Did You Know: The Clarkson Hockey program has amassed 10,001 goals since the 1920-21 season?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Women's Preview - Clarkson v. Vermont

Game on! That's right, six months have already passed, and that means it's hockey season. It kicks off tomorrow night at Cheel Arena when the Women's Hockey Team hits the ice to take on the Vermont Catamounts of Hockey East. Clarkson is coming off of an outstanding season which saw them ranked for the majority of the season, defeating several ranked teams, including a huge victory at Cheel in front of 1700+ against arch-rival St. Lawrence.

They took Harvard to three games in the opening round of the ECACHL playoffs, where the Crimson needed double overtime to escape the Golden Knights, allowing certain people to breathe a sigh of relief that contoversy was avoided. This year the Golden Knights will be able to surprise no one, they're here and they're loaded with veterans from a team that has the potential to make the NCAA Torunament in their first year of eligibiity.

Vermont on the other hand continued its streak of mediocrity, finishing last year with a record of 3-29-2 in a Hockey East conference that gets stronger year by year. Since the 2000-2001 season when they were in Division III, Vermont has not won more than six games all year. The Hockey East coaches echoed that trend when they picked Vermont to finish dead last in the conference. Enter new head coach Tim Bothwell, whose new staff now includes former Vermont men's coach Mike Gilligan, they're looking to make a statement this year that Vermont can play.

Clarkson can't take Vermont lightly. In their season opening series last year, Clarkson defeated Vermont by 3-1 and 2-0 margins. Not dominate by any stretch of the imagination.

Vermont returns 19 letterwinners to this year's squad, and adds 9 freshman to the mix. No player on the team scored more than seven points all last season. We'll likely see both Katie Nichols and Shivaun Siegl in net this weekend. Both have played well, but not well enough to win, with each allowing near three goals a game. They'll need help from an offense that only scored more than three goals only once last season.

Clarkson will likely not have to focus on the fast paced style breakout style that they have faced with the top-tier teams. Instead they'll be facing a mirror image of themselves several years ago. Vermont will need to play solid defense, have a strong goalie, crash the net and clean up the mess when the opportunities appear if they want a chance to beat Clarkson this weekend.

The Golden Knights will likely use this weekend to test new line combinations and allow All-American Kira Hurley to shake off any rust from the off-season. Hurley had a 1.29 GAA and 10 shutouts last season. If they can build a lead, backups Stephanie Hansen and Jessica Finley should see some time as well.

We should see the exceptional defense that has been played by the Knights over the past couple of years, but we also expect to see them breakout of the zone more often, trying to catch opposing teams on odd man rushes. Keep an eye on Ashley Shaidle and Brooke Beazer to connect often. The two had 55 points combined last season. Also be sure to watch Marie Jo-Gaudet. She made a huge impact during last year's Harvard playoff series, breaking into the zone on her own and making plays throughout the series, we should expect more of this style of play throughout the season from the Knights in general, but expect Gaudet to be making some noise right off the bat.

Clarkson did lose several promising young players over the summer, but Rick Seeley's new recruits should not only fill the gap left by their departures, but make the team stronger as a whole. We're excited to see the Clarkson debuts of Carlee Eusepi and Britney Selina in particular. All of Freshman have been highly praised by Coach Seeley and they should fit in well with the cohesive unit that has been built over the past three years.

With so many solid players on the team, we could probably go on and on about each of them but you'll see them all on the ice tomorrow. Bob Ahlfeld and Josh Bartell will be covering the game for Cool 95.3 and will be streamed over the Internet. If you're in Potsdam or on campus, be sure to head down at Cheel Arena for the start of what will hopefully be a very exciting season. Puck drops at 7:00 on Friday and 2:00 on Saturday.

