Youth, youth and more youth. That’s the story for the Brown Bears this season.
Last season was one that head coach Roger Grillo and Brown hope to forget except for one simple thing — experience.
The Bears will return their top 12 scorers this season, but, and it’s a big but, only one of the 12 had more than eight goals last season.
That one person was Jeff Prough (17-13-30), so others such as Brian McNary, Sean Dersch, Antonin Roux, Eric Slais and Matt Vokes will need to put the puck in the net more often this time around.
Dersch, a junior this year, was named team captain after putting up 6-8-14 in 2005-06 and seeing extensive time on special teams. Antonin Roux will serve as assistant captain this season.
After only scoring 69 goals in 32 games last season, the Bears will need to score more than just over two goals a game in order to advance out of the cellar in the ECACHL.
Such improvement was not foreseen by either the coaches or the ECACHL media, who picked Brown to finish last (tied with Yale, in the coaches’ case), in the preseason polls.
Three seniors graduated from the blueline and goaltender Adam D’Alba left Brown, leaving the Bears with a suspect defense and a goaltender in Mark Sibbald with only six games of experience.
As a result, Sibbald will be competing with freshmen Tristan Favro and Dan Rosen for the goaltending spot. Grillo is hoping that one of them will step up and take the role.
On defense there is not a single senior for the Bears, so the blueline will be young. The Bears are hoping that they gel and play with more maturity than their academic years indicate.
Like its Ivy League brethren, Brown will have a little extra time to put the pieces together. The Bears debut on Oct. 21 in an exhibition against Trois-Rivieres, and hit the ice for real the following weekend against Merrimack.
The ECACHL schedule then starts with a bang, as Brown faces Cornell and Colgate to kick off the league slate.
The Bears are a team that is young, but young teams can come together. They will need it to happen quickly if they are going to help themselves out of the basement.