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ECRHA

Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association

A Look Ahead to the New Season

ECRHA Division III Preview by Jesse Creek

ECRHA  October 2nd, 2011 at 7:18PM  October 3rd, 2011 9:07PM

Cortland

Cortland finished in 4th place after the regular season (6-6-0), beating Oswego in a tie breaker.  In the playoffs, Cortland got booted in the quarters, coming in 5th place after the playoffs finished.  This year, Cortland has lots of new faces to add to its roster.  Cortland has added 6 new players this year, five of them being forwards, and one being their new starting goalie.  Of the five forwards they added, five have played PIHA, two played for Mission Black Ice, and one played for Suffolk CC.  They have one returning forward, while two guys that played forward last season volunteered to make the move to defense so the new guys can shine.  It could very well be the best year ever for the Cortland program. Senior Tommy Farr is looking to hit the century mark in points in his final season.  He currently sits at 70 career points.  Gary Krupa had 28 points last season as a defenseman, so look for him to be a force at the point.

 The game Cortland has circled on its calendar this year is against Oswego.  Tommy Farr’s brother, Billy Farr, is the president of their team.  In addition, Mike Barbariantz is the brother of Tyler Barbariantz, so look for this sibling rivalry to intensify the meetings between these two teams.   If Cortland is going to win the division this year, it will be because of it’s extremely well rounded team.  Cortland is confident that every offensive and defensive pairing they put together will thrive.  The goaltenders are some of the best in the division.  They should be an awesome team to watch this year, however, the biggest challenge this year will be getting to the Division III Championships.  With only one playoff win in Cortland history, their biggest challenge will not only be getting into the playoffs, but making it to Sunday afternoon.

As already stated, Cortland’ s goal is to finish in first place at the end of the regular season and winning the Division III championships.  With three teams moving out of their division this past year, their biggest competition is now Oswego and Loyola.   Ultimately, Cortland looks to move up to Division II next year.

Fun fact about Cortland: “They practice behind a firehouse on a fenced in basketball court.  Due to the terrible weather in Cortland for most of the season they don't get to practice much.  They rely on teaching the teams set plays in a classroom setting.  Another fun fact is that at the end of each season they do a fundraiser called "Letters for Hope".  Recently they donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and The Garden of Dreams Foundation.  This gives us a great sense of pride knowing that they are helping the needy.  

Oswego

 Last season, Oswego finished in 4th in Division III (5-5-2), and went on to place 2nd in the division, losing to Queens in the Championship in a tight game. Coming into the 2011-2012 season, Oswego retained basically the same team.  They still have their leading goal scorer, their first string goalie and their lines are primarily the same.  Their only loss was one of their top defensemen, Ryan McAleer, who will hopefully be rejoining them for the 2nd semester of play.  One of their team member’s that was selected to last year’s D3 All-Star Game, Marco Cicchetti, missed most of last season due to an injury, and they're hoping for a full healthy season from him this year.  This year, Cortland is the team they are most looking forward to playing against.  Last year in their debut season, they developed a good rivalry with Cortland due to the fact that each team has a sibling rivalry (Billy Farr and Tyler Barbariantz from Oswego, and Tommy Farr and Mike Barbariantz of Cortland), as well as players from the same town competing against one another on each team.   If Oswego is going to win the division this year, it will be because of strong, solid defense that they showed last year being anchored by their goalie Chris Galante, as well as good team speed and solid coaching by Stu Seidel.   That being said, their biggest challenge this season will be themselves.  Last year when they started to come together as a team after winter break, they got on a roll and made it to the championships, knocking off Cortland and a strong Scranton team.  Now heading into their second year in the league and retaining the majority of their team, they have high expectations that only a few things could upset.  Expectations are for a first-place finish in regular season play and a Division III Championship.  Last season after coming in second place, one of the only goals that they did not reach was winning the championship, and that is what they intend on doing in 2011-2012. 

Fun Fact about Oswego: â€œ12 out of their 18 players are from 2 towns; Washingtonville, NY and Cortlandt Manor, NY.”

