What do you do when four of your top five point-producers, accounting for 129 points, from last season graduate?
You retool and hope that some players step it up.
That is exactly the scenario for St. Lawrence and head coach Joe Marsh this year.
With the graduations of T.J. Trevelyan, Mike Madill, Mike Zbriger and John Zeiler, the burden will fall on Kyle Rank, Kevin DeVirgilio, Brock McBride and Max Taylor.
Rank brings back 11 goals and 17 assists, while DeVirgilio had a nice freshman season, tallying 14 goals and 11 assists. The offense will come for the Saints, and Marsh is also hoping that additions such as Mike McKenzie, Travis Vermeulen, Casey Parenteau, Jeremiah Cunningham, Tom Bardis, Alex Curran and Sean Flanagan will help to replace the lost points.
The defense for SLU will be young, as the Saints regularly played four freshmen last season. Those four (Zach Miscovic, Matt Generous, Shawn Fensel and Jared Ross) will have experience and as a result, should be a strong suit for the Saints.
Senior Drew Bagnall wears the captain’s “C” this year and heads up the blueline corps. He scored 1-9-10 in 2005-06.
Back in nets for the Saints is Justin Pesony, who emerged as the go-to guy last season. A 2.90 GAA and an .888 save percentage was enough to propel the Saints to a home-ice berth in the playoffs.
The Saints will rely on defense this season and like most of their competition, if they can find some offense, there is no reason why the Saints can’t get a first-round bye in the playoffs.
They took a small step in the right direction in their first game of 2006-07, defeating new Atlantic Hockey member RIT 4-3 thanks to a 45-21 advantage in shots on goal, though the power play was only 1-for-10 on the night.
The freshmen excelled in their initial trial by fire, scoring three of SLU’s four goals on the evening. Vermeulen, Cunningham and McKenzie all lit the lamp, with McKenzie’s third-period goal holding up as the game winner. Bagnall netted the other Saint goal, the first of the game.
“It was a pretty good way to start the year,” said Marsh. “I thought the younger guys did a very good job their first time out, and obviously we are going to continue to grow as they gain experience.”