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College Hockey:
Second-half tailspin leaves Potsdam with questions

The highlight of Potsdam’s season last year was winning the always competitive Times-Argus Invitational in Norwich. They also managed wins against Utica and defending national champion Neumann. However, after teetering just above .500 for the first half of the season, they went on a 2-8 tailspin to finish out the year.

“There were a lot of positive moments,” Potsdam coach Chris Bernard said. “But we weren’t consistent enough to get to where we wanted to go.”

Those inconsistent moments included goaltending, though improved from the year before, defensive lapses, and untimely penalties.

Bernard is a former goalie himself at Clarkson, so one has to think he will be able to improve that aspect of the Bears’ game. Most importantly, what needs to improve is the mental aspect of the game. All too often, Potsdam seemed willing to let games either get out of hand on the scoreboard or slip away in the third period.

“It’s a mental toughness,” Bernard said. “I feel like we have good pieces, good components. It’s going to be how we deal with adversity.”

Empty Lockers: Connor Treacy is obviously the biggest loss for Potsdam.

“When you lose a guy who’s been two-time All-SUNYAC First Team, you lose an aspect of your game,” Bernard said. “But, it also opens up opportunities for other players. Treacy took a lot of ice time away from others, so now they will have the opportunity to contribute more.”

The only other senior from last year was Mitch West, whose physical presence will be missed.

The Core: When you only lose two seniors, you obviously have a lot of your core team coming back.

“You look at Fraser Smith and Zach Julian, who will be our captains this year, as well as Kevin MacLellan, who is wearing the ‘A.’ (Colin) MacLennan had a career year last year. We got guys who have a number of games in the SUNYAC.”

Todd Hosmer and Sy Nutkevitch are other key forwards coming back, along with defensemen Matt Rhymer and Patrick Choules.

All the goalies return. Junior Trevor O’Neill had a much improved second year and Andy Groulx showed moments of brilliance in his rookie campaign.

New Gear: Eight new guys will suit up in a Potsdam uniform.

“We’re going to need contribution from all of them at different points of the year,” Bernard said. “A little more balance throughout our lineup.”

Some who should do that contributing include Brando Couto, Mike Arnold, David Carr, and Jesse Ostring. Defensively, keep an eye on Nick Avgerinos, Kevin Carpenter, and Mike Purcell.

Key Question: “Our outlook is to do something positive every time we go out to play,” Bernard said. “To always have something to build on.”

Therein lies the question. Last year, Potsdam’s season regressed as the games ticked off. Will Potsdam be able to keep the direction of this year moving in a positive direction for all 25 games?

Mark Your Calendar Game: October 29 at Brockport.

What better way to start off the season than against the team that ended your season for the past two years, and to do so on the road just like the finales before. Potsdam has an excellent opportunity to rid themselves of this recent curse and make an immediate statement.


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