There’s no disabled list in college hockey, but if there was, it’s a good bet Nichols would have logged the most days on it last season. The Bisons were decimated by injuries in the 2009-10 campaign, as eight players missed a combined 58 games.
There was an understandable dropoff from the program’s historic run two years ago, which saw Nichols post a 25-4 record en route to both the regular season and conference championship, as well as the Bisons’ first ever NCAA berth.
After losing only two seniors to graduation, Nichols has reason to be upbeat heading into the new season.
“We are optimistic,” coach Lou Izzi said. “We are a more mature team than a year ago with greater depth and a stronger defense.”
Top returners for the Bisons include forward Zach Kohn (16-28), who was the conference’s Rookie of the Year as well a second team honoree last season. Forward Will Munson, who was able to put up 27 points despite playing through a painful injury his sophomore year, returns as well.
Junior defenseman Will Palmer, who was an honorable all-conference mention last season, returns as well and is “blossoming into a star,” according to Izzi. The defense will also be bolstered by sophomore Wil Brown, a 6’4″ transfer from Lebanon Valley.
“Brown scored 16 points as a freshman last season in the ECAC West, and he was the most dominant player in our New Year’s Tournament with LVC, Wesleyan, and Saint Mary’s.”
With most of last year’s core returning, and more importantly, healthy, the Bisons are in a good position to recapture their form of two years ago.
“We played four freshman and two sophomore defensemen every game, and our lack of experience on defense, along with our depleted depth up front were factors in many games,” Izzi said. “In the offseason, our players focused on becoming ‘leaner and meaner’ and many of them returned to campus with significant, noticeable differences to their physical appearance.”