in the team’s first win against Assumption College on Oct. 28.
It was a busy night for the finance major, in which he took matters into his own hands on the offensive end. Bucher scored the first of his two unassisted goals just 3:47 into the game and the second 10:28 into the second period, increasing the Ram’s lead to a 4-0 spread at that time.
“It is an honor to be recognized as player of the week,” said Bucher. “I’m just happy I was able to contribute to the first win of the year.”
In Bucher’s first season with the Rams, he is still adjusting to the college style of play. He told The Journal that as the season moves along, his goal is to do whatever it takes for the team to continue to win games.
“The biggest adjustment has been to the speed and physicality of the college game,” said Bucher. “I think the key to continued success is working hard and doing whatever I can to help the team win games.”
Another key to the first big win of the season for the Rams was the 37 saves Levine was able to make against the Assumption offense. Playing all 60 minutes in the season opener, he held off the Greyhounds attack for most of the game. He was close to perfect through the first two periods, until his shutout was spoiled with a goal late in the second by Assumption forward Tommy Mahoney. At the end of the night, Levine allowed just two goals as he puzzled the opposition helping the Rams secure the 5-2 victory.
Forward Brendan Heinze spoke with The Journal and discussed just how reliable he and the rest of the team feels when Levine is in net.
“We know that with [Levine], he will make the saves we need him to make and keep us in any game,” said Heinze.
Glionna also said that this was an important way for Levine to start off the year for the Rams. Coach said he sees a tremendous amount of potential in his junior goaltender for the season ahead after his impressive game one showing.
Levine did not respond to correspondence from The Journal, as of Wednesday morning.
“I feel like [Levine] had a bit of a down sophomore year and to see him rebound has been great,” said Glionna. “[Levine] has the tools to be a top goalie in the conference.”
Heinze also said that the team embraced the awards that the two Rams won, and they were proud to see that Levine and Bucher’s hard work paid off. He felt they played an important role, not only in helping the team win their first game, but setting a positive tone in the locker room.
“I think it’s a well deserved honor, [Levine] and [Bucher] both had great games and helped us get a big season opening win,” said Heinze. “Both of them are hard working guys, they show up and work hard day in and day out, it’s contagious.”
After the first week, the Rams were able to log their first win and get a glimpse of potential leaders on their roster. The team’s record is currently 1-2 as they dropped their last two matchups vs. Nichols College, but coach Glionna said that he is optimistic that his squad will get back to the way they played in game one.
“I am hoping they continue to progress like we believe they will,” said Glionna. “Our team success is based on how hard we work.”