by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Dave Burkholder
2006-07 record: 18-13-6 (9-5-6 CHA)
Key Returnees: Matt Caruana F SR., Scott Langdon D SR., Ted Cook F JR., Les Reaney F JR., Kyle Rogers F JR., Vince Rocco F JR., Travis Anderson D JR., Dan Sullivan D JR., Juliano Pagliero G JR., Chris Moran F SO., Egor Mironov F SO., Tyler Gotto D SO., Ryan Annesley D SO.
Key Losses: Sean Bentivoglio, Pat Oliveto
In 2006-07, Niagara won the CHA regular season, but lost in the conference semifinals to eventual CHA champion Alabama-Huntsville. But that didn't deny the fact that they still had a great season.
"Overall I thought we had a terrific year," said coach Dave Burkholder. "It was a young team ... (and) we played our best hockey in the middle of the season, and won the regular season."
Part of the success of last season was the improvement of Forward Ted Cook.
"He (Cook) is quite a story," Burkholder said about the team's leading scorer last season. "He is a gifted player, we lean on him towards leadership, is in great condition and he is as good as it gets as far as I am concerned."
Burkholder also mentioned, "Ted deserves a little more credit than he got last year."
Part of that is simply because he had the CHA Player of the Year on his team, Sean Bentivoglio — not to mention star defenseman Pat Oliveto.
But if Air Force's Eric Ehn was the surprise of last year's Hobey race, then maybe this year it will be Cook, who had 32 goals last season, including a nation's-best 21 on the power play.
Not only is Cook going to be a big part of the 2007-08 team, but with Dwyer Arena being renovated for this upcoming season, it will also add excitement to the program.
"It is real exciting," Burkholder said. "It is going to add to the atmosphere and it's an addition to the fanfare."
This year's recruiting class is not that big with only five members, but that didn't get Burkholder hopes down on the future of this class.
"I thought we had a very good recruiting class," said Burkholder about the class of 2011. "We have three forwards that will step in right away."
Those forwards are Bryan Haczyck, David Ross and Paul Zanette. Goaltender Adam Avramenko, and defenseman Derek Foam round up this year's class.
With a small senior class last year, Niagara will be more experienced this coming year, but it doesn't mean that the freshmen can't help.
"I expect the same this year," Burkholder said about the league. "Last year there was not that much distance between first place and last place.
"We are a year older and we have more depth in every position."