by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Scott Paluch
2006-07 record: 7-29-2 (6-21-1 CCHA)
Key Returnees: John Mazzei F SR., Derek Whitmore F SR., Michael Hodgson D SR., Mike Nesdill D SR., Jimmy Spratt G JR., Brandon Svendsen F JR., Tim Maxwell D JR., Russ Sinkewich D JR., Kevin Schmidt D JR., Todd McIlrath F SO., Tomas Petruska F SO.,Kai Kantola F SO.
Key Losses: Jonathan Matsumoto (underclassman), James Unger, Rich Meloche, Jeremy Bronson
"It was a year we didn't want to have," said head coach Scott Paluch about the 2006-07 season. "We did play pretty well down the stretch, though, and we hope to carry on the play of those final few games next year."
Last season was abysmal for Bowling Green. The team gave up 144 goals in 37 games while only scoring 75. Their goal margin average was 1.89, which was second to last in the country.
The team's leading scorer from last season, Jonathon Matsumoto, signed a pro contract in March. Senior Derek Whitmore is the leading returning scorer and the only player to score 10-plus goals (among returning players).
But there is still hope for improvement at Bowling Green in 2007-08. Coming in to stop the puck is Josh Unice from the USNTDP U-17 team.
While the goaltending situation isn't straightened yet, the team still feels pretty confident that they don't have to rush Unice in right away.
"We are in a good situation," said Paluch. "Jimmy Spratt started for us last year and has beaten good teams such as Michigan State and Clarkson. He brings in great experience."
The class of 2011 (which includes Unice) might need to step in right away. Six are added (and a seventh if you include Ryan Kohl who redshirted last year) to this year's recruiting class.
"I am really excited," said Paluch. "We filled needs in every position. Josh Unice was a third-round pick but that's not all. We got some quick skilled forwards including Jacob Cepis who should help out. It is a class that will add depth."
Whether it's leadership or the ability to play two-way hockey, the goal for the Falcons this season is to improve in 2007-08.
"We want to be a much better team," Paluch said. "We will use last year as motivation for this upcoming year. We have a large core returning such as John Mazzei, Brandon Svendsen and Todd McIlrath."
In terms of the league, Paluch mentioned the top four will be tough to beat (Michigan, Michigan State, Miami and Notre Dame), but the rest of the field in the CCHA should be wide open. "Right now I would say that there are seven or eight teams that are close to each other," said Paluch about five through 12 in the conference.
Although the Falcons will likely see improvement, do not be surprised to see them near the bottom. But yet who knew about Notre Dame last year.