NCAA season preview – ECAC

By DJ Powers





Harvard University

Harvard University

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05 roster: 9)

 

The defending ECAC Champion Harvard Crimson will open their
2004-05 regular season on October 29th when they host conference
rival Brown at the Bright Center in the early marquee ECAC matchup of 2004-05.

 

Harvard saw some
significant changes to their team this offseason. The most notable is the
departure of head coach Mark Mazzoleni. After five seasons behind the Crimson
bench, Mazzoleni opted to leave Harvard to take the head coaching job with his
hometown Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). Recently retired NHLer and former Harvard
standout Ted Donato has been named his successor. In addition to the coaching
change, the Crimson also lost seven players to graduation.

 

No position on the Harvard roster suffered more significant
losses than the forward lines. Three of the Crimson’s top five scorers from
last season are gone. Outstanding seniors Tom
Cavanagh
(SJ) and Brendan
Bernakevitch
are the top two returning forwards who will be relied upon to
lead the offensive attack. Cavanagh led the team in scoring in 2003-04 with 36
points (16 goals, 20 assists). Bernakevitch, who has steadily grown into one of
Harvard’s best and most dependable players in the last three years, is one
player that is likely to garner a lot of NHL interest as a possible free agent
candidate at season’s end. One line combination to watch is the sophomore trio
of Kevin Du, Ryan Maki and Steve Mandes.
Last season’s “kid line” was impressive and should be even better this year.
Harvard will also welcome five newcomers to their forward ranks including
forward Mike Taylor. Taylor comes to
Harvard from Holy Angels High School in Minnesota. He was named one of the
finalists for the 2004 Mr. Hockey Award, which is given annually to the top
Minnesota high school player.

 

The Crimson’s strength this season will be in goal and on
the blueline. The tandem of senior Dov
Grumet-Morris
(PHI) and junior John
Daigneau
will return to backstop the Crimson. Harvard lost two defensemen
to graduation this summer in Kenny Smith
(EDM) and Dave McCulloch. Despite
the losses however, Harvard will return an excellent group of defensemen led by
senior Noah Welch (PIT), who will
serve as the team’s 103rd captain in its storied history. One
returning defenseman to watch this season is sophomore Dylan Reese (NYR). The immensely talented Reese missed 11 games,
including a trip to the U-20 World Junior Championships due to injury. He saw
playing time for much of the season with Welch as the Crimson’s top defensive
pairing. Harvard’s already huge blueline corps will be even bigger this season
with the addition of three newcomers who bring size in addition to talent. The most notable is David
MacDonald
(SJ). MacDonald is a 2004 NHL Draft selection of the San Jose
Sharks (225th overall, seventh round). He comes to Harvard from the
New England Junior Coyotes (EJHL).

 

 

Brown University

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05 roster: 2)

 

The defending Ivy League co-champion Bears will open their
80th collegiate season on October 29th when they travel
to the Bright Center to face off against conference rival and host Harvard.

 

Brown suffered some key losses this offseason and none were
more significant than the loss of record-setting starting goaltender Yann Danis (MON). Danis re-wrote the
Brown goaltending history books during the 2003-04 and went on to collect
numerous awards as well as being named a finalist for the prestigious Hobey
Baker Award. In addition to Danis, the Bears also lost 2003-04 leading scorer Brent Robinson (PHI) as well as top
defensemen Scott Ford (SJ) and Vince Macri (NYI). Despite the losses
however, Brown looks to be in very good shape this season. The Bears return two
of their top three scorers from 2003-04 in sensational sophomore Brian Ihnacak (PIT) and senior Les Haggett, who will serve as team
captain for 2004-05. Ihnacak will be one player worth
watching
. The son of former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Peter Ihnacak
was superb last season for Brown. He led all ECAC rookies in scoring with 30
points (10 goals, 20 assists). He also finished ranked third in the nation
among rookies in points per game (0.97). His impressive season earned him Ivy
League Rookie of the Year honors as well as ECAC Co-Rookie of the Year.

 

“Brian’s definitely got the talent and capability to be a
kid that can be the go-to guy. He was in that category as a freshman and he’ll
definitely be in that category as a sophomore,” said head coach Roger Grillo
when he spoke to with Hockey’s Future this past spring.

 

If there is a concern about the Bears for 2004-05, it is
likely to come in goal. Senior Scott
Rowan
saw action in only two games last season. He’ll likely be battling
talented incoming freshman Adam D’Alba
along with junior Kevin Kliman for
the starting job. D’Alba comes to Brown from the Chicago Steel (USHL), where he
posted a 14-9-3 record that included three shutouts. With the loss of their top
defensemen, the Bears will also see a depleted blueline corps. Brown returns
four upperclassmen to lead the team in seniors Paul Crosty and Gerry Burke
and juniors Pete LeCain and Dami Amurawaiye. Unfortunately, none of
these returning defensemen will provide much offense, which will be another
issue that Brown will have to contend with this season.

