O’Neill said his team was in high spirits Monday and yesterday at practice after winning the conference championship on Saturday at the Rockett Arena.
The Vikings are led by senior Eric Defelice, who has 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points. Freshman Alex Minter of Peabody is right behind with 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points. Senior goalie Ryan Sutliffe has a 14-5-2 record this season to go with a 2.58 goals-against average.
All season long Salem State has had balanced scoring and played outstanding defense in front of Sutliffe. Two local players contributing are sophomore forward Andrew Bucci of Peabody and sophomore defenseman Keaton Cashin of Boxford.
Norwich head coach Mike McShane, who is originally from Wakefield, has been behind the Cadets’ bench for 19 years and has had several outstanding teams. Their leading scorer is Travis Janke (14 goals, 21 assists) while Shane Gorman has 29 points. Goalies Chris Czarnota (9-3-1) and Matic Marinsek (8-3-2) alternate in net.
“We’ve had tremendous support and well wishes from the Salem State community and the administration,” O’Neill said. “Winning our conference is a big deal — and it’s a great feeling to be going on.”