Ramapo

Ramapo College finished 8th (4-8-0) in D3 and 7th in the playoffs.  This year Ramapo lost their captain and three other seniors, including two of their top players in Joe Venezia and Stephen Walker.    Venezia led the team last year with 26 points.  This year, those spots were filled with two talented freshmen, one sophomore, one junior and a senior.  This year, Ramapo is going with a larger squad, 12 skaters and a goalie, which should help them out, especially near the end of the season. 

Ramapo is most looking forward to All-Star weekend. The success here determines how they will compete for the rest of the season.  A great All-Star weekend can set the tone for the rest of the season and playoffs.  If Ramapo College is going to win the division this year it will be because of their hard work and their offensive prowess.  In the past, Ramapo has had to score a lot of goals to win games- this year should be no different.

Their teams’ biggest challenge will be the ability to play defensive hockey and be consistent for the second half.  Last year, Ramapo started out the season going 4-2, and things were looking great.  Then, at All-Star weekend, it started to fall apart.  Going 0-3 put them below .500 for the first time all season, and the trickle-down effect became apparent, as Ramapo lost the final six games of the season.  This year, Ramapo is determined to erase those memories and finish near the top of Division III.

Fun Fact about Ramapo:  “The four wins from last year was the second most victories in a season for their club.  They are determined to top that win margin in 2011-2012”.

Lehigh

Lehigh finished 5-7-0, good for 6th place in Division III.  In the playoffs, the Mountain Hawks went 0-2-1 in the round robin, and then lost in the first round of the playoffs, which was good enough for a 6th place overall finish.  This year Lehigh lost 2 seniors, Will Adams and Nick Anshant.  Both players were forwards and club veterans that will be missed.  In addition, rising juniors Steve Trombetta and Jack Forestier are not returning due to other on-campus commitments.  Steve and Jack had been playing for two years, and Steve led the team in goals and points last season.  On the bright side, Lehigh has recruited two former Lehigh ice hockey players, Coleman Stephens and Michael Moreau.  These two players will hopefully be able to add some speed and scoring ability that was needed last year.  Sophomore Peter Daddio, a practice player last year, will fill out the final roster spot, with Freshman John Schultz as an alternate. 

Lehigh has their first game against Cortland circled on their calendar. The consensus amongst the team was that the games against them last year were not their best. Avenging those losses is fresh on the Mountain Hawks mind.  Playing Cortland will also be interesting to see where they stand in the division, as they should be one of the stronger teams that have returned.  In their eyes, Cortland is the team to beat in Division III in 2011-2012. 

If Lehigh is going to win the division this year, it will be because of tightly controlled hockey and teamwork.  With a smaller roster, Lehigh’s bench will most likely be pretty short for a lot of the games.  This means the Hawks will have to control the pace of the game and play smart. Teamwork is essential for this year as well.  A lot of the games will be won in a low scoring but controlled manner.  Last year, scoring was a big problem for the Hawks. Lehigh only managed to score 4 or more goals in approximately half of their games last year.  This year, Lehigh hopes that the new blood on the team can help produce more offensive firepower.

As a second year team, Lehigh is shooting for a top 2 finish in the division. Last year, the individual talent on the Hawks showed, but they could not seem to put it together.  If Lehigh can work together and play a controlled game, a top 2 finish could be well within their reach.  Playing their systems in the offensive and defensive zones instead of relying on a more run and gun style will be imperative if the Hawks look to reach the top of the mountain in Division III. 

Fun Fact about Lehigh:  “Even though this will be their 3rd official year in the ECRHA, this season marks the 10th anniversary of Lehigh Club Roller Hockey.”

