The 2005-06 Providence College men's hockey team will enter a new era as one of the College's top players all-time takes over the head coaching duties of the storied Friar program. Tim Army
, a native of East Providence, R.I. and a 1985 graduate of Providence College, was named the 11th coach in the program's 54-year history on June 17, 2005. He will be responsible for leading a young, but talented group to its first Hockey East title since 1996.
Army will try to guide the Friars back to championship form. As a player, Army was team captain when the Friars captured the inaugural Hockey East Tournament title in 1985. The Friars also won the Hockey East crown in 1996 and will be looking to add another title in 2006. Playing in Hockey East, one of the nation's top conferences, the Friars will have a difficult task and with the addition of Vermont to the new 10-team league, the competition will become tougher.
The 2005-06 team will play a fast, aggressive, and structured style of hockey.
"We want to outskate every team and have offensive creativity," Army said.
Despite the loss of nine players from last season's team, including leading scorer Chris Chaput (Pawtucket, R.I.) and team captain Jeff Mason (Easthampton, Mass.), the Friars return a strong group of upperclassmen and welcome 10 freshmen to the 2005-06 squad who are excited about the upcoming season.
The 2004-05 season ended with a loss in the third game of a best-of-three Hockey East Quarterfinal series at Boston University. The Friars won the first game, 4-1, but could not seal the series. However, a new season brings new hope and the 2005-06 Friars are optimistic.
The Forwards (Returning 11; Lost 3; Newcomers 5)
As a young squad last season, the Friars struggled to score, averaging 2.3 goals per game. In addition to the 11 returning forwards, the Friars will have five rookies, who have a strong scoring touch. This season's team will have plenty of the depth from the forward position and will rely on its veterans to lead the way. Junior Jamie Carroll (Andover, Conn.) quietly entered last season as newcomer to the team. The transfer from Iona College, who played for Cedar Rapids (USHL) in 2003-04, made some noise on the ice as he recorded 11 goals and 11 assists to finish second on the team in scoring with 22 points. Carroll, who has a strong shot and brings a physical presence, finished tied for the team lead in goals and led the squad in power-play tallies (four).
Army's up-tempo style will fit junior Colin McDonald (Wethersfield, Conn.) and sophomore Jon Rheault (Deering, N.H.). McDonald and Rheault are speedy right wingers, who have great ability to score goals. McDonald enjoyed a strong freshman season in which he was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. He entered last season with high expectations, but an injury early in the season caused him to miss 11 games. Despite the injury, McDonald finished tied for the team lead in goals (11), and fifth in points (16). The second round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers (2003 NHL Draft) scored nine goals in Hockey East action and led the team with three game winners.
Rheault, like McDonald, had a strong freshman season. In 36 contests, last season, Rheault also had 11 goals and 19 points, which was good for third on the team. He saw plenty of ice time last season, killing penalties and playing on the power play. The highly touted Rheault scored two power-play goals and one short-handed tally. In Hockey East action, Rheault had 12 points (six goals, six assists). He was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week twice.
Bill McCreary (Howell, Mich.) and Torry Gajda (Westfield, Mass.) are two skilled and tenacious left wingers who have the ability to score. McCreary is coming off a strong season at Providence. He saw action on the power play and the penalty kill. McCreary, a junior, posted career highs in goals (eight), assists (six) and points (14). In 35 games last season, Gajda had 13 points (six goals, seven assists), including four goals and four assists in Hockey East play.
Chase Watson (Media, Pa.) will provide his play-making abilities to the offense. The junior is a crafty center around the net. He finished second on the team with 14 assists and was the fourth leading scorer with 18 points.
As a junior, Tony Zancanaro (Trenton, N.J.) will serve as team captain. Last season, he was an assistant captain. In 37 games, Zancanaro recorded 10 points (two goals, eight assists), including one power-play goal. Zancanaro is an excellent all-around player who provides strong leadership. He excels in faceoff opportunities and is known for his penalty killing abilities. He has played in every game (74) thus far in his Providence College career.
Nate Meyers (Maple Glen, Pa.) will enter his senior season at Providence after enjoying his best season in 2004-05. In 33 games, the physical right winger, recorded a career-high 14 points (six goals, eight assists). Meyers' physical toughness was used on the power-play as he scored two goals on the man advantage.
Bryan Horan (Farmington, Conn.) and Dylan Cox (Newbury, Mass.) both played at the wing position and at center. Horan, a junior, played in 26 games last season and recorded nine points. He is a skilled player, who has improved steadily. Cox played in 22 games last season and posted one goal and one assist. His play improved throughout the season and he will be expected to continue to improve.
Sophomore Vince Goulet (Highland Ranch, Colo.) rounds out the list of returning forwards. In his freshman season, Goulet played in 24 games and recorded two assists.
Five freshmen forwards will add to more depth to PC's squad this season. Brad Cooper (Dallas, Texas), Nick Mazzolini (Anchorage, Alaska), John Mori (Wesport, Conn.), Pierce Norton (South Boston, Mass.) and Kyle Laughlin (Gambrills, Md.) will be looked upon for added scoring punch.
Cooper is coming off one of the finest seasons ever by a member of the Texas Tornado of the NAHL. An an assistant captain last season, Cooper set a team record for most points in one season, amassing 88 points (28 goals, 60 assists) in 56 games as the Tornado captured the 2005 NAHL title. Cooper is a very quick, gritty center with a great ability to score.
Mazzolini is a skilled center who brings size to the lineup. Mazzolini, who stands at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, has a strong shot. Last season, he recorded 52 points (24 goals, 28 assists) in 39 games. He led the league in short-handed goals (six) and scored the game-winning goal in the Championship game to lead the Tornado to their second straight NAHL crown. In 2002, Mazzolini was named Alaska High School Player of the Year.
