The 2018-2019 season will mark the fifth for head men’s ice hockey coach Jay Pecora at Wentworth Institute of Technology.
After a one-year hiatus, the Leopards returned to the postseason by earning a spot in the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament. Wentworth was the number six seed and was defeated by the University of New England one of three teams the CCC sent to the NCAA Division III Tournament, in the quarterfinals. The Black & Gold lost seven games by a combined nine goals and had a pair of early-season ties with Salve Regina, which went on to the national championship game.
In his first season the Leopards finished with an 11-12-3 record and finished fifth in the ECAC Northeast with a 6-6-2 record. Three of the Leopards’ losses were by a combined four goals and the Black & Gold. Wentworth also captured both in-season tournaments it competed in, winning the IC Federal Credit Union Shootout at Fitchburg State and the Salem State Holiday Invitational.
A late-season run by the Leopards in 2015-2016 moved the Black & Gold from out of playoff position in early January to the number five seed in the ECAC Northeast Tournament, marking the 18th consecutive season the program has qualified for the conference tournament. Seven of Wentworth's losses came by a combined 10 goals. The Leopards used an overtime win over Suffolk in the opening round of the ECAC Tournament to vault them into the semifinals where they were defeated by Endicott.
In the inaugural season of playing in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (2016-2017), the Leopards narrowly missed out on a postseason berth, however posted a 3-2 win at No. 14 which marked the first time since the 2012-13 season the Leopards had beaten a nationally ranked foe. Six of the Leopards' losses came by a single goal and many others, including a 3-1 loss to No. 11 Endicott where the hosts put the game away with an empty-net goal late, were close until the end.
The sixth head coach in program history, Pecora served as an Assistant Men’s Ice Hockey Coach at the University of Southern Maine for four seasons prior to coming to Wentworth. At USM he helped guide the Huskies to an appearance in the ECAC East Tournament each season, including reaching the semifinals in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. While at Southern Maine he was responsible for planning and implementing practice and game plans, assisted in player recruitment, developed strength and conditioning programs, and assisted in the monitoring of student-athlete progress.
Before joining the Huskies’ staff, Pecora co-founded the Portland Junior Pirates of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League. From 2002-2008 he was a co-owner of the program and served as the director of hockey operations and the program’s head coach from 2002-2009 and 2002-2010, respectively. As the head coach he placed over 60 student-athletes into NCAA collegiate programs and was named the head coach of the AtJHL All-Star Team during the 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 seasons and was the league’s coach of the year during the 2007-2008 season.
A native of Stoneham, Mass., Pecora played three seasons at New England College after transferring from Plattsburgh State. He served as a three-year captain for the Pilgrims and scored 70 points (22 goals, 48 assists) in 66 career games. During his senior season (1996-1997) he tallied nine goals and assisted on 19 others for 28 points. That season he was named an ECAC East/West All-Star and earned Division II/III Player of the Year honors from the New England Hockey Writers Association.
The 1997 recipient of the Parmenter Award, given to New England College’s top graduating male athlete, Pecora earned his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology in 1997 and would go on to play professionally for five seasons, playing in Austria for one season and for four teams among three leagues in the United States. As a member of the Tupelo T-Rex of the Western Professional Hockey League, he scored 32 points in the 1999-2000 season and was awarded the off-ice leadership award. He concluded his playing career with a two-year stint as a member of the Amarillo Rattlers.
|2014-2015||Wentworth||11||12||3||.481||ECAC Northeast Tournament|
|2015-2016||Wentworth||10||15||2||.407||ECAC Northeast Tournament|
|2017-2018||Wentworth||9||14||3||.404||Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament|