Huskies hockey team still optimistic, despite difficult season

Photos by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
Posted 2/13/24

Sometimes season’s go south before they even get started. It can happen in the blink of an eye. This season the Huskies saw it coming. It’s been the same for the Mt. Hope/East Providence …

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Huskies hockey team still optimistic, despite difficult season


Sometimes season’s go south before they even get started. It can happen in the blink of an eye. This season the Huskies saw it coming. It’s been the same for the Mt. Hope/East Providence hockey team the past few years. The Huskies dropped a pair of games over the weekend to fall to 1-14. They lost to South Kingstown/Westerly 9-0 on Friday and fell to Narragansett/Chariho on Saturday 11-3 on Saturday. Both games were played at URI’s Boss Arena. That was the bad.

The good part, was that senior winger Ryan Travassos and freshman Logan Amaral both of East Providence, each scored goals in Saturday’s game. For Travassos, it was the first and second goals of his career. Travassos was subbing in a few times a period before an injury to freshman winger Gavin Avila forced him into full time action. His play improved quickly, which led to him tipping in a pair of goals on Saturday night. Amaral also shot one into the back of the net for the Huskies, who have lost 11 straight games since beating Coventry on Dec. 17th.

The Huskies began the season with just 15 players. The low number recently got worse when sophomore defenseman Keigan Grant and Avila were loss to Injuries. Still the pesky Huskies have kept their optimistic attitude and are improving every week thanks to strong leadership from the new coaching staff and team captains, senior Lucas “Tiny” Saveory and junior Quinn Frawley. The captains just don’t lead the team on the ice, they drive many of their teammates to practice too.

“On paper we haven’t had the best year,” Saveory said. “But we are making the most out of it and still having fun. We play our hearts out every game and give it our all.”

“From day one it was obvious that they had the respect of their teammates,” said coach Cam Rancourt. “When they talk in the locker room, the team listens. Coaches feel that those two are the guys that we can go to if we have any issues. They prove it on the ice by giving 100 percent every shift and on the bench, no matter the score, they are trying to motivate the team.”


Young Huskies improving

There have been surprises, but Ethan LaBollita isn’t one of them. The sophomore defenseman brings both skill, athleticism and a great perspective. Saveory feels he has raised his game to a new level.

“Ethan gives 110 percent every single shift of every game. He constantly gives his all and sells out for the team every week.”

Saveory also feels that the freshmen class, forwards, Avila, Logan Amaral, Jack Godbout, defenseman Jackson Stringer, and the sophomore class, forwards Nate Carpenter, Ben Browne, defenseman LaBollita and Grant have competed well this season and meshed with upper  classmen, Frawley Saveory, Travassos, Ryan Jancef, Owen McDermott  and Kayden Carney. 

“We have such low numbers,” he said. “Traditionally, you wouldn’t play freshmen and sophomores, but we only have enough to run two lines. And our freshman have adjusted well to the level of competition and have really stepped up.”

“The freshmen have been tremendous,” said Coach Rancourt. “At fourteen years-old, playing the amount of time that we ask them to play against older opponents and seeing their growth through out the year has been truly special.”


Mt. Hope-EP dynamic

Saveory also feels that the Mt. Hope/EP dynamic has been smooth. “My first year,” he said, “It was a little iffy to start, but after the first couple of practices, it has been gel and it has been ever since. We have always been one team, no matter what.”

“In the past there was quite a big rivalry,” Frawley said. “But we’ve come together really nicely. We are all very united as a team.”


Toughest job on the ice

Goaltender Kayden Carney has the toughest job on the ice, facing 30 to 40 shots a game. It’s hard to believe that he began his career just a few years ago, with friend, Tommy Godbout, who is unable to suit up due to illness.

“Kayden has improved so much over the years,” Frawley said. “I remember when he first started skating my freshman year. He couldn’t skate at all. It’s amazing to see how far he has come. He is tough on himself. I don’t think he should be. He’s very good. He should be proud for how far he’s come.”

“Kayden wants to be the guy between the pipes,” added Coach Rancourt. “In our one win, he was unbelievable, saving four of five shots in a shootout. He’s special. Day in and day out, he’s one of our top guys this season.”

Then there is first year junior Nakia Cheeks, basically starting the season where Carney did. He has learned to skate and started learning the goaltender position all in one season. He played in his first game on Saturday. 


New coaches

“We came into the year, four coaches with zero coaching experience at any level,” Coach Rancourt said. He and coaches, Keegan Hanley and Kyrik Cordeiro each played for Mt. Hope and won the Division III title back in 2017. They know what the program used to be and what it can become.

“We have a small number of kids compared to any team we play against,” Coach Rancourt said. “It was a learning process from day one. We looked at how the team did last year and we assessed it and knew it was going to be a challenge from the start.

We got a big win early on in our season, then injuries came about and delayed our progression.”

“It affected us,” he said. “Especially with the small number that we have. But it also showed the camaraderie that this team has. It wasn’t easy, two schools coming together as one to produce the team that we have. It shows the character of our players and how they have grown over the year.”


Rebuilding the team

“We are building something special. We had eight sophomores and freshmen playing major minutes for us. The coaching staff is committed and ready to make a difference in this program. We are doing the little things to try to get better. And although our results aren’t showing it right now, we see the players getting better every single day.”

Rancourt knows that in order to achieve the playoffs or another title, the team will need more players.

“If we can get the numbers and add depth to the team. We are going to do some damage,” he said.

“Next season, we’re going to have to work very hard,” said Frawley. “We are losing a lot of talented players, but I think that the future is bright for the Huskies.”


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Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email