A disappointing fifth-place regular-season finish and a loss to Vermont in the quarterfinals of the ECAC tournament ensured that Dartmouth would again miss the NCAA tournament.
Despite having some of the best forwards in the league over the last three seasons — in the forms of Hugh Jessiman, who departed after the 2003-2004 season, and Lee Stempniak — Dartmouth has consistently struggled to pull out wins in close games.
This season the Big Green will need to replace the 43 points that Stempniak contributed during his senior season, but with rising seniors Mike Ouellette (15 goals and 26 assists) and Eric Przepiorka (15 goals and 16 assists) and sophomore Nick Johnson (17 assists and 18 goals, including three game-winners) that doesn’t seem like much of a problem.
The Dartmouth defense also looks to be solid, with junior Grant Lewis — selected for the preseason all-league team on the strength of his 22-point sophomore season — and assistant captain Garret Overlock leading the way.
But like many teams from around the league, netminding is a question mark. The graduation of senior netminder Dan Yacey leaves goaltending as the largest question mark facing Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet.
Junior Sean Samuel saw limited action — and limited success — as Yacey’s alternate a year ago. Sophomore Mike Devine was only on the ice for half of a game, so he has even less experience.
The third goaltender in the mix for the Big Green is freshman Dan Goulding. If one of those three can step up and provide strong, consistent play in net, the Big Green should be able improve on last year’s finish.
The schedule will test the Big Green early, though, as the season opens at Harvard and Colgate and Cornell will visit Thompson Arena in mid-November.