CHF Predictions:
  • Clarkson 5 - Vermont 2
  • Clarkson 3 - Vermont 0
  • Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    ECAC Season Preview - Cornell

    Cornell Big Red

    Last Years Finish - 3rd

    Key Returnees - Byron Bitz Sr. F, Topher Scott Jr. F, Ray Sawada Jr. F

    Key Losses - Dave McKee G, Ryan O'Byrne D, Sasha Pokulok D, Matt Moulson F

    Despite finishing 3rd in the league last year and falling to Harvard in the ECACHL championship game, Cornell was the class of the league last year falling just one goal short of a frozen four appearance. Head coach Mike Schafer had his squad ready for the NCAA playoffs and it took a triple overtime one timer from the eventual national champion to knock the Big Red from the post season. After that game Cornell looked like it would be team to beat again in the league.

    Then the great departure occurred.

    Leading scorer Matt Moulson graduated, along with the programs nucleus of Cam and Chris Abbot, Daniel Pegoraro and John Gleed. All world goaltender Dave McKee left the school and signed with the Mighty Ducks. Adding to this loss were defensemen Sasha Pokulok and Ryan O'Byrne early departures to the NHL. Within the course of 2 months Cornell went from one goal away from the frozen four to conference underdogs. However, with Mike Schafer at the helm and a strong recruiting class Cornell will not fall as far as any other team in a similar situation.

    Goal will be the biggest question mark for the Big Red this season. After a decade of stellar goaltenders Cornell will face it's first real challenge at the position. Of the three goaltenders fighting for ice time none of them have any ice time at the NCAA level. And only Troy Davenport was a member of the Big Red in previous years. Davenport transferred out of Cornell two years ago to play in the USHL. Ironically he was coached by former Harvard coach, Mark Mazzoleni while spending a year with the Green Bay Gamblers. Davenport is a slight favorite but he will share time with sophomore Dan DiLeo and freshman Ben Scrivens until a starter emerges. Schafer and his staff have had great success in finding goaltending talent in the past, but might have to adjust to some growing pains with this trio.

    On defense Cornell took a major hit with the loss of Pokulok and O'Byrne. While they had there deficiencies these two were going to be the backbone of the signature Cornell defense. The Big Red must now look to senior Dan Glover to step up and lead the defense mainly composed of freshmen. Again, the talent in the incoming class is there, but it will not come through instantly. Big Red fans might not be accustom to giving up three goals a game but that might become the status quo for 2006.

    On offense Cornell returns three of their four leading scorers in Scott, Bitz and Ray Sawada. Cornell averaged 2.77 goals per game in league play last year and with out a natural goal scorer like Moulson will have to look for goals where ever and from who ever they can get them from. The Big Red's success last year came from the fact that anyone on the team could get that key goal. Teams that focused on Moulson had to deal with Scott and Bitz. Teams that focused on the big line often were beat by the role players. Cornell will need to continue this style of team first offense and hope Bitz or Scott can step up into the 30 point range of Moulson.

    If this kind of exodus had happened to any other squad a 10 win season might be a stretch. Cornell is too well coached and the incoming class of freshman are too talented to let this happen. Cornell will lose some of the games they would have won in the past but if they are not in contention for a first round bye at the end of the season it will come as a surprise.

    Best Case Scenario - 3rd
    Worst Case Scenario - 7th

    CHF's Pick - 5th

    Go Time for the Women!

    Yep, that's right. We've been spending a lot of time focused on the guys recently, but it's the Women's Hockey Team who will see the puck drop first this year as they face the Vermont Catamounts this weekend at Cheel Arena to open up the 2006-2007 campaign.

    Led by All-American Goalie Kira Hurley and Senior Captain Lindsay Williams, the Golden Knights enter the season unranked, but did receive votes in both the USA Today and USCHO pre-season polls. On Media Day, the ECACHL Coaches and Media both selected Clarkson to finish in fifth this year, in a very strong conference, that features several teams strengthened by the return of their Olympic Team members.

