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updates for NESCAC recruits for the 2019-20 season

Here is a link to the page containing a link to our database of recruits for 2019-20. We are at the very beginning of the process with just 12 names so far. All 10 hockey NESCACs have completed the first phase of the admissions process (early decision round 1 decisions were released in the Dec. 7-14, 2018 time span), with ED round 2 decisions to be released in early February by the 8 schools that offer the ED2 option.  Feel free to contribute names by using this form.

Last updated:

Jan.16 with a Middlebury recruit (F)
Jan.8 with a Trinity recruit (F)
Dec. 18 with a Colby recruit (G)

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NESCAC recruiting trends (2018)

As most NESCAC schools looked for mature and experienced players, junior hockey continued to ramp up its advantage as the training ground for NESCAC players beginning their NESCAC careers in the fall of 2018. Junior hockey has built a very large lead over prep hockey as the last stop before the NESCAC, producing more than twice as many new NESCAC players. Junior hockey produced 49 of this year’s NESCAC entrants or close to two-thirds (62.8%) of the total, with prep hockey producing less than half that number (just 22) or 28.2% of the total. The remaining 8% of NESCAC recruits consisted primarily of 6 college transfers (7.7% of the total). The 6 transfers came primarily from D1 hockey programs (Quinnipiac (2), St. Lawrence, RPI, and Bentley), with one from D3 (Skidmore).

JUNIOR HOCKEY

On the junior hockey front, the USPHL produced almost one-third (32.7%) of the junior hockey products who joined NESCAC programs this year, down significantly from the 45% that it produced in 2017 but only a small reduction in actual numbers (16 in 2018 versus 19 in 2017). Showing a significant spike in popularity with the NESCAC was the NAHL which produced 12 (24.5%) of the NESCAC’s 2018 junior hockey products, up from 5 in 2017. Tied for a distant third were the EHL and the OJHL, each of which produced 5 players or about 10% of the junior hockey total:

Especially popular with NESCAC coaches was the EHL’s New Hampshire Avalanche franchise, which sent 4 players to the NESCAC. Other leaders included several USPHL franchises (Islanders Hockey Club (3), Northern Cyclones (3), Syracuse Stars (3), Rochester Monarchs (2), and South Shore Kings (2)). The only other junior club to send multiple players to the NESCAC was the NAHL’s Wilkes Barre/Scranton Knights with 2 new NESCAC players. Continue reading

NESCAC preview for the 2018-19 season

[Better late than never for this year’s preview but late is going to happen as long as a significant number of NESCAC schools keep their rosters a deep, dark secret until just hours before the first puck is dropped.]

The predictions for the top-tier finishers in the NESCAC regular season are Trinity, Hamilton, Conn College, and Williams. The Camels, while having the edge in various categories, have stumbled out of the gate, making Trinity the likely no. 1 finisher followed by Hamilton. The next group of finishers after the top four (middle-tier finishers in the fifth through seventh spots) are likely to be Amherst, Colby, and Wesleyan. Bunched together in the bottom tier (eighth through tenth spots) are Bowdoin, Middlebury, and Tufts. As is the case in an era of parity, there is not much difference among the teams in each tier and plenty of opportunity for teams to move up a tier with a better-than-expected performance (or down a tier with a subpar performance or two).

Across the NESCAC, the biggest question marks are in net where six teams lost veteran, work horse goalies: Hamilton (2017 National PoY Evan Buitenhuis), Colby (D1 transfer Sean Lawrence), Tufts (D1 transfer Nik Nugnes), Trinity (Alex Morin), Amherst (D1 transfer Connor Girard), and Middlebury (4-year starter Stephen Klein). Other teams with question marks in net include Bowdoin and Williams, both of which have returning goalies that finished low in the statistical rankings. The biggest question marks with regard to goalie succession plans are at Amherst, Colby, and Bowdoin, which play a significant role in the assumption that all three teams will struggle this year.

