Preview for the 2017-18 NESCAC season: Part I

[Here is the first installment of our predictions for the 2017-18 NESCAC season. The team predictions have been simplified by grouping the teams into three tiers or categories (top, middle, and bottom) instead of the 1-through-10 rankings provided in past previews in recognition of the difficulties of trying to draw micro-distinctions between closely bunched teams in an era of parity. The analyses of each team are provided in three additional installments: 

second installment
third installment
fourth installment]

The preseason predictions for the top-tier finishers in the NESCAC regular season are Trinity, Hamilton, Amherst, and Wesleyan, with Trinity having a definite edge for the no. 1 spot over the other three. (Trinity has won back-to-back NESCAC championships from the no. 2 spot (2016) and the no. 3 spot (2017) but tends to underperform in the play-offs when it is the no. 1 seed (losing in the semifinals and the quarterfinals in 2014 and 2015).) The next group of finishers after the top four (middle-tier finishers in the 5th through 7th spots) are likely to be Tufts, Williams, and Colby. Bunched together in the bottom tier (8th through 10th spots) are Bowdoin, Middlebury, and Connecticut College. 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.

Teams with the biggest question marks are Conn College, which lost 38% of its points and 41% of its goals to graduation (these losses are less than the Camels experienced last year when it lost the first of two high-scoring classes to graduation in 2016), and Williams, which returns the least experienced roster (it lost 41% of game experience to graduation), followed by Colby and then Trinity. Conversely, teams with experienced rosters include Amherst and Middlebury, with Amherst losing only 10% of game experience to graduation and Middlebury losing just 15%. Similarly, the team that returns the most offensive production is Trinity (98 points in spite of heavy graduation losses), followed by Wesleyan (94 points). Continue reading

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Preview for 2017-18 NESCAC season: Part IV

[This is the fourth installment of our four-part preview, covering the three bottom-tier teams (Bowdoin, Middlebury, and Connecticut College)]

BOTTOM TIER

BOWDOIN

Coach: Jamie Dumont: 2nd season (8-16-1) (.340 winning percentage)

Team history: 5 NCAA quarterfinals (1996, 2002, 2010, 2011, and 2013); 1 NCAA first-round game (2014); 2 ECAC East championships (1986 and 1993); 3 NESCAC championships (2011, 2013, and 2014)

2016-17 NESCAC record: 5-12-1 (8th place: play-offs: defeated by no. 1 Hamilton 4-2 in the NESCAC quarterfinals) (overall record: 8-16-1)

2016-17 NESCAC stats:

Offense:

goals scored (total): 50 (no. 3-T)
goals scored per game: 2.78
PP: 12.7% (no. 8)

Defense:

goals allowed (total): 65 (no. 9)
goals allowed per game: 3.61
PK: 77.1% (no. 9)
special teams net: -9 (no. 9)
PIMs: 11.1 (no. 6)

Captains: Danny McMullan (D) (Sr) and Matt Lison (F) (Sr)

Key returners:

Forwards: Cody Todesco (J) (9-7-16) (NESCAC co-RoY in 2016), Matt Lison (Sr) (2-10-12), Chris Wallace (J) (4-6-10), Tommy Dunleavy (So) (7-2-9). Spencer Antunez (Sr) (3-6-9)

Defense: Danny McMullan (Sr) (1-1-2), Cullen Geary (Sr) (0-0-0)

Goalie: Peter Cronin (Sr) (.904 save percentage in 779 minutes), Nathan Colannino (J) (.875 save percentage in 159 minutes), Erik Wurman (J) (.889 save percentage in 139 minutes)

Key loss: Matt Sullivan (F), Mitch Barrington (D) (NESCAC first team in 2016), Brendan Conroy (D), Jay Kourkoulis (D)

Key newcomers (middle tier): Jack Bliss (F), Brad Ingersoll (D/F), Keenan Murray (D)

Strengths: Despite all the ingredients being in place for a strong season last year, Bowdoin barely qualified for the NESCAC play-offs with a no. 8 finish (its worst finish since the NESCAC became a playing conference). This year’s expectations are modest as the Polar Bears return a decent offense, featuring one of the NESCAC’s more exciting players in Cody Todesco (co-RoY in 2016). The Polar Bears return the third-most goals (38) in the league in a down offensive year for most teams. Bowdoin has good facilities (Sidney J Watson Arena), a strong fan base, a great history, and a devoted alumni following. Bowdoin is one of just 4 schools to win a NESCAC championship in the last 10 years, with 3 championships during that period (2011, 2013, and 2014) (other champions were Amherst (2009, 2012, 2015), Middlebury (2010), and Trinity (2008, 2016, and 2017)).

