BABSON PARK, Mass.—Coming off its seventh consecutive top-three league finish and a sixth consecutive conference tournament semifinal appearance, the Babson College men's ice hockey program will look to continue its long tradition of success in 2018-19.
Under the direction of 15th-year head coach Jamie Rice '90, the Beavers return 13 players from a team finished 15-9-3 overall and 12-4-2 in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) in 2017-18. The Beavers, who boast a .695 winning percentage (108-42-19) over the last six years, must replace their top four scorers and 11 players in all from last year's senior class.
SUCCESS STARTS BETWEEN THE PIPES
Seniors Bryan Botcher (Mequon, Wis.) and Matt Pompa (Palm City, Fla.) give the Green and White one of the top goaltending duos in Division III. Despite missing two months due to injury, Botcher went 5-1-0 with a 2.10 goals against average, a .932 save percentage and one shutout, while Pompa finished with a 10-8-3 mark to go along with a 2.08 goals against average, a .927 save percentage and two shutouts. Since arriving at Babson prior to the 2015-16 campaign, the duo has gone 35-19-6 with a 1.93 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. They've also recorded nine shutouts in 60 starts.
Senior captains Matt Brazel (Hingham, Mass.), Stevie DeForge (Norwood, Mass.) and Tommy Munichiello (Weymouth, Mass.), as well as junior Josh Beck (Scituate, Mass.) will all be called up to help replace four 20-point scorers from last year's team. Brazel (5-6-11) scored in each of Babson's final four games and has 15 goals and 26 assists for 41 points in 69 career outings, while Munichiello (4-5-9) has recorded 22 goals and 22 assists in 71 contests. Beck produced two goals and one assist in 10 games last season and DeForge has scored twice of his first three seasons.
MANNING THE BLUE LINE
Juniors Connor Dahlman (Stamford, Conn.) and Ryan McDougall (Milton, Mass.) and sophomore Brendan Casey (Glastonbury, Conn.) are Babson's only returning defenseman after the corps was hit hard by graduation and injury. Dahlman, who produced two goals and six assists for eight points last year, has appeared in 53 of 54 games over his first two seasons. McDougall (1-4-5) has been on the ice for 41 contests in two seasons and Casey picked up two assists in 26 games as a rookie last winter.
EXPANDED ROLES FOR LAST YEAR'S ROOKIES
The sophomore quartet of Christian Faggas (Norwood, Mass.), Patrick Flynn (Framingham, Mass.), Cooper Norton (Williston, Vt.) and Nick Rosa (Birmingham, Mich.) combined to produce 17 goals and 30 assists last year. Rosa, the team's leading returning scorer with 18 points, was third on the team with 10 goals his line mate Flynn finished second on the squad with 14 assists. Faggas and Norton both registered three goals and four assists for seven points last winter.
PLENTY OF NEW FACES
Rice and his staff brought in 13 first-year players that are looking to help make an immediate impact on the ice for the Beavers. In addition to the program's host of newcomers, Matt Keating has come to Babson from Tufts to replace Jon Coleman as the program's full-time assistant coach.
FROM STUDENT TO TEACHER
After missing the entire 2016-17 campaign and having last season cut short with a career-ending injury, senior Matt Michalke (Parma, Ohio) will now serve as a student assistant on Rice's staff.
THE PICK IS IN
Coming off last year's third-place finish, the Beavers were picked to finish fourth in the NEHC preseason poll. Defending champs Hobart came in first and were followed by Norwich and UMass Boston in second and third place, respectively.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
After opening at Saint Anselm on Saturday, Babson will play nine of next 11 games inside the Babson Skating Center beginning on November 2. The Beavers are home for six of their first eight NEHC contests with the lone road trip coming against Suffolk and Johnson & Wales on November 16-17.