Team Overview: “You know the strength of our team is going to be on the blue line,” said head coach Phil Grady. “We surely lost a big class and will have a lot of young guys coming in eager to play this year. Losing Gus(Katsuras) is tough but it may be a good thing in helping all of the guys get more involved in the outcomes of games — sometimes he was so good it just felt like some guys on the team were waiting for him to take over and make a decisive play. We don’t have that kind of guy this year that we know of yet so we hope to be more balanced as the kids come together.”
Grady certainly has reason to be optimistic about his defensive corps. Senior John Gordon returns as one of the premier defensemen in the conference. When healthy he is a force in both ends of the ice having scored five goals and twelve assists for seventeen points in just twenty games. Sophomore Kyle Rouston (3-16-19) was among the leading scorers last season and looks to build on his rookie success this year.
While the forwards will need to be sorted out through the early part of the season, Matt Crowson returns in goal having played ten games in his freshman year and posting respectable numbers (2.93 GAA — .891 SP) while going 3-4-1. He’s likely to see some stiff competition from a couple of new recruits but goaltending could be a strength for this team.
Special Teams: When you give up more than you score in total and power play for vs. against, you probably need to improve the efficiencies on both sides of the equation. Better overall goaltending will help the penalty kill and the balance Coach Grady is aspiring for may help improve the offensive totals.
Schedule: Hamilton is the first official opponent to open up the new arena at Trinity and Coach Grady is looking forward to it. “It’s great for both teams to play in a full house with that kind of exciting atmosphere. Our kids want to play in those types of situations as much as anybody else does so it will be a great way to start off the season.”
Seven straight road games from mid-December to mid-January should help to focus this team over the holiday break into the second half.
Summary: The Continentals will lead from the blue line and if the new corps of forwards to can show the depth and balance Grady is looking for, they will compete every night. Early part of the season will tell a lot about the chemistry and acclimation of the young players to league play.