Weaknesses/question marks: It has been a while since Bowdoin won the NESCAC championship after a great run of 3 in 4 years (2011, 2013, and 2014), with no championship experience and three consecutive first-round eliminations for the current crop of players.  Bowdoin has very little strength on the defensive end, whether we are talking about goaltending (senior goalie Peter Cronin had a down junior year after an excellent sophomore year) or blue line play. Bowdoin’s PK has been poor for two consecutive seasons, finishing dead last with a kill rate of just 77.6% in 2015-16 and then managing to do slightly worse in 2016-17 (77.1%) but avoiding last place due to Middlebury’s even more dismal performance. The PP was also bad with a 12.7% success rate (no. 8 in the NESCAC). Bowdoin has a soft OOC schedule although 2 of those 6 OCC games are with UNE, a rapidly improving program and a third will be with a UMass Boston, which has had good teams in recent years. This is new HC Jamie Dumont’s second year as the no. 1 guy behind the bench. He compiled Bowdoin’s worst record in 64 years (since 1963) in that first year. His first class of recruits is middle of the pack and should have been stronger due to the large number of losses to graduation, especially on the blue line. His may very well be the case in which a strong no. 2 guy does not necessarily make a good no. 1 guy. We’ll see what the future holds as one year is not much of a record for a definitive reading on his abilities as a head coach but the 2016-17 start was not auspicious.  

MIDDLEBURY

Coach: Neil Sinclair: 3rd season (11-30-9) (.268% winning percentage) (also served as interim HC in 2002-03 and compiled a record of 22-5-2)

Team history: 8 NCAA championships (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, and 2006); 1 NCAA finals (2007); 2 NCAA semifinals (2002, 2003); 3 NCAA quarterfinals (2000, 2001, 2010); 1 ECAC East championship (1991); 8 NESCAC championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010)

2016-17 NESCAC record: 3-15 (10th place (did not qualify for play-offs)) (overall record: 3-19-2)

2016-17 NESCAC stats:

Offense:

goals scored (total): 32 (no. 9-T)
goals scored per game: 1.78
PP: 16.4% (no. 7)

Defense:

goals allowed (total): 66 (no. 10)
goals allowed per game: 3.67
PK: 76.3% (no. 10)
special teams net: -13 (no. 10)
PIMs: 13.3 (no. 9)

Captain: Mark McLellan (F) (Sr)

Key returners:

Forwards: Trevor Turnbull (So) (6-4-10), Vincent Gisonti (Sr) (7-2-9)

Defense: Brendan Dawson (So) (2-5-7), Frank Cosolito (So) (1-1-2), David Belluche (Sr) (0-0-0), Jimmy McKee (J) (0-0-0)

Goalies: Steve Klein (Sr) (.905 save percentage in 787 minutes), Brian Ketchabaw (So) (.916 save percentage in 249 minutes)

Key losses: Andrew Neary (D), Travis Stephens (F), Greg Conrad (F)

Key newcomers (rated no. 4 (T)): Owen Powers (F), Alex Heinritz (F), Matt Danner (F), Eric Jeremiah (D)

Strengths: For Middlebury, it is hard to imagine that things could be any worse than they were in 2016-17, when the Panthers compiled a dismal record of 3-19-2 and, for the first time since the inception of NESCAC play-offs, failed to qualify for post-season play. The bright spots for Middlebury are a strong class of recruits (and it had a decent class that entered in 2016 too) and the experience earned under fire last year (only Amherst and Conn College have more returning game experience than Middlebury). It also has a decent tandem of netminders in senior Stephen Klein and sophomore Brian Ketchabaw. Middlebury has the strongest hockey history in the NESCAC (8 NCAA D3 championships (1995-99 and 2004-06)) but that history recedes further into the past every year, with its last no. 1 regular season NESCAC finish 12 seasons ago in 2006 and its last NESCAC championship 8 seasons ago in 2010.