 

With the Bears needing to fill some significant holes in
their roster, help is very much on the way. Brown will welcome one of the best
incoming freshman classes in the nation this fall led by former Deerfield
Academy standout, defenseman Paul Baier
(LA). Of the team’s nine incoming freshmen, only defenseman Sean Hurley is over the age of 19. With the majority of the Bears’ newcomers 18 or 19 years of
age and thus eligible for the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, prospect followers will be
keeping closing tabs on how these newcomers progress throughout the season. In
addition to Baier, D’Alba and Hurley, Brown’s outstanding group of newcomers
includes U.S. National Team Development Programs product forward Seth Seidman who finished the 2003-04
season with 19 points. The group also features two prep standouts in forwards Todd Johnson and Chris Poli and last season’s lead scorer for the St. Albert [now
Spruce Grove] Saints (AJHL) in forward Brian
McNary
. McNary finished 2003-04 with 73 points (24 goals, 49 assists).

 

 

Clarkson University

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05 roster: 6)

 

The Golden Knights will open their 83rd season on
October 8th when they travel to Schneider Arena to face off against
non-conference host Providence.

 

Clarkson is
coming off a season that ended a whole lot better than it began. After a
mediocre regular season, the Golden Knights were stellar in the post season.
After beating Union College in the opening round of the ECAC playoffs, they
came back to hand powerhouse Cornell a stunning 2-1 upset at Lynah Rink in the
best-of-three Conference Quarterfinals. That sent the Golden Knights to ECAC
Championship game versus Harvard. After a valiantly fought effort, Clarkson’s
memorable run ended with a heartbreaking 4-2 loss. This season, the Golden
Knights will be looking to win the ECAC Championship and earn a Frozen Four
Tournament berth.

 

The biggest loss for Clarkson this summer was the early
departure of the imposing and tough defenseman Matt Nickerson (DAL). Nickerson, who led the nation in penalty minutes
(179) last season, opted to forego his final three years of eligibility to sign
with the Dallas Stars. In addition to Nickerson, the Golden Knights lost five
other players all to graduation. Early last season, defenseman Dale Good left Clarkson to play in
Canadian Major Juniors. The Golden Knights return virtually all of their
defensemen, but once again will be quite young. Senior Ken Scuderi and junior Chris
Brekelmans
are the only upperclassmen among their blueline corps. The only
newcomer among the team’s defensemen this season is Grant Clitsome (CBJ). Clitsome was a 2004
NHL Draft selection of the Columbus Blue Jackets (271st overall,
ninth round). He comes to Clarkson from the Nepean Raiders (CJHL), where he
amassed 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists) in 55 games played last season.
The
Golden Knights will also return two of three goaltenders, as junior starter Dustin Traylen and sophomore backup Kyle McNulty return to backstop the
Golden Knights. Traylen posted a 15-15-5 record last season in helping to lead
Clarkson to the ECAC Championship game. Traylen was Clarkson’s workhorse
between the pipes appearing in 36 of 41 games. He ranked ninth in the nation in
minutes played (2128:04).

 

Clarkson will be in very good shape up front, despite losing
four forwards to graduation. The Golden Knights return their top three scorers
in seniors Mac Faulkner, Chris Blight and Jay Latulippe. Faulkner, who will serve as team captain, led the
team in scoring last season with 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists). In addition
to returning many of their top forwards, the Golden Knights will also welcome a
talented group of forwards led by a pair of 2004 NHL Draft selections in Shawn Weller (OTT) and Steve Zalewski (SJ). Weller, who was
selected by the Ottawa Senators in this summer’s NHL Draft, was one of the most
highly regarded prospects of the 2004 NHL Draft coming into the NCAA. He comes
to Clarkson from Capital District (EJHL), where he finished second on the team
in scoring with 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists) and led the team in penalty
minutes with 121. Zalewski, a Northwood Prep product, has the makings of
becoming a solid defensive forward and brings a wealth of international
experience to the team. With a talented group of forwards donning the green and
gold, the one area that should improve is the team’s power play. Clarkson had
the second worst power play in the conference last season (14.8 percent).

 

 

Colgate University

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05 roster: 2)

 

The defending ECAC regular season champion Raiders will open
on October 8th when they travel to Ewigleben
Ice Arena to face off against non-conference host Ferris State.

 

Colgate became one of the best stories to come
out of the ECAC last season. This time, they hope to better that. ECAC Coach of
the Year Stan Moore will return as the team’s associate head coach. Don
Vaughan, who served as the school’s interim Athletic Director last season, will
return as the Raiders head coach.

