The Providence College men's hockey team enters the 2007-08 season, aiming to reestablish itself as one of the top teams in Hockey East. The Friars, who are led by third-year Head Coach Tim Army
, return 18 players from last season's team and added 10 newcomers. The 28 players have the potential, leadership and desire to succeed in 2007-08.
Last season, the Friars continued their fast-paced, aggressive offensive style as they outshot their opponents in 30 of the team's 36 games. PC lost seven players from last season's team, including leading goal scorer Colin McDonald. However, a new season brings forth new hopes and PC is poised for a strong 2007-08 campaign and a return to the top four in Hockey East.
The forwards (Returning 9; Lost 6; Newcomers 8)
Even though the Friars held the shot advantage in 30 of their 36 games, they struggled to score. However, in addition to the talented, speedy forwards, the 2007-08 squad will have plenty of depth.
Senior co-captain Jon Rheault (Deering, N.H.) will be looked upon to be one of PC's top scorers this season after leading the team in scoring in 2006-07. A 2006 selection by the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL draft, he finished with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) and had a team best four game-winning goals and three short-handed goals. Rheault, one of the fastest skaters on the team, had five multiple point games, including a career-high five-point (two goals, three assists) performance against New Hampshire.
Junior Nick Mazzolini (Anchorage, Alaska) is expected to continue to improve and add to his scoring totals. Last season, Mazzolini finished second in scoring with 21 points, including a career high 16 assists.
Junior co-captain Kyle Laughlin (Gambrills, Md.) is an intelligent player, who is expected to provide leadership and help increase PC's offensive output. Last season, he finished with 11 points on two goals and nine assists.
As freshmen in 2006-07, John Cavanagh (Warwick, R.I.) and Greg Collins (Hingham, Mass.) each enjoyed a strong campaign. Both are intelligent, hard-working players who will play integral roles on the PC program.
John Cavanagh recorded 11 points (one goal and 10 assists) despite missing 12 games because of injury. He also finished with the second highest point total (one goal, six assists) on the power play. His lone goal came in PC's 2-1 victory over Merrimack on March 3.
Collins also was impressive as he finished tied for fifth on the team with 13 points (five goals, eight assists). Collins, who led the team in plus/minus rating (+6), scored the game-winning goal against third-ranked Boston College on October 31.
Juniors Pierce Norton (South Boston, Mass.) and John Mori (Westport, Conn.) will add to PC's depth.
Norton played in 31 games and recorded 11 points on six goals and five assists. He had a pair of two-goal performances and also posted one goal and one assist in a win over UMass Lowell on November 24.
Mori played in 24 games, recorded three assists and was having a strong season for the Friars, but he sustained an injury late the season. However, Mori has recovered and he's poised to make an impact this season.
Sophomore Chris Eppich (Surrey, B.C.) played in 34 games during his freshman season and recorded five assists. He showed steady improvement throughout the season and will look to carry that into this season.
Sophomore Matt Tommasiello (Cranston, R.I.) rounds out the list of veteran forwards. Tommasiello, who battled through an injury, saw action in two games last season.
Of the 10 newcomers on the Friar squad this season, eight are forwards, who will further increase the team's depth, speed and skill.
Freshmen Jordan Kremyr (Cloverdale, B.C.) and Kyle MacKinnon (Walnut, Calif.) come to Providence College after successful stints in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL).
Kremyr played for the Alberni Bulldogs and registered 75 points (29 goals, 46 assists) as an alternate captain. A two-time BCHL All-Star, Kremyr totaled 11 game-winning goals, including four in overtime.
MacKinnon also served as an alternate captain for the Langley Chiefs last season. He recorded 92 points (33 goals, 59 assists) and finished in the top-20 in the league in scoring. In addition, he was the team scoring champion and team MVP.
Freshman Ben Farrer (Calgary, Alberta) also played junior hockey in Canada. The left winger was part of the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League during the past two seasons. In 2006-07, he finished in the top-20 in the AJHL in scoring with 60 points (25 goals, 35 assists).
Austin Mayer (Providence, R.I.), Matt Germain (Rockland, Mass.) and Ian O'Connor (Londonderry, N.H.), who were teammates with the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, also will enter their freshman season at Providence College.
Mayer, one of two newcomers who hail from Rhode Island, was the fifth leading scorer on the team last season as he tallied 43 points (15 goals, 28 assists) and helped the Monarchs to the Tier III national title. Prior to the Monarchs, he played for the Walpole Junior Stars and was a two-sport athlete (lacrosse and hockey) at Moses Brown in Providence, R.I.
Germain was the third leading scoring while with the Monarchs last season. He recorded 64 points (18 goals, 46 assists). Germain, who was named to the EJHL All-Star Team last season, had six power-play goals, four short-handed tallies and three game winners.