    The Golden Knights return 19 letterwinners to the team this year, but several players from last year are missing from this year's roster. Kelsey Fletcher, a highly touted young defenseman transferred out to North Dakota early this summer. Defenseman Sophie Doyon who was named to the ECACHL All-Rookie team last season is also absent from the roster. RW Micheleen Devine, who was third in scoring on the team (12-5-17) was one of the more highly praised members of the squad by Coach Seeley has departed the team as well.

    In their place on the blue line will be Carlee Eusepi, a top recruit who played on an undefeated Junior Aeros team last year, and a transfer from Northeastern, Courtney O'Connor. On offense, they'll be joined by Genevieve Lavoie, Ashleigh Moorehead, and Britney Selina. All are expected to help make a significant improvement on a veteran Clarkson team that had only a few spots for young players. Clarkson Athletics has a breakdown of the new recruits as well.

    We'll have previews of the Women's Home Opener on Friday, which will be broadcasted on Cool 95.3 in addition, the game will hopefully be broadcast over the Internet with a video stream. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    CHF Preseason Interview with Josh Bartell

    CHF regular and former Clarkson Golden Knight, Josh Bartell joins us as the season rapidly approaches to talk about all things Clarkson and NCAA hockey as well as some other random stuff. Josh currently moonlights as a color man with Bob Ahlfeld on Cool 95.3's broadcasts of Clarkson Hockey, and will join us throughout the season offering his words of wisdom to us.

    CHF: Have you had a chance to see the team at all?

    Josh Bartell: Not on the ice just at the locker room and weight room. They are under tight restrictions from the NCAA on how much they can skate.

    CHF: So the coaches and media poll came out on Monday, and probably the most surprising thing was Clarkson got five first place votes from the coaches. Are these guys on to something?

    Josh Bartell: I take the coaches over the media... here's why. The coaches are so acutely aware of what teams have for recruits and returning talent. They advance scout teams to learn tendencies and weaknesses.

    They know far more then local media would about the league as a whole.
    I had a vote in the media poll and I couldn't tell you the first thing about Yale or Brown's chances this season. I only see them once or maybe twice a season, a coach will see those same games and then hours of tape before and after each game. I think the coaches can take the work as a whole and add in what they know about each teams recruits. The media will not have that working knowledge about what players each school is adding to last years mix

    CHF: With the bar set high, can the team meet expectations?

    Josh Bartell: I think the team has set those type of goals despite the predictions so the preseason rankings do not have that much bearing on the preseason pressure.

    CHF: As a former player yourself, what did you do during the summer to prepare yourself for the season? Has this really changed at all over the years with the new practice rules?

    Josh Bartell: We had a prescribed workout program each summer. You are tested for a variety of strength, speed, and endurance tests at the end of the spring semester. Then there were expectations of improvements in some areas and maintaining others. Testing was done again in the fall and those results were heavily scrutinized. The new rules allow for less on ice preparation as a team so a player has to make sure they are in peak condition. With less on ice prep the risk of injury can increase if you are not in good shape

    CHF: Do you think the amount of on-ice time that a team is given to prepare is adequate enough?

    Josh Bartell: Probably not, but that's the price you pay for playing games earlier. The Ivies refuse to start earlier, so they are behind when it comes to early season games, but maybe they are better off because they can spend more preseason time in practice.

    CHF: What do you think the keys to a successful Clarkson season are?

    Josh Bartell: Win on the road. A few big wins early in the season on the road and this team will have the confidence to play their way into a ECAC final four bid and maybe more

    CHF: Do you think we'll see any changes in the way games are officiated this year?

    Josh Bartell: Sure, the success of the "New" NHL has already prompted USA Hockey to enforce a tighter game and college will continue to crack down on obstruction and stickwork. That will help this club. Lots of skill and speed will thrive with more room to maneuver

    CHF: What do you think of the new recruits that are coming in for this season?

    Josh Bartell: I have yet to see them in action so much of what I know is anecdotal. The nice part is that there is such a solid core of veterans, that there will be less pressure for these kids to come in and have to meet unreal expectations

    CHF: Going back to the new rules, do you think the change in goalie pad size will make any difference in offensive output?

