October 10, 2017 PRINT Bookmark and Share

ECAC Team Preview Capsules

 (photo: Matt Dewkett)

(photo: Matt Dewkett)

by Joshua Seguin/Staff Writer (@JoshSeguin24)

Brown

Head Coach: Brendan Whittet
2016-17 Record: 4-25-2, 3-18-1 ECAC (12th)

Changes: Brown returns 10 of its top 11 scorers. Only depth forwards Andrew Doane and Davey Middleton, who combined for just 12 points and four goals last season, will need to be replaced. Also gone is goaltender Tim Ernst, who was limited to just 10 appearances and had a 3.88 GAA and .875 save percentage. The Bears brought in a class of eight, which includes five forwards, two defensemen and a goalie.

Strength: The Bears enter the season with a talented group of senior forwards that started to hit their stride last year. Brown returns 107 of its 113 goals from last year and although consistency was non-existent, there were flashes of high-end play at many points.

Sam Lafferty was a third-team all-ECAC selection and will return his 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists). Charlie Corcoran took the biggest step last year and led the team with 15 goals. Max Willman and Tyler Bird should also pose a big threat.

Weakness: The last few seasons have been rough on Brown goaltenders and it isn’t wholly their fault. Last season, Gavin Nieto and Tim Ernst split time in the net and both struggled to gain traction. The Bears gave up 4.26 goals per game, which was second worst in D-I to only Niagara. Nieto, now a sophomore, had the brunt of the work playing in 31 games. In those games Nieto had a 4.06 GAA and a .880 save percentage.

“It’s all encompassing,” Whittet said. “We have to be much better defensively and I think some of those things get sorted out with competition. We put a lot on (Nieto) as a freshman. It’s a situation where we just need to get better, all around.”

2017-18 Outlook: How much growth will the defense have? Will the goaltending can be consistent? These are the ultimate questions this season. The Bears should score enough goals to improve upon its four wins from last year, but being able to keep the puck out if its net has been the biggest bane over the past few seasons.

One should expect Lafferty to be near the top of the ECAC scoring charts; his 35 points are sixth among returnees in the conference. The Bears will probably be a fun team to watch but they will need to win a lot of high-scoring games to be successful. Reaching a home-ice playoff spot in the first round is a realistic target for Brown.

“We have a great senior class,” Whittet said. “Secondary scoring is something everyone could use and is something we are constantly preaching. Our goal is put guys in roles they will succeed and provide that secondary scoring. That would take some pressure off some of the returners.”

Prediction: 7th

Clarkson Golden Knights

Head Coach: Casey Jones, 7th Year
2016-17 Record: 18-16-5, 10-9-3 ECAC (6th)

Changes: Clarkson experienced heavy losses, including its top four scorers. Sam Vigneault, who led the team with 36 points, gave up his senior year to sign a pro contract, and leading goal scorer (20) Troy Josephs graduated. But each new recruiting class has gotten stronger for Casey Jones. This year, the Knights add six freshmen, which includes defenseman Jere Astren, who signed last season and took classes to become eligible. Another key recruit, Nick Campoli, a sixth-round pick of Las Vegas, did not make it past the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Strengths: The Golden Knights have stability in goal, which is something most ECAC teams cannot say. Jake Kielly was inconsistent last year after being highly touted, but the sophomore should be Clarkson’s biggest asset this season. As a freshman, Kielly had decent numbers with a 2.56 GAA, .911 save percentage and a 16-15-5 record.

Weakness: Losing the top four scorers will always hurt. The one thing that has plagued Clarkson over the last few years has been depth in its forward lines and that will probably be an issue once more. A lot of the offensive load will fall on three highly-talented sophomores, Sheldon Rempal, Devin Brosseau and Nico Sturm. They combined for 65 points and spent most of last year on the same line. Nic Pierog, a senior, should also have a big role in the offense. Beyond these four skaters, no other forward had more than 10 points.

2017-18 Outlook: Clarkson has the chance this year to make the next step and break into the top four. The key to what it does on offense may come from its defense, however, as seniors Terrance Amorosa and Kelly Summers both provide a puck-moving presence. The defense might struggle with depth, but should overall be more consistent than last season. On paper, the Golden Knights appear poised to make a jump in the standings. The team is off to a good start with home wins over Penn State and Michigan this past weekend.