Loyola 

In 2010-2011, Loyola finished in tenth place in Division III, going 3-7-2. Due to their record, Loyola missed out on the playoffs by a couple points.  Going into the 2011-2012, the Greyhounds are losing three seniors; the biggest loss being Tim McCarthy, who was easily Loyola’s best all-around defenseman.  This year a highlighted addition is the comeback of graduate student Mike Fortner who played with them two years ago.  Fortner’s experience and skill will add a lot to the defensive core.  Offensively, Kyle Peiffer will play the whole year this year.  In six games last year, Peiffer amassed thirteen goals and nineteen points overall.  Last year’s leading scorer, Mike Brolly, returns for his sophomore season.  The scoring punch of Peiffer/Brolly will be essential for the Greyhounds if they hope to keep up with the firepower of the other teams in Division III.  With the addition of fourr more incoming freshmen/sophomores, the Greyhounds are rounding out their final 12-13 man squad with hopes of matching the nine wins from the ’09-’10 season.

This year, Loyola is looking forward to playing at the Lemoyne rink because of the size of the surface.  One of the Greyhounds’ biggest assets is their team speed. Being able to open up and showcase their speed suits Loyola’s style of play.  Circled on the schedule this year for the Greyhounds is Ramapo.  The games between the two teams have been tight for the past two years, with each team winning two close games apiece.  Loyola hopes that with a full roster and some new players, they can obtain an edge in the series.

The key to the success of the Greyhounds this year depends on solid team play as well as utilizing their newfound depth. Loyola only had three players show up for all twelve games last year.  Having depth on your roster is key to success in the ECRHA- relying on three or fourr players won’t equate to long-term success.  By expanding their roster, Loyola aims to have a more consistent presence throughout the season.  The biggest challenge is that Loyola practices on a smaller surface at the campus fitness and aquatic center.  This makes it tough to build up the endurance that is needed for the longer weekends.

The goal this year is to comeback from a down year and regains standing at the top of Division III.  Anything short of a deep regionals run will be a disappointment for the Greyhounds.  From ’08-’10, the Greyhounds were at the top of Division III- the question remains, can this year’s revamped team restore Loyola to its former prominence?  

Fun Fact about Loyola:  â€œThey practice on campus at their FAC (fitness and aquatic center) which is really nice and convenient.  Even though the rink is smaller than most it works well for practices and is only 10 minutes walk from any dorm on campus.”

Syracuse

After a promising preseason in 2009-2010, Syracuse finished tied for 7th overall (4-8-0) in Division III, and fell short of the playoffs.  The four wins set a team high, barely eclipsing 2008-2009’s campaign by one win.  This year, however, the Orangemen lose two big scorers in Tim Freyburger (21 points) and Jake DeCresenzo (14 points). The two combined for about 40% of Syracuse’s scoring last year, and will be sorely missed.  However, Syracuse has added a lot of new faces.  On top of bringing in a new goaltender, the Orangemen have added several offensive and defensive faces to the fold.  Between the new faces and the different landscape in Division III, Syracuse is eager for the 2011-2012 season to kick off. 

One big problem the Orange hope to eliminate is the lack of attendance at regular season games.  Only four players showed up to all twelve games last year.  It was not surprising to see Syracuse play their games last year with only 4, 5, or 6 players.  Having such a short bench is unsustainable, as the size of the rinks and length of the games make it difficult to play at a high level throughout the weekend.   The Orange has had some talented players, but could never seem to have every player show up. If the Orangemen can solve their attendance issues, they will be a major player in Division III this year.

Syracuse hopes to embark on a winning campaign in 2010-2011.  Getting out to a good start during the preseason event is crucial to achieving their goal.   Personnel wise, the Orangemen look to take the pressure off their defense in games so they are not relying on goaltending to save them in games.  To do so, the Orangemen must have a renewed focus on backchecking and puck control.  Six or more goals were scored over 2/3rds of the time last year, a figure Syracuse needs to reduce if they hope to qualify for regionals.  A revamped roster coupled with a newfound dedication to team defense could be the spark the Orangemen need to take the next step to regionals, and possibly a Division III Championship.

Fun Fact about Syracuse:   “The Syracuse record for single-season points is forty-six, which was set by Ryan Collins back in 2003-2004.”

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