The Boxford native is a big body that can play as physical as necessary and is an intimidating force. Cashin has that rare combination of size and speed that makes him equally effective against both the bruising power forwards and the speedsters like Minter and Bucci.
“(Cashin’s) a grinder,” noted Bucci. “He’s big and strong and for a big guy he can really move. It’s hard to get by him in the corners.”
Salem State will need all three North Shore guys on top of their games tonight against Norwich (19-6-3), which has been one of the top Division 3 hockey programs in the country for nearly two decades. But in the NCAA tournament, everyone is good and the Vikings are no exception.
“We’re excited to play them and try and make a name for ourselves,” said Cashin. “Every week we’re figuring something new out about our team. It’s all come together at the end of the season — and that’s what you need.”
Outside of O’Neill, the Vikings have no NCAA experience and will be going against a team in Norwich that is loaded with guys who’ve been there before (this is the Cadets’ fifth straight year in the posteason). However, Salem State is no stranger to the big stage, having played in the Frozen Fenway Classic this winter against UMass Boston. The Beacons defeated SSU 4-2 and are one of the common opponents that both Norwich and the Vikings played this season. Norwich split with the Beacons and is coming off a loss to Babson in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship. Babson downed Salem State, 4-1, but it was early in the season and the Vikings have grown a lot since then.
“It’s been a little hectic. We’re going in with the mindset like we’ve got nothing to lose,” said Bucci. “People are doubting us, but we have a team that can make a big run. I’m confident we can get by Norwich if we put in a full 60-minute effort. And a little luck. helps.”