Perhaps the biggest concern for the team this season will be finding ways to light the lamp. Added pressure will be placed upon last year’s first-year phenomenon Kyle Schoppel ’08. Schoppel was last season’s NESCAC Rookie of the Year; he tallied 16 goals and 18 assists, good for sixth in the conference. But Schoppel will not be alone in tickling the twine this season. “I expect steady offensive contribution from all four forward lines, rather than looking to Kretzman to provide all of the offense,” said captain Jack Greeley ’06. “With his absence, our forwards should play with tenacity and a sense of desperation that we have not had in the past.”
Senior forwards Greeley, A.J. Greco and Steve Nelson have combined for 124 points over the course of their careers. Greco’s raw talent showed in his nine goals and 10 assists last season, despite missing seven games. Nelson’s power around the net has helped him to amass 24 career goals and 31 assists, While Greeley’s play-making ability has produced 24 career assists, half of those coming last year.
Junior forwards Sean Ellis, Erik Lund and Trevor Calamel will also look to improve their offensive pressure. Calamel netted four goals and had 12 assists while playing defense last year, and Ellis added eight goals and two assists. Gregg Adamo ’08 will add a key component to the front line after missing 11 games with a broken wrist and Andrew Schremp ’08 will look to build off his three goals last season. Rookie forwards Will Collins and Brendan Powers join the Jeffs’ core of scoring threats.
If scoring is to be difficult for the team early in the season, look for a solid defense and depth at goaltender to be the Jeffs’ backbone. Brandon Zangel ’07, Mike McIntosh ’08 and Rob Stevenson ’08 will be joined by a quintet of newcomers. Griffin Biedron ’08 joins the team from the Air Force Academy, and rookies Olufemi Amurawaiye ’09, Shane Lennox ’09, Jeff Landers ’09 and Rylan Burns ’09 round out the crop of defensive talent in front of a trio of goaltenders.
Netminder Josh Fillman ’07 started all but one of the Jeffs’ games last season. Even while battling injuries, the lack of a true backup forced Fillman into service regardless of how his body felt. This season, Dan Smith ’08, who played in 15 games for the Jeffs in the 2003-04 season, joins Fillman between the pipes. Rookie A.J. Scola ’09 rounds out the depth at goaltender.
“We actually have what some have called the deepest goaltending crew in the league,” said Greeley. “It will be nice to let our starters get some rest, instead of having one guy play every single game.”
Look for the Jeffs to skate around opponents this winter beginning Nov. 18 and 19 when Amherst welcomes Wesleyan University and Trinity College to Orr Rink where the Jeffs were 7-4-1 last season.
Two-time defending National champion and three-time defending NESCAC champion Middlebury College returns both their top scorers and goaltenders. Defending regular season conference champion and national semi-finalist Trinity returns their top scorer, Cameron Finch.