Fredonia will challenge Geneseo this season for third

After a poor 2008-9 campaign, Fredonia bounced back with a strong season, only to be bounced out of the playoffs by upstart Morrisville.

“It was good to get things back on track,” Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith said. “Disappointing shadow over the season with the way it ended.”

The fight for third place this year will be extremely close between the Blue Devils and Geneseo.  Geneseo may have the goaltending advantage, but Fredonia has an extremely strong senior class to fall back on.

Empty Lockers: Fredonia does lose Jeff Aonso and James Muscatello, as well as goaltender Pat Street, but overall they won’t suffer as much as other teams, thanks to a strong returning corps.

The Core: “If you look at the senior class this year, that’s been our most talented class since they were freshmen,” Meredith said.

That senior class consists of last year’s top scorer for the team (Jordon Oye), as well as the third (Alex Morton) and fourth (Steve Rizer) scoring leaders. The senior class also consists of defenseman Chris de Bruyn.

Their second best scorer, Bryan Ross, returns as a junior.

“I really liked last year’s freshmen class a lot,” Meredith said. “We had a ton of potential in that freshmen class.”

Back after strong rookie seasons are Mat Hehr, Brett Mueller, Mitch Kulikoski, Will McLaughlin, Marc Deeley, Brad Nunn, and Chris Jung. Expect McLaughlin and Jung to play even more significant roles this year. Also, don’t be surprised if John O’Connor, who only played five games last year, gets a lot more ice time. His hard work over the summer has so far landed him on the third line.

New Gear: It’s a small freshmen class this season. Keep an eye on Alex Perkins, who will start playing on the top two lines. Andrew Christ is a big, strong banger. New goalies come in to challenge junior Kody Van Rentergem, who for now has the starting position by default.

Key Question: If Fredonia can match up with Geneseo in goaltending, they can repeat third place in the league. If not, they will have to settle for fourth place.

“Kody Van Rentergem returns,” Meredith said. “We brought in two freshmen that we’re looking to compete.  Last year, our goaltending was hit or miss, inconsistent. That’s one thing we’ve been fortunate about — we’ve always had very good goaltending.”

Mark Your Calendar Game: February 4 at Geneseo.

This will be the second time these teams meet in the season, and it could well decide which team finishes in third place.