by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Rick Gotkin
2006-07 Record: 9-20-6 (9-15-4 Atlantic Hockey)
Key Returnees: Ben Cottreau F SR., Ryan Toomey F SR., Matt Warren F SR., Bobby Phillips D JR., Kirk Mendernach D JR., Matt Pierce F JR., Brett Robinson F JR., Chris Tafford F JR., Cullen Eddy D SO., Matt Fennell D SO., Nick Vandenbeld F SO., Chris Risi F SO., Cody Collins F SO., Neil Graham F SO.
Key Losses: Kyle Gourgon, Pat Henk, Scott Champagne, Denis Kirstein
It was not the best of times for the Mercyhurst Lakers in 2006-07. The team was favored to win the league, instead the Lakers finished tied for seventh (along with Bentley) with 22 points. The door was shut to the season when the Lakers lost to Connecticut in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey tournament.
"We always have high expectations here at Mercyhurst," said head coach Rick Gotkin. "We lost 13 one-goal games. I felt we were much better, but we couldn't find a way to win."
Going into this season, Mercyhurst might not have the high expectations they did from a year ago. So maybe one can expect the unexpected. It will be tough being without Scott Champagne, who had 141 points in his career with the Lakers.
A big help is in net, where Mercyhurst would have been left with no experience had Matt Lundin not decided to come in. Lundin played at Maine before leaving to return to the USHL. He was the playoff MVP last season for Sioux Falls.
"He (Lundin) played 25 games at Maine," Gotkin pointed out. "I expect a lot from his past experience. He had a great year in Sioux Falls last year."
At Sioux Falls, the talented goaltender from Apple Valley, Minn., was 24-15-5-2 for the Stampede.
This year there is a large number of freshmen. Ten are added to the class of 2011 (and an 11th if you add redshirt freshman Ryan Raven).
"We got some needs," said Gotkin about the class. "This will be a time for adjusting.
There are 17 freshmen and sophomores on this roster (out of 26). We only have four seniors and the rest are juniors."
There is also returning forward Ben Cottreau, a senior who could become the league's all-time leading scorer this season.
Although the Lakers were disappointed last season, do not expect the same this season.
"Every year is a different challenge," Gotkin said. "We have a tough schedule in and out of the conference. It starts with the Lefty McFadden Invitational, then we get the defending champs Michigan State, Maine and Michigan Tech."
"This year we will look to re-invent ourselves and get back into the upper-echelon in Atlantic Hockey."