2013-2014 Season Preview: #11 and #10

It’s that time of year where the air starts to get cold again, everyone returns to campus for the fall semester, and hockey is around the corner. With Northeastern not competing in the Hockey East tournament, that means that the hockey season has been gone for far too long. Luckily, however, the Huskies start the season less than a month away, with an exhibition game on October 5th against Dalhouse University.

As I’ve done the last two years, I try and make predictions about how the Hockey East field will look at the end of the year. Last year was a hit and a miss, as I picked Northeastern to finish 6th (a hilarious choice in retrospect), but got Lowell correct at first (which was an uncommon choice at the time).

So without further ado, here are my #11 and #10 picks:

#11 University of Massachusetts Minutemen

Reason for Optimism:

UMass returns an average amount of offense from the previous season, particularly their top three scorers from the year before. In addition, their defensive corp has 4 seniors this year and a junior, so they’ll have an experienced blueline to fall back upon.

Reason for Pessimism:

Amherst’s returning offense was middle of the pack last year, ranking 6th out of 10, and didn’t have a ton of impressive stats last year, when they finished 9th overall, also missing the playoffs. The biggest problem is their goalie situation. None of their three goalies had good numbers, and with 2 of the 3 transferring, their only returning goalie is Steve Mastalerz, who played 15 games, with a sub-.900 SV and a Goals-Against Average of 2.96.

Bottom Line:

UMass is a team that has some decent offense and an experienced defense, but if their goaltending continues to cause problems and their offense doesn’t explode, I don’t see them going very far.

#10 Northeastern University Huskies

Reason for Optimism: 

Northeastern returns 3 of their top 4 point scorers, including rookie sensation Kevin Roy. Roy put up 17 goals and 17 assists last year, and will be looked upon to add even more this year. Northeastern will return 4 defensemen, including 2 defensemen (Mike Gunn and Colton Saucerman) who started the season fresh from long term injuries, and will likely be much improved after having a full season to be ready for the season.

Reason for Pessimism:

Northeastern ranked 8th out of 10 in offense last year, and is 9th in terms of returning offense, and their defense was none too special. Northeastern also brings in lots of new players, which might take time to gel with the system. Finally, the Huskies are relying on a relatively untested goaltender in Clay Witt, who’s never played a full season yet.

Bottom Line: 

Northeastern has a very good schedule, which includes an exhibition game and 6 non-conference games before the Huskies have to dive into the regular season. This might be helpful in getting the younger players up to speed with the game and the system that Madigan runs. Finally, though Clay Witt is relatively untested, Rawlings last year really wasn’t that good at all.

If Clay Witt proves himself to be a solid D-1 goalie, the defense steps up, and the offense contributes as they’re expected to, the Huskies could wind up higher. But there are too many uncertainties and better teams above them to make that incredibly likely.

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About kingcullen

I'm a 21 year old college student at Northeastern University.
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One Response to 2013-2014 Season Preview: #11 and #10

  1. Mike says:

    I think Witt and the D are going to surprise some people. Witt literally can not be worse than what Rawlings was last year, so that is a plus. And in my eyes, the D will only get better with a full year under their belts and the arrival of the highly touted recruit in Benning. While it is likely to be a 9/10 finish, I do not think a Top 8 finish ahead of UVM, UMass, and Maine is at all out of reach.

    Go Huskies!

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