Wednesday Commit Roundup: August 09, 2017

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”

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2017-18 Team Previews: Arizona State Sun Devils

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.

Continue reading “2017-18 Team Previews: Arizona State Sun Devils”

2017-18 Previews: Atlantic Hockey Prediction

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.

Continue reading “2017-18 Previews: Atlantic Hockey Prediction”

2017-18 Team Previews: Canisius Griffins

We have reached the last team to preview in the Atlantic Hockey Conference, the reigning regular season champion Canisius Griffins. After years of being a bottom of the league to middle of the pack type team, Canisius has found some success since moving into the HARBORCenter as their home, a joint venture gift from the Pegula family and Buffalo Sabres. This commitment to a state of the art facility with the increased scholarship limit in Atlantic Hockey had helped Canisius recruit better under coach Dave Smith.

This reached a peak in 2016-17 with the Griffins winning their first Conference Regular Season Championship in program history. Canisius will have two huge assets to replace in 2016-17 replacing coach Dave Smith (now at RPI) and Hobey Baker Finalist goaltender Charles Williams. This season for Trevor Large, a 1st time head coach, will be a challenge as the Griffins try to match their season of a year ago.

Continue reading “2017-18 Team Previews: Canisius Griffins”

Wednesday Commit Roundup: August 2, 2017

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 July 26.

It would be hard to top the 15 commitments of last week, but while this week has lower quantity it certainly is not hurting for quality. This week the recruiting for 2020-21 got into full gear with 5 commitments that far out.

Continue reading “Wednesday Commit Roundup: August 2, 2017”

2017-18 Team Previews: Air Force Falcons

We begin the preview today with a note from the editor, as I will always be impartial on this here blog but my cousin is a member of the Air Force Falcons. Kyle Haak, who will be a junior forward this season, is my cousin which I am incredibly proud of but also benefits me in writing this preview. Just like MSU has been my lifetime team affording me more knowledge of the Spartans, following Air Force these last two seasons has given me more knowledge than I ever had about Atlantic Hockey.

Last season was an incredibly special season for the Falcons, possibly the best season for an Atlantic Hockey team since RIT made their magical run to the Frozen Four in 2010. The 27 wins for Air Force last year was the best since 2008-09, a year when Air Force also won a 1st round NCAA game against a team from Michigan (UM in 20009, Western Michigan last season). The Falcons, who had a chance to win the regular season title on the last game of the year before losing to Sacred Heart, made a run in the league tournament to secure an NCAA bid. An out of conference win over Boston College and ties against Ohio State and Western Michigan on the road had played the Falcons to the bubble of an at-large berth to the tournament. The Falcons even played Denver to a one goal loss last season.

The Falcons return an incredibly tight and special junior class this season that hit their stride last season. The Falcons will have chances out of conference to pick up key pairwise points against Bemidji State and Denver but like last year will probably need an Atlantic Hockey Playoff Championship to return to the NCAA Tournament. What looked like a clear favorite last April, quickly turned into a foggy future when super goaltender Shane Starrett signed an NHL contract with the Edmonton Oilers, foregoing his final two years of eligibility. Air Force will still be in the mix for the top of the league but will have more questions to answer to repeat as champions.

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2017-18 Team Previews: Army Black Knights

Last season for the Army Black Knights was a huge success compared to recent results as for the first time since winning the Atlantic Hockey regular season crown in 2007-08, the Black Knights finished with a winning record (18-14-5). Led by a program changing talent in net, Parker Gahagen, the Black Knights boasted the 3rd best team defense in the country allowing just 2.11 goals per game.  Despite putting up a 2.00 goals against average (6th nationally) and a .934 save percentage (2nd nationally) Gahagen was still relegated to 2nd Team All-Conference which shows you the goaltending depth this league had last season.

The challenge this season for Army will be holding onto their place in the league standings, with Robert Morris and RIT set to improve behind them, all while losing a true leader in net. Was Gahagen a product of an excellent system that can translate to a new starter in net or is Army set to tumble down the Atlantic Hockey leader board? This is the biggest question for the Black Knights heading into the new season.

Continue reading “2017-18 Team Previews: Army Black Knights”