    Josh Bartell: Some but I don't think they have that big a impact. I think goalies will enjoy the greater range of motion with a less bulky pad

    CHF: Speaking of goalies, has Garth Snow lost his mind? How about the owner of the Isles,

    Josh Bartell: The DiPietro contract is shocking at first but I think is bad for the player in the long term. It doesn't make him a very high paid goalie four years from now, especially if he turns out to be an elite goalie. Why would you want to be that tied up with a team, what if they just continue to flounder? Do you really want to be on a bad team for 15 years?

    CHF: How was your softball team this summer?

    Josh Bartell: Didn’t play. Spent 2 weeks doing Can Am hockey school with former Knight Rodger Huiatt in Lake Placid. Had dinner with a another former Knight, Ted Cline. Big bruising forward from the mid 80's

    CHF: Did you make the golf outing at Turning Stone?

    Josh Bartell: No, I am not a big enough donor...apparently the $300 I drop in Club 99 each season doesn't count toward alumni giving.

    CHF: Any road-trips that you would recommend for the fans to book in advance?

    Josh Bartell: Wisconsin. 18000 fans. Defending National Champs. I would make sure people get their fannies in the seats for the Lake State weekend and when BGSU and Miami come to town.

    CHF: You flying or road tripping it with Bob and Gary?

    Josh Bartell: I would go on every trip if I could but work and kids hockey usually interfere.

    CHF: Will they be trotting you out for a little wave to the fans for the 2000th game? Any special festivities that you've heard about?

    Josh Bartell: I have no idea what they have in store, I am sure that me trotting anywhere is not in the books. I was a healthy scratch for the program's 1000th victory so milestones are not so big with me.

    CHF: Alright, one more question and we’ll let you go.. Predictions for the Men and Women this year?

    Josh Bartell: I have a tough time with predictions, I am more of analyist, but here it goes:

    Rick has had great success, they won't be sneaking up on anyone this year, but the addition of Matt Desrosiers will balance that out. They are a top four ECAC team and will win their first ever post-season series. This is a year that I think the Men will restore the glory of Clarkson Hockey! Is that a gutless enough prediction for you?

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    ECAC Season Preview - Quinnipiac

    Quinnipiac Bobcats

    Last Years Finish - 10th

    Key Returnees - Brian Leitch So. F, Jamie Bates Jr. F, Reid Cashman Sr. D

    Key Losses - None

    Quinnipiac looks to make a move to the top of the ECAC in 2006-2007. Head coach Rand Pecknold lead the Bobcats to a 20-18-1 overall record last year with a 8-13-1 league record and with a high powered recruiting class added to a strong group of returning underclassmen, the Bobcats will challenge for a first round bye this year.

    Returning nine of the top ten scorers from an offense that scored 3.18 goals per game in conference will provide the Bobcats with another level of experience gained from their first year in ECAC play. League rookie of the year, Brian Leitch, leads the sophomore class which includes, David Marshall and Chris Myers. These three alone accounted for nearly one third of Quinnipiac's offensive firepower and will be looking to continue their strong starts. Juniors Jamie Bates, Ben Nelson and Matt Sorteberg will be depended on to provide some leadership to the underclassmen and if they can keep pace with their totals from last year, Quinnipiac will stay competitive in every game.

    On defense the Bobcats are lead by senior Reid Cashman who contributes regularly on offense and was the leagues leading defenseman scorer. Cashman leads a group of young defenseman and a set of two forwards who drop back in Pecknold's system. Cashman will have to provide leadership to the rest of the defense or Quinnipiac will be looking at the same situation that got them into trouble last year, losing one goal games. In the league the Bobcats were 2-7 in one goal games and the lack of defense was the main problem. The Bobcats were scoring at 3.18 goal clip but were allowing goals at 3.83 pace. Quinnipiac needs to have Cashman and company tighten up in front of Bud Fisher.