Prediction: 4th

Colgate Raiders

Head Coach: Don Vaughan, 25th year
2016-17 Record: 9-22-6, 6-13-3 ECAC (10th)

Changes: After a year plagued by youth and inexperience, the Raiders didn’t lose quite the quality they have in recent offseasons. Colgate did, however, lose its top two scorers from a year ago in defenseman Jake Kulevich and forward Tim Harrison. They also lost another key defenseman in Brett Corkey.

Colgate adds eight freshmen. The key player of the group seems to be Nick Austin, who scored a pair from the blueline in a tie against Merrimack on Saturday. In three games, Colgate has gotten points from five different freshmen and four had goals.

Strengths: Behind the top two scorers that departed, the Raiders had a year of growing pains developing some young forwards. This year, those freshmen and sophomores should expect a jump. Bobby McMann had 19 points as a rookie, Jared Cockrell had 17 and John Snodgrass had 15. Although it would be elementary to say the Raiders will be near the top of goals scored in the ECAC, they should do better than the 78 of last year.

Weakness: A team losing its top two defensemen usually struggles. The loss of Kulevich and Corkey will be huge and Colgate will need time to develop an extremely young defense corps. The biggest beneficiary will be now junior Willie Brooks, who will have to log a ton of minutes and provide experience. Brooks appeared in 63 games in his first two seasons under Vaughan. The Raiders have no seniors and on any given night will have three underclassmen on the blue line.

2017-18 Outlook: Colgate struggled mightily last season to find consistency at both ends of the ice. With the loss of its top two defensemen it is conceivable that those struggles continue. A young core will be asked to bear a brunt of the load at both ends.

In net, sophomore Colton Point will need to shoulder much of the load. Last year, he appeared in just ten games, had a 2-5-2 record, a 2.45 GAA and .918 save percentage. If he can have season numbers that are near what he did over a small sample size last year, the Raiders will be fine and might surprise some but it could be another year of struggle.

“It will be competitive,” said Vaughan of his goaltending. “Colton Point, who is a sophomore, has great credentials. Unfortunately, he missed eight weeks to an illness. In his last six games, his save percentage was .936. We got a taste of what he is capable of in those games.”

Prediction: 12th

Cornell Big Red

Head Coach: Mike Schafer, 23rd year
2016-17 Record: 21-9-5, 13-4-5 ECAC (3rd)

Changes: The Big Red enter the season less five big contributors; Patrick McCarron, Jake Weidner, Jeff Jubiak, Matt Buckles and Erik Freschi all graduated. The five combined for 86 points last year but only 28 goals. Cornell adds a big class of ten that includes NHL draft picks Matt Cairns (3rd round, Oilers) and Morgan Barron (6th, Rangers). There are others that could also make big impacts within the class.

“Everyone is trying to recruit guys they think have offensive potential,” Schafer said. “We want to continue to get faster, just like everyone else. Players come in different shapes and sizes. We are just hoping this group can contribute.”

Strength: As usual, one should expect the Big Red defense and goaltending to be strong. Although McCarron graduated on the blueline and its goaltender Mitch Gillam also left, there usually are few worries in their own zone. The addition of a third-round pick on the blueline in Cairns should lessen the blow of McCarron, who was the only loss to the defense. Sophomore Yanni Kaldis was a revelation as a rookie and his presence should be further expanded this season. The goaltending may be a question but someone will step up there — it’s Cornell.

Weakness: There is a ton of talent up front and Cornell is in the process of trying to get faster. Although much of its goal scoring returns, a lot of playmaking departed. Weidner’s two-way play will also surely be missed by the Big Red. There is a process of trying to get smaller, but Cornell will still be one of the bigger teams in college hockey. This has held it back, at times, in recent years, so there is always concern of that being the case one more.

2017-18 Outlook: Cornell is one of the most talented teams in the conference and always deserves to be put in the upper echelon. It should be one of the better defensive teams, but the question of who will play in goal knocks them down a little bit in the early going. Mitch Vanderlaan and his 15 goals return this year, while Anthony Angello and Trevor Yates combined for 24. There is certainly a good core to match what it did last season and even go further.

Prediction: 5th

Dartmouth Big Green

Head Coach: Bob Gaudet, 21st year
2016-17 Record: 10-18-3, 7-13-2 ECAC (9th)

Changes: The biggest loss for Dartmouth will be on the offensive side, as it lost heavy scorer Tony Crema to graduation. His 17 goals and 29 points were both highs on a team that struggled to score, at times. It also lost Josh Hartley on the defensive end, but other than those two the Big Green didn’t lose much.

