by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Don Vaughan
2006-07 record: 15-21-4 (7-12-3 ECAC)
Key Returnees: Tyler Burton F SR., Jesse Winchester F SR., Dustin Gillanders F SR., Ben Camper F SR., Matt Torti D SR., Mark Dekanich G SR., Nick St. Pierre D JR., Mark Anderson D JR., David Sloane D JR., Tom Riley F JR., David McIntyre F SO., Jason Williams F SO.
Key Losses: Liam Huculak, Marc Fulton, Mike Campaner, Alex Greig
There were high expectations by many for Colgate to finish at the top of the ECAC last season. Instead the Raiders finished with just 17 points in the league, resulting in eighth place.
"I was disappointed with the way it unfolded," said head coach Don Vaughan about the 2006-07 season. "We had high expectations as we were the ECAC favorite but things didn't turn out our way. We learned a lot from last year."
After a 3-3-1 start, the season soon turned into disaster. The Raiders finished 12-18-3 the rest of the way including a 4-8-0 mark in the last two months of the season. Though the team did defeat Rensselaer in the first round, they were quickly exposed by top-seeded St. Lawrence, as they were outscored 11-2 in the series.
Now that the disappointing 2006-07 season is behind the Raiders, we will look ahead to 2007-08 where things look to be more promising.
This season the Raiders return a large group of upperclassmen, including eight seniors who were all part of the team that made the NCAA tournament in 2004-05.
"They have been a huge part since the day they arrived," said Vaughan about his seniors. "They are a good group of players. From Tyler Burton to Jesse Winchester and Ben Camper, they all provide strong leadership."
Another senior worth mentioning is goaltender Mark Dekanich, who has been the backbone of the team the last two seasons.
"He is a big part of the team," said Vaughan about his starting goaltender. "He took over for Steve Silverthorn, which was a tough task. He allowed us to be in most games with his ability. I think he is one of the best goaltenders in the country."
This season the strong leadership will continue in Hamilton, N.Y., as four players will assume a big role. Jesse Winchester will be the team's captain while Tyler Burton, Dustin Gillanders and Junior Nick St. Pierre will assume the role of being the alternate captains.
According to Vaughan the team is in good shape with these leaders: "There is not one player that has to lead by themselves," he said.
This year's recruiting class is not the biggest in terms of numbers, but it is still a productive class. In fact the search for the class of 2011 went from Massachusetts to Winnipeg, Manitoba, as well as stops in Quebec and Minnesota.
This year's class includes forwards Francois Briesbois, Brian Day and Jak Knelman as well as defensemen Wade Poplawski and Kevin McNamara. Poplawski and McNamara will be fighting for one or two spots on defense as well as junior Joe DeBello (who can also play forward).
"The ECAC is hard to predict," Vaughan said. "You got last year's surprise in Clarkson as well as Harvard and Cornell. There are a lot of teams you never know about."