Colgate hasn’t bullied anyone in a while, and doesn’t look especially belligerent this year either. Burton (23-18-41) and Winchester (8-29-37) finished one-two on the team scoring chart last season, and accounted for a quarter of the team’s total points. That’s the mark of an unbalanced offense right there.
“It is what it is. We had some great players in Jesse, Tyler and [goalie] Mark [Dekanich],” said Vaughan, “but we have other players, who were hiding in the shadows a bit … and now it’s their time to shine.”
To take their place, Vaughan looks to McIntyre (15-17-32), junior Jason Williams (9-8-17) and a slew of new and unproven players to pick up the slack.
“I’m looking forward to McIntyre picking up where he left off,” said Vaughan. (McIntyre had four goals an an assist in the three-game quarterfinal upset at Clarkson.)
The seasoned general also made note of recruit Austin Smith — a slim five-foot-11 19-year-old out of the British Columbia Hockey League — who was the 128th pick in the 2007 draft.
“He’s very talented, and may play both power-play and penalty-killing roles,” said the coach.
Graduated senior Matt Torti (1-3-4) played all 42 games for the Raiders, but was the only player to leave the D-corps this offseason. That leaves the blue line in the experienced hands of such players as McNamara, junior Wade Poplawski (2-8-10), and seniors Mark Anderson (5-9-14), Jason Fredericks (2-5-7), Nick St. Pierre (1-6-7) and David Sloane (2-3-5). Every one of them played at least 32 games last year. (That said, McNamara may well miss the entire season while recovering from recent hip surgery.)
Thrown into the mix will be big six-four, 210-pound Corbin McPherson. The 87th pick in the 2007 Draft, the New Jersey Devils prospect ought to fit right in with Vaughan’s disciplined defense-first perspective.
The Raiders’ top seven scorers last year were forwards, which seemed a minor novelty: defense playing defense, and little else. Make of it what you will.
Like Dartmouth, Clarkson and Harvard, the Raiders will be trying to pick a new goalie from a thoroughly green variety of options.
Junior Charles Long put in his time backing up “Dex” and even Dekanich’s backup Justin Kowalkoski.
“Charles … knows what it takes, from the mental part of the game. Maybe he has an [edge] on the other guys,” Vaughan mused. However, “we’re going to go with the guy who will win games. I like to have one guy … but it’s not an absolute,” he said, expressing a preference for a go-to guy rather than a rotation.
The other goalies vying for time will be Bryan Bessette and Alex Evin, both six-foot-one Canadians for whom Vaughan has reserved any judgment prior to a few days of practice.
The Raiders will need to melt some banana curves into their blades and play their home games with Junior Mints for pucks if they want to be considered for a top-half finish. While the defense looks solid, the offense and goaltending make for big punctuation marks right now … by season’s end, the Maroon, Gray and White are praying that the marks look more like this: !! … and less like this. :(