The University of Vermont
Last Season: 6-27-1 (3-23-1) 10th in Hockey East
(F) Sebastian Stalberg (early departure – San Jose Sharks), (D) Drew MacKenzie (Buffalo Sabres), (G) Rob Madore
’12-’13 Recruit Class:
(F) Jacob Fallon – South Lake, TX – Indiana (USHL)
(G) Billy Faust – Altaloma, CA – Nanaimo (BCHL)
(G) Brody Hoffman – Wilkie, Saskatchewan – Fort McMurray (AJHL)
(D) Yvan Pattyn – St. Anne, Manitoba – Portage (MJHL)
(F) Robert Polesello – Bolton, Ontario – Indiana (USHL)
(F) Ryan Rosenthal – Montvale, NJ – Kent School (USHS)
(F) Jonathan Turk – Calgary, Alberta – Okotoks (AJHL)
(D) Caylen Walls – Lyalta, Alberta – Okotoks (AJHL)
BF’s Hockey East Recruit Class Rank: 8 – Things certainly would’ve been different had Zemgus Girgensons arrived on campus. Jonathan Turk had a stellar season (30-32-62) in the AJHL and will be an exciting, skilled player to keep an eye on while goaltenders Brody Hoffman and Billy Faust will look to replace the graduated Rob Madore.
BF’s Key Recruit to Watch: Brody Hoffman – If Vermont has any hope of an ascent from the basement of Hockey East, they will need to stabilize the situation between the pipes first and foremost. The stately, 6ft4” Hoffman had an impressive 29-7-3 season for Fort McMurray of the AJHL last year and would seem a good bet to earn the starting role in net at Gutterson Field House this coming season.
Beanpot Forum asked the experts for an ‘Insider’s Take’:
Burlington Free Press Columnist, Ted Ryan’s take –
On the departed
“Quite frankly, I’m not certain how much impart the departure of the coaching staff to UMass will factor in. It’s one of those ‘could be good, could be bad’ situation. From a player’s perspective, the decision by Sebastian Stalberg to forego his final year to sign with San Jose is enormous for a team that needs scoring. Sebastian came a long way last year and should have had a very good senior year.”
On the ’12-’13 Catamounts
“In all my years of covering UVM, I’ve never seen such an ‘if’ year prior to the season. The major if is goaltending, followed in no particular order by special teams, maturation on defense and a return to the grit-and-grind game similar to UVM’s recent NCAA seasons. Right now, I’d say if the goaltending develops, UVM has a shot at being a middle-of-the-pack team. If the goalies aren’t up to the challenge, it’ll be a scramble for the playoffs. The Catamounts will be better (or, as critics might ask, how could they be worse?) but there are way too many ‘ifs’ to endorse a Lowell type of resurgence, though a Providence type rebound might not be out of the question.”
Vermont Head Coach, Kevin Sneddon’s take –
On where the offense will come from
“We feel our offensive production is going to come from our returning players who are healthy, stronger/faster, and ready to embrace the challenge of scoring more. We do expect our freshmen and transfer student/athletes to contribute in a very positive way, but we’re not sure what that will translate to in terms of offensive numbers.”
On getting back to the grind in ’12-‘13
“The most important aspects for this year’s team include: improved mental toughness, continued excellence with their strength and conditioning so we can play the style we want to play (Strength & Conditioning Coach Justin Smith has done a great job with our team), and sticking to the day to day process by using every day to get better.”
BF’s Prognosis: The ’11-’12 Catamounts were besieged by injury and misfortune which resulted in a long fall/winter in Burlington; culminating in a last place Hockey East finish. The inauspicious descent of Coach Kevin Sneddon’s UVM team seemed to reach its crescendo when star forward Connor Brickley was injured at the World Junior Tournament. Key injuries to senior Matt Marshall, high scoring forward Chris McCarthy, forwards Kyle Martin and Matt White along with defenseman Nick Luukko merely added to the misery and misfortune that was prevalent all season long.
Unfortunately for UVM, the tumult continued into the offseason as the growing optimism of the Vermont fan base suffered two crushing blows with the loss of blue chip recruit Zemgus Girgensons to the Buffalo Sabres organization and the early departure of leading scorer Sebastian Stalberg (12-19-31) to the San Jose Sharks. In addition, Anthony De Luca rescinded on his commitment to Coach Sneddon by signing on with Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL and ’13 recruit Dennis Kravchenko also decommitted. To add insult to injury, recruiting coordinator and offensive coach, John Micheletto left the program to accept the head coaching position at UMass and took assistant Joey Gaspirini with him to Amherst.
If Vermont wants to make a push for the Hockey East playoffs in ’12-’13, they will need considerable contributions from one of the freshman netminders – most likely Brody Hoffman. One of the bright spots for UVM last season was 6ft3” defenseman Michael Paliotta (Chicago Blackhawks), who along with fellow sophomore blueliners, Blake Doerring and Nick Luukko, will need to play stingy defensive hockey in