 

The key to Colgate’s success last season was
their stingy defense. The Raiders possessed the fifth ranked defense in the
nation that allowed an average of 2.05 goals per game. They also possessed an
excellent penalty-killing unit that ranked ninth in the nation. Colgate lost
four defensive players (one goaltender, three defensemen) to graduation this
summer. Despite the losses, Colgate will once again be a defensively powerful
team. Senior Steve Silverthorn, one
of the ECAC’s best goaltenders last season, will return to backstop the
Raiders. Silverthorn posted excellent numbers with a record of 18-9-4 that
included three shutouts. He finished fifth in the nation in the respective
categories of goals against average (1.82) and save percentage (.927), earning
him an honorable mention to the ECAC All-Conference Team. Along with
Silverthorn, the Raiders will return a formidable group of defensemen led by
the towering senior Joey Mormina
(PHI) and ECAC All-Rookie Team selection sophomore Mike Campaner. Campaner led the team’s rookies in scoring last
season with 16 points (four goals, 16 assists). The only newcomer to the
Raiders defensive corps is Matt Torti.
He comes to Colgate from the Boston Bulldogs, where he amassed 42 points (10
goals, 32 assists). Torti, brings offensive ability to the team and at 6’5/210
lbs. will also bring some size.

 

Up front, the main story from last season was
the exceptional play of junior Jon Smyth.
Smyth, the ECAC’s Defensive Player of the Year and All-Conference First Team
selection, led the Raiders in scoring in 2003-04 with 42 points (21 goals, 21
assists). His talent as an excellent two-way forward is certain to gain the
attention of the NHL scouts as a free agent candidate. Along with Smyth,
Colgate will return nearly all of its top scorers including junior Kyle Wilson (MIN). Wilson was a 2004
NHL Draft selection (272nd overall, ninth round) of the Minnesota
Wild. He finished third on the team in scoring with 31 points and will be one
player well worth watching again.

 

“He’s a highly skilled defensive forward. He is
deceptive in that he reads his opponents quite well. He has the ability to
sense what the opponent does in reaction to something he does. He can make a
change and that can be a problem for the opponent,” said associate head coach
Stan Moore of Wilson in an interview with Hockey’s Future this past spring.

 

In addition to the returning players, Colgate
will welcome five talented newcomers that will provide some scoring depth. Two
notables are Tyler Burton and Ben Camper. Burton comes to Colgate
from Chiliwack (BCHL), where he led the team in scoring last season with 130
points (37 goals, 93 assists). Camper
comes to Colgate from Bay State (EJHL), where he finished second on the team in
scoring with 39 points (18 goals, 21 assists).

 

Cornell University

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05 roster: 10)

 

The defending Ivy League co-champion Big Red
will open their 2004-05 regular season on October 29th when they
host visiting non-conference opponent Army at Lynah Rink.

 

After a
successful regular season that included winning the Florida Everblades Holiday
Tournament, Cornell was handed a stunning end to their season courtesy of the
Clarkson Golden Knights. This season, they will certainly be determined to
change that and have hopes of returning to the Frozen Four Tournament.

 

The best story to come out of Cornell last
season was the sensational play of David
McKee
. McKee won the starting job over the now-departed Todd Marr after record setting
goaltender David LeNeveu left early to turn pro. McKee played in all but one
game for Cornell last season, posting a 16-10-6 record that included five
shutouts. His five shutouts tied him for first in the conference in that
category. He finished the season sixth in the nation in goals against average
(1.84) and 15th in the nation in save percentage (.920), earning him
ECAC Co-Rookie of the Year honors. With the loss of Marr to graduation,
newcomer Troy Davenport will backup
McKee this season. Davenport comes to Cornell after an outstanding year with
the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) last season. He posted a record of 24-19-3 that
included two shutouts. He also became the first Gamblers goaltender in history
to score a goal.

 

The Big Red lost only one defenseman to
graduation this offseason in Ben Wallace.
With the return of nearly all of its defensemen and David McKee in goal,
defense will be Cornell’s strength again this season. One unmistakable
attribute of Cornell’s defensemen in recent years is their sheer size.
Cornell’s smallest returning defensemen are 6’0/195 lbs. senior Charlie Cook and 6’0/185 lbs. sophomore
Evan Salmela. The two incoming
freshmen will add even more size to the already-huge Cornell defense. The
6’5/200 lbs. Sasha Grenier-Pokuluk
comes to Cornell from the Notre Dame Hounds (SJHL), where he had 23 points
(seven goals, 16 assists). The 6’3/195 lbs. Doug Krantz comes to Cornell from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs
(BCHL), where he amassed 47 points (12 goals, 35 assists) last season. Along
with size, Cornell’s defensemen bring toughness and skill. Two examples are in
the pair of Montreal Canadiens prospects Ryan
O’Byrne
(MON) and Jon Gleed
(MON).

