Young Colgate team looks to grow

Breanne Wilson-Bennett (Colgate - 11). (Shelley M. Szwast)
Breanne Wilson-Bennett can help Colgate’s offense. (Shelley M. Szwast)

Colgate Raiders
USCHO prediction: Ninth
Coaches’ prediction: Ninth
Last season: 10th (7-25-2, 4-16-2 ECAC)

The names
Now in his fourth season at Colgate, coach Greg Fargo is in the process of trying to reshape the roster to fit his style.

“[We have] 15 first or second-year players out of our 22-person roster,” he said. “So a young group, but we think it’s the right kind of talent in terms of how we want to play.”

Those youngsters figure to be key in determining the team’s fate.

“The real core of our group is with the younger players and those freshmen last year that are now sophomores,” Fargo said. ‘We’ll look to them for leadership in all different categories, but to lead the way for us offensively. Kids like [Breanne] Wilson-Bennett, [Megan] Sullivan, and [Lauren] Wildfang can certainly help us out offensively.”

This year he welcomes eight freshmen into the Raiders’ fold.

“Then we think we’ve gone out and addressed all of our needs with our first-year players,” Fargo said. “We didn’t have too many right-handed shots in our line-up. We’ve added some right-handed shots that we feel like can produce offensively. We now have more scoring depth, and we think we’re a better offensive team and have added some grit throughout our line-up.”

He points to Shae Labbe, a forward from Alberta and a Canadian veteran of the U-18 World Championships, as one to watch.

“She played well on the big stage at that event and just comes into school physically ready,” Fargo said. “I think right off the hop, her game stands out as someone that will be able to make the jump to the college level right away.”

Though smaller in number, the senior class figures to be crucial.

“It’s always great to have experience in net, and we have a senior goaltender who will lead the way for us there in Ashlynne Rando,” Fargo said. “She came off of what we believe is her best year last year. With Katelyn Parker being one of our captains and Nicole Gass coming back and ready to have a great senior year. She’s in phenomenal shape and really excited about what she can offer our blue line and be a leader on the back end for us.”

The numbers
Colgate will attempt to reverse a trend that saw a decline in wins the last two seasons, from 11 to 10 to seven.

The prognosis
The Raiders should be better, but they finished five wins shy of a playoff spot last year, and there isn’t an obvious candidate to falter and create an opening.

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