    Looking closer at Bud Fisher, the freshman netminder went 18-14-1 last year and posted a .904 save percentage and a 2.56 GAA. Solid numbers over all but in conference play the save percentage and GAA inflate to .895 and 2.93. Fisher was good against the out of conference opponents going 10-4-0, but against ECAC foes his 8-10-1 record was less than sterling. Fisher needs to mature in net and help out the defense in front of him. However with the youth deployed on the blue line this might prove difficult.

    Quinnipiac is another young team in the league and will surprise a few teams with upset wins, but much like the Saints and Engineers they are about a year away from becoming a top team in the conference.

    Best Case Finish - 4th
    Worst Case Finish - 9th

    CHF's Pick - 6th

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    ECAC Season Preview - Saint Lawrence

    Saint Lawrence Saints

    Last Years Finish - 5th

    Key Returnees - Kyle Rank Sr. F, Kevin DeVergilio So. F, Drew Bagnall Sr. D

    Key Losses - T.J Trevelyan F, John Zeiler F, Mike Madill D

    Saint Lawrence started the 2005-2006 season off strong with a 10-3-0 record. The Saints we're ranked 3rd in the pairwise rankings at one time and were sitting in the catbird seat at the midway point of the season as on of the strongest teams in the ECAC. Lead by TJ Trevelyan the Saints were looking good until a trip to Ithaca and Colgate. This sweep on the road ended up in a 7-10-1 finish that buried the Saints chances at the NCAA tournament. SLU looks to the 2006-2007 season with high hopes but there are too many holes to fill this year for the Saints to be successful.

    Up front the loss of the Class of 2006 is a killer for the Saint's offense. Trevelyan, John Zeiler, Mike Zbriger accounted for 30 percent of SLU's offensive production. Toss in the contributions of defenseman Mike Madill and it's 35 percent. Head coach Joe Marsh and his staff have put forth a yeoman's effort recruiting what could be one of the stronger classes in the ECAC, but there is plenty to be said for senior experience over raw talent. Looking past the recruits the bulk of the load will fall on senior Kyle Rank and sophomore Kevin DeVergilio. DeVergilio has the talent to be an upper echelon forward in the league but if his team mates can not put up numbers to draw defenses away from him, SLU will be struggling to find the net.

    On defense the return of Drew Bagnall from a brutal wrist injury is crucial. Bagnal is looking to re-establish himself as a top level defender and to fill the offensive production lost by Madill. A strong sophomore trio of Zach Miskovic, Matt Generous and Shawn Fensel will also be expected to step up provide solid minutes in front of goaltender Justin Pesony. Last year SLU allowed 3 goals per game in conference play while scoring 3.36. Without the high offensive output SLU could be in trouble keeping game differential to one goal.

    In net SLU will most likely turn to junior Justin Pesony. Pesony started 36 of SLU's 40 games and posted a 20-14-2 record with a .888 save percentage and a 2.90 GAA. Like the forwards and defense man, Pesony has the talent to be a top level goaltender, the problem is just putting the pieces together and pulling out the big game. In one goal games last year SLU was 11-10. Pesony is going to have to be stronger this year and allow SLU to win the tight games for them to be a first round bye team.

    St. Lawrence has the talent, coaching and motivation to be a top four team, however the Saints are about a year away from putting it all together.

    Best Case Finish - 4th
    Worst Case Finish - 8th

    CHF's Pick - 7th

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    ECAC Season Preview - RPI

    Rensselaer Engineers

    Last Years Finish - Tied for 6th, lost tie break to Union

    Key Returnees - Oren Eizenman Sr. F, Mathias Lange So. G, Kevin MacDonald Sr. F

    Key Losses - Kevin Croxton F, Keith McWilliams D, Brad Farynuk D

    RPI got off to a good start in 2005-2006, despite not having would be captain and potential All American Kirk MacDonald. RPI pulled an upset at Boston University's Agganis Rink and used that win to start off 4-2-0. However the optimism quickly dissipated and RPI finished the year with a 14-17-6 mark and was upset at home by Quinnipiac in the first round of the ECAC playoffs. This was the last straw for long time coach Dan Frigden as he resigned from the position following the season. RPI then began an 'international search' for a new head coach and in the end selected Seth Appert, a then assistant coach at Denver. RPI is hoping this pays off long term dividends for the program, in the short term it is hard to tell what the results could be.