 

The most significant losses that Cornell
suffered this offseason were that of forwards Ryan Vesce and Greg Hornsby.
Vesce, who finished second on the team in scoring last season with 26 points
(10 goals, 16 assists), centered the Big Red’s top line combination that
included top scorer, junior Matt Moulson
(PIT) and leading scorer among the team’s rookies in sophomore Byron Bitz. Hornsby, along with the
Abbott twins (Cam and Chris) made up arguably the nation’s top “energy” line
combination. The trio was impressive and one of the toughest lines to play
against last season.

 

The biggest concern for Cornell coming into this
season is offensive production. Vesce and Moulson were the only two players on
the entire Cornell roster last season that amassed ten or more goals. Two
players that will be relied upon to help pick up the scoring slack is junior Shane Hynes (ANA) and senior Mike Knoepfli (TOR), who will serve as
team captain this season. Cornell will welcome four incoming freshmen that will
help provide some scoring depth. One team that Cornell has recruited heavily
from in recent years has been the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Two of the four
incoming freshman forwards are former Clippers in Raymond Sawada (DAL) and Tyler
Mugford
. Sawada led all rookies on the Clippers roster in scoring with 74
points (26 goals, 48 assists) last season. He was one of the most highly
regarded NCAA-bound prospects going into the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and was taken
in the second round (52nd overall) by the Dallas Stars. Mugford
finished the 2003-04 season with 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists) to along with
215 penalty minutes.

 

 

Dartmouth College

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05
roster: 7)

 

The Big Green will open their 98th
season on October 30th when they host visiting non-conference
opponent Quinnipiac at Thompson Arena.

 

Dartmouth enjoyed a very good season in 2003-04
despite the number of significant losses prior to the start of the season. They
finished the season with a very respectable 14-11-9 record that ended with a
loss to Harvard in the ECAC Semi-Finals back on March 19th and
losing the third place game to Colgate the following night. This season, the
Big Green will be looking to capture the ECAC crown as they return nearly all
of their top players.

 

The most significant player that Dartmouth lost
this offseason was defenseman Brian Van
Abel
, who provided both leadership and stability on the Big Green’s
blueline. While Van Abel is a tremendous loss for Dartmouth, the team will be
solid on defense again this season. Five of the nine defensemen are
upperclassmen, with John Ostapyk the
lone senior. He will be among the leaders on the Big Green defense. In addition
to their four returning defensemen, Dartmouth will also get some veteran help
this season from junior Ben Lovejoy,
a transfer from Boston College. The returning defenseman to watch is sophomore
sensation Grant Lewis (ATL).

 

“He’s an offensive defenseman but he’s a good,
solid defensive player also. He was a kid that came in that we felt had real
good abilities, but we were actually really pleasantly surprised how quickly he
developed. Just the feel for the game I think is probably his biggest asset,”
said head coach Bob Gaudet of Lewis during an interview with Hockey’s Future
this past spring. The 2004 Draft selection of the Atlanta Thrashers (40th
overall, second round) became one of the best defensemen in the conference last
season, leading all Dartmouth defensemen and rookies in scoring with 25 points
(three goals, 21 assists). The talented Lewis also finished ninth in the nation
among defensemen in points per game (0.74). His outstanding season was capped
with a selection to the ECAC and Ivy League All-Rookie Team as well as being the
only freshman named to the ECAC All-Conference Team.

 

With the defense looking very solid, the
goaltending situation looks equally as solid. The Big Green will return both
goaltenders in senior starter Dan Yacey
and sophomore backup Sean Samuel.
Yacey was outstanding between the pipes for Dartmouth last season with a
13-10-8 record that included three shutouts. Samuel, who backed up Yacey last
season, saw limited playing time appearing in only seven games.

 

The outstanding trio of senior Lee Stempniak (STL) along with juniors Hugh Jessiman (NYR) and Mike Ouellette return as Dartmouth’s
top scorers. Stempniak led Dartmouth in scoring last season with 38 points (16
goals, 22 assists) and will serve as team captain this season.

 

“He is an outstanding player. Lee is going to be a real gem.
He was an absolute steal for the St. Louis Blues. Absolute steal. He’s the best
player in our league (ECAC),” said coach Gaudet of Stempniak.

 

The team captain, who has become the heart and
soul of the Dartmouth team, enjoyed an impressive season last year that earned
him both All-Conference and All-Ivy League honors. In addition, Stempniak was
one of only two players from the ECAC selected to the ACHA All-American East
First Team. His sometime linemate, junior Hugh
Jessiman
(NYR) will look to bounce back offensively this season. Jessiman
finished 2003-04 second on the team in scoring with 33 points (16 goals, 17
assists). His 33 points are down from the 47 that he posted in his rookie
season two years ago.

 

While Stempniak, Jessiman and Ouellette have
carried the offense for the last two seasons, and will likely continue to do
so, Dartmouth will need more scoring from other players this time around. The
top scoring trio were the Big Green’s only players last season to notch ten or
more goals. Three talented returning players in senior Nathan Szymanski, junior Eric
Przepiorka
and sophomore Tanner
Glass
(FLA) will be relied upon to pick up the scoring slack.

