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Fifth NESCAC roster: Middlebury

Middlebury has posted its 27-member roster, showing significant attrition, with 7 members of last season’s team with remaining eligibility not returning for another season. All 9 recruits listed in our database are rostered. The 7 veteran players who did not return this year are all enrolled at Middlebury, with several being multi-sport athletes, perhaps choosing to concentrate on other sports. The three multi-sport athletes are d-man and junior Frank Cosolito (18GP: 2-1-3), who plays both football and lacrosse, and sophomores F Charlie Lawrence (13GP: 1-2-3) and D Eric Jeremiah (24GP: 1-2-3), both of whom are also lacrosse players. The four other veteran players not returning are senior F Ethan Cohen (1GP 0-0-0), sophomore F Jack Flanagan (13GP: 0-0-0), sophomore D Tommy Napolitano (no stats), and senior F Mark Lyman (4GP: 0-0-0). On the other hand, d-man Spencer Cage, who did not play last season, has returned to the team for his senior year. As always, we generally do not know who is no longer on the team for injury-related reasons.

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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.

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.

Middlebury preview but still no roster

Here is Middlebury’s preview for the 2017-18 season, with a focus on returning players. The Panthers have yet to post their 2017-18 roster . .

Middlebury’s 2016-17 roster posted

Middlebury has posted a 27-member roster for 2016-17 that is heavy with freshmen (10). The veterans who did not return include senior Mike Najjar, a fine forward, and Sam Parizeau (a back-up goalie who did not play in 2015-16). With Najjar’s absence from the roster, only 1 of Middlebury’s top 8 scorers from last year’s team (Vincenzo Gisonti) is on this year’s roster, indicating that the Panthers will be in a rebuild mode this year.  The roster shows one recruit–Joey Piccinini, a forward via the USPHL’s Junior Bruins’ Elite Division team and Wyoming Seminary–who was not included in our database (the database has been updated to include his name).

Five rosters down and five to go: the hold outs are Amherst, Conn College, Trinity, Tufts, and Wesleyan.

Middlebury publishes its 2016-17 preview

Odd decision on Middlebury’s part to publish a detailed preview of the upcoming season but no roster .  . The preview acknowledges the huge graduation losses on the offensive end and also implies that F Mike Najjar will not be returning for this season.  We will wait to confirm whether that in in fact the case but the preview does provide detailed information on each of the returning forwards but does not mention Najjar. Other than the omission of Najjar, the preview appears to indicates that all the other veterans will be returning for another year.

Neil Sinclair and Middlebury piece

Here is a good article from the Burlington Free Press on Neil Sinclair’s coaching philosophy and the expectations of the Middlebury team as to playing style (surprise! big emphasis on speed). His coaching debut will come Saturday night when the Panthers host the Colby Mules at 7:00 pm (to be covered as usual by NSN), to be followed by a game on Sunday afternoon with visiting Bowdoin at 4:00 pm.