O'Connor, who captained the Monarchs for the past two seasons, recorded 32 points on 16 goals and 16 assists to finish eighth on the team in scoring.
Freshman Paul Golden and sophomore Matt Johnson (Lynn, Mass.) round out the list of incoming forwards. Golden played at Thayer Academy, where he captained the team during his senior season. He earned All-ISL honors and garnered team MVP accolades.
Johnson is entering his first season at PC. He is ineligible to play for the Friars during the 2007-08 season after transferring from Norwich University. While at Norwich in 2006-07, Johnson played in 22 games and recorded 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) to help the Cadets reach the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals.
The Defensemen (Returning 6; Lost 2; Newcomers 2)
Tim Army's fast-paced, aggressive style requires the defensemen to pinch into the offensive zone and contribute to the team's scoring output. Last season, the Friars defense accounted for 25% of the team's goals and Army hopes that number increases this season.
In 2006-07, Mark Fayne (Bourne, Mass.) and Cody Wild (North Providence, R.I.) were two of PC's top defensemen. Fayne, who was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 2005 NHL Draft, had a strong freshman season at both ends of the ice. He recorded 12 points on five goals and seven assists and was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. Fayne received the team's Rev. Herman Schneider Most Valuable Freshman Award and the Ron Wilson Best Defensive Player.
Wild, a 2006 selection by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL Draft, battled an early season injury but rebounded and was the top scoring defenseman on the team, tallying 14 points (six goals, eight assists). Wild, who has now been the team's top scoring defenseman during his first two seasons, earned Hockey East Honorable Mention recognition last season and was named one of the alternate captains for the 2007-08 season.
Marc Bastarache (Lynn, Mass.) and Trevor Ludwig (Grapevine, Texas) will look to make the most out of their senior seasons. The two physical blueliners made solid contributions to the team last season and will look to continue to continue to make an impact on the squad.
Bastarache played in 31 of the 36 games last season and posted three assists. Ludwig saw action in 26 games and tallied two assists.
Matt Taormina (Washington Township, Mich.) enters his junior season after an impressive sophomore season in which he recorded five goals and two assists for seven points. He finished tied for second on the team in goals scored among defensemen. Taormina posted two power-play goals and one game winner.
Sophomore David Cavanagh (Warwick, R.I.) played in 25 games during his freshman season. His lone goal last season was the overtime game winner versus Northeastern on November 14. He finished with two points.
The Friars welcome two freshmen to the defensive crew. Joe Lavin (Shrewsbury, Mass.) and Eric Baier (North Kingstown, R.I.) will play key roles on the Friar squad.
Lavin is the first member of the United States National Under 18 Team to play at Providence College. Last season with the U.S. Under 18 National Team, Lavin recorded 18 points on five goals and 13 assists. He also was third on the squad with four power-play tallies.
Baier is one of four newcomers who played for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs. He was the top scoring defenseman on the team last season as he recorded 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 51 games. He was selected as a Bean Town Classic Best Pro Prospect in 2005 and 2006.
Goaltenders (Returning 3; Lost 0; Newcomers 0)
As it is with any hockey team, goaltending is perhaps the most important position. The Friars will feature three veteran netminders, who all will vie for the starting position.
Senior Tyler Sims (Fort Wayne, Ind.) will look to finish his career at Providence College on a high note. Last season, he played in 31 of the 36 games and posted a 2.76 goals against average. In addition, Sims posted a shutout against fourth-ranked Maine on January 19.
Sophomore Ryan Simpson (Bow, N.H.) played in seven games, but he sustained an injury in November that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Now that he is healthy, Simpson will challenge for the starting spot.
Junior Chris Mannix (Hubbardston, Mass.) came on strong towards the end of last season and emerged as the top goalie. He posted a 2-1-1 record and a 2.44 goals against average in seven games. Mannix made his first career start on February 24 against third-ranked New Hampshire and stopped 21 of 22 shots as the Friars defeated the Wildcats. For his efforts, Mannix earned the team's Thomas Eccleston, Jr. Unsung Hero Award.
With a talented 28-man roster, Army feels that his team will have enough depth, leadership and skill to finish in the top four in Hockey East, which is considered to be one of the toughest conferences in the nation. The roster includes 18 veterans and 10 newcomers, who will look to continue Army's fast-paced, aggressive offensive style of hockey.
PC's schedule is never easy especially when playing 27 Hockey East games. In addition to the league games, the Friars will play seven non-conference contests, including two games at the Great Lakes Invitational on December 28-29. The Friars will play Michigan in the first round on December 28 and battle either defending national champion Michigan State or Michigan Tech on December 29.