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College Hockey:
ECAC East Christmas wish list

2012 03 16 al 1016 ECAC East Christmas wish list

“Calm down everyone! There is room for everyone’s stockings on the mantle.”

“No, Brad, you can’t take down Mike’s stocking — he gets to ask Santa for things too.”

“No, we are not putting things in any order Jamie and yes, Damian and Ed you get equal space for your stockings despite what Jeff says. He is only kidding you guys.”

It’s the end of the first half of the season, and every team has some things they want to see in their stockings to use after the holiday break. Here is my view on what should be on the Christmas list for each team in the ECAC East, and hopes that Santa leaves no coach or team disappointed this year.

Norwich Cadets
Just what does Santa bring to the number one team in the country, the unbeaten Cadets? They have beaten teams with offense and defense, and three different goaltenders have seen time in goal. The one thing coach Mike McShane may want to see is some sort of team health elixir. The 10-0-0 record has been accomplished without all of the weapons, including missed time by senior Blake Forkey and freshman Dean Niezgoda. Only 13 players have played in every game, so getting all of the weapons on the ice could truly be scary for Cadets opponents in the second half.

St. Anselm Hawks
Coach Ed Seney’s team is off to a good start in the first half with a 6-2-1 record overall. While the Hawks have received terrific goaltending this season from both juniors, Robert Kang and Nick Dries, it would be nice if Santa could leave some more goalie magic in the stocking to duplicate Dries’ numbers from the first half. In three games played, Dries has a 3-0-0 record, two shutouts, a .984 save percentage and a microscopic 0.33 goals-against average. No, he isn’t a keeper playing soccer! Kang has been good, but Dries has been off the charts, so spreading the wealth on that level of performance would be a welcome holiday addition for the Hawks.

Castleton Spartans
The Spartans might be looking for a few items in their stocking this holiday season from the jolly old elf. This team had great expectations entering the season with a veteran roster. The first-half record of 6-4-1 isn’t knocking it out of the park, but only six players on the roster have played in all 11 games. Seniors Justin Alonzo and Josh Harris both passed the 100-point mark for their careers in the first half, but some more balanced scoring and secondary scoring would be a welcome present in the eyes of coach Alex Todd for the second half, which begins with the Pathfinder Bank Classic at Oswego to end the 2012 calendar year.

Babson Beavers
There are good times for breaks and not so good times for breaks. For the Beavers, who are riding a five-game winning streak following a 0-2-2 start to the season, it might be nice if Santa could bring a bottle of whatever the team drinks on the bench during the most recent games to prolong the first-half streak and good fortune. Three players, Connor Berto, Ryan Smith, and Andrew Bonazza, account for almost 50 percent of the team’s goals, so a couple of magic sticks for other forwards might look good under the tree too. It’s not often you see a leading scorer for a team having zero goals, but PT Donato leads the Beavers in points with a line of 0-9-9, so Santa, get the senior a goal or two to go with all those assists please.

Skidmore Thoroughbreds
At 5-5-2 following a nonconference loss to Curry  to close out the first half, the Thoroughbreds may be in need of a couple gifts in the stocking this year to get ramped up for the second half of the season. First on the list is some more consistent goaltending from the three different netminders used by coach Neil Sinclair so far this season. Nobody has a save percentage higher than .900 or goals-against below 3.25, so Santa, a little help please. Since many believe your goaltender has to be your best penalty killer, improved play in net may help lower the 28 percent success rate that opponents have seen against Skidmore with the man advantage. The second half opens with nationally-ranked Plattsburgh, where improvement in both areas will be a requirement for success.

New England College Pilgrims
So coach Tom Carroll, you say you want something special from the “big guy.” You closed the first half on a four-game losing streak after winning four in a row, so getting back to the strong play observed against Skidmore, Castleton, and even Norwich in a close game will be important to the second half. You mentioned something special, so how about some special teams magic from Santa to improve on the 12 percent power-play efficiency and knock down that almost 30 percent penalty kill number that opponents have put up on the Pilgrims. Over 40 percent of the opposition’s goals have come on the power play, so here is hoping Santa’s delivery helps during the long trip out to Buffalo State and Fredonia to start the second half.

Massachusetts-Boston Beacons
It has been a nice start to the season for the Beacons, who are 7-2-1 in their first 10 games of the season. The power play has been absolutely killer at almost 39 percent, and certainly the penalty kill could be better. But Santa, I think that coach Peter Belisle is really looking for something he can put on the mantle after the holidays this season. The Codfish Bowl has been around now for 48 years, and the Beacons have only hoisted the hardware three times, so please can you make sure there are no miraculous goaltending performances and that the potent Beacons offense has continued success on the first weekend following the New Year? Thanks; the team has goals for three trophies, and a win in the Codfish would get the Beacons two-thirds of the way home.