Bob Gaudet adds just six to the roster with three forwards and a trio of defenders. One to watch will be Quin Foreman, who in 108 career games with West Kelowna (BCHL) had 95 points. He also added another 17 in two playoff runs with the Warriors and was part of a team that won Royal Bank Cup (Canadian Junior A Championship) in 2016. Dartmouth also adds others who should provide more depth, including Matt Baker who was also a high scorer in the BCHL and a former league rookie of the year.

Strengths: Defense was a problem last year, but this season the defensive corps should be more experienced and deeper. The Big Green lost just one defender to graduation and everyone else returns. Of importance, young defenders such as Connor Yau, Clay Han, Cameron Roth and others now have a year more experience to work off of. The defense will also have the benefit of having an experienced senior in net with Devin Buffalo returning. Buffalo started 29 of 30 games last year and will be looking for a more efficient year between the pipes.

Weaknesses: Offense isn’t usually a problem for the Big Green but this year there are big questions. Last season, Crema scored 17 of Dartmouth’s 83 goals, but is now departed. The leading returning goal scorer is Corey Kalk, who had 11. Kalk is also the only returner that had more than 20 points.

2017-18 Outlook: After a struggle last season, there should be bright spots. With more experience on the blueline and a goaltender that played most of the season, the defense should be more consistent. Getting any consistent scoring and finding a go-to guy will be key for the Big Green, and if they can they will be just fine.

Considering all that was lost by other teams in front of them, the Big Green should be competing for home ice in the first round and are in a mess of teams that could finish higher or lower depending on what happens.

Prediction: 11th

Harvard Crimson

Head Coach: Ted Donato, 14th year
2016-17 Record: 28-6-2, 16-4-2 ECAC (t-1st/tournament champions)

Changes: Usually when a team makes the Frozen Four, it's an experience group that then sees many changes. The Crimson weren't spared of that damage in the offseason. Gone are its top three scorers, Alex Kerfoot, Tyler Moy and Sean Malone, who combined for 56 goals and 132 points. They also lost talented forward Luke Esposito, captain Devin Tringale and defenseman Clay Anderson. Ted Donato will be tasked with replacing 78 of his team’s 146 goals and a lot of leadership.

But teams like Harvard have the ability to just reload. The highlight of its eight-member freshman class will be Jack Badini, who was the leading scorer of the 2017 USHL Clark Cup playoffs. The class also includes another son of coach Ted Donato, Jack, joining brother Ryan. All told there are many pieces in the class that could end up explosive and have immediate impacts.

Strengths: In recent seasons the offense has shined in coach Donato’s wheel and deal system, but this year could mark a bit of a change. Adam Fox molded himself into one of the better defensemen in the ECAC last year and that growth appeared to continue in the offseason. The Crimson also have senior Wiley Sherman, sophomore John Marino and junior Jacob Olson, who have each molded themselves into formidable defenders. Add in goaltender Merrick Madsen and the Crimson could be one of the college hockey’s stingiest teams.

Quietly, the Crimson were the fourth-best in the nation last year, allowing just 2.14 goals per game. Madsen started every game for Harvard, had a 2.11 GAA, .924 save percentage and the second-best winning percentage in the country. Madsen was also the ECAC tournament MVP and NCAA East regional MOP.

Weakness: The Crimson were extremely high powered last year and scored north of four goals per game, but losing 78 goals is going to make for some growing pains. Fox is the leading returning scorer; the defenseman had 40 points. Ryan Donato will play a huge role in the success of the Crimson. His talent was noticeable from the drop of the puck last year and this year should be a banner year for the junior. Beyond Donato, only Lewis Zerter-Gossage had more than 17 points a season ago.

2017-18 Outlook: The Crimson boast three of the best players in the conference — Ryan Donato, Fox and Madsen. Fox and Donato can be legitimate contenders for the Hobey Baker Award at year’s end. This usually is a good formula in college hockey.

Harvard will certainly have a new look and be led from the back, but that is never a bad thing. There will be questions on where the goals will come from, but expect them to still end up near the top of the ECAC in offense.

With last year’s Frozen Four berth, the Crimson announced themselves back on the national stage, but they have been at the top of the ECAC for the past three seasons, winning two of the past three tournament championships. As usual, they should be the most talented team and that should allow them to compete for the championship.

