ECAC West Season Preview

ECAC West Preview

When it comes to the ECAC West, you usually always immediately think the power trio of Elmira, Plattsburgh, and R.I.T. Once again, these three programs are at the top of the league’s pre-season rankings and are the odds on favorites to win the conference crown.

However, the gap between this trio and the rest of the conference is slowly starting to close. All three teams sustained significant losses from last year’s squads including names like Kayla Coady, Danielle Blanchard, Allison Cubberley, Danielle Beattie, Sandra Grant, and Erica Owczarczak. All three teams will need contributions from their freshmen classes as well as players that haven’t been counted on before as much, to become “go to” players.

Enter the Neumann Knights. Neumann is my dark horse pick this year in the conference. The Knights return nearly all of their core from last year’s squad and started the season off with an impressive two game sweep of Adrian. I fully expect Neumann to challenge the powerhouse trio and probably even steal a few points.

Utica rounds out the top half of the league and they should safely finish in the top five and could challenge Neumann if they find their scoring touch that went M.I.A. last season.

The battle for sixth place will likely be an all out war once again this season. Oswego State finished sixth last season and I’d put them as the early favorites to garner the last playoff spot but Potsdam, Chatham, Buffalo State, and Cortland are right there and could just as easily take the last spot as well.

Buckle your seat belts folks; a new hockey season is here!

Team Previews

RIT Tigers

Coach: Scott McDonald (62-14-4, 4th season)
Last year’s record: 21-3-2
ECAC West Record: 15-2-1 (2nd)
Coaches’ Projection: First
My Prediction: First

Key Losses: Keltie Jones and Sandra Grant
Key Returnees: Jr. Sarah Dagg (16-24-40), Jr. Katie Stack (17-17-34), Jr. Traci Galbraith (6-14-20)
Newcomers to watch: Kim Schlattman, Kayla Ross, and Danielle Read

Elmira College Soaring Eagles

Coach: Greg Fargo (24-5-1, 2nd season)
Last year’s record: 24-5-1
ECAC West Record: 16-1-1 (1st)
Coaches’ Projection: Second
My Prediction: Second

Key Losses: Kayla Coady and Allison Cubberley
Key Returnees: Sr. Jenna McCall (19-26-45), Sr. Jamie Kivi (5-22-27), Sr. Lauryn DePaul (16-6-22), Sr. Tiffany Hart (5-15-20)
Newcomers to watch: Madison Johnston, Caitlin Metcalf, and Jill DeBus

Plattsburgh Cardinals

Coach: Kevin Houle (143-24-9, 7th season)
Last year’s record: 22-5-2
ECAC West Record: 15-3-0
Coaches’ Projection: Third
My Prediction: Third

Key Losses: Danielle Blanchard, Claire O’Connor, Ainsley Brien, Danielle Beattie
Key Returnees: Sr. Stephanie Moberg (18-21-39), Sr. Laurie Bowler (14-13-27), So. Kara Buehler (1-5-6)
Newcomers to watch: Teal Gove, Jordan Caldwell, and Erika Pomponio

Neumann Knights

Coach: Matthew Kennedy (57-55-7, 6th season)
Last year’s record: 16-11-0
ECAC West Record: 12-6-0
Coaches’ Projection: Fourth
My Prediction: Fourth

Key Losses: Janelle Marier and Robyn Armstrong
Key Returnees: Jr. Jessica Schroeder (13-22-35), So. Jasper Thomson (14-19-33), So. Nicole Alexopoulos (16-10-26), So. Kayla Dubowski (4-22-26)
Newcomers to watch: Tanya Lamon, Olivia Pryzbylkowski, and Shannon Donnelly

Utica Pioneers

Coach: Dave Clausen (121-77-13, 9th season)
Last year’s record: 14-10-2
ECAC West Record: 10-7-1
Coaches’ Projection: Fifth
My Prediction: Fifth

Key Losses: Jess Leclerc and Sam Rowan
Key Returnees: Jr. Lynny Gonzales (8-17-25), Sr. Jill Doherty (9-4-1, 1.64 GGA), So. Mackenzie Roy (4-12-16)
Newcomers to watch: Meghan McMahon and Carmen Johnson

Oswego Lakers

Coach: Diane Dillon (24-44-5, 4th season)
Last year’s record: 8-16-1
ECAC West Record: 5-12-1
Coaches’ Projection: Sixth
My Prediction: Sixth

Key Losses: Stephanie Esposito, Jessica Lister, Ashley Meyers
Key Returnees: Jr. Emi Williams (6-11-0, 2.82 GGA), Sr. Angie Friesen (4-3-7), So. Kathryn Sbrocchi (2-3-0), Sr. Jenna Kirkwood (4-5-9), So. Jillian Bergeron (3-6-9)
Newcomers to watch: Bryanna Forrest, Becky Carra, Alex Szypryt, and Kristin Metzger

Chatham Cougars

Coach: Phoebe Manchester (5-41-1, 3rd season)
Last year’s record: 4-19-1
ECAC West Record: 4-14-0
Coaches’ Projection: Seventh
My Prediction: Seventh

Key Loss: Jacquelin Regan
Key Returnees: So. Lauren Campbell (8-4-12), So. Dawson Bancroft-Short (6-8-14), So. Leah McNaughton (9-6-15), So. Ashley Reid (2-5-7)
Newcomers to watch: Ashley Kuechle and Jessica Rattle

Potsdam Bears

Coach: Jay Green (4-17-2, 2nd season)
Last year’s record: 4-17-2
ECAC West Record: 3-13-2
Coaches’ Projection: Eighth
My Prediction: Eighth

Key Losses: None
Key Returnees: Sr. Hilary Hitchman (4-16-2, 3.71 GGA), So. Stephanie Simons (4-7-11), So. Breanna Roy (6-10-16)
Newcomers to watch: Katie Komsa, Brittany Westlake, and Jen Conophy

Buffalo State Bengals

Coach: Robert Burke (16-45-8, 4th season)
Last year’s record: 2-18-4
ECAC West Record: 2-12-4
Coaches’ Projection: Tenth
My Prediction: Ninth

Key Loss: Melissa Jeckovich
Key Returnees: Jr. Marissa McMullan (7-5-12), Sr. Casey Bull (3-3-6), So. Bri Murphy (5-3-8), So. Leah Knott (2-6-8)
Newcomers to watch: Lauren Mallo, Kailyn Murray, and Rio Flynn

Cortland Red Dragons
Coach: Earl Utter (9-37-6, 3rd season)
Last year’s record: 3-19-3
ECAC West Record: 2-14-2
Coaches’ Projection: Ninth
My Prediction: Tenth

Key Losses: Maggie Welker and Kalee Stoever
Key Returnees: Sr. Nicole Ruddy (3-2-5), So. Katie Double (2.92 GGA, .923 Save %), So. Danielle Scharf (1-3-4)
Newcomers to watch: Maggie Giamo, Taylor Puckhaber, and Jamie Kruczek


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