by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Derek Schooley
2006-07 Record: 14-19-2 (9-10-1 CHA); CHA Tournament Finalist
Key Returnees: Chris Kaufman D SR., Rob Cowan D SR., Jake Sparks D SR., Andrew Bonello D SR., Joel Gasper F SR., Ryan Curthers F SR., Sean Berkstresser F SR., Logan Bittle F SR., Christian Boucher G SR., Chris Margott F JR., Jason Towsley F JR., Kyle Frieday F SO.
Key Losses: Bryan Mills, Doug Conley, Aaron Clarke
In its third year of Division I hockey, Robert Morris finished third in the CHA, having some of the program's highest highs (so far) along the way. The Colonials then made it to the conference finals, only to lose to Alabama-Huntsville.
"It was another step forward in the building process," said Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley. "We had some good individual performances, now it is time to take it one step further."
From late January to mid-February, the Colonials played their best hockey. The team went on a five-game winning streak which included a win at Princeton and two sweeps of the top two conference teams, Niagara and Bemidji State.
Now that 2006-07 is behind the Colonials, it is time to look ahead to this upcoming season.
This year, Robert Morris returns numerous seniors — 14 to be exact.
"They all have been there for four years," Schooley mentioned about the senior class. "From Sean Berkstresser to Christian Boucher and Rob Kaufman, I have seen them grow older and they have gotten more mature."
Berkstresser, in particular, rose to the forefront last season with an impressive finish.
The concern, though, is Boucher. After a strong freshman year in net, his stats have worsened in each successive season. Whether he can regain freshman-year form remains to be seen. Quinnipiac transfer Wes Russell may push him.
This year the Colonials will have three captains: Four-year captain Rob Collins, Joel Gaster (a two-year captain) and Chris Kaufman (third year as captain).
"This is a very good class," Schooley said about the incoming recruits. "We are not going to find out until October of what they are made of. But we have good individuals and I think they are up to the challenge."
This year's class includes forwards Luke Bennett, Kyle Burton, Branden Gay, Scott Kobialko and Nathan Longpre as well as defensemen Rafeal Rodriguez and Denny Urban with goaltender Jim Patterson rounding it out.
The season looks bright for the Colonials. They will go from the "new guys" of college hockey to one of the favorites in the CHA.
"We have a very challenging schedule," Schooley said. Schooley mentioned that two of the teams in the schedule are Wisconsin and Boston University.
"The parity in the league is so close. The goal is to play our best hockey in the end. We are in our fourth year, we are more older and I think we can take another step forward."