Weaknesses/question marks: The Panthers had their third losing season in a row after 27 straight years of winning seasons. The Panthers’ offense and defense were the worst in the league, as Middlebury battled one injury after another on the blue line. Middlebury had the worst PK (a 76.1% kill rate) and the worst special teams’ net. There is not much good to say about the Panthers’ 2016-17 record. Third-year HC Neil Sinclair continues to subject the Panthers to a difficult OOC schedule (1 or 2 games with defending NCAA champ Norwich and 1 or 2 games with Plattsburgh). It is unclear whether HC Sinclair is primarily responsible for Middlebury’s poor performance in the past few years or whether there are other institutional forces at play that have handicapped the program (like a lack of support in admissions).

CONNECTICUT COLLEGE

Coach: Jim Ward: 15th season (107-203-31) (.345% winning percentage)

Team history:

2016-17 NESCAC record: 2-13-3 (9th place; play-offs: did not qualify for NESCAC play-offs) (overall record: 4-16-3)

2016-17 NESCAC stats:

Offense:

goals scored (total): 32 (no. 9-T)
goals scored per game: 1.78
PP: 11.6% (no. 10)

Defense:

goals allowed (total): 56 (no. 8)
goals allowed per game: 3.11
PK: 81.8% (no. 6)
special teams net: -2 (no. 6-T)
PIMs: 14.6 (no. 10)

Captains: (Sr)

Key returners:

Forward: Jeff Thompson (So) (6-4-10)

Defense: Rory Garlasco (So) (2-3-5), Mason Evans (Sr) (0-4-4), Dylan Chase (J) (1-2-3), Dan Driscoll (So) (0-1-1), AJ Wallace (J) (0-1-1)

Goalies: Connor Rodericks (So) (.919 save percentage in 420 minutes), Avery Gobbo (So) (.918 in 625 minutes), Tim Cooney (Sr) (.892 save percentage in 138 minutes)

Key losses: Brian Belisle (F), Joe Giordano (F), Ryan Mowery (F), Greg Liautaud (D) (missed senior year due to injury)

Newcomers (middle tier): Brett Stirling (D), Paul Capozzi (F), Kyle Moss (D)

Strengths: Conn College returns lots of game experience (all but 16% of last season’s experience or the third-most experienced team in the NESCAC) but returns very little offensive production (the least in the NESCAC at just 19 goals and 48 points) so most of its strength will be on the blue line where it returns a nice group of defenders. The Camels have a solid class of new recruits, with two promising and experienced d-men in Brett Stirling and Kyle Moss. Despite not qualifying for the NESCAC play-offs in 2017 for the second year in a row, Conn College was in most of its games in 2016-17 just as it had been the prior year, registering 3 ties and 8 1-goal losses in league play and putting up a real fight in most games.

Weaknesses/question marks: For the second year in a row, Conn College finished dead last in the league in goals (well, it was tied with Middlebury for last place). It also had the worst PP (a real feat in a down year for the PP in the NESCAC) and managed to register more penalty minutes than any other team. The Camels have failed to qualify for the NESCAC play-offs for two years in a row. Conn College has a small rink, but enthusiastic fans show up for games when college is in session and create a lively atmosphere.

Preview of the 2017-18 NESCAC season: Part III

[This is the third installment of our four-installment preview, covering the three middle-tier teams (Tufts, Williams, and Colby)]

MIDDLE TIER

TUFTS

Coach: Patrick Norton (3rd season) (21-21-9) (.500% winning percentage)

Team history: no NCAA appearances or NESCAC championships

2016-17 NESCAC record: 9-8-1 (6th place; Play-offs: lost to no. 3 Trinity 4-1 in the NESCAC quarterfinals) (overall record: 11-11-3)

2016-17 NESCAC stats:

Offense:

goals scored (total): 43 (no. 8)
goals scored per game: 2.39
PP: 17.8% (no. 4)

Defense:

goals allowed (total): 44 (no. 5)
goals allowed per game: 2.44
PK: 85.1% (no. 5)
special teams net: +3 (no. 6)
PIMs: 8.6 (no. 2)

Captains: to ve determined

Key returners:

Forwards: Brian Brown (Sr) (8-6-14), Tyler Scroggins (So) (4-8-12), Anthony Farinacci (So) (5-6-11)

