When you are coming off a year in which you got less than two goals a league game and had the league’s worst power play at 10.8%, it’s fairly easy to spot what needs improvement.
“Obviously, we need to score some goals to be there at the end,” said Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith. “We’re not looking for five to six goals a game. Three to four would do.”
Three to four goals a game will be enough as long as goalie Will Hamele continues to play up to par. The senior, and former SUNYAC Player of the Year, comes off another fine season where he had a 2.97 GAA and a .906 save percentage.
Waiting at the doorstep is freshman Simon Maignon, whose previous squad was the French National Team.
Helping him out will be 6-3, 215-pounder Dan Rohanna, Craig Florkowski, Marc Fattey, and Chris Wells. Expect newcomers Nick Malina and Mark Malone, both 6-3, 200 plus pounds, to make their presence known on defense.
So, Who’s Going To Score?
With Fredonia only losing four players, it would be the Blue Devils’ luck that two of them, Dave Barnett and Dan Showalter, were a solid scoring tandem. Returning players will have to pick up the slack. This includes captain Christian Fletcher, their top scorer last year with 14 goals and 11 assists. Matt Crane and Max Catelin will most likely be on his line.
Three sophomores will need to step up their game — Riley McTaggert, Ricky Furmasoli, and Nick Grove. And the freshman will need to make an immediate impact. Look for Mike Fleming and Tom Briggs to do just that.
If Fredonia doesn’t solve its offensive woes, it could see another year without playoff games. Last year’s disappointment ended a 13-year streak of making the SUNYAC Tournament. For a team that was once one of the most feared in the country, it has been a gradual, painful fall.
Fredonia’s nonleague schedule is tough at times and easy at times. The Blue Devils once again face RIT, who they stretched to overtime last year before succumbing, as well as Hobart and Utica twice each. Yet, they have some “easy” ones on their schedule, facing Neumann twice, as well as exhibitions against St. Clair College and Seneca.
Within the conference, the key may be how they play against their travel partner, Buffalo State, as that could be the spot that they will need to eke back into the playoffs. Otherwise, as Meredith said, “We’re looking up at six other teams in the league.”
With the situation Fredonia now finds itself in, Meredith, who was at the helm for the glory years, has no illusions about the challenges he faces.
“We are a seventh-place team,” he said. “We will remain that until we show differently.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Especially on offense.