One coach who ended the regular season with a grin was Colgate’s Stan Moore, who took over on an interim basis for Don Vaughan and guided the Raiders to the top spot.
But after a Coach of the Year performance — his second such accolade in just three seasons as a head coach — Moore has stepped back into his top assistant’s role and Vaughan has returned to lead his team’s regular-season title defense.
“I’m excited to be back,” said Vaughan, “and to be around the team. I really missed it. I realized part way through [last] year that I still have the passion for this job and that I had to come back.”
He returns to a squad that lost the significant contributions of Kyle Doyle and defenseman Rob Brown, among others, but which returns the majority of the nucleus — including nine seniors — that surprised the league last season.
“We didn’t do too much that was different in terms of our systems last year,” Vaughan explained. “We would like to play a bit more of an up-tempo game.”
He certainly seems to have the horses for such a style.
“We’ll turn to our captains Adam Mitchell, Dave Thomas and Darryl McKinnon,” said Vaughan. “They’ve played a lot since they were freshmen and they will lead the charge. We also have a pretty good supporting cast.
“Kyle Wilson had a breakout year (31 points last season), but we need him to be more consistent. He showed flashes of greatness and we need him to take on more of a role. We also need Joey Mormina to take on more minutes on defense and I think Eamon DelGiacco may be a diamond in the rough.”
Recruiting was a big story for the Raiders this offseason as well, since they now enjoy the benefits of being a scholarship program.
“We have a good group of recruits,” Vaughan said about a collection of talent that includes early signee Tyler Burton and netminder Mark Dekanich.
“We already have solid goaltending with Steve Silverthorn, but Dekanich will really push Steve. As for Tyler, he’s anxious to get here. From what the players tell me, he looks great in the early going. He will probably have an immediate impact.
“In almost every case, though, we probably would not have been in the living rooms of any of those guys without the scholarships. We didn’t get them until October, so we were a bit behind, but we have four [incoming] players with full scholarships.”