Between now and the start of the regular season, The Eagle Tribune and Warriorrinkrat.com’s Mike McMahon will preview each Hockey East team in order from 10th to first, based on his predictions for the 2010-11 season.
Last Year’s Record: 18-18-0 (tied for 6th)
Will they make the NCAA Tournament?: No
T.J. Syner (8g, 12a)
Michael Marcou (7g, 3a)
Paul Dainton (15-15-0, 3.08, .901)
Why they’ll finish 9th
On paper, they return less offensive firepower than last year’s anemic Providence offense. This team has been slaughtered by early departures. With James Marcou, Casey Wellman and Matt Irwin all leaving early, the Minutemen lose 41 goals on top of graduating another 29 from an offense that was just eighth in the league last season, just fractions of a goal ahead of Northeastern for ninth.
To put it in perspective, UMass loses 70 of its 105 goals – a whopping 67 percent.
That’s a giant loss for a team that wasn’t prolific on offense last season; too much of a blow to make the postseason.
A brutally tough (but fun) non-conference schedule could either sink or swim the Minutemen. Success against Minnesota at their place to start the season and Wisconsin in their barn at the turn of the year could springboard their confidence and turn into some success. A couple of rough weekends could be demoralizing.
Why they could finish higher
For the Minutemen to wind up in the Hockey East playoffs, it’s going to take a surprise. Either Paul Dainton, who is a solid netminder, turns into the second coming of Martin Brodeur or someone unexpectedly fills the scoring voids left by Marcou and Wellman. Without that, it could be a long year.
8. Posted Sept. 9th