Prediction: 1st

Princeton Tigers

Head Coach: Ron Fogarty, 4th year
2016-17 Record: 15-16-3, 8-11-3 ECAC (7th)

Changes: The Tigers were one of the surprise teams last year but this season appears to be the year they could make their real move. The Tigers return practically everyone on offense, except three depth forwards that combined for 17 points and just seven goals. The biggest losses are in their own zone, as Colton Phinney graduated along with a pair of defenders in Quin Pompi and Tommy Davis (Davis is now at Providence as a graduate transfer). These losses should be weathered by a recruiting class of eight that includes three defensemen, four forwards and a goalie.

Strengths: Three years ago, Princeton scored less than 40 goals in a season, averaging near one per game. Fast-forward to 2017 and the Tigers should boast one of the best offenses in the ECAC and possibly the country. They return 94 of the 103 goals scored and their top nine scorers. The offense will be led by an explosive top six, which includes Ryan Kuffner, Max Veronneau, Jackson Kressey, David Hallisey and Eric Robinson. Each of those skaters had more than 20 points last year and one should expect the production to go up. Verroneau and Kuffner are on the preseason shortlist of ECAC Player of the year favorites.

Weakness: Despite the offensive prowess, the defense and goaltending could certainly hold the Tigers back. Colton Phinney has been the rock that has held them together for four years and it will forever be difficult to replace a goalie with 110 games experience in college hockey. Add in a few questions in defense and there could certainly be some growing pains.

“We have two relatively inexperienced goalies and a freshman coming in,” Fogarty said. “After our two scrimmages and exhibition we will have a better idea on who will start the season. Our defense corps is experienced but still relatively young. They experienced some winning last year and they have to keep realizing what they do every day is very important.”

2017-18 Outlook: Ron Fogarty’s rebuild of Princeton has taken four years but it is now looking like all that hard work will pay off for a program that has struggled for much of the last half decade. From five wins in 2015-16 to 15 wins last year, the Tigers are now on a trajectory to be one of the better teams in the ECAC for years to come.

Of course, the defense and goaltending will be an issue but the offense should be able to alleviate some of the growing pains there. If the defense and goaltending end up average, the Tigers should end up in the upper echelon of the ECAC. The only issue lies if it isn’t, the bottom could be around sixth. Either way, Princeton should be competing for one of the last byes and the top four. 

Prediction: 3rd

Quinnipiac Bobcats

Head Coach: Rand Pecknold, 24th year
2016-17 Record: 23-15-2, 13-8-1 ECAC (5th)

Changes: The losses were certainly less this season for the Bobcats than they were last offseason. Gone are the Clifton brothers, Connor and Tim, who were a staple of the roster the last few years. Connor will certainly be missed as a two-way defender, while Tim’s scoring will be a big loss. Those two losses were joined by defenseman Derek Smith and forward K.J. Tiefenwerth, but at the end of the day the losses ended up being minimal.

QU will again welcome a strong freshman class that is highlighted by goalie Keith Petruzzelli, a third-round pick of the Red Wings. Petruzzelli is touted to be a special talent and will probably share time with sophomore Andrew Shortridge. A staple of Pecknold’s building over the past few seasons has been transfers, and this year is no different. John Furgele is a transfer from New Hampshire and should have a big impact this season.

Strength: The Bobcats are one of few teams in the league that are set in goal. In fact, they have two top-tier goalies in Petruzzelli and Shortridge. Both should see time this year and fight for the job. Petruzzelli is one of the most highly-touted goalies to come into the ECAC in some time, but Shortridge proved last season he deserves time this year. Shortridge, who came on late, ended up being one of the top goaltenders in the ECAC. The Alaska native went 13-7-0 in 26 appearances last year, with a 2.08 GAA and .920 save percentage.

Weakness: The biggest question for QU this season is who will provide consistent scoring. The Bobcats return six of its top seven scorers but only two will return with double digit goals. Landon Smith might be a candidate; the senior has 97 points in his three years with 38 goals, but his production has gone down each season in the goal department. Craig Martin had 27 points, while Bo Pieper led the team in goals with 13. The Bobcats should also get a ton of offense from its defense, from the likes of Chase Priskie, so this might not be as big of a worry as it appears.

2017-18 Outlook: In many ways, the 2017-18 Quinnipiac team is a mirror of the 2016-17 version. The defense and goaltending will be among the strongest in the country but the offense might let them down.

The goalie battle will be intriguing because Petruzzelli was probably promised time before he came in. But Shortridge did nothing last year to take him out of the job. There is a good chance the two will battle it out for the entire season, which is something that few teams in the ECAC have done in recent years.