Defense: Jordan Haney (So) (3-6-9), Cooper Stahl (So) (1-5-6), Cory Gottfried (So) (0-2-2), Trevor Davis (Sr) (1-4-5)

Goalie: Nik Nugnes (Sr) (.941 save percentage in 693 minutes) (NESCAC second team in 2017)

Key losses: Mason Pulde (G), Sean Kavanagh (D), Patrick Lackey (F), Mike Leary (F), Conal Lynch (F), Matt Pugh (F/D), Chad Goldberg (F) (team’s no. 2 scorer in 2015-16 as a sophomore but was injured for 2016-17 season)

Key newcomers (rated no. 1): Drew Hotte (G), Peter Hatton (F), Hayden Smith (F), Charley Borek (F), Brendan Ryan (F), Michael Gordon (D)

Strengths: Tufts and Wesleyan are locked in a tight contest for top-tier status with not much to separate the two teams but something had to give, resulting in the Jumbos relegation to the middle tier. The Jumbos have many of the ingredients for a successful season, starting in net where senior Nik Nugnes (UMaine transfer) became the Jumbos’ primary netminder in the second semester of the 2016-17 season when outstanding goalie Mason Pulde suffered an ACL tear, ending his season and his college career. Nugnes finished no. 2 in the league in save percentage and can expect to be relieved by former BU commit Drew Hotte, who made a last-minute decision to become a Jumbo. Tufts was middle-of-the-pack in defense in 2016-17 (no. 5) but below-average in offense (no. 8 with 2.39 GPG). Tufts had a very strong recruiting year for the second year in a row, with the NESCAC’s no. 1 class consisting of several strong forwards as well as hot goalie prospect Hotte. Tufts continued to show progress and improvement under third-year HC Pat Norton, finishing sixth before falling to eventual champion Trinity in the first round of the play-offs.

Weaknesses/question marks: With a total of 75% of the roster (21 of 28) being freshmen (12) and sophomores (9), Tufts is a very young team. Tufts’ primary weakness has been a fondness for the sin bin, although it may have rectified this flaw, going from having the worst record in the NESCAC in 2015-16 (more than 15 PIMs/game) to having the second-best record in 2016-17 (registering just 8.6 PIMs/game). Its offense continues to be on the weak side, producing just 2.39 GPG in 2016-17 (8th in the league). It experienced more attrition than any other NESCAC team, perhaps due to the influx of a large number of new players (12), and has the second least experienced team in terms of game experience. Tufts plays its games at an off-campus location (it plays in a commercial rink with limited seating in the nearby town of Malden) and has a short and lackluster history as a hockey school.

WILLIAMS

Coach: Interim HC Mike Monti (no record) (HC Bill Kangas is on sabbatical)

Team history: 1 ECAC East championship (1994); 1 NCAA quarterfinal (2016)

2016-17 NESCAC record: 10-5-3 (4th place; play-offs: defeated no. 5 Amherst 2-1 in the NESCAC quarterfinals and lost to no. 3 Trinity 4-2 in the NESCAC semifinals) (overall record: 14-9-3)

2016-17 NESCAC stats:

Offense:

goals scored (total): 57 (no. 2)
goals scored per game: 3.17
PP: 24.2% (no. 1)

Defense:

goals allowed (total): 49 (no. 6-T)
goals allowed per game: 2.72
PK: 78.3% (no. 8)
special teams net: +4 (no. 4-T)
PIMs: 8.7 (no. 3)

Captain: Colby Cretella (F) (Sr)

Key returners:

Forwards: David Italiano (Sr) (9-16-25) (NESCAC first team in 2017), Roberto Cellini (J) (10-11-21) (NESCAC second team in 2017), CJ Shugart (Sr) (8-3-11), Colby Cretella (Sr) (3-7-10)

Defense: Max Fuld (So) (2-2-4), Keanu Hilaire (J) (0-3-3), Peter Christie (So) (0-1-1)

Goalie: Michael Pinios (J) (.886 save percentage in 913 minutes) (NESCAC second team and NESCAC co-RoY in 2016), Stephen Morrissey (Sr) (.935 save percentage in 401 minutes)