    Up front the Engineers need to compensate for the graduation of their top scorer Kevin Croxton. Croxton and Eizenman supplied about 30 percent of RPI's offense. With Croxton leaving RPI is taking a big gamble that Kirk MacDonald will fill the void of Croxton. MacDonald, who took a medical red shirt last year to battle testicular cancer, was RPI's leading scorer two years ago, but it remains to be seen if he can put up the same type of numbers after a year long absence. MacDonald will provide a mental and psychological spark to the team but RPI needs another forward to step and provide Eizenman with the chances to rack up big numbers.

    On the blue line RPI lost four seniors to graduation. Three of these four were major contributors to the offense. Combine this loss with a defense that allowed 2.55 goals per game in conference play and throw in a new defensive system under a new coach and RPI could be looking at a rebuilding year. Appert will need seniors Jake Luthi and Ryan Swanson to take command of the defense and not rely on Lange to be able to bail them out. Lange will steal a game or two, but if he faces too many quality chances RPI will not win.

    In goal Mathias Lange had the starting job at the end of last year. Considering Appert was a goalie and a goaltender coach it will be anyone's guess to see if he stays with the status quo in Lange or looks to give junior Jordan Alford another shot. Lange would be the statistical first choice with a career .901 save percentage and 2.70 GAA compared to Alford's .875 and 3.36 numbers. However much can be said for a change of scenery and under Appert's tutelage, Alford may see more ice time this year. Lange can steal games but as shown in the Quinnipiac series, if too many scoring chances are thrown his way, he is not always equal to the task.

    RPI's season rest firmly on three main questions. One, can Kirk MacDonald return to old form? Two, can the Engineers respond to changes up top, which haven't occurred in 12 years. Finally, can the Engineers find offense from more than the top line? If RPI can make marked improvement in two of these three areas, then the Engineers will be challenging for a first round bye. If they can not, then they will be on the road in the first round.

    Best Case Finish - 5th
    Worst Case Finish - 10th

    CHF's Pick - 8th

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    Recruit Update

    Ontario Junior hockey has started and here's a quick run down of how the Class of 2011 is looking.

    Scott Freeman has one goal and a team high nine assists in four games for Bowmanville.

    Brandon DeFazio has one goal in one game for Oakville.

    Brian Rufenach has one assist in two games with Lindsay.

    Over in Quebec Julien Cayer has one assist in one game for the St. Jerome Panthers.

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    ECAC Season Preview - Princeton

    Princeton Tigers

    Last Years Finish - 9th

    Key Returnees - Grant Goeckner-Zoeller Sr. F, Kevin Westgarth Sr. F, Brett Wilson F So.

    Key Losses - Eric Leroux G, Brian Carthas D, Seamus Young D

    Since going 3-26-2 in 2002-2003 Princeton has made steady improvements and obtained a 10-18-3 record last year and a 7-12-3 league record which was good enough for 9th place in the league. Highlights of the season included a 4-1 win at Denver and a 4-2 at home against Clarkson, ending the Knights streak of 15 games without a loss to the Tigers. Clarkson reestablished this streak with a two game first round playoff sweep, but the Tigers will be looking to continue this momentum and gain a first round home playoff spot.