 

Dartmouth will also get some scoring help from a
quartet of offensively gifted incoming freshmen. Three of the four newcomers
have been drafted by NHL teams. David
Jones
(COL) is a 2003 draft selection of the Colorado Avalanche. He comes
to Dartmouth from the Coquitlam Express (BCHL), where he led the team in
scoring last season with 102 points (36 goals, 66 assists). Coach Gaudet
describes Jones as a “strong kid that can play both center and wing.”

 

Nick
Johnson
(PIT) was a 2004 draft selection (67th
overall, third round) and comes to Dartmouth from St. Albert [now Spruce Grove]
Saints (AJHL). He amassed 71 points (35 goals, 36 assists) last season and was
named the CJAHL Player of the Year. The Big Green head coach describes Johnson
as “a tough, skilled player who can move the puck well.” J.T. Wyman (MON) was a 2004 draft selection (100th
overall, fourth round) and comes to Dartmouth from the Blake School in
Minnesota. Wyman led his team in scoring last season with 55 points (31 goals,
24 assists). He was also named a finalist for the Mr. Hockey Award, which is
given annually to the top Minnesota high school player. The Dartmouth head
coach describes Wyman as “a player with speed who moves well up and down the
ice.”

 

 

Princeton University

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05 roster: 0)

 

The Princeton Tigers will open their 104th
season on October 29th when they host visiting non-conference
opponent St. Cloud State at Hobey Baker Rink.

 

The most
significant offseason change for Princeton was behind the bench. Back in March,
then head coach Len Quesnelle was fired after the Tigers finished with a very
disappointing 5-24-2 record. In May, the Tigers landed an excellent replacement
in Guy Gadowsky. Gadowsky comes over from Alaska-Fairbanks where he built the
Nanooks into a solid competitor that included a top four finish in the 2001-02
season in the CCHA. Princeton is banking on Gadowsky to do the same for them
beginning this season.

 

The new head coach will certainly have his work
cut out for him as he inherits a Princeton team that finished at or near the
bottom nationally in virtually every statistical category last season. To
compound the problem, the Tigers lost their top two defensemen to graduation in
Matt Maglione (WSH) and Steve Slaton. Coincidentally, both
players also ranked among the top four scorers on the team as well. With the
loss of these two defensemen, Princeton will be looking at a defensive corps
this season that features only three upperclassmen led by junior Seamus Young. Princeton will return all
of their goaltenders, junior starter Eric
Leroux
, sophomore backup B. J.
Sklapsky
as well as rarely used senior Trevor
Clay
. Leroux will look to improve the dismal numbers he put up last year.
He posted a 5-22-0 record along with a 3.80 goals against average and a .884
save percentage. Interestingly, of the five wins Leroux posted last season, two
were shutouts. His .185 winning percentage was the worst among all starting
goaltenders in the nation last season.

 

One of the few bright spots for the Tigers last
season was the play of Grant
Goeckner-Zoeller
. The returning sophomore led the Tigers in scoring with 20
points (five goals, 15 assists). He was also the lone Princeton player to amass
20 or more points last season. He will be relied upon to help lead the offense.

 

 

Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05
roster: 0)

 

The Engineers will open their 103rd
regular season on October 9th when they travel to the Qwest Center
Omaha to face off against Merrimack in the Maverick Stampede Tournament.

 

RPI enjoyed an
outstanding 2003-04 season that saw them finish fourth in the conference. The
first order of business for the team as it looks to improve on that will be to
fill some significant holes on their roster. The Engineers lost seven players
to graduation this summer.

 

The most pressing concern is in goal. Two of
RPI’s three goaltenders, including starter Nathan
Marsters
(LA), have graduated. Marsters was the main reason behind RPI’s
strong defense last season, finishing his final year with a 21-13-1 record with
five shutouts. His 2.15 goals against average ranked him tenth in the nation in
that category while his .922 save percentage ranked him 12th. His
outstanding performance earned him a selection to the All-Conference Second
Team. Kevin Kurk, one of Marsters’
backups last season is the other graduate. With the departure of Marsters and
Kurk, the Engineers will come into this season with goaltenders that have very
little collegiate playing experience. The lone returning goaltender is senior Andrew Martin who saw playing time in
only three games last season. He’ll be battling for the starting job with
talented incoming freshman Jordan Alford
who comes to RPI from the Camrose Eagles (AJHL).

 

With the inexperience in goal, the defensemen
will be relied upon heavily to carry the defensive load. RPI returns all but
one defenseman. The lone graduate is ECAC All-Conference Second Team selection Scott Basiuk who was arguably the
Engineers’ best all-around defenseman last season. He led all Engineers
defensemen in scoring with 26 points (11 goals, 16 assists) and his 11 goals
tied him for third among all defensemen in the nation in that category. Juniors
Brad Farynuk and Alexander Valentin, along with senior Matt McNeely return to lead the
Engineers defense.