Conn College appeared to be set in goal, with NESCAC PoY Connor Rodericks returning for his junior year after a spectacular sophomore year (.942 SV%; 1.96GAA) but based on Rodericks’ early performance (giving up 8 goals in 2 games) that may not be the case. Early returns indicate that Trinity (Loughborough and Capriotti), Hamilton (Tirabassi and Negron), Middlebury (Ketchabaw and Wisco), Tufts (Hotte) and perhaps Amherst (Ventre) may have found solutions to their goalie problems while Bowdoin, using three goalies in its first four games, and Colby (Tucci) are struggling.

Teams with the biggest question marks are defending champion Colby, which lost 47% of its points and 42% of its goals to graduation and returns the least experienced roster (it lost 46% of game experience to graduation), followed by Wesleyan (losing 34% of its goals and 50% of its points to graduation and then Bowdoin (losing 38% of its points and 35% of its goals to graduation). Middlebury did not have much to lose in the way of offensive production because of last season’s poor record and will also have the second least experienced roster. Conversely, teams with experienced rosters include Connecticut College and Tufts, with the Camels losing only 15% of game experience to graduation and Tufts losing just 16%. Similarly, Conn College returns the most offensive production (112 points and 42 goals).

As was the case last season, the range in terms of returning offensive production is small, with Conn College leading the pack with 112 returning points followed by Trinity at 107. After the top two, the numbers drop off: Wesleyan (94), Amherst (93), Hamilton (89), Colby (82), Wesleyan (80), and Williams (78); at the other end of the scale, Middlebury returns the fewest number of points with just 32 (and just 12 goals) followed by Tufts (57) and Bowdoin (62).

On the coaching front, Williams’ HC Bill Kangas will be returning after a year-long sabbatical. Newish head coaches include Bowdoin’s Jamie Dumont (entering his third year) and Middlebury’s Neil Sinclair and Tufts’ Pat Norton (both entering their fourth seasons). Dumont and Sinclair have struggled at the helm for long-time hockey powers Bowdoin and Middlebury. Norton has settled in somewhat better although the Jumbos struggled in 2017-18 and are not burdened by the expectations of history. Continue reading

Sixth NESCAC preview: Amherst

Here is Amherst’s preview. Amherst is off to Clinton, NY, for a game tonight (Friday) with travel partner Hamilton.

Fifth NESCAC preview: Colby (multiple previews)

A very good preview of the upcoming season for defending NESCAC champion Colby in the local newspaper.

A good piece on Colby goalie Andrew Tucci biding his time while patiently waiting to return to the rotation during Sean Lawrence’s extraordinary year and a half manning the nets for Colby.

And an excellent, detailed preview from the Colby website.

Tenth NESCAC roster: Conn College

Better late than never: Conn College has posted its 31-member roster, including 10 new players. The Conn College roster reflects modest attrition: four veteran players with remaining eligibility are not returning for another season although only one–junior d-man Brendan Russ (12GP: 3-1-4)–played significant minutes. The other three players not returning are sophomore F William Lavezzoro (1GP: 1GP: 0-0-0), sophomore d-man Trent Thomas (1GP: 0-0-0), and junior goalie Bailey Aust (no stats). All 9 players in our recruits database are listed on the roster plus an additional player (G Michael McHale, who has been added to the database).

Conn College kicks off the season by hosting Wesleyan tonight and then Trinity on Saturday afternoon.

Evan Buitenhuis’ pro career is off to an excellent start

Here is a link to an excellent piece in the Hamilton student newspaper that details Evan Buitenhuis’ excellent start to his professional career. The article explains the mysterious relationship between ECHL and AHL teams (his contract is with the Islanders’ AHL franchise (Bridgeport Sound Tigers) but he is playing for the Worcester Railers, which is an ECHL team that has a relationship with the Bridgeport team). And Buitenhuis is well placed in that Bridgeport’s NHL parent team, the Islanders, has weaknesses in goal.