2007-08 St. Lawrence Season Preview

Offense: In what seems to be a bit of a league-wide pattern, the Saints graduated three of their top six scorers from last season in Kyle Rank, Max Taylor and Drew Bagnall. As a team, SLU was third in the league with 73 goals scored, nearly three and a third per game. The drop in non-conference games was minimal, to about 3.12 GPG — more than enough to go around.

As though the Saints need any consolation, the other half of the top-six list is composed of two juniors and a sophomore. Kevin DeVergilio had 23 assists and nine goals as a soph, classmate Brock McBride had 16 helpers with nine goals, and frosh (now sophomore) Mike McKenzie finished nicely balanced with a dozen goals and a bakers’ dozen assists.

Behind those top producers was a bit of a dropoff. While not a precipitous one, only current senior Charlie Giffin and sophomore Sean Flanagan averaged better than a point every two games. (I doubt anyone else around the league will shed any tears over SLU’s hardships.)

In a freshman class of only three, there is not a defender or goalie among them. The aged 21-year-old Jared Keller is an average-sized center with reliable vision and hockey sense, and Cedar Rapids veteran Aaron Bogosian will be looked upon to play some hard minutes down in the corners.

Defense: It’s tough to replace a Hobey Baker candidate like Bagnall, and it doesn’t appear likely to happen this year. Which is to say, good luck finding a blueliner with that blend of defensive ability and offensive acumen.

Alex Petizian looks to build on an outstanding freshman year.

Alex Petizian looks to build on an outstanding freshman year.

Last year, the Saints were fortunate enough to skate six regulars consistently, with only a half-dozen appearances in the back from players not among those top six. Bagnall is the only departure, and the remaining skaters have a championship-caliber year of experience in their back pockets. This is a solid, solid group of players who will only improve on a 2.5 team goals-against average.

There are four players vying for what is likely the final spot on the blue line, including two freshmen who deferred admission to this year: Bobby Torney from the Taft School, and Matt Raley from the Foxboro Stars of the junior ranks.

Goaltending: Alex Petizian’s freshman year was excellent. A steel-plated defense in front of him and a full year under his belt will only make him that much better. Can he beat his .916 save percentage and 2.30 GAA, which — all things considered — were perhaps less than they could have been?

Outlook: The Saints lost some true leaders to graduation, which is what happens in college sports. The only question mark appears to be merely that — a solitary niggling punctuation in the middle of an extensive ironclad thesis: can the Saints replicate the outstanding work ethic, character and chemistry that won them the league title last season? Are the offense and Petizian potent enough to surpass previous high-water marks? It’s the niggling nature of the thing that puts them where they are in these projections.