    Like the 3 previous teams, Princeton is a squad looking for a goaltender. With the loss of Leroux the Tigers will have to choose between senior B.J. Slapsky, sophomore Thomas Sychterz and incoming freshman Zane Kalemba. Neither Slapsky nor Sychterz boast strong numbers, but the upperhand belongs to Slapsky who has played more for the Tigers, but this competition is wide open and is the biggest hole for head coach Guy Gadowski to fill.

    On defense the loss of Young and Carthas hurt, but the Tigers are deeper than the previous three teams. Senior Brett Westgarth will be heading a defense that allowed 3.14 goals per game in the league last year, which was good enough for 8th. If Princeton wants to gain home ice they will need to tighten up on the blue line and give whoever is playing in net a low shot total to be successful.

    Up front the Tigers are in decent shape. The 7th ranked league offense returns their three top scorers and will be looking for Brett Wilson to continue to develop into one of the leagues top forwards. Goeckner-Zoeller will need to provide leadership as well as production this year. Gadowski is starting to draw some more developed recruits and will be expecting some production from incoming freshmen Beachall, Magnowski and French. If the Tigers can get their offense numbers cranked up they will be able to overcome a weak situation in net. If not, things might get colder in Hobey Baker Rink.

    Best Case Finish - 7th
    Worst Case Finish - 11th

    CHF's Pick - 9th

    Chris Clark Named Capitals Captain

    Former Clarkson captain, and six year NHL veteran, was named captain of the Washington Capitals yesterday. Clark who played his first year in DC last year tallied career highs in goals, assists and points. He also lead the Caps with a +9 rating.

    Clark played at Clarkson from 1994-1998 and in 142 career games tallied 128 points and was named Clarkson's Most Valuable Player in 1998.

    Gary Mikel's write up can be seen here.

    The AP story can be read here.

    The Caps open training camp September 21st.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    ECAC Season Preview - Union

    Union Dutchmen

    Last Years Finish - 6th

    Key Returnees - Oliver Bouchard Sr. F, Augie DiMarzo So. F, Lane Caffaro So. D

    Key Losses - Scott Seney F, Kris Mayotte G

    2005-2006 was one of Union's most successful regular season campaigns, resulting in a sixth place finish in the league. This was mostly due to the play of senior goaltender Kris Mayotte. The regular season success quickly melted for the Dutchmen as they were swept away in the first round of the ECAC playoffs by the eleventh seeded Yale Bulldogs. While Union was able to ride Mayotte's strong performance last year, his departure will spell trouble for the Dutchmen in the 2006-2007 season.

    Competing to replace Mayotte will be senior Daniel Tatar, who has 4 minutes and 36 seconds of career ice time, junior Justin Mrazek who in 24 games has registered a 5-13-2 career record and has a career .897 save percentage and a 2.54 goals against average. Those numbers include a disappointing .765 save percentage and 5.69 GAA last season. Freshman Shaun Williams will also compete for the spot. Needless to say, Union will need a big break out year from one of their goalies to be competitive in this league.

    On the blue line the return of the suspended Lane Cafarro should be a welcome return for the Dutchmen. Caffaro in 29 games was far and away Union's leading scorer from the point and his absence in the last third of the season hurt the Dutchmen. The defense is led by lone senior Sean Striech. Even though the defense allowed a lean 2.41 goals per game. Again most of this was due to the efforts of Mayotte. Union will be looking for their defense to solidify in the coming year.

    Up front Union was next to last in league scoring with a paltry 2.18 goals per game. Union will need a repeat performance from leading scorer Bouchard and hope for breakout years from juniors Torren DelForte and Josh Coyle to increase offensive production. Once again, without a solid goaltender to bail out the Dutchmen, Union will struggle to win games scoring only 2 goals per contest.

