GORHAM — University of Southern Maine men’s ice hockey head coach Jeff Beaney has chosen senior forward Chris Travis as the team’s captain for the 2009-2010 season. Senior defenseman Ryan Jean and junior forward Jon Rutt, a graduate of St. Dom’s, have been picked as assistant captains.

The Huskies open their season this weekend with a pair of home games. The Huskies will host Saint Michael’s College at the USM Ice Arena on Friday night (7 p.m.), then entertain nationally-ranked Norwich University on Saturday (4 p.m.).

An honorable mention All-ECAC East pick in 2008-09, Travis scored 15 goals and passed off eight assists for 23 points in 26 games. Among his 15 goals were two power-play markers, two short-handed scores and two game-winning goals. He also recorded two hat tricks.

“Travis has really grown into, and embraced, the leadership role,” said Beaney, now in his 23rd season behind the Huskies’ bench. “He elevated his game last season to become a legitimate scoring threat every time he stepped on the ice. He’s matured from being a quiet freshman to becoming a strong leader.”

Rutt, a hard-nosed winger potted four goals and dished out 16 assists for 20 points in 25 games last season. Jean, a rugged defensive defenseman had two assists in 22 games.

“(Jean) is a steady defensive defenseman. He has a hard-nosed work ethic that he brings to the rink everyday,” continued Beaney. “He has grown as a player the last three years and has become a quiet leader.

“Nothing seems to bother (Rutt). He’s just such a competitor who leads by example, and one of the best all-around players who plays in all situations.”

“It will be very important for the captains and veteran players (four seniors, five juniors) to help set the tone and provide the leadership for our young team this season,” said Beaney.

Southern Maine returns 13 players from last season’s 11-12-3 team (8-8-3 in ECAC East play) and was picked for fifth in this season’s ECAC Men’s East coaches’ preseason poll released recently.

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