 

RPI’s strength this season will be among their
forwards, despite losing three to graduation. The Engineers will return their
top three scorers in juniors Kevin
Croxton
and Kirk McDonald and
senior Nick Economakos. Croxton, who
led the team in scoring with 39 points (18 goals, 21 assists), was instrumental
in making RPI one of the nation’s top teams on the power play last season. Of
the 18 goals Croxton scored last season, 12 were on the power play, which tied
him for third in the nation in that category. One returning player to watch is
sophomore Oren Eizenman who led all
RPI rookies in scoring with 18 points (six goals, 12 assists). He is an
excellent player on faceoffs, who was also utilized in a variety of situations
last season. His impressive performance last season earned him a selection to
the ECAC All-Rookie Team. He also appeared on the NHL Central Scouting’s Final
Rankings for the 2004 Entry Draft but was not selected. RPI will welcome five
new forwards. Most notable is Andrew
Lord
who comes to RPI from the Vernon Vipers (BCHL), where he enjoyed an
outstanding year last season finishing fourth on the team in scoring with 52
points (21 goals, 31 assists).

 

St. Lawrence University

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05 roster: 5)

 

The Saints will open their 2004-05 regular
season on October 9th when they travel to the Whittemore Center in
Durham, NH to face off against St. Cloud State in the Icebreaker Tournament.

 

SLU will be
looking for a better start to this season than last season. The Saints struggled
out of the gate last season, posting a disappointing 3-10-3 record in their
first 16 contests of the season.

 

The offseason saw the Saints lose four players
to graduation. One of the significant losses was that of top scorer Rich Peverley, who led the Saints in
scoring last season with 42 points (17 goals, 25 assists). Peverley played on
SLU’s top line with juniors T. J.
Trevelyan
and John Zeiler (PHX).
Trevelyan will be the player to watch this season. After a very good rookie
campaign in 2002-03, he followed it up with an outstanding sophomore campaign
last season. He finished second on the team in scoring with 39 points (23
goals, 16 assists). Of his team leading 23 goals, 13 came on the power play,
finishing second in the nation in that category. His outstanding performance
earned him an honorable mention to the ECAC All-Conference Team. He could
conceivably top last season’s numbers this season.

 

The top line of Peverley-Trevleyan-Zeiler were
not only the team’s top three scorers but also accounted for roughly 46 percent
of the team’s overall scoring last season. SLU will be looking to other
returning players to pick up the scoring. Two players that they’ll be looking
to are seniors Colin Fitzrandolph
(ATL) and Josh Anderson, who will
serve as team captain this season. SLU will welcome three incoming freshmen
forwards who bring some scoring ability forwards. Most notable is Jordan Hack who comes to SLU from the
Melville Millionaires (SJHL), where he finished third in the league in scoring
with 92 points (32 goals, 60 assists).

 

The Saints also lost a key defensemen in Ryan Glenn (MON), an ECAC
All-Conference First Team selection who led all SLU defensemen in scoring with
29 points (seven goals, 22 assists). He also led the team in penalty minutes
with 67. With Glenn’s departure, the Saints will be looking to another
defensemen to not only pick up the offense but also quarterback their power
play. One likely candidate is sophomore Drew
Bagnall
(FLA). Bagnall enjoyed a very good rookie campaign last season,
finishing second among the team’s defensemen in scoring with 18 points (five
goals, 18 assists). Bagnall was originally a 2003 Dallas Stars selection that
went to the Florida Panthers in the trade that sent Valeri Bure to the Stars
back on March 8th.

 

Goaltending will be SLU’s strength this season.
The tandem of seniors Mike McKenna
(NSH) and Kevin Ackley will both
return to backstop the Saints. McKenna, who saw slightly more work than Ackley
did, put up very good numbers in goals against average (2.45) and save
percentage (.917). He posted a 9-10-3 record that included three shutouts.

 

 

Union College

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05 roster: 1)

 

The Dutchmen will open their 28th
season (14th in Division I play) on October 15th when
they travel to World Arena for a weekend series versus non-conference host
Colorado College.

 

Union is coming off of a strange season. The
Dutchmen got off to a red-hot start, posting a 7-3-2 record in their first 12
games including a 4-0-1 start to the season. In midseason, the wheels seemed to
have fallen off as the Dutchmen then went a frustrating 0-10-1, which included
a nine-game losing streak, in their next 11 games before getting back on track.
They ended up finishing the 2003-04 season eighth in the conference with a
14-17-5 record. Union College hopes to better their record this season. The
Dutchmen lost seven players in the offseason and not all were to graduation. Of
the seven only two graduated. Backup goaltender Tim Roth and forwards Brent
Williams
and Marc Neron all left
for personal reasons. Forward Max Seel
and defenseman Bryan Campbell left
the team to concentrate on their academic studies. Despite the losses however,
Union College will be a formidable team to contend with this season.

