Yameen and Wile have both said the move to Division 1 was spurred by long-term visions for their respective programs. A losing season in Year 1 will not make the move a failure, as the idea is to build the programs into perennial Super Eight contenders.
While neither coach will say it, there is a possibility that the timing of the moves to Division 1 comes in transition years for both programs. Over the last two years, Triton graduated a slew of important role players from the team that won a CAL title in 2012. Newburyport entered this season with a loaded freshman class, but without a goaltender with a single minute of varsity experience.
“I can’t stand the word, ‘rebuild’,” Wile said. “I said coming in, we expect to produce. We have to produce better, and that responsibility falls on the players. We’re in position to win games, we need guys to step up and make plays.”
Both Newburyport and Triton struggled to put points on the board in December. Newburyport has been shutout in each of its last three games. Triton has scored a total of seven goals in its five games. On the bright side, the Vikings have outshot their opponent in four of their five games.
“We’ve been a little inconsistent,” Yameen said. “We’ve had a couple of losses where we played well enough to win, but we’re not scoring. We’re not going to panic now. This stuff happens, and we’ve been down this road before. We’ll work through it.”
Somewhat remarkably, Amesbury has been the class of the local teams, posting a 3-0-2 record just a few years removed from being a perennial bottom-feeder in the CAL. The Indians’ ascent to respectability has been swift and calculated under fourth-year coach Chris Kuchar, who in 2010 took over a program that had logged a cumulative record of 6-67-6 over the previous four seasons.