Trinity looks like early NESCAC favorite, but all teams look primed to make noise

Jackson Brewer was the Joe Concannon Award winner and NESCAC Player of the Year in 2013-14 and is looking for an encore performance for Trinity this season (photo: Melissa Wade).

Jackson Brewer – and his NESCAC-leading 33 assists – is coming back.

So, too, are John Hawkrigg and Sean Orlando, with their 17 goals apiece in tow.

And who can forget Ryan Cole, a freshman like Orlando, and his 16 league tallies.

All of that is great news for Trinity, not so great for the rest of the NESCAC pack.

In all, the defending NESCAC regular-season champs return the prolific bunch that led not just the NESCAC, but the nation in points per game as well.

Brewer, the NESCAC Player of the Year, led the way with 56 points (overall) encompassing 14 goals, 42 assists (7-33-40 NESCAC), with Hawkrigg (22-30-52, 17-21-38), Cole (19-29-48, 16-18-34) and Orlando (22-18-40, 17-13-30) all following suit.

Little wonder that the Bantams made a clean sweep of NESCAC First Team forward selections, with Orlando being a notable omission.

Even defenseman Michael Flynn (6-17-23 NESCAC) – fifth among the Bantams and a conference first-teamer himself – would have been the top point-getter on nine other NESCAC rivals.

All this damage done with just one puck.

What more could one want?

Well, a postseason run for one thing.

What did Trinity get for its glittering 21-5-0 (15-3-0 NESCAC) record?

A second-round conference ousting by those Lords of Destiny, fifth-seed Bowdoin.

With such an accomplished returning cast, Trinity coach Matthew Greason has set his sights high.

“We are hoping to get better everyday,” said Greason, “in hopes of putting ourselves in position to do something special at the end of the year.”

The view from around the league is that, while there is tremendous balance throughout (how else can one explain how a fifth-place club can make it through the NESCAC tournament and into the NCAAs), the Bantams are still the rulers of the roost.

“Trinity is the favorite,” said Hamilton coach Rob Haberbusch. “They bring back almost their whole team although they lost a really good goalie (departed senior Benjamin Clouthard).”

Colby coach Blaise MacDonald expressed the same view.

“The top teams have stayed the same and will continue to be at the top,” said MacDonald. “Trinity should win both the regular-season and tournament championship as they are loaded in all areas.”

Even so, the cupboards are hardly bare in other NESCAC houses.

Amherst, which came within a hair (make that a double-overtime championship game loss to Bowdoin) of making the NCAAs, returns a solid group led by junior goalie Dave Cunningham, and a strong class of recruits.

“We have a group that will be a little younger than we have been in recent years and are counting on the new players to contribute,” said Jack Arena, the aptly named Lord Jeffs coach. “I think our overall group is solid and we should improve as our young guys adjust to the level of play.”

Third-place Williams can point to similar strength in net in the person of senior Sean Dougherty, who led the NESCAC in goals against (1.79), save percentage (.938), and shutouts (2).

Middlebury, with the likes of forward Derek Pimentel, and Bowdoin,with forwards Connor Quinn and John McGinnis (fifth in conference scoring) will both likely force their way into the conference crown conversation.

Even last-place Tufts has second team All-NESCAC defenseman Blake Edwards coming back.

Arena gave voice to what every NESCAC coach is no doubt thinking as the new campaign approaches.
“We always want to be playing our best hockey at the end of the year ,” he said. “If we accomplish that, we consider it a successful season.”

Amherst

Last Year’s Record: 16-8-3 (overall), 12-4-2 (NESCAC)

Coach: Jack Arena, 32nd yr. (407-306-56)

Key Returning Players: G Dave Cunningham, Jr., D Jake Turrin, Sr. , F Mike Rowbotham, Sr., F Conor Brown, Jr., F Brendan Burke, Jr..

Key newcomers: F Keenan Hodgson, Nepean CCHL, F David White, Fairfield Prep., F Thomas Windstorm.

Key departures: F Brian Safstrom, F Andrew Kurlanski.

Noteworthy: Safstrom (20 points) and Kurlanski (18) were the Jeffs’ top pointgetters.

 

Bowdoin

Last Year’s Record: 17-9-2, 9-8-1

Coach: Terry Meagher, 32nd yr. (515-237-51)

Key Returning Players: F John McGinnis, Sr., F Connor Quinn, Sr.