 

An area where Union will be solid is up front,
however they could use an increase in their overall goal scoring. All of the
team’s top forwards will return. Senior Jordan
Webb
led all Dutchmen in scoring last season with 30 points (13 goals, 17
assists). Webb and juniors Scott Seney
and Jason Visser were the only
players on the roster last season to register ten or more goals. The Dutchmen
will be looking to senior Joel Beal,
sophomore Olivier Bouchard and
junior Jonathan Poirier to help pick
up the team’s scoring. Union will also welcome six incoming freshmen that
should help boost the offense. The most notable is Casey Ftorek. The son of current Albany River Rats head coach
Robbie Ftorek, Casey comes to Union College from the Taft School, where he
amassed 106 points (51 goals, 55 assists) last season.

 

On defense, the Dutchmen will return many of
their top players but they will also be younger as well. Of the nine defensemen
expected to suit up this season, five are underclassmen. Senior Matt Vagvolgyi returns to lead the
Union defense. He led all defensemen in scoring last season with 19 points
(seven goals, 12 assists). One area where Union College may be looking to
improve is offense from their defensemen. Vagvolgyi and fellow senior Chris DiStefano are the only returning
defensemen who scored goals last season. Freshman Adam Wood will return to the team after taking a medical redshirt
that sidelined him for all but one game last season. The Dutchmen will welcome
three incoming freshmen to the defensive corps that will help fill the holes
left by the departed players. Skyler
Berman
should help provide some offense. He comes to Union College from the
Manitoba-Selkirk Steelers (MJHL), where he amassed 67 points (12 goals, 55
assists) last season. Imposing Mike
Beynon
will provide some size and toughness. He comes to Union College from
the Nepean Raiders (CJHL), where he amassed 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists)
and 206 penalty minutes last season. Phil
MacDavitt
, a Noble and Greenough product, will provide solid defensive
depth.

 

One area that will be Union’s strength is in
goal. Junior Kris Mayotte, who was
magnificent for Union last season, returns to backstop the Dutchmen. He posted
an 11-16-3 record that included two shutouts. One of his best outings of the
season came back on November 21st versus offensively explosive
Minnesota-Duluth. He put together a sensational 43 saves performance to
preserve a 2-2 tie for his team. With the departure of Mayotte’s backup Tim Roth, the Dutchmen will have a new
backup this season in newcomer Justin
Mrazek
(WSH). Mrazek was a 2004 Draft selection (230th overall,
eighth round) and comes to Union College from the Estevan Bruins (SJHL), where
he amassed a 14-16-4 record and racked up 2076:11 minutes of ice time last
season.

 

University of Vermont

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05 roster: 2)

 

The Catamounts will open their final regular
season in the ECAC on October 3rd when they host National
Championship runner-up Maine at the Gutterhouse Fieldhouse. Vermont will begin
play in the Hockey East conference beginning in 2005-06.

 

Vermont finished a very disappointing 11th in
the conference last season that began with a horrendous start. In their first
13 games the Catamounts went a 0-11-2 and did not post their first win of the
season until December 20th when they beat UConn 4-3 in overtime.
This season they’ll be looking for a much better start as well as a good end to
their tenure in the ECAC.

 

One of the areas that the Catamounts will be
looking to improve is their defense and cutting down their goals against
totals. UVM allowed five or more goals in 13 games played last season. Senior Jaime Sifers, who was UVM’s most
dependable and best all-around defenseman last season, will lead a relatively
young Catamounts defensive unit this season. One player to watch is towering
sophomore defenseman Art Femenella
(TB). At 6’7/255 lbs. he, along with Michigan Tech’s John Scott, may be the
biggest defenseman in the NCAA. In addition to his enormous frame, Femenella
brings solid positional play and some toughness to the Catamounts defensive
unit.

 

The Catamounts will get some veteran help in
sophomore Kenny Macaulay. Macaulay
comes over from the now-defunct Findlay program. He enjoyed an outstanding
rookie campaign that earned him a spot on the CHA’s All-Rookie Team. In
addition to Macaulay, the Catamounts will welcome two incoming freshmen
defensemen in Slavomir Tomko and Mark Lutz, who will both provide UVM
with some offensive skills in addition to solid defense. Tomko, a native of Slovakia,
comes to Vermont from the St. Louis Eagles (USHL). He amassed 21 points (five
goals, 16 assists) along with 94 penalty minutes last season. Lutz comes to
Vermont from the Soo Indians (NAHL). He finished second on the team in scoring
with 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists). Aside from the blueline, the Catamounts
will also be younger in goal. Junior Travis
Russell
returns after seeing ice time in all but three games last season.
He played remarkably well despite posting a 9-16-4 record. Russell is expected
to get some stiff competition from talented incoming freshman goaltender Joe Fallon who comes to Vermont from
the Cedar Rapids Roughriders (USHL). He enjoyed an excellent season, posting a
23-13-2 record that included four shutouts. Fallon appeared on the NHL Central
Scouting’s final rankings for the 2004 Draft but was not selected.

