by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Bob Gaudet
2006-07 record 18-12-3 (12-7-3 ECAC)
Key Returnees: Mike Devine G SR., Nick Johnson F SR., J.T. Wyman F SR., Rob Pritchard F JR., John Gibson D JR., T.J. Galiradi F SO.
Key Losses: David Jones (underclassmen), Tanner Glass, Ben Lovejoy, Grant Lewis, Mike Hartwick
The 2006-07 Dartmouth Big Green season was filled with a lot of excitement. Twelve games were decided by one goal and eight of them resulted in a victory for the Big Green.
Unfortunately, an ECAC title and/or NCAA tournament appearance proved just barely elusive — again — for Dartmouth, as the program continues to be on the cusp only to fall frustrating and agonizingly close.
"It was a fun year," said head coach Bob Gaudet about the team's performance last season, after a few months to get over the disappointment of another close call. "I liked the team a lot, especially as the season progressed even with the injuries. We went on a great roll late in the year and played well in the playoffs."
Many people will credit the success to the goal scoring from David Jones, Nick Johnson and T.J. Galiardi. But give credit to the defense and goaltending as well.
Although three defensemen (Ben Lovejoy, Grant Lewis, Mike Hartwick) have graduated, the man between the pipes decided to stay for a senior season.
Mike Devine, who has started almost every game in goal since his sophomore season (2005-06) will return for the Big Green.
"He has been a great part of the team," said Gaudet about Devine. "He is self-motivated, very competitive, and has great leadership abilities. Mike made some huge saves last year in big games, and he is capable of huge stretches. When he lets up a goal, he finds a way to get back and make great saves."
Devine will probably have his biggest challenge yet, as he works with a corps of young defensemen. Out of the five returning defensemen, only junior Josh Gibson saw more than 20 games.
The problems for the Big Green were compounded when, in addition to the loss of Hobey finalist David Jones to the pros, the team also lost talented underclassman T.J. Galiardi for academic reasons. Kevin Swallow also decided to transfer to Maine.
That leaves 2007-08 captain Nick Johnson.
"Nick is a great leader," said Gaudet about the third-round pick for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2004. "He has experience which is important, and he has done well in the past."
Devine, forward J.T. Wyman and junior forward Rob Pritchard will be the assistant captains.
"I think the league will be very tight," said Gaudet about this upcoming season. "Last year a lot of teams made strides including Clarkson and St. Lawrence. Yale has improved and Princeton is on their way up, while Harvard has a good skill level. I think it will be a dog fight."
The Big Green have had the league's leading attendance mark the last four seasons. This year, although the attendance might still be peaking, the team will be young and a little inexperienced on defense.
With David Jones signing with Colorado in May, the team will have a big hole to fill replacing the leading scorer last season.
"It will be a challenging year," said Gaudet about 2007-08. "It is a young team ready to gel."