If the Bobcats find consistent scoring, they will be dangerous. The defense that is led by Priskie and Karlis Cukste will be one of the best in the country. Good defense is a proven winner in college hockey and the Bobcats have it, so one should expect them to be right there with Harvard at the top of the ECAC and the national polls.

Prediction: 2nd

Rensselaer Engineers

Head Coach: Dave Smith, 1st Year
2016-17 Record: 8-28-1, 6-16-0 ECAC (11th)

Changes: The Engineers enter the season with a new coach, in Dave Smith. Smith was the coach of Canisius for 12 years and built them into one of the more consistent teams in Atlantic Hockey at the time of his departure. He replaces Seth Appert, who is now the coach at the U.S. National Team Development Program.

“We want to be able to do everything everyone else talks about,” Smith said. “We want to possess the puck, and we want to show the energy to get it back when we don’t have it. I think you will see all five guys active in their own zone.”

RPI lost top scorer, Riley Bourbonnais, to graduation and this loss will be tough to replace. There was also a lot of roster turnover as Drew Melanson transferred to BU, Lou Nanne retired giving up one year of eligibility, a pair of depth forwards graduated, Alex Rodriguez left the program, and Parker Reno also graduated. This means nearly half of the forwards are new. RPI added a class of nine and it will be interesting to see who breaks out from it.

Strength: When RPI has been good in the recent past, it has had one of the better defenses in the ECAC. The Engineers return all but Reno and should have experience at the position. Jared Wilson was second on the team in goals. He joins Dallas draft pick Mike Prapavessis as the two stalwarts from last year. Will Reilly also had a quiet, breakout season, as a freshman, and should come into the year more experienced. The bottom two D should be a good battle, but there still seems to be a ton of depth at the position.

Weakness: With so much turnover in the forward ranks, it is hard to see where much of the RPI offense will come from. Bourbonnais has provided much of the offense over the past two seasons and now that is gone, someone will have to step up. Evan Tironese should be poised for a big year, the now junior is the top returning scorer with 28 poiints. Viktor Liljegren is the lone returning Engineer that scored double digits in goals and he had 10.

2017-18 Outlook: Usually a new coach provides some boost to a team, but with all the changes up front it is hard to see where that boost will come from. RPI’s defense should be better this year, which might translate into wins but the goaltending will need to be much more consistent than it has been. Both Chase Perry and Cam Hackett struggled between the pipes last year. Perry went 6-20-1, had a 3.35 GAA and .906 save percentage.

Prediction: 9th

St. Lawrence Saints

Head Coach: Mark Morris, 2nd year
2016-17 Record: 17-13-7, 12-6-4 ECAC (4th)

Changes: The Saints enter the season less three of its most important players over the past three years. Goaltender Kyle Hayton will be the biggest loss — he decided to take summer classes to graduate early so he could transfer to Wisconsin without sitting out a season. Hayton had a .931 save percentage in three seasons, played in 104 games and had a career GAA that was under 2.10. SLU will also be less its two star defensemen, Eric Sweetman and Gavin Bayreuther, who both graduated after long and successful carrers.

SLU adds nine freshmen and many will be pushed into roles right away. The class includes Phillip Alftberg, who is the Saints’ first European player since Ziga Petac graduated in 2004.

Strength: Although Bayreuther and Sweetman graduated, the Saints have two defenders that should be able to jump right into the top-two role in Nolan Gluchowski and Ben Finkelstein. Gluchowski has been good on the power play and has a good shot, while Finkelstein unexpectedly burst onto the scene last year and became the Saints' most consistent defender. It will be interesting to see how the defense, as a whole, develop around them but these two should provide a good start.

Weakness: Bayreuther has been a huge part of the offense from the blueline over the past two seasons and his loss will be felt. He tallied 35 goals and compiled 111 points in his four years, leading his team the last two seasons. Although the Saints return a good part of their offense from last year, it was mighty inconsistent from day to day, and dealt with numerous injuries.

2017-18 Outlook: The losses of Bayreuther, Sweetman and Hayton are big. This was the core that brought them two straight ECAC final fours and helped them rekindle the program after a few down years. Morris, now in his second year, should have a better feel of what he has but will have to navigate a tough non-conference schedule. The Saints opened with a pair of losses against Penn State and Michigan, and now travel to North Dakota for a pair before hosting Lowell/Providence the next weekend. Look for the Saints to be a mid-pack ECAC team this year.