Southern Maine Huskies
The best thing about freshmen is that they turn into sophomores. Not sure who I should accurately be attributing that line to, but the fact remains that the Huskies are young and full of raw talent. So Santa, how about delivering some fast-acting maturation pills to help coach Jeff Beaney’s young team in the second half. Alex Pompeo and Garrett White have been the real deal as freshmen, but some magic among the three new goaltenders would go a long way in bringing some needed consistency and support for Josh Hillegas, who has seen action in 10 of the first 11 games this season. Also, if there is any chance that Santa might find a case or two of 5-hour Energy for the team, it would be great. The Huskies seemingly could use a jolt in the third period, where they have been outshot and outscored by a two-to-one margin this season.

St. Michael’s Purple Knights
At 2-8-0, coach Damian DiGiulian’s team has played better than their record indicates. First things first Santa, how about a little more reward for the effort in the second half for the Purple Knights, who have lost three games in overtime and another by a 1-0 score. Some added offense might help the team out in the second half, as forwards Josh Geary and Ryan Arsenault lead the team in goals and points and have been responsible for almost 50 percent of the total goals. Lastly, eight-for-33, or 24 percent, is a good number on the power play, but not as good as its identical counterpart on the penalty kill. Can we get a few blocked shots to fill the stocking? Just asking.

University of New England Nor’easters
Despite a big early season win against Castleton, coach Brad Holt’s team dropped seven of its last eight games in the first half and surrendered 37 goals in that span. Let’s start with a little help for goaltenders Ian Edwards and Craig Ryan, who are facing over 33 shots per game and teams scoring over 42 percent of the time with the man advantage against the Nor’easters. Of course, if there is a little room at the top of the stocking, Santa may want to throw in some continued success for freshman Ryan Quinn, who leads the team in goals with six. It sure would be nice to test out the gift-wrapping on these items with the two nonconference opponents slated to open the second half in Suffolk and Bowdoin.

Santa, that is the list from all of the teams, so please see if those elves of yours can work a little Christmas magic for the coaches and their needs. I am pretty sure they have all been good, so no need to check that “list” of yours twice. Here’s hoping the second half will be great, regardless of what holiday cheer is delivered, and that all enjoy a very festive holiday season.”Calm down everyone! There is room for everyone’s stockings on the mantle.”

“No, Brad, you can’t take down Mike’s stocking — he gets to ask Santa for things too.”

“No, we are not putting things in any order Jamie and yes, Damian and Ed you get equal space for your stockings despite what Jeff says. He is only kidding you guys.”

It’s the end of the first half of the season, and every team has some things they want to see in their stockings to use after the holiday break. Here is my view on what should be on the Christmas list for each team in the ECAC East, and hopes that Santa leaves no coach or team disappointed this year.

Norwich Cadets
Just what does Santa bring to the number one team in the country, the unbeaten Cadets? They have beaten teams with offense and defense, and three different goaltenders have seen time in goal. The one thing coach Mike McShane may want to see is some sort of team health elixir. The 10-0-0 record has been accomplished without all of the weapons, including missed time by senior Blake Forkey and freshman Dean Niezgoda. Only 13 players have played in every game, so getting all of the weapons on the ice could truly be scary for Cadets opponents in the second half.

St. Anselm Hawks
Coach Ed Seney’s team is off to a good start in the first half with a 6-2-1 record overall. While the Hawks have received terrific goaltending this season from both juniors, Robert Kang and Nick Dries, it would be nice if Santa could leave some more goalie magic in the stocking to duplicate Dries’ numbers from the first half. In three games played, Dries has a 3-0-0 record, two shutouts, a .984 save percentage and a microscopic 0.33 goals-against average. No, he isn’t a keeper playing soccer! Kang has been good, but Dries has been off the charts, so spreading the wealth on that level of performance would be a welcome holiday addition for the Hawks.

Castleton Spartans
The Spartans might be looking for a few items in their stocking this holiday season from the jolly old elf. This team had great expectations entering the season with a veteran roster. The first-half record of 6-4-1 isn’t knocking it out of the park, but only six players on the roster have played in all 11 games. Seniors Justin Alonzo and Josh Harris both passed the 100-point mark for their careers in the first half, but some more balanced scoring and secondary scoring would be a welcome present in the eyes of coach Alex Todd for the second half, which begins with the Pathfinder Bank Classic at Oswego to end the 2012 calendar year.

