BABSON PARK, Mass.—The Babson College men's ice hockey program, which brings back 20 players from a team that reached the conference tournament semifinals last winter, is looking to continue its tradition of success in 2017-18.
OFF THE TOP
Under the direction of 14-year head coach Jamie Rice '90, the Beavers went 15-9-3 last winter and advanced to the semifinal round of the league playoffs for the 13th time in 15 years. He leads Babson into the 2017-18 campaign with a roster that features 11 seniors and three all-conference honorees.
Senior captain Charlie Ackerman (Bradenton, Fla.) and senior assistant captains Rob Devaney (Reading, Mass.) and Ryan Gouveia (Dartmouth, Mass.) are three of six returners that played in all 27 games last season. Ackerman (8-6-14), who split time at forward and on defense, tied for the team lead in power play (4) and game-winning goals (3). Devaney (8-13-21) has 53 points in 83 career games and tied for the team lead in points last season, while Gouveia (6-5-11) set new career highs in goals and points.
LIGHTING THE LAMP
Junior Tommy Munichiello (Weymouth, Mass.) tied for first on the squad in scoring with nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points. Classmate Matt Brazel (Hingham, Mass.) had two goals and 11 points in 2016-17 and has produced 30 points in 44 career games, while senior Matt McMorrow (Pearl River, N.Y.) chipped in with four goals and six assists for 10 points a season ago. Additionally, classmates Bobby Hall (Westwood, Mass.) and Zach Phelps (Manorville, Pa.) combined for three goals and three assists, and junior Stevie DeForge (Norwood, Mass.) and sophomore Josh Beck (Scituate, Mass.) provide depth along the forward lines.
STRONG BETWEEN THE PIPES
Juniors Bryan Botcher (Mequon, Wis.) and Matt Pompa (Palm City, Fla.) both performed well while splitting the goaltending duties in 2016-17. Pompa earned All-NEHC honors going 8-5-1 and ranking second in Division III in goals against average (1.73) and fourth in save percentage (.943), while Botcher finished 7-4-2 and was 15th nationally in goals against average (2.02) and 12th in save percentage (.931). The duo also combined to post five shutouts.
Senior Jake Donahue (Groveland, Mass.) and sophomore Connor Dahlman (Stamford, Conn.) both collected conference honors following the 2016-17 campaign. Donahue (2-7-9), who led Babson defensemen in scoring and has 31 points in 72 career games, was named to the All-NEHC second team, while Dahlman (1-4-5) was selected to the league's all-rookie team.
DEPTH ALONG THE BLUE LINE
In addition to Donahue and Dahlman, the Green and White returns eight defenseman after raking third in Division III in scoring defense last season. Seniors Josh Casper (Lake Forest, Ill.), Joe DePietto (Westbury, N.Y.), Matt Holtshouser (Manchester, N.H.) and Paul Wagner (Walpole, Mass.) were all on the ice for 16 or more games last year and have combined to play in 184 contests over their first three seasons at Babson. Sophomore Ryan McDougall (Milton, Mass.) was in the lineup for 25 games as a rookie and junior Matt Michalke (Parma, Ohio), who played in 17 contests in 2015-16, also returns to the ice after missing all of last year due to injury.
The Green and White, which is receiving votes in both the USCHO.com and D3hockey.com national polls, was picked to finish fourth in the new look NEHC preseason poll. The league has added Hobart while saying goodbye to Saint Anselm and Saint Michael's.