Coach: Mark Taylor, eleventh season overall and at Hobart (144-95-27)
2009-10 record: 13-10-3 overall, 9-4-2 ECAC West (third)
2009-10 team offense: 3.62 goals/game (fourth)
2009-10 team defense : 2.73 goals/game (third)
2009-10 power play: 23.3 percent (third)
2009-10 penalty kill: 82.1 percent (third)
Key losses: Nine corps role players that formed the heart of the team and Chris Cannizzaro (11g, 11a)
Key returners: Matthew Wallace (15g, 13a), Nick Broadwater (.925 savepercent, 2.41 gaa)
2010-11 predicted finish: Fourth
On paper, it certainly can be said that Hobart is in a rebuilding year this season. The Statesmen lost nine skaters to graduation, all players who filled key roles on the team. In addition, freshman phenom Chris Cannizzaro did not return to school this fall after scoring eleven goals last year.
“We lost some very good players in the last two years,” said Hobart coach Mark Taylor. “A lot of those guys brought certain ingredients to the team and when all of those ingredients were all working together, it was pretty good success for us.”
However, all is not lost for Hobart, as the Statesmen have a couple of things going for them early this season.
First off is a later start than any other team in the league. Hobart’s opening game isn’t until November 5, three weeks later than any other team. The extra practice time will give Hobart time to gel as a team and for the freshmen to get up to speed. It also means that Hobart jumps right into league play with its first game, without the benefit of any nonconference tune-ups.
“Right now, we look pretty good playing against ourselves,” said Taylor. “Hopefully we’ll look a lot like Hobart teams of the past and stay out of the injury bug this year. It would be nice to have a game under your belt before playing a team that has played three or four already, but it is more about the mindset you have going into it.”
The second thing is that Hobart only lost a third of its scoring from last year. Returning senior Matthew Wallace had a breakout season last year, leading the Statesmen with 15 goals, including four short-handers.
The large freshman class will need to step right in on the offense early in the season. Four players to keep an eye on will be forwards Tommy Fiorentino, Kyle Clark, Brett Riley, and Tom Rush.
“We had to bring in some forwards to fill some of the holes,” said Taylor. “It is a diverse class. They are all different in what they bring to the table.”
Hobart was derailed early last season by the injury bug and now find themselves with a gaggle of freshmen, but coach Taylor and his staff have a proven ability to meld players together into team roles.
“One of the biggest challenges is reshuffling ourselves a bit,” said Taylor. “For the past two years, the scouting report on us has been pretty consistent. We will probably have the most shuffled lineup that we have had in a while.”