While we have been working our way through the previews of Atlantic Hockey and the WCHA there has been some recent news that will have an impact on the upcoming college hockey season. From retirements, coaching extensions and roster shake-ups we wanted to take this time to mention some news that has come up over the last few weeks.
2017-18 saw Alabama Huntsville complete their best season since joining the WCHA in 2013-14, which also was the first season for head coach Mike Corbett. The Chargers still only went 9-22-3 last season but did sweep three league series and found a way to go 3-1 against Ferris State who finished last season 5th in the conference and started the season ranked in the top 20. Point being while the win total is still below where Chargers fans want it to be there was progress shown as some stability may be working into the program that has found some semblance of security after being close to eliminated after a few seasons as an independent.
The Chargers missed the league playoffs by just four points last season, and the goal for this year should be to find a way into the league tournament. The Chargers return almost all of their scoring from a season ago and their top goaltender also. With wins over Bemidji State and Ferris State last season the chargers showed they can play with the most consistent programs in the league, now they must find consistency to continue to develop as a program.
After a long delay due to real life getting in the way, we get back to the team previews by diving into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association this week. There will be some double days to help us catch up to still try and preview each team individually by the time October rolls around. Catch up on both Atlantic Hockey and independent Arizona State also before we preview the ten team WCHA.
The Seawolves of Alaska-Anchorage had a trying season in 2016-17, finishing with a record of 7-21-6, and a dead last finish in the WCHA. It was a step back for coach Matt Thomas who in his 4th year behind the bench saw the Seawolves slip from eleven wins down to seven. As referenced this summer at ELC when Alaska-Fairbanks lost their head coach to the WHL, it is a tough time to lead a university in Alaska. Budget cuts, program future uncertainty, rigorous travel, and declining money make it tough to attract players north to Alaska. Thomas will enter his fifth season likely safe, seeing as a coaching search is also hard in these times, but the seat could get warm if the Seawolves finish at the bottom of the league once again.
Each Wednesday we look to highlight commitments made across college hockey. I will try to predict when a player will arrive on campus but as we all know that can be flexible in NCAA Hockey. Check below to review the commitments made since August 9.
This week saw a late commitment for Quinnipiac to come on campus for the fall, Ohio State continue to pick up strong players after land Arlo Merritt last week and Miami picked up the younger sibling of a current commit also. Hit the jump to find out more about the six players who committed this week.
Each Wednesday we look to highlight commitments made across college hockey. I will try to predict when a player will arrive on campus but as we all know that can be flexible in NCAA Hockey. Check below to review the commitments made since August 2.
This week saw Danton Cole and the Michigan State Spartans continue their hot streak, earning a 4th and 5th commitment in 2 weeks, and saw a top 2002 birthdate also choose a B1G school. Hit the jump to see the list of commitments this week. Continue reading “Wednesday Commit Roundup: August 09, 2017”
2016-17 was the second season for Arizona State as a Division I hockey program and while the team took a step forward improving from 5 to 10 wins, the story of this program took some lumps off the ice. The Sun Devils were spurred by the NCHC last season, with the lack of an on campus rink being an issue, and in June they withdrew from consideration to join the WCHA. The Arizona Coyotes backed out of a partnership deal to share a new arena with ASU and while former A.D. Ray Anderson said the goal is still to see the Sun Devils in their own arena by 2019-20 there has been no news to reassure college hockey fans that is a given.
Life as the only independent team in all of college hockey, while also being the lone team from the Pac-12 conference is not an ideal situation. The Sun Devils have found a way to recruit decent classes, and piece together strong schedules through the first few seasons of being a DI program, but there should be a focus on joining a conference. A conference is best for the long term viability of a program as unique as Arizona State, and the team on the ice can help make a conference opportunity viable through being a respected product on the ice.
We have spent the last 11 days introducing each team from Atlantic Hockey in our first preview series. Atlantic Hockey is a league that last season was built on strong goaltending at the top of the league and has many top scorers returning to their teams this season. Even with the scholarship limit in the league being raised it is still hard to picture Atlantic Hockey being more than a one bid team for the NCAAs, with that team winning the playoffs. The playoffs are a tough thing to predict, especially with single elimination games but we still will predict how we see the regular season standings shaking out in Atlantic Hockey this season. Follow past the jump to have a good laugh and discussion at what will surely be our wildly inaccurate picks.