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College Hockey:
Manhattanville looks past conference to NCAAs

Coach: Keith Levinthal, twelfth season overall and at Manhattanville (187-74-27)
2009-10 record: 20-6-1 overall, 10-4-1 ECAC West (Second)
2009-10 team offense: 4.22 goals/game (first)
2009-10 team defense : 2.33 goals/game (second)
2009-10 power play: 24.0 percent (second)
2009-10 penalty kill: 82.8 percent (second)
Key losses: Arlen Marshall (9g, 26a), AJ Mikkelsen (9g, 20a), Niklas Bernstsson (8g, 20a), Matt Piegza (9g, 13a)
Key returners: Mickey Lang (22g, 16a), Scott Hudson (12g, 20a), Pierre-Olivier Lemieux (.904 save percentage, 2.31 GAA)
2010-11 predicted finish: First

Preview

Despite winning the league championship last season, 4-3 in overtime against Elmira, Manhattanville did not receive a bid to the NCAA tournament. For the first time in ECAC West history, the league champion was left home from the NCAAs.

As if the bitter taste of that wasn’t enough motivation entering this season, the Valiants face the additional challenge of trying to replace the majority of their offense. Five of their top eight scorers graduated.

The good news is that the goaltending corps is completely intact and defense is nearly so.

“We have some tough guys to replace, but we returned almost all of our defensive corps and our goaltending,” said Manhattanville coach Keith Levinthal. “We are pretty excited about the group we have. All indications are that we could be very good.”

Similar to other ECAC West teams, Manhattanville is looking to become quicker this season, keeping up with other league teams who have ratcheted up the team speed over the last few seasons.

“In our freshmen class are a good mix of guys who can score some goals,” said Levinthal. “One of the things we have continually tried to do over the last few years is try to add to our team speed.”

A key element to Manhattanville’s success this season will be how fast the freshmen forwards can adjust to collegiate hockey and start racking up the goals. The Valiants have always been known for a quick transition game, particularly in their home rink. Their veteran corps of blueliners should enable the new forwards to concentrate on scoring.

With half of the games this year against teams outside of the conference, each game is critical when it comes to the NCAA bid at the end of the season. Manhattanville learned that lesson the hard way last year.

“The thing we learned last year was that we lost a few nonleague games that at the end of the day led to a pretty disappointing decision by the NCAA for us,” said Levinthal. “We have to win those games. It is really easy to get up for our league games, but we need to get up for everybody.”


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