Babson Beavers
There are good times for breaks and not so good times for breaks. For the Beavers, who are riding a five-game winning streak following a 0-2-2 start to the season, it might be nice if Santa could bring a bottle of whatever the team drinks on the bench during the most recent games to prolong the first-half streak and good fortune. Three players, Connor Berto, Ryan Smith, and Andrew Bonazza, account for almost 50 percent of the team’s goals, so a couple of magic sticks for other forwards might look good under the tree too. It’s not often you see a leading scorer for a team having zero goals, but PT Donato leads the Beavers in points with a line of 0-9-9, so Santa, get the senior a goal or two to go with all those assists please.

Skidmore Thoroughbreds
At 5-5-2 following a nonconference loss to Curry  to close out the first half, the Thoroughbreds may be in need of a couple gifts in the stocking this year to get ramped up for the second half of the season. First on the list is some more consistent goaltending from the three different netminders used by coach Neil Sinclair so far this season. Nobody has a save percentage higher than .900 or goals-against below 3.25, so Santa, a little help please. Since many believe your goaltender has to be your best penalty killer, improved play in net may help lower the 28 percent success rate that opponents have seen against Skidmore with the man advantage. The second half opens with nationally-ranked Plattsburgh, where improvement in both areas will be a requirement for success.

New England College Pilgrims
So coach Tom Carroll, you say you want something special from the “big guy.” You closed the first half on a four-game losing streak after winning four in a row, so getting back to the strong play observed against Skidmore, Castleton, and even Norwich in a close game will be important to the second half. You mentioned something special, so how about some special teams magic from Santa to improve on the 12 percent power-play efficiency and knock down that almost 30 percent penalty kill number that opponents have put up on the Pilgrims. Over 40 percent of the opposition’s goals have come on the power play, so here is hoping Santa’s delivery helps during the long trip out to Buffalo State and Fredonia to start the second half.

Massachusetts-Boston Beacons
It has been a nice start to the season for the Beacons, who are 7-2-1 in their first 10 games of the season. The power play has been absolutely killer at almost 39 percent, and certainly the penalty kill could be better. But Santa, I think that coach Peter Belisle is really looking for something he can put on the mantle after the holidays this season. The Codfish Bowl has been around now for 48 years, and the Beacons have only hoisted the hardware three times, so please can you make sure there are no miraculous goaltending performances and that the potent Beacons offense has continued success on the first weekend following the New Year? Thanks; the team has goals for three trophies, and a win in the Codfish would get the Beacons two-thirds of the way home.

Southern Maine Huskies
The best thing about freshmen is that they turn into sophomores. Not sure who I should accurately be attributing that line to, but the fact remains that the Huskies are young and full of raw talent. So Santa, how about delivering some fast-acting maturation pills to help coach Jeff Beaney’s young team in the second half. Alex Pompeo and Garrett White have been the real deal as freshmen, but some magic among the three new goaltenders would go a long way in bringing some needed consistency and support for Josh Hillegas, who has seen action in 10 of the first 11 games this season. Also, if there is any chance that Santa might find a case or two of 5-hour Energy for the team, it would be great. The Huskies seemingly could use a jolt in the third period, where they have been outshot and outscored by a two-to-one margin this season.

St. Michael’s Purple Knights
At 2-8-0, coach Damian DiGiulian’s team has played better than their record indicates. First things first Santa, how about a little more reward for the effort in the second half for the Purple Knights, who have lost three games in overtime and another by a 1-0 score. Some added offense might help the team out in the second half, as forwards Josh Geary and Ryan Arsenault lead the team in goals and points and have been responsible for almost 50 percent of the total goals. Lastly, eight-for-33, or 24 percent, is a good number on the power play, but not as good as its identical counterpart on the penalty kill. Can we get a few blocked shots to fill the stocking? Just asking.

University of New England Nor’easters
Despite a big early season win against Castleton, coach Brad Holt’s team dropped seven of its last eight games in the first half and surrendered 37 goals in that span. Let’s start with a little help for goaltenders Ian Edwards and Craig Ryan, who are facing over 33 shots per game and teams scoring over 42 percent of the time with the man advantage against the Nor’easters. Of course, if there is a little room at the top of the stocking, Santa may want to throw in some continued success for freshman Ryan Quinn, who leads the team in goals with six. It sure would be nice to test out the gift-wrapping on these items with the two nonconference opponents slated to open the second half in Suffolk and Bowdoin.

Santa, that is the list from all of the teams, so please see if those elves of yours can work a little Christmas magic for the coaches and their needs. I am pretty sure they have all been good, so no need to check that “list” of yours twice. Here’s hoping the second half will be great, regardless of what holiday cheer is delivered, and that all enjoy a very festive holiday season.


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