Monday, September 24, 2007

2007-08 Team Preview – Colorado College

Official Roster
Full Schedule
2006-07 Team Statistics

Top 5 Returning Scorers

1. F – Jimmy Kilpatrick – Senior – 7 G, 25 A – 32 points
2. F – Chad Rau – Junior – 14 G, 17 A – 31 points
3. F – Bill Sweatt – Sophomore – 9 G, 17 A – 26 points
4. F – Scott McCulloch – Senior – 18 G, 6 A – 24 points
5. D – Brian Connelly – Sophomore – 2 G, 15 A – 17 points

Key Losses From Last Season

F – Brandon Polich – 4 G, 15 A – 19 points
F – Braydon Cox – 7 G, 9 A – 16 points
D – Lee Sweatt – 9 G, 15 A – 24 points
G – Matt Zaba – 15-13-4, .917 save percentage, 2.39 GAA

2006-07 Scoring By Class

Senior 21 18.92%
Junior 42 37.84%
Sophomore 17 15.32%
Freshman 31 27.93%

Non-Conference Schedule

2 at New Hampshire – Oct. 26-27
1 vs. RPI – Saturday, Dec. 29 – Lightning College Hockey Classic, Tampa, FL
1 vs. UMass or Notre Dame – Sunday, Dec. 30 - Lightning College Hockey Classic, Tampa, FL
1 vs. Bemidji State – Jan. 18
1 vs. Air Force – Jan. 19
2 vs. Clarkson – Feb. 1-2

Incoming Freshmen

F – Tyler Johnson (Cloquet High School) / 18
F – Stephen Schultz (Lincoln – USHL) / 19
D – Ryan Lowery (Lincoln – USHL) / 19
D – Brett Wysopal (Tri-City – USHL) / 19
G – Tyler O’Brien (St. Paul’s Prep School, Concord, N.H.) / 19
G – Richard Bachman (Cedar Rapids – USHL) / 20

Average Freshman Age: 19.17

U.S. High Schools: 2

Breakdown of Current Roster

Freshmen – 6
Sophomores – 10
Juniors – 5
Seniors – 5

NHL Draftees

D – Kris Fredheim – Sophomore – VAN
F – Chad Rau – Junior – TOR
F – Scott McCulloch – Senior – CHI
F – Bill Sweatt – Sophomore – CHI
G – Richard Bachman – Freshman – DAL

2006 Season Recap

After getting off to a 3-4-1 start, many questions whether Colorado College would have a real down season after going 24-15-2 the year before bowing out to Cornell in the first round of the NCAA tournament. However, Tigers’ head coach Scott Owens turned his team around after that sub-par start, as the Tigers went 14-6-1 over their next 21 games and appeared headed to another NCAA tournament birth.

However, with youth comes inconsistency, and the wheels fell off down the stretch. CC lost a pair of one-goal games to Minnesota at home, and then dropped a pair at Mankato State by a total of three goals. They rebounded nicely to take three of four points from Denver to close out the regular season, but were defeated – at home – in three games by Michigan Tech in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. Because of this, their chances of making the NCAA tournament were dashed and the Tigers’ season came to a close.

2007 Season Preview

The Tigers appear to be on the way up in the WCHA. They lose just 21 goals – or just under 19 percent of their total goals scored – from last year’s team, and many key players return. Up front, sophomore Billy Sweatt, who missed time last year due to a bout with mono, should excel in his second season in Colorado Springs. Senior Jimmy Kilpatrick will be out until November with an injury, but he should provide a nice spark upon his return. Junior Chad Rau is poised for a breakout season after registering 14 goals and 17 assists last year. Leading goal-scorer Scott McCulloch (18) also returns.

The Tigers also bring is some fire-power up front in the form of freshmen Tyler Johnson from Cloquet, Minn., and Alaska-Anchorage transfer Erik Walsky. Johnson had some injury issues last season but if he can stay healthy, he could be the next in a long line of little guys (he’s just 5’8”) to excel for the Tigers. Walsky, a junior, posted 15 points in 35 games for the Seawolves in 2005-06, and should prove to be a nice addition.

Seniors Lee Sweatt and Brandon Straub will be missed on the blueline, but CC has a nice core of young talent ready to step up and replace them. Sophomore Kris Fredheim should emerge this season, while fellow sophomore Brian Connelly will look to build on his 17-point freshmen campaign.

Matt Zaba, who played in 33 games as a senior last year, is now gone, leaving the duties to junior Drew O'Connell and freshman Richard Bachman. O’Connell, who posted a 2.90 goals against average and a .886 save percentage in eight games last year, will likely get the bulk of the work this year.

Key Question

Zaba was a rock between the pipes for CC over the last few years, so will the O’Connell / Bachman combination be enough for the Tigers? The Tigers have built a nice string together of very solid goaltending, starting back with Jeff Sanger, who handed the reigns off to Curtis McElhinney and then Zaba. There’s no reason to expect things to fall off, but neither 2007-08 candidate has proved that they can excel at the D-I level. They’ll get put to the test early this year, with the Tiger’s first six games coming with two each against Minnesota, New Hampshire, and North Dakota.

WCHA Blog Prediction:

Third Place, NCAA tournament birth

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