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

Thursday, October 05, 2006

ECAC Season Preview - Colgate

Colgate Raiders

Last Years Finish - 2nd - Lost tie breaker to Dartmouth

Key Returnees - Tyler Burton Jr. F, Marc Fulton Sr. F, Mark Dekanich Jr. G

Key Losses - Kyle Wilson F, Jon Smyth F, Ryan Smyth F

Colgate has had a strong run in the ECAC over the past three years, and with the current line-up head coach Don Vaughn has taking the ice this season there is no reason to believe that this team wont compete for the league and tournament title. Colgate loses a big scorer in Wilson but has plenty of proven talent in Burton to replace the lost points. However Colgate's greatest strength lies between the pipes in Dryden Award winner Mark Dekanich. The success of the season will ride on Dekanich's shoulders.

Dekanich started 36 games last year, including 21 of 22 league games, and stymied opponents to a tune of 2.29 GAA and a .924 save percentage. In league play his numbers only got better. An 13-5-1 record with a 1.98 GAA and a .934 save percentage. All of this came as a surprise to the league as Dekanich had only seen action in two games previous to last season. Colgate expects more of the same from their junior netminder, but needs to be cautious of overplaying Dekanich and be sure to use junior Justin Kowalkoski and freshman Charles Long to give Dekanich a break when he needs one.

Dekanich is the back bone of a defense that really has no superstars as of yet. Mike Campner and Nick St. Pierre have the potential to be defensive stars but offensively Vaughn's system does not lend itself to having a blueliner chip in on the scoring. This did not seem to effect Colgate last year and having stay at home defenders will not hurt the Raiders this season. Colgate will count on the senior Campner the junior St. Pierre to lead the defense which was tops in the league last year. However if Dekanich struggles the defense may have trouble bailing him out.

Lead by senior Wilson and Burton, two 40 point scorers, Colgate ranked fourth in league scoring. Burton is the go to guy and has a strong cast of forwards in Fulton and Winchester. However after that the scoring tails off and Colgate will look to new blood to fill in when the big line can't produce. However, once again, Colgate's offense will feed off Dekanich and the defense. Colgate is looking to beat teams 2-0 and 3-2. In February and March the Raiders cooled off and went 5-7-2. In the 5 wins Colgate scored 17 goals, in the losses and ties the Raiders scored 8 goals. When the offense is not clicking, the defense needs to keep teams under two goals to keep the Raiders in games.

Despite the offensive problems the Colgate Raiders are a strong team and will fight for a first round bye, a league title and a NCAA tournament birth.

Best Case Finish - 1st
Worst Case Finish - 4th

CHF's Pick - 2nd


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