Mori also is an effective center with a knack for scoring goals. Last season, he played for Avon Old Farms of the NEPSIHA and recorded 46 points (18 goals, 28 assists) in 27 games. He guided his squad to the NEPSIHA Division I Championship.
Norton also played in the NEPSIHA as a member of Thayer Academy. Last season, Norton, a draftee of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, led the league with 30 goals. The assistant captain finished with a total of 50 points and was named to the NEPSIHA East First Team.
Laughlin played in the NAHL for the Youngstown Phantoms. In 55 games last season, he recorded 29 points (12 goals and 17 assists).
The Defensemen (Returning 6; Lost 4; Newcomers 3)
The Friars' defensive unit will feature six veterans and three rookies as the team will look to makeup for the losses of graduates Jeff Mason (Easthampton, Mass.) and Eric Lundberg (Vernon, Conn.).
Senior James Pemberton (Cumberland, R.I.) is one of PC's top defensemen. The 6-foot-4, 220 pound draftee of the Florida Panthers in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, recorded career highs in goals (three), assists (nine) and points (12). He finished tied for tops on the team among defensemen in scoring.
Junior Dinos Stamoulis (Carle Place, N.Y.) has become a steady presence on the Friar blue line. In his first two seasons, Stamoulis has missed only four games. Last season, he played in 36 contests and recorded four points (one goal, three assists). Stamoulis is one of the hardest working players on the team and provides physical presence for the Friars.
Sophomore Trevor Ludwig (Grapevine, Texas) improved throughout his first season in a Friar uniform. Ludwig, who was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the 2004 NHL Entry draft, saw action in 33 games in 2004-05 and recorded seven points (one goal, six assists).
Matt Mannina (Schaumburg, Ill.) is a versatile player who saw action in 22 games last season a forward and a defensemen. He has strong offensive abilities and will be looking to make the most out of his senior season.
Sophomores Marc Bastarache (Lynn, Mass.) and Mark Mulhern (Milton, Mass.) each gained valuable experience last season. Bastarache played in 22 games as he battled an injury. He recorded one assist and will be looked upon to carry the experience from his freshman season into the upcoming year. Mulhern saw action in seven games and will continue to battle for playing time.
Freshmen Austin Miller (Dallas, Texas), Matt Taormina (Washington Township, Mich.) and Cody Wild (North Providence, R.I.) will add to the already deep defensive core. The trio share similar characteristics in that they are solid decision makers and have strong offensive instincts.
Miller was one of the top defensemen in the NAHL last season. He recorded 44 points and led all NAHL defensemen with 37 assists as a member of the Tornado. Of Miller's seven goals last season, three were game winners. He is a poised player, who was an assistant captain for the Tornado last season.
Taormina also played in the NAHL last season as a member of the Texarkana Bandits. He also recorded 44 points (14 goals, 30 assists) and was named NAHL Rookie of the Year. He ranked second in the league with five short-handed goals and finished tied for second in points among defensemen along with Miller.
Wild, who has a strong shot, will likely see action on the power play. A native of North Providence, Wild played two years at LaSalle Academy before joining the Boston Junior Bruins of the EJHL. Wild led his team to the league championship. He was tops in the league among defensemen in points (49), assists (36) and short-handed goals (three).
The Goaltenders (Returning 1; Lost 2; Newcomers 2)
The youngest part of Providence's team is the goaltending trio. With the loss of two goaltenders from last season's squad, the Friars added two freshmen to the 2005-06 squad. In addition, the Friars will have the services of sophomore Tyler Sims (Fort Worth, Texas) who gained valuable experience and is poised to build on that experience. Sims steadily made his way into the lineup early in the season, but by the end of the year he had established himself as the top netminder on the squad. Sims finished with some impressive numbers. In 19 games, he posted a 7-8-2 record, a 2.80 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. He was named Hockey East Player of the Week twice and in March he received Player of the Month honors.
Freshmen Stephen Ritter (Tenafly, N.J.) and Chris Mannix (Hubbardston, Mass.) will battle for playing time this season. Ritter, a 6-foot-3, 200 pound graduate of Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., posted a 12-8-3 record, a 2.90 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. At the prestigious Beantown Summer Classic in 2004, Ritter was named most valuable player. Ritter is very athletic and quick and has the potential to become a strong netminder in Hockey East.
Mannix played last season at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H. In 27 games, Mannix recorded a 2.25 goals against average and a .920 save percentage, leading his squad to a 19-9-2 record. Mannix is an athletic, aggressive netminder, who prior to Phillips Exeter, played at Belmont Hill School, where he was a three sport athlete (hockey, football, crew).
As a result of Vermont's addition to Hockey East, the Friars will play 27 conference games and seven non-conference contests. Three of the Friars' non-conference games will be played at Schneider Arena, including the Providence College Holiday Tournament on December 21-22. The Friars also will face Brown in the 20th annual Mayor's Cup on December 3 at Schneider Arena. The regular season will start on October 14-15 when the Friars travel to upstate New York to face Clarkson and St. Lawrence, respectively. PC's home opener is scheduled for October 21 versus UMass Lowell.
Head Coach Tim Army's 2005-06 squad will face its first competition on October 8 when the Friars play St. Thomas University in an exhibition game at Schneider Arena. With Army's hiring, there is renewed excitement for the hockey program at Providence College. Army has a young, but talented team that can contend for the Hockey East title. Army, who is known for his great ability to teach the game, will look to bring an aggressive, fast and structured style of play to the team. With the combination of Army's return to Providence and his group of talented players, this season's team is likely to make some noise in Hockey East.