by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Kevin Sneddon
2006-2007 Record: 18-16-5 (12-10-5 Hockey East)
Key Returnees: Mark Lutz D SR., Joe Fallon G SR., Dean Strong F JR., Corey Carlson F JR., Peter Lenes F JR., Brayden Irwin F SO., Colin Vock F SO., Patrick Cullity D SO.
Key Losses: Torrey Mitchell (underclassmen), Kenny Macaulay, Chris Myers, Ryan Gunderson, Dan Owens
The 2006-07 Vermont Catamounts took another step in the right direction.
Even though they only finished sixth in Hockey East, head coach Kevin Sneddon was very pleased with his club.
"It was another step up," said Sneddon. "Our goal is to move up in the standings and get to the Garden (for the Hockey East semis)."
Sneddon also mentioned that they were one game away from knocking off the Boston University Terriers in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs.
Even though the season started great in the Icebreaker Invitational, where Vermont outscored the opposition 10-1, the Catamounts could not find the offensive power that they displayed in those first two games against Colgate and Miami. And to make things tougher, in 2007-08 the Catamounts will be without Torrey Mitchell, who left early to sign a pro contract.
In the first two years of Hockey East, Vermont got what they wanted, with renewed rivalries against powers such as Maine and New Hampshire.
"It was a great move," said Sneddon about joining Hockey East in 2005-06. "It is very exciting to be in a premiere conference with good TV exposure."
Now that the two seasons are in the books, Vermont can look ahead to its third season in 2007-08 as it will look to climb up the conference standings.
This year's club will be captained by senior defensemen Mark Lutz.
"I am really proud of our leadership," said Sneddon. "With (Jamie) Sifers and Mitchell leading the way the last couple of years, I think that these three (Lutz, Dean Strong and Corey Carlson) have learned from these great leaders."
Strong and Carlson are the assistant captains for the upcoming season.
The Catamounts will also goaltender Joe Fallon, who has decided to stay for his senior season.
"He is the backbone of the program," Sneddon said about his starting goaltender. "He has broken almost every record in school history. He had a great season in 2006-07 and he is ready for the challenge this season."
Although the team will be high on Fallon, they will have to find a way to score goals. Perhaps the class of 2011 could help out the cause, as eight members (four defensemen, four forwards) will look to make a name for themselves on this young Catamount team.
"We have a mixed blend of players," said Sneddon about this year's class.
"We increased in size, mobility, we improved our offensive talent and these players have had more experience."
Almost all of the incoming freshmen have had at least one year of Junior Hockey experience.
The list of freshmen include Dan Lawson, a 6-foot-3 defenseman who brings the size that the Catamounts have needed, and some speed with such guys as Jack Downing and Brett Leonard.
The 2007-08 Catamounts will be young, but that won't deny the high hopes of the team according to coach Sneddon.
"We have a great line of talent with more offense and still what I think could be one of the top five defensive teams in the country."
With Hockey East wide open this year anything can happen on any given night in 2007-08. Expect the Catamounts to still be in the hunt for home ice.