 

Offense is likely to be UVM’s strength this
season. The Catamounts return nearly all of their top forwards. The most
significant loss is that of Jeff Miles
who led UVM in scoring last season with 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists). The
two players who will be leading the Catamounts’ offensive charge this season
are a pair of outstanding seniors in Brady
Leisenring
and Scott Mifsud.
Leisenring led all Catamounts in goals scored last with 15 and finished second
on the team in scoring with 36 points. Mifsud finished third in scoring last
season with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists). In addition to a solid returning
group, the Catamounts will also welcome three new incoming freshmen to their
ranks. Most notable is Torrey Mitchell
(SJ) who was a 2004 Draft selection (126th overall, fourth round).
The immensely talented Mitchell comes to Vermont from the Hotchkiss School
where he led the team in scoring with 115 points (43 goals, 72 assists).

 

 

Yale University

 

(Number of drafted NHL prospects on the 2004-05 roster: 2)

 

The Bulldogs will open their 2004-05 regular
season on October 29th when they host visiting non-conference
opponent Alabama-Huntsville at Ingalls Rink.

 

Yale experienced a youth movement in 2003-4,
with 17 of the 28 players on the team roster being underclassmen. As a result,
the Bulldogs went through some “growing pains”, and nowhere was that more
evident than on defense. The Bulldogs allowed an average of 4.32 goals per game
last season that ranked last in the conference and second worst in the nation.
Despite the depressing defensive numbers, Yale finished seventh in the ECAC
with a 12-19-0 record. This season, the Bulldogs will be a year older and
expect to turn things around for the better. One of the good things that come
from a very young team is the low number of players lost to graduation. Yale
lost six players this offseason, five of which graduated. The lone non-graduate
was defenseman Joe Callahan (PHX),
who opted to forego his senior year to sign with the Phoenix Coyotes.

 

Aside from Callahan, the Bulldogs also lost
talented defenseman Jeff Dwyer
(ATL). With the loss Callahan and Dwyer, the Bulldogs not only lose their top
two defensemen from last season, but their top two scoring defensemen as well.
Yale will be looking to their quartet of returning juniors to lead the defense.
The player who has logged the most ice time of the group is Mike Grobe. He is the only returning
defenseman to have played in every game last season. Two defensemen who will
see more ice time this season are a pair of very good sophomores in Bill Leclerc and Shawn Mole. The Bulldogs will have only one newcomer to their
blueline corps this season and it’s one well worth keeping an eye on. Rob Page (CBJ) was a 2004 Draft
selection (167th overall, sixth round) and comes to Yale from the
Blake School, where he led all defensemen in scoring with 40 points (11 goals,
29 assists). He was also a finalist for the Mr. Hockey Award.

 

One area where Yale saw vast improvement in as
the season went along last year was in goal. The Bulldogs return two solid
goaltenders. Junior Josh Gartner was
last season’s starter and will likely be again this season, posting a record of
10-10-0 in 23 appearances last season. His backup in sophomore Matt Modelski also returns to Yale. He
saw playing time in only eight games last season and posted a record of 2-6-0.
Both goaltenders posted a goals against average of around 4.00. The Bulldogs
are counting on that figure to decrease this season.

 

Offense was one of Yale’s strengths and it looks
to be again this season. The two significant losses to the forward lines are of
Ryan Steeves (COL) and Vin Hellemeyer. Both players were lost
to graduation. Yale will return their top three scorers in juniors Joe Zappala, Christian Jensen and Jeff
Hristovski
. Zappala and Jensen co-led the team with 30 points apiece.
Hristovski led the team with five power play goals. Along with a very good
group of returning forwards, the Yale offense will get a significant boost from
an exceptional quintet of incoming freshmen. The most notable is Will Engasser (PHX). He was a teammate
of incoming defenseman Rob Page at the Blake School last season. Engasser
finished the 2003-04 campaign second on the Blake team in scoring with 52
points (22 goals, 30 assists). Like his teammate, Engasser was also a finalist
for the Mr. Hockey Award. Those following the 2005 NHL Draft eligibles will
want to be watching David Germain, Matt Thomey and Blair Yaworski. Germain comes to Yale from the New Hampshire Junior
Monarchs (EJHL), where amassed 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists). Thomey is a
1986-born forward who comes to Yale from the Niagara Falls Canucks (CJHL) where
amassed 53 points (28 goals, 25 assists) last season. Yaworski comes to Yale
from the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL), where he amassed 32 points (14 goals, 18
assists) last season.

 

Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.