Key losses: Tyler Young (F) (NESCAC second team in 2016), Luke Stickel (F), George Hunkele (F), Frankie Mork (D) (NESCAC first team in 2017; NESCAC second team in 2014), Alex Hagerty (F), Sam gray (D/F), James McNamara (D), Taylor Carmola (D)

Key newcomers (rated no. 3): Myles Cunningham (D), Jack McCool (D), Nick Van Belle (F), Bobby Beniers (F), Tyler Scott (F)

Strengths: Williams returns excellent scoring punch, with the third-most returning goals at 38 and the no. 1 and no. 3 NESCAC scorers in David Italiano and Roberto Cellini. In a reversal of form for the usually defensive minded Ephs, Williams scored the second-most goals in the NESCAC team in 2016-17 with 57, trailing only Trinity. Williams is normally the most disciplined team in the NESCAC, registering the lowest number of PIMs in the league for a remarkable 4 years in a row (2012-16), before falling to no. 3 in 2016-17. Williams had the best PP in the league, with a 24% success rate.  Williams has one of the strongest recruiting classes in the NESCAC, with 4 new d-men and 5 new forwards joining the team this year.

Weaknesses/question marks: In terms of overall returning game experience, Williams is dead last due to the loss of much of its blue line and several key forwards (like Tyler Young and Alex Hagerty). Williams lost 4 of its top blue liners to graduation and more than 60% of its blue line experience—NESCAC first teamer Frankie Mork and 3 steady performers in James McNamara, Sam Gray, and Taylor Carmola. But it also has a second consecutive class of recruits that is weighted in favor of the blue line, with newcomers Jack McCool and Myles Cunningham looking especially promising. The Ephs’ defense (tied for sixth) and goaltending were subpar for Williams in 2016-17, with the central question going into this year being whether junior Michael Pinios will regain his co-RoY form of his freshman year or whether the struggles he experienced as a sophomore will continue (sub-.900 save percentage). Despite its continued strong performance in the regular season, Williams’ post-season record is one of futility, with many excellent teams but no NESCAC championships (the Ephs have lost 3 NESCAC championship games in the past 7 years, with 1-goal losses to Amherst in 2015 and to Bowdoin in 2013 and a 3-goal loss to Bowdoin in 2011)). Williams’ normal team discipline weakened in 2016-17, with a porous defense and a poor PK (78% kill rate or the no. 8 PK in the league). A large unknown is how the Ephs will react to a temporary coaching change as long-time HC Bill Kangas takes the year off and is temporarily replaced by Williams’ untested assistant coach, Mike Monti.

COLBY

Coach: Blaise MacDonald: 6th season (45-60-18) (.428% winning percentage)

Team history: 1 NCAA quarterfinal (1996); 1 ECAC East championship (1997)

2016-17 NESCAC record: 11-4-3 (2nd place; play-offs: lost to no. 7 Wesleyan 5-4 in the NESCAC quarterfinals) (overall record: 13-7-4)

2016-17 NESCAC stats:

Offense:

goals scored (total): 47 (no. 5)
goals scored per game: 2.28
PP: 16.9% (no. 6)

Defense:

goals allowed (total): 36 (no. 3)
goals allowed per game: 2.72
PK: 80.6% (no. 7)
special teams net: 0 (no. 7)
PIMs: 8.9 (no. 4)

Captains: Phil Klitirinos (F) (Sr), Michael Rudolf (F) (Sr), and Dan Dupont (D) (Sr)

Key returners:

Forwards: Phil Klitirinos (Sr) (5-14-19), Michael Rudolf (Sr) (8-4-12), Cam MacDonald (Sr) (4-5-9)

Defense: Mark Leprine (So) (0-7-7), Thomas Stahlhuth (J) (2-2-4)

Goalie: Sean Lawrence (Sr) (.944 save percentage in 404 minutes), Andrew Tucci (So) (.921 save percentage in 607 minutes)

Key losses: Jack Burton (D) (NESCAC first team in 2017), Devin Albert (F), EJ Rauseo (F), Kevin Doherty (F), Geoff Sullivan (D), Kai Frankville (D)

Key newcomers (bottom tier): Spencer Hewson (F), Justin Grillo (F)

Strengths: Colby was solid defensively in the league last year (no. 3) but very much middle-of-the-pack at the other end of the ice, finishing sixth and losing a large percentage of its scoring to graduation (41%). Its strength is in net where Quinnipiac transfer and senior Sean Lawrence took over the no. 1 spot in the second semester last year and solid first semester starter Andrew Tucci became a back-up. Colby had its strongest finish in 2017 since 2008 (when it finished first), finishing no. 2 in the league and knocking off arch-rival Bowdoin in both of their games. (But Colby fell to upstart no. 7 Wesleyan in the first round of the play-offs.) Blaise MacDonald, now in his sixth year as head coach, has settled in very nicely and will have the honor of coaching two of his sons this year (senior Cam and freshman Joe).

