by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Greg Cronin
2006-07 record: 13-18-5 (9-13-5 Hockey East)
Key Returnees: Josh Robertson F SR., Jimmy Russo F SR., Joe Vitale F JR., Dennis McCauley F JR., Louis Liotti D JR., Andrew Linard D JR., Brad Thiessen G SO., Jim Driscoll D SO., Chad Costello F SO., Kyle Kraemer F SO.
Key Losses: Mike Morris, Yale Lewis, Steve Birnstill, Ray Ortiz. Bryan Esner
After an abysmal 2005-06 season, coach Greg Cronin and the Huskies improved their win total by 10 in 2006-2007, to 13.
"Obviously we improved," said Cronin. "Our strength was our underclassmen including the fine play of Brad Thiessen in net and our leading scorer Chad Costello."
Cronin also said that this was "a good step forward."
Last year's all-Hockey East rookie team goaltender Brad Thiessen will be one of the players to watch out for in 2007-08, as he will try to take that next step.
"We knew he was good coming in," said Cronin about Thiessen. "Starting 32 games is a lot to ask for out of a rookie, but he turned out to be a terrific goaltender."
Thiessen will have a lot of help coming back, as six defensemen who all contributed one way or another will return. The young defense from last year will lose the likes of Steve Birnstill and Brian Deeth, but the up-and-coming core will include the likes of Denis Chisolm, Jim Driscoll, Andrew Linard, Louis Liotti, Jacques Perreault, David Strathman and Rensselaer transfer Jake Schuster.
The Huskies lost nine seniors (seven forwards) from last year's team.
"We need to mature freshman and replace seniors quickly," Cronin said.
A solid freshmen class will come in this year. Six newcomers will step into the historic Matthews Arena ice to vie for playing time. But the early signings Stephen Silva, Tyler McNealy and Wade MacLeod are ones to watch according to Cronin.
Although Boston College and Boston University are still the two biggest programs in the area, no one should doubt Northeastern.
"We have a good core group of players," said Cronin.
If 2006-07 was a sign of things to come for the Huskies, then the 2007-08 team should be one of the teams to watch out for in Hockey East as a potential sleeper.
"Our goal is to move up in the ranks of college hockey," Cronin said.