Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More to add to Kinkaid's resume

Inside College Hockey Online has named Keith Kinkaid as the best incoming goaltender, and the best incoming ECAC goaltender. On top of the list is St. Cloud State's Michael Lee. Maybe we'll see a Lee vs. Kinkaid matchup sometime during the second series of the season? The second ranked ECAC goalie is Quinnipiac's Mathieu Cadieux.

http://www.insidecollegehockey.com/7Archives/Features/0910/recruitsgoal_0801.htm

TJ Fox released by Bruins

My dad gave me the head's up on this: http://bruinsblog.projo.com/

Well, it looks like Fox's pro career has gone a bit south. Do you think he's questioning his decision to leave school early? I think Caffaro is the favorite when it comes to Union grads making it to the NHL now.

ECAC Tournament moved to Atlantic City in 2011

Here's a link to the article: http://www.ecachockey.com/men/2009-10/news/20092909_AC_Announcement

Sounds like a nice rink in a very hopping town, but is it a place for hockey? I mean the only team in the state of New Jersey is Princeton and that's about 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Atlantic City. This is terrible news for the Dutchmen fan as it should take about FIVE HOURS to get to Atlantic City from Union College where it would take only 30 minutes to get to Albany. Hey, it could be worse. St. Lawrence Saints fans will have to drive a little less than eight hours to get to the gambling center of the east coast.
But, all this means is that this year is Union's LAST CHANCE to get to Albany. Maybe this is the motivation that they need.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dutchmen predicted to finish 6th in ECAC Polls

In each the ECAC Coaches' Preseason Poll and the ECAC Hockey Writers and Broadcasters Association Preseason Poll Union is picked to finished 6th out of 12 teams. Each poll picked the top 6 teams exactly the same having Yale in first followed by Cornell, Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth, and then the Dutchmen in sixth. The second tier of the poll is a mix of St. Lawrence, Colgate, Clarkson, Quinnipiac, and RPI with Brown coming in last in each poll.

I can't say that I don't agree with this 6th place finish. It's a solid finish and guarantees home advantage in a first-round playoff series. Up front the Dutchmen are very, very solid having only lost one impact forward, Matt Cook, last season. With the return of Jason Walters, Mario Valery-Trabucco, and leading-scorer Adam Presizniuk the offense should not be much of a concern. Also, newcomers Wayne Simpson, Kyle Bodie, and Jeremy Welsh are also to be impact players this season. Simpson should especially be exciting to see since he is supposedly faster than his older brother John, and let me tell you that is REALLY fast! With bigger seasons out of role players like Stephane Boileau, John Simpson, and Luke Cain along with the ever growing improvement of Kelly Zajac the Dutchmen should be able to role out 4 lines with scoring ability and could possibly have one of the best offensive units in the ECAC.

But, here's the catch: at this moment in time the Dutchmen defense looks pretty weak. This is probably the reason why the Dutchmen were picked to finish 6th. I mean it wouldn't surprise me if they had the top ranked offense in the league and the worst ranked defense in the league, which in the end would average out to 6th overall. Having graduated defensive legend Lane Caffaro, Brendan Milnamow, and Mike Harr all to the pros there will be big shoes to fill in the Dutchmen defensive corps. Returning to the blueline will be fan favorite Mike Wakita, the always steady Brock Matheson, and crafty Mike Schreiber. They are all pretty solid on the defensive side of the puck, but the real problem with this trio is on the offensive side of the puck. Between the three of them last season they scored a combined 5 goals and 19 assists. Caffaro on his own last season scored 8 goals and obtained 14 assists, and to prove my point even more, Milnamow had 9 goals and 9 assists last season as well. So, just between two players the Dutchmen defense will have to some how make up for 17 goals and 23 assists. It does seem pretty unlikely that these numbers will be put up by one of the incumbents, but I'd pick Schreiber to have a pretty good offensive season.

So, who's going to fill in to take the three open spots? Well, there is plenty to choose from. To start off you have sophomores Nolan Julseth-White and Taylor Reid who between them played a combined 6 games last season. They might be the first players to get a shot just because of their age, but who knows. Nobody really knows what they can do on NCAA level. Coach Leaman did a great job this summer finding defensemen to find these vacancies as he brought in 4 defensemen: Ryan Forgaard (a former teammate of Kelly Zajac), Jean-Sebastian Bergeron, Greg Coburn, and Shawn Stuart. You also can't forget about redshirt freshman Carl Ekstrom from Sweeden. Union's first European import missed all of last season with a hip injury, but hopes are still high for this guy who was the top scoring defenseman in Sweeden's J20 SuperElit League before coming to Schenectady. So, in conclusion, only 3 of the 10 defensemen on the roster have any real NCAA experience. Who really knows what these guys will do when the season comes around? There are high hopes for all of these guys, and it should be really interesting to see what happens.

But, no matter how good or bad these new guys are it all really depends on goaltender Corey Milan, who had a school record 19 wins last season. Corey might have to steal a game or two for the Dutchmen, and will have to be the backbone of this inexperienced defense. Even though Milan was good last season, he wasn't stellar. He was pretty susceptible to the weak goal or bad game. This could have been a lack of motivation because he was basically guaranteed to start every game not matter what. But, this year could be different as Coach Leaman brought in a goaltender with a gigantic resume in Keith Kinkaid. Keith, a native of Long Island, played for the St. Louis Bandits last season where he was named the NAHL MVP, Goaltender of the Year, and First Team All-Star, along with winning the NAHL championship where he was named MVP of the playoffs. Maybe this is the motivation Milan needs, or maybe Kinkaid will steal the throne of starting goaltender. It could also be possible that Leaman will institute a split system that he used with Milan and Justin Mrazek two seasons ago. We will all find this out in a matter of time.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

2009-2010 Men's Hockey Poster

Here's a picture of this year's poster: http://twitpic.com/izgdu . Obvious fan favorite Mike Wakita joins fellow seniors Jason Walters, Mario Valery-Trabucco, and Mike Schreiber.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Milnamow signs contract with Texas Stars, joins Caffaro as Union grads on AHL rosters

Former Union defensive standout Brendan Milnamow '09 has reportedly signed a contract with the Texas Stars of the AHL. In 140 NCAA games Milnamow scored 16 goals, 9 in his senior season, and had 24 assists for 40 career points.

Milnamow joins former teammate, Lane Caffaro '09, as former Union players who will probably be on an AHL roster. Caffaro will be on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, this season. Caffaro is Union's all-time leading scorer for defensmen with 23 goals and 56 assists for 79 points. He was also selected First Team ECAC his senior season.

2009-2010 TV Schedule

If you can't make it to the game there will be 5 opportunities to watch the Dutchmen on Time Warner Channel 3 in the Capital Region:

November 7th vs. Yale
December 5th vs. Cornell
January 16h vs. RPI
February 5th vs. Clarkson
February 19th vs. Princeton

2009-2010 Schedule

Here's a link to this season's schedule: http://www.unionathletics.com/schedule.aspx?path=mhockey&

The first opportunity to see the Dutchmen on the ice is October 3rd in the Garnet & White game at Messa Rink. The official season starts October 9th with a weekend home series against the University of Maine, a member of the Hockey East conference. Union will play rival RPI three time this season, the first being on October 30th at Messa Rink for a non-conference battle. The ECAC schedule starts up the week after as they face off against Brown at home. Since the Governor's Cup no longer exists the Dutchmen will participate in two tournaments this year, the RPI Tournament (November 27-28), and the UConn Tournament (December 29-30).

Other notable games include January 16th's game against RPI at home and the last regular season ECAC home game against Quinnipiac University on February 20th.

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