Weaknesses/question marks: Colby is third-to-last in terms of experienced players, having lost 35% of its game experience to graduation, including superb d-man Jack Burton and two excellent scorers in EJ Rauseo and Devin Albert.  The Mules will have to focus on a quick rebuild of its d-corps, having lost almost 50% of its blue line experience and replenishing its offensive production (it lost more than 40% of its scoring to graduation).

Preview of the 2017-18 NESCAC season: Part II

[This is the second installment of our four-installment preview, covering the four top-tier teams (Trinity, Hamilton, Amherst, and Wesleyan)]

Here is the team-by-team assessment. Point totals and goalie stats (only data from regular season NESCAC games is included to ensure apples-to-apples comparisons) for returning players for the 2016-17 season are included in parentheses to provide additional context and detail for these predictions:

TOP TIER

TRINITY

Coach: Matt Greason: 7th season (112-41-10) (.732% winning percentage)

Team history: 1 NCAA championship (2015); 1 NCAA final (2017); 1 NCAA semifinal (2005); 2 NCAA quarterfinals (2008 & 2016); 3 NESCAC championships (2008, 2016, 2017)

2016-17 NESCAC record: 11-5-2 (3rd place; play-offs: defeated no. 6 Tufts 4-1 in the NESCAC quarterfinals, no. 4 Williams 4-2 in the semifinals, and no. 1 Hamilton in the NESCAC championship game 3-2 (OT)) (overall record: 21-7-3)

2016-17 NESCAC stats:

Offense:

goals scored (total): 65 (no. 1)
goals scored per game: 3.61
PP: 17.2% (no. 5)

Defense:

goals allowed (total): 35 (no. 2)
goals allowed per game: 1.94
PK: 86.8% (no. 4)
special teams net: +5 (no. 2-T)
PIMs: 12 (no. 8)

Captains: Anthony Sabitsky (F) (Sr), Conor Hegarty (D) (Sr), and Griffyn Martin (D) (Sr)

Key returners:

Forwards: Tyler Whitney (Sr) (9-13-22), Anthony Sabitsky (Sr) (12-8-20) (NESCAC first team in 2017; NESCAC second team in 2016), Barclay Gammill (So) (6-4-10)

Defense: Liam Feeney (So) (1-10-11), Griffyn Martin (Sr) (0-7-7), Michael O’Brien (J) (1-1-2), Connor Hegarty (Sr) (2-1-3)

Goalie: Alex Morin (Sr) (.931 save percentage in 1073 minutes)

Key losses: Ryan Cole (F) (all-American first team, NESCAC first team, and NESCAC PoY in 2015; NESCAC first team and NESCAC RoY in 2014; NESCAC second team in 2016), Sean Orlando (F) (NESCAC first team and all-American third team in 2016; NESCAC second team in 2017), Ethan Holdaway (F), Brandon Cole (F), Will Sleeper (F), T.J. Sherman (D), Sam Johnson (D)

Key newcomers (rated no. 2): James Callahan (D), Michael Grande (D), D1 transfer Nick Fiorentino (D), Blake Carrick (F), Nick Polsinelli (F), and Sam Kany (G)

