Liam Lyons is the prototype of a player moving through the USPHL system and into a great school.
Lyons, 20, from Gloucester, Mass. spent three seasons with the Islanders beginning with the USPHL U18 squad and continuing to the Premier Islanders, playing a big part on the team’s 20-game winning streak to open the 2019-20 season.
Those accomplishments helped Lyons take the next step in his hockey career as he recently committed to Saint Anselm College, in Manchester, N.H., about 90 minutes from his hometown.
Lyons said it was a combination of the academics and hockey program that helped him decide to skate with the Hawks.
“I went to about four schools,” said Lyons in a telephone interview. “And that was just really my top choice.
“I went there a couple of years to visit a friend and I liked it,” Lyons adding he went for an official visit this past season as well. “I saw the hockey rink and all the facilities and it was just nice.”
Lyons, who will major in Business Accounting, said while impressed with the hockey facility, the school’s academic program and the ability for him to take the classes he wants were part of the decision as well.
“The coach made me feel really comfortable. He was really nice. I talked to a couple players too. I really liked the school” said Lyons who weighed all of these things in his decision.”
The Hawks are an NCAA Division II program playing in the Northeast-10 Conference. This past season wrapped up with the Hawks at .500 in conference with an 8-8-2 record and 10-12-2 overall.
Based on what he did for the Islanders Hockey Club this past season, a 60-point campaign (23 goals, 37 assists) with another three goals and an assist in four playoff matches, Lyons should bring some offensive punch to the Saint Anselm College Hawks lineup.
Lyons’ focus will now shift to the college team after an amazing season with the Isles was unfortunately cut short, like most others, due to the recent pandemic.
The Islanders blasted out of the gate this past fall, winning 20 straight contests despite playing in the tough USPHL Premier New England Division.
That wrapped up an awesome three-year run that picked up right where his high school hockey career left off.
“I finished my senior year at high school. I wanted to keep playing. My uncle went to college with [the former Islanders NCDC coach]. I had a tryout with the Islanders and I’ve just been there ever since.”
Lyons started out with the Isles’ 18U program and then competed for two seasons with the Premier team, rewarded with a brief call up to the NCDC squad at one point last season as well.
The highlight of his tenure with the Isles though has to be the monster opening to this past regular season – 20 straight wins.
“I’ve never been through anything like that,” said Lyons. “It was amazing, the best run I’ve ever had in my hockey career and just, we had a bunch of good guys and we just kept rolling.”
Carrying a streak like that can put added pressure on every game, but Lyons said for the most part, the players took it all in stride.
“Sometimes it does [add pressure] and sometimes it doesn’t. Really, you just try not to think about it.”
Making it more impressive is the quality of teams in the New England Division which is stacked from top to bottom with no easy opponents.
“There’s never an easy team in our division. There’s a bunch of good competitive teams,” said Lyons.
Heading into Nationals after a tough playoff win against a Junior Bruins squad that peaked at the right time despite finishing sixth overall in the division, the bar was set high for the Isles, said Lyons.
“I was expecting to come out of that with a National Championship,” said the forward.
Of course, with that kind of lofty goal, the cancellation of playoffs hit hard, but it couldn’t be helped. Lyons is moving on quickly from being a leader on his junior hockey team to a young prospect with a ton of potential on the NCAA hockey block.
You’ll be hearing more from this kid.