Key newcomers: D Mitch Barrington, Dexter School, F Zach Kokosa, Waubonsie Valley.

Key departures: F Colin Downey, F Harry Matheson, G Steve Messina.

Noteworthy: Bowdoin penalty killers produced a league-best nine shorthanded goals. Downey had three of them.

 

Colby

Last Year’s Record: 11-11-3, 8-9-1

Coach: Blaise MacDonald, 18th yr, 3rd at Colby (254-267-65, 18-26-6)

Key Returning Players: G Sam Parker, Sr., F Ray Zeek, Sr., F Robert McCormick, Sr., F Colin Reilly, So., D Geoff Sullivan, So.

Key newcomers: F Phil Klitorinos, Kent School, F Mario Benicky, Westminster School, F Mike Rudolf, South Kent School, F Cam MacDonald Westford Academy, D Dan Dupont, South Kent School, G Emerson Verrier. Trinity College School.

Key departures: F Ben Chwick, F Nick Lanza, D Brendan Cosgrove.

Noteworthy: MacDonald recruited heavily from U.S. prep schools for this year’s incoming class.

 

Connecticut College

Last Year’s Record: 9-14-2, 8-9-1

Coach: Jim Ward, 12th yr. (86-159-23)

Key Returning Players: F J.C. Cangelosi, Sr., D Greg Liataud.

Key newcomers: NA.

Key departures: F Mike Sinsigalli

Noteworthy: The Camels, seeded seventh, reached the NESCAC playoffs for the first time since 2009.

 

Hamilton

Last Year’s Record: 5-15-3, 4-12-2

Coach: Rob Haberbusch, 4th yr. (19-45-9)

Key Returning Players: F Pat Curtis, Sr., F Kenny Matheson, Jr., F Robbie Murden, So.

Key newcomers: F Tyler Bruneteau, Rio Grande Valley NAHL.

Key departures: F Evan Haney, F Mike DiMare.

Noteworthy: DiMare was an NESCAC conference Honorable Mention.

 

Middlebury

Last Year’s Record: 11-11-3, 9-7-2

Coach: Bill Beaney, 35th yr. (506-172-48)

Key Returning Players: F Derek Pimentel, F Jake Charles.

Key newcomers: NA

Key departures: D Louis Belisle, D Ben Wiggins, D Robbie Donohoe.

Noteworthy: The Panthers lose their top three blueliners.

 

Trinity

Last Year’s Record: 21-5-0, 15-3-0

Coach: Matthew Greason, 4th yr. (45-25-5)

Key Returning Players: F Jackson Brewer, F John Hawkrigg, F Ryan Cole, F Sean Orlando.

Key newcomers: NA

Key departure: G Benjamin Coulthard.

Noteworthy: Bantams were the top four league scorers, beginning with Brewer (7-33-40).

 

Tufts

Last Year’s Record: 4-19-1, 2-15-1

Coach: Brian Murphy, 17th yr. (149-211-24)

Key Returning Players: D Blake Edwards, Sr., D Brian Ouellette, Jr., D Sean Kavanagh, So., D Shawn Power, Sr., F Tyler Voigt, Sr., F Keith Campbell, Jr., F Conal Lynch, So., F Stewart Bell, Jr., F Andrew White, Sr.

Key newcomers: F Brian Brown, F Chad Goldberg, F Oliver Takacsi-Nagy, F J.J. Ganss, D Zack MacQueen, D Dan Kelly G Ryan McConnell, G Ross Bendetson, G Mason Pulde

Key departures: F Kyle Gallegos.

Noteworthy: Tufts features 13 new players, including three goalies.

 

Wesleyan

Last Year’s Record: 11-12-2, 6-11-1

Coach: Chris Potter, 12th yr. (93-141-31)

Key Returning Players: F Elliott Vorel, F James Kline.

Key newcomers: NA

Key departures: F Keith Buehler, F Tommy Hartnett.

Noteworthy: Weslyan will be looking to improve its penalty killing, which had a mere 67.9 percent (55 of 81) success rate.

 

Williams

Last Year’s Record: 15-8-3, 10-5-3

Coach: Bill Kangas, 26th yr. (335-229-56)

Key Returning Players: F Craig Kitto, F George Hunkele, G Sean Dougherty.

Key newcomers: NA

Key departures: F Nick Anderson, D Paul Steinig.

Noteworthy: All-league goalie Dougherty led the NESCAC with spectacular 1.78, .938 numbers.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here