Strengths: Trinity had the no. 1 offense in the league in 2016-17 (3.61 GPG) although the Bantams’ power play had a down year (a 17.2 % success rate or fifth in the NESCAC). In a year of solid defensive performances for the top-tier NESCAC teams, Trinity was second on the defensive front, giving up just 1.94 GPG. Trinity is no. 8 in the league in terms of game experience but amazingly returns more offensive production than any other team (98 points versus runner-up Wesleyan’s 94) although its returning goal production is modest at just 37 (fifth in the league but just 4 goals behind the no. 1 goal returner (Hamilton)). The Bantams have two of the league’s tops forwards returning in Tyler Whitney (no. 2 NESCAC scorer) and NESCAC first teamer Anthony Sabitsky (no. 4 scorer in the NESCAC). Trinity has a strong group of returning D and the best incoming class on the blue line with several outstanding prospects. Goalie Alex Morin is an excellent goalie who established himself as Trinity’s no. 1 netminder in 2016-17 and a big game performer. The Bantams have an excellent class of recruits (we rate the class no. 2 in the NESCAC). Trinity’s Matt Greason has established himself as a premier D3 hockey coach, entering his 7th season, with back-to-back NESCAC championships in 2016 and 2017 and 3 trips to the NCAAs in the last 4 years, including a championship in 2015 and a trip to the NCAA finals in 2017.

Weaknesses/question marks: In truth, Trinity’s weaknesses are few, it having quickly rebuilt its blue line in 2015-16 after losing a lot to graduation in its national championship year (2015). It will have to rebuild its leadership cadre, having lost an extraordinary group of seniors to graduation in 2017, including the Cole brothers, forwards Seann Orlando, Ethan Holdaway, and Will Sleeper, and 2 excellent d-men in TJ Sherman and Sam Johnson. Its chief fault last year was a lack of consistency during the regular season (5 losses and 2 ties) that resulted in a 3rd plae regular-season finish and a road trip for the final four weekend. Defensive weaknesses that have troubled the Bantams include a fondness for the sin bin (Trinity was the next-to-the-most-penalized team in the league in 2015-16 and the third-most-penalized team in 2016-17). Otherwise, it is hard work to find meaningful flaws in the Trinity team as we enter the 2017-18 season. Continue reading

Conn College roster posted — all NESCAC rosters now available!

Here is a link to Conn College’s 31-member roster, consisting of 8 newcomers (all freshmen), 11 sophomores, 7 juniors, and 5 seniors so a roster short on experience. Four lightly used veteran players did not return for another season: junior d-man Vincent Ditmore (injured last year); sophomores F Billy Stahley and d-man Jamie Carnavalla; and senior d-man Erik Rost.

Conn College launches its 2017-18 season with an in-state trip to Middletown for a Friday game at 7pm with ascendant Wesleyan and then heads to Hartford for a 4pm game on Saturday with defending NESCAC champion Trinity.

Trinity roster posted

Nine down and one to go, with Conn College now the lone hold out . .

Here is a link to Trinity’s 30-member roster, consisting of 9 newcomers (8 freshmen and Northeastern transfer D Nick Fiorentino) and 21 returning players. Two players did not return for another season — senior d-man Mike Menter (was a DNP in 2016-17 and seldom-used junior back-up goalie Matt Millendorf.

The defending NESCAC champions kick off the season by hosting always feisty Tufts at 7:30 on Friday (Nov. 17) and then face the visiting Conn College Camels Saturday afternoon at 4pm.

Middlebury roster is now posted

Middlebury has posted its 30-member roster for 2017-18, consisting of 10 newcomers (9 freshman and Holy Cross transfer Owen Powers) and 20 returning veterans. Not returning for another year are 3 veteran d-men who saw little action last year due to injuries but had been major contributors the prior season (2015-16) — they are juniors Matt Doherty and Spencer Cage and senior Zach Weier. Also not returning for another season is F Danny Jacobs, who was a regular member of the Panther’s rotation last season, playing in 22 games. The roster includes all the recruits listed in our database plus freshman D prospect Tommy Napolitano from the Brunswick School.

The Panthers kick off the season on Saturday, hosting Colby at 7pm, and then face visiting Bowdoin Sunday afternoon at 4pm.

Amherst roster posted!

Amherst has posted its 28-member 2017-18 roster, with 6 freshmen and a 7th new player in junior Alex Einarsson, a goalie from Sweden. All 20 of Amherst’s players from last year’s roster who did not graduate in 2017 have returned for another year so no attrition.

Amherst kicks off the season this Friday (Nov. 17) at 7pm as it hosts defending NESCAC regular season champion and travel partner Hamilton.

Three NESCAC teams–Conn College, Middlebury, and Trinity–have yet to disclose their rosters for the 2017-18 season.