Friday, September 17, 2010

Hockey East Preseason Power Rankings: No. 8 Providence

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

8) Providence College
2009-10 record: 10-20-4 (5-18-4 HE)
Finish in HE: 10th (missed tournament)
Key returners: Sr. F Kyle MacKinnon (12-13-25), Jr. F Matt Bergland (12-11-23), Jr. D Daniel New (4-9-13), So. D Alex Velischek (1-11-12), Jr. G Alex Beaudry (2.87, .916)
Key losses: D Mark Fayne (5-17-22)
Notable freshmen: F Damian Cross, D Steven Shamanski, D Mark Adams
Coach: Tim Army

How they finished
After getting off to a surprising 7-4-1 start, the Friars went an atrocious 3-16-3 the rest of the way and finished 11 points out of the playoffs. The offense was particularly abysmal down the stretch, as it was held to two goals or fewer in 13 of the final 14 games.

The good news is that the Friars return nine of their top 10 scorers. The bad news is that they had by far the worst offense in the conference last year. They averaged just 2.00 goals per game -- 0.74 per game fewer than anyone else. Kyle MacKinnon and Matt Bergland can put the puck in the net, but no one else had more than seven goals last season. It’s hard to imagine at least a few other guys not stepping up, though. Look for rookie Damian Cross, who led Canada’s Central Junior A Hockey League with a ridiculous 140 points in 62 games last year, to contribute right away.

Defense and goaltending
After a sub-par freshman season, Alex Beaudry, who has the best save percentage of any returning goalie in Hockey East, emerged as one of the top backstops in the league last year. He’ll keep the Friars in every game and has the potential to single-handedly steal some wins and get this team to the playoffs. Providence also returns two-thirds of last year’s defensive unit, which hung Beaudry out to dry more than once but was still good enough to help the Friars rank fourth in team defense. Freshman Steven Shamanski joined Cross as one of six finalists for the RBC Canadian Junior Hockey Player of the Year award and he, too, should be a starter from Day 1.

Scott's poll
1) Sept. 28
2) Sept. 27
3) Sept. 24
4) Sept. 23
5) Sept. 22
6) Sept. 21
7) Sept. 20
8) Providence
9) Massachusetts-Lowell
10) Massachusetts

1 comment:

  1. A third straight year out of the Hockey East playoffs will spell the end of the Army Era at Schneider Arena.