    Best Case Finish - 9th
    Worst Case Finish - 11th

    CHF's Pick - 10th

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    ECAC Season Preview - Yale

    Yale Bulldogs

    Last Years Finish - 11th
    Key Returnees - Jean-Francois Boucher Jr. F, Bill LeClerc Sr. D, Alec Richards So. G
    Key Losses - Jeff Hristovski F, Joe Zappala F

    Following a disappointing end of the regular season , the Yale Bulldogs swept Union in the first round of the ECAC playoffs. The series featured the longest game NCAA history, a five overtime thriller in which the Bulldogs scored the game winner on a shorthanded goal. However this win was not enough to save head coach Tim Taylor. Taylor was reassigned after the season and Keith Allain was brought in as his replacement. Under Allain, Yale looks to rebound after two straight twenty loss seasons. This is not an easy task as the Bulldogs will look to improve on a twelfth ranked league defense that surrendered 3.77 goals per game. Senior defenseman Bill LeClerc will have his hands full with a defense that is mainly composed of underclassmen.

    A returning bright spot for the Bulldogs is sophomore goaltender Alec Richards. Richards was regarded as the top rookie goaltender last year in the ECAC and will be looking to continue his strong play. Backing him up will be highly recruited freshman Bill Blase and senior Matt Modelski who saw a fair share of ice time last season.

    Up front Yale has the talent to put some numbers on the board. In 2005-2006 Yale average just under three goals per game in league play and with the return of Boucher, and senior forward Brad Mills the Bulldogs will look to keep pace with the rest of the league. A new coaching system and lackluster defense will prevent them from securing a home ice spot in the first round, but the Bulldogs will be a better team this year.

    Best Case Finish - 9th
    Worst Case Finish - 11th

    CHF's Pick - 11th

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    ECAC Season Preview - Brown

    Brown Bears

    Last Years Finish - 12th
    Key Returnees - Jeff Prough Jr. F, Brian McNary Jr. F, Brian Ihnacak Sr. F
    Key Losses - Adam D'Alba Jr. G

    Brown started it's 2005-2006 campaign off with promise. An overtime loss to Cornell in the opening weekend and a sweep of the north country the following weekend and the Bears were off to a 2-2 start. That was the high water mark of the season as Brown went 2-16-7 the rest of the way and finished with a 3-14-5 ECACHL record. Despite all of that the Bears took #5 seed St. Lawrence to 3 games in the first round of the ECAC playoffs, and we're an overtime goal away from upsetting the Saints. This upset was nearly pulled off due to the heroics of goaltender Adam D'Alba who made a mind staggering 154 saves in the three games.

    Unfortunately for head coach Roger Grillo, D'Alba had a change of heart over the summer and retired from hockey. To fill this void Grillo brought in two freshmen goaltenders to compete with sophomore netminder Mark Sibbald, who saw action in only six games and had a 0-3-1 record. Needless to say, goaltending will be the Achilles heel of the Brown Bears.

    On offense Brown needs to see some increased production from senior Brian Ihnacak who missed half of the season due to injury. Ihnacak only managed nine points which was a severe drop off of his 26 point per season average. With the return of top scorers Prough and McNary, Brown will look to increase it's league worst 2.05 goals per game average. However the big question will remain can the Bears score more often than what their goaltender will allow?

    Best Case Finish - 10th
    Worst Case Finish - 12th

    CHF's Pick - 12th

    31 Days to Faceoff!

    Inside College Hockey chose Mike Sullivan in their annual A to Z Preview. Calling Sullivan the "jewel of George Roll's first recruiting class," INCH is looking for Sullivan to have a break out year and step into the upper echelon of ECAC forwards. INCH previews one player from each team in NCAA D-1 Hockey. Last year's choice was goaltender Kyle McNulty.

    In other news Clarkson is looking to ad a web cast to it's coverage of men's hockey. Details are sparse but we'll keep an eye out for dates, times and prices of video webcasts.

    Since there is a month until face off and a mere 20 days until media day we will take a look at the men's and women's ECACHL and give our predictions and thoughts on the upcoming season.

    Finally, Ron and I will begin a new phase of blogging on College Hockey News. Even though we'll be covering a more national view of the game, you can rest assured you will get the same day old news and analysis of our beloved Golden Knights right here.