by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Tom Serratore
2006-07 Record: 14-14-5 (9-6-5 CHA)
Key Returnees: Jake Bluhm F SR., Blaine Jarvis F SR., Matt Pope F SR., Dave Deterding D SR., Riley Weselowski D SR., Matt Climie G SR., Orlando Alamando G SR., Travis Winter F JR., Tyler Scofield F JR., Cody Bostock D JR., Joey Moggach F SO., Chris Peluso D SO., John Vadnais D SO.
Key Losses: Luke Erickson, Shane Holman, Ryan Miller, Rob Sirianni, Nathan Schwartzbauer
Last season started off great for the Beavers. Bemidji State defeated such opponents as Colorado College and Minnesota State. In fact, in the month of December, the Beavers went 7-1 and going into January, Bemidji State was 10-5-3.
"The year started off well," said head coach Tom Serratore about last season. "It was a letdown in the second half as we struggled. We won big games and peaked early but lost our identity."
After December, the Beavers only won four games, going 4-11-2 in that span, which included a semifinal loss to Robert Morris in the CHA tournament. After two straight NCAA appearances, the Beavers were out of the mix.
The Beavers lost Luke Erickson and Rob Sirianni to graduation, both of whom left as 100-point career scorers.
This year, the Beavers will be led by returning captain Dave Deterding and returning assistant captain Jake Bluhm. Junior forward Travis Winter will be the other assistant.
"They are all character guys," Serratore said about his captains. "They all have a lot of confidence with the respect of the coaches and players. They will be expected to handle things."
Although there are seven players in the class of 2011, it is clear that this upcoming year will be about the veterans. In fact, Serratore did not talk much about this year's recruiting class.
"I don't look at the freshmen to be big," Serratore said. "I just look at them to contribute. It is more about the upperclassmen. There should be no pressure on these (freshmen) players."
Going into the season one might think that the goaltending position is all set with the returning Matt Climie. But, Serratore says that anyone can take Climie's spot.
"We have three good goalies," said Serratore about the situation. "The job is wide open."
The other returning goaltender is Orlando Alamando. There's also Matt Dalton, the North American Hockey League MVP in 2006.
Going into this season, no one will know what to expect from the Beavers. True, there are eight seniors on the roster, but will the junior class step up this year?
"This is a team that can win the CHA or take fifth," said Serratore about the upcoming season. "Niagara has a lot of depth starting with Cook and Reaney, Robert Morris has about 14-15 seniors. Anything can happen in this conference."
The schedule for the upcoming season looks grueling for the Beavers. With opponents such as Denver, Colorado College, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and an improved Army team out-of-conference, it looks like the Beavers will have their hands full. But, they are capable of pulling off an upset or two along the way.