The SNHU hockey team faces off against St. Anselm College (image courtesy: Jack Drolet)

The past four years have been a whirlwind for the SNHU Hockey Team. From winning the NE-10 Championship during the 2018-2019 season to not making the playoffs the next season, these Penmen are looking to get back on track after their 2020-2021 season was canceled. As of December 3, the Penmen are 5-0 in the conference and 6-3 overall.

George Thurston (’23) has his goals for the remainder of this season, but there is one thing that he has his mind set on.

“[This season] is all about winning as many games as possible,” said Thurston. “My freshman year we didn’t get into playoffs, so I am hoping we can get into playoffs this year. Individually, I want to do whatever I need to do to help the team. Whether it’s offensively or defensively, I just want to impact the game whenever I can.”

The junior forward has three times more goals than anyone else on the team, but he gives all the credit to his teammates.

“My teammates helped me out a lot and found me in the right areas. I don’t really pay attention to [the goals] much because I am more focused on winning,” said Thurston.

Off the ice, Thurston points out his team’s chemistry and the connections that he has made with his teammates.

“We’re all different characters; we have guys from everywhere. We have a guy from Sweden, a couple kids from Georgia, a kid from Iowa, so we’re coming from all over the world. We all mesh together because we’re so different,” said Thurston. “We are a very tight-knit group; I think that’s our best trait.”

Head coach Sean Walsh believes his seniors are crucial to the success of the team.

“The seniors deserve a lot of credit for taking in the freshmen and the sophomores who haven’t been on campus. They’ve gotten everyone on the same page which has been a huge factor of success. They are hungry and we have gotten off to a decent start. Our leadership has been very good so far and the enthusiasm to come to the rink every day has been there, so that’s a huge plus,” said Walsh.

In the NE-10, there is never a lack of competition, but Thurston believes that there are two teams who will bring out the best of them.

“There’s a lot of good teams this season. St. Anselm always get skilled players because they have a nice facility. Saint Michael’s is going to be good this year, so they are also going to be big competition,” said Thurston.

Walsh isn’t one to look too far ahead and emphasizes the importance of living in the present.

“What we’ve done so far is good, but we need to continue to get better off of what we’ve laid down so far,” said Walsh. “Our focus right now is taking it one game at a time.”

When you have a group of athletes who work well together, the job as a coach is much easier.

“They are a super close group, they are competitive, and they want to win. They show it in practice and it’s contagious. It is a lot easier to go into a game when you have each other’s backs,” said Walsh.

Adversity is always present in sports, but how it is dealt with is crucial to team success.

“I’m excited to see where the season takes us as far as adversity and how we overcome it,” said Thurston. “Not everything is going to go smooth in a season and there’s going to be bad times, but do we crumble or pick each other up?”