Prediction: 6th

Union Dutchmen

Head Coach: Rick Bennett, 7th year
2016-17 Record: 25-10-3, 16-4-2 ECAC (t-1st)

Changes: The Dutchmen lost many key pieces from a team that won a share of the ECAC regular-season title last year. The biggest loss will be Mike Vecchione, who was tied for first in points and second in goals nationally. Vecchione was a key piece in both ends of the ice and his loss will be a massive one.

Spencer Foo left a year of eligibility on the table to turn pro and will also be a big departure; the junior was fourth in the country with 62 points and fifth in plus-minus. Defenseman Nick Desimone left a year early for the pros and Jeff Taylor graduated, so the defense also took a big hit. Alex Sakellaropoulos also graduated, which leaves a gaping hole between the pipes. The Dutchmen have already lost their first three games, which should indicate some of the growing pains they will face this season.

Union added nine that probably be asked to play big roles right away. The class includes a pair of NHL draft picks in Jack Adams (6th round, Red Wings) and Parker Foo (5th, Blackhawks). It also includes a goaltender, Darion Hanson, who led the BCHL in GAA (1.84) and save percentage (.929) last season.

Strength: The Dutchmen lost a ton on offense but they also return a good top six that was able to develop last season. Sebastian Vidmar and Brett Supinski will lead that group as the two of them combined for 77 points and 22 goals. Ryan Walker, Luc Brown and Ryan Scarfo should also join them in the forward ranks that should be able to score. The big question, is whether the depth will be there to provide a consistent charge.

“We are kind of hoping that a guy like Brett Supinski, Cole Maier or even Sebatian Vidmar (will make a jump),” Bennett said. “All three of them are juniors. We lost some guys, but it happens to every team and no one will feel sorry for you. It is just a great opportunity for those guys and many others.”

Weakness: Entering the season, Union goaltenders have a combined 20 games of college experience. Jake Kupsky, who the job will probably fall to early in the year, has struggled in limited time between the pipes. In nine appearances last season, Kupsky had a 3.98 GAA and a .878 save percentage. In the year prior, he had a 3.20 and .891 mark. One could assume he and Hanson will vie for time at some point, but both are unproven and inexperienced.

2017-18 Outlook: Union should drop off after its regular-season title last year, but just how much? The Dutchmen lost on a ton on both ends of the ice and its goaltending situation is questionable at best. There are no replacing players with the quality of Vecchione, Spencer Foo and Jeff Taylor. Bennett is a great coach and one should think that he would be able to right this ship, but the holes are as gaping as they have been in his tenure. Union still has the offense to finish close to a home-ice, top eight finish, but they finish just short.

Prediction: 10th

Yale Bulldogs

Coach: Keith Allain, 12th year
2016-17 Record: 13-15-5, 7-11-4 ECAC (8th)

Changes: Yale is another team that will have big shoes to fill. John Hayden and his 21 goals is the biggest loss, but Frankie DiChiara and Mike Doherty also leave big holes. The other notable loss is Patrick Spano, who had most of the early-season work in goal until Sam Tucker took over the job in late February. Nine freshmen will be tasked with filling many of the voids.

Strength: Despite losing its top two scorers, the Bulldogs should enter the season with one of the better top lines in the league. Joe Snively has been a staple of the top unit since he was a freshman and has scored 24 goals in his first two seasons. Add in a healthy Ryan Hitchock, who led Yale in scoring before going down, and a talented Ted Hart, who had double digit goals last year, and it appears the Bulldogs should have the patented top line they have had for the past decade or so. The only issue may arise with depth.

Weakness: Yale is one of many ECAC teams that enter the year with questions in goal. Patrick Spano started 20 games, while Sam Tucker started 15. Tucker will be tasked with the job this year, as Spano graduated. Tucker struggled to the tune of a 3.05 GAA and .899 save percentage. Tucker will probably be the guy for Allain.

2017-18 Outlook: The Bulldogs had three seasons all in one last year. The beginning was down, the middle was really good and the ending was just like the beginning. The Elis struggled with injuries for much of the year and the record showed. They were an average team in every aspect, as they were 33rd in team defense allowing three goals per game and 25th in offense scoring three goals per game.

This season provides Yale with many of the same questions it left last year with. It should have a potent top line but beyond that there are many holes. Home ice in the first round is on the table, but if it goes any higher it is because its defense and goaltending ended better than predicted.

Prediction: 8th
 

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