Hockey East Preview: #7 Vermont Catamounts
2010-11 Storyline: Catamounts have a subpar season after making the NCAA tournament in the prior two years.
2011-12 Storyline: How far can Rob Madore lead Vermont in his final go-around?
Player To Watch: Rob Madore
Player Missed Most: Jack Downing
Newcomer To Keep An Eye On: Mike Paliotta
Random Fact: Former Catamount Tim Thomas brought the Stanley Cup to Burlington for UVM fans to enjoy over the summer.
Usual Beer The Triangle Pre-game Spot: American Flatbread
Vermont had a tough season last year and could not make it three years in a row with an NCAA berth. Though they had solid defense and a reliable goaltender in Rob Madore, they were unable to find the scoring they had seen in previous years when Viktor Stalberg was still wearing green. This was complicated further when Wahsontiio Stacey was kicked off the team mid-season. They should improve on offense with little brother Sebastian Stalberg developing into a fine forward and sophomore Connor Brickley on the verge of becoming a star in the conference.
Rob Madore starts his fourth year in net with the Catamounts and while his numbers have dropped off each year he’s played, he’ll likely be reliable in net. However, he’s lost a lot of help in front of him with the graduation of guys like Kyle Medvec and Kevan Miller. If the Cats don’t see some decided improvement from their younger defensemen and contribution from their talented but untested freshmen blueliners, Madore could be seeing a lot of rubber this season.
They’ll Finish Lower Because: Madore’s goals against average continues to increase at the 0.30 clip we’ve seen the last three years.
They’ll Finish Higher Because: The young forwards make a huge leap offensively.
Fear The Triangle Fearless Hockey East Predictions
6. Massachusetts Minutemen (preview upcoming)
7. Vermont Catamounts
8. Providence Friars
9. Northeastern Huskies
10. Lowell River Hawks
While UMass will not be having a true exhibition game this season, there will be an intrasquad scrimmage open to the public. The scrimmage will take place at 4pm Saturday and will be followed by the annual Skate With The Minutemen event. Seems like it’s been an unusually long offseason. I can’t wait to see the team take the ice, even if they’ll only be facing each other.
UMass got 3 points in the USCHO pre-season poll, good for last of the “Also Receiving Votes” teams.
Tomorrow is Hockey East Media Day. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it this year, but I’ll definitely share my thoughts on the pre-season picks that come out of it tomorrow.
Paul Dainton is dressing tonight for the Bluejackets as they take on the Washington Capitals.
The conference shifting is not set yet. Bowling Green is still weighing their options, one of which could include the University of Buffalo. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has narrowed it down to either the NCHC or Hockey East.
Alabama Huntsville is still figuring out what it will take to continue on.