The Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Men’s Ice Hockey Team is nearing its final games of the 2018-2019 season. The Penmen’s season ending games are today, February 15, and tomorrow, February 16, against Saint Anselm College.
The Penmen will face off against Saint Anselm tonight at 7:10 p.m. at the Ice Den in Hooksett, before traveling to the Sullivan Arena on the Saint Anselm campus in Manchester at 4 p.m. tomorrow.
SNHU will have the chance to earn Queen City Cup points during this weekend’s games, and fans will have the opportunity to win $25,000 during tonight’s game when SNHU Athletics hosts a rapid-fire contest during second intermission.
The team suffered three consecutive losses to Saint Anselm last season, including a detrimental semifinal loss in the NE10 playoffs. Saint Anselm proceeded to capture the NE10 crown.
The same story might hold true this year. The Penmen and Saint Anselm faced off for the first time since last season in early November, and Saint Anselm proved victorious once again in a tight 5-4 win over the Penmen.
SNHU Head Coach Sean Walsh is determined to snap this losing streak. He is training his players and implementing new strategies to ensure a win this weekend.
“I think [Saint Anselm] is a good team,” said Walsh. “But we’re good too. We’ve had some huge wins over DI schools like UMass Boston. We can beat them too, as long as the team I know and trained shows up.”
The biggest challenge Walsh stated when facing Saint Anselm is “the man in the mirror.”
“We have the capability to win or lose to anyone in the country,” Walsh said. “We have to play the same way we have been all season, plus a few techniques here and there, and not let them get to us. We have 13 super talented new players on our team, and them combined with our upperclassman puts us in a good spot.”
Last weekend, the Penmen split with Stonehill College. They lost 4-2 in the first game, but came roaring back in the second to win 4-0, during which Goaltender Kurt Gutting (’20) recorded his first career shutout.
“It was well overdue,” said Walsh about Gutting’s first career shutout. “There’s been a couple situations in the last two years where there’d be an unfortunate bounce from the other team in the last two minutes to cost him a shutout, so this was well overdue.”
Gutting holds a .936 save percent average and a 2.15 goals against average. Since the start of the season, he has compiled 526 total saves.
Gutting was named the Northeast-10 Goalie of the Week Tuesday, February 12, for his strong performance in last weekend’s games. This was the third time he received this recognition this season.
“He’s been great for us,” said Walsh. “Every time he plays, he plays to win.”
Gutting will start in this weekend’s games against Saint Anselm. His shutout during last Saturday’s win over Stonehill is a positive predictor of how this weekend’s games will pan out.
Come support the Penmen on their quest to defeat Saint Anselm at the Ice Den tonight. After this weekend, the Penmen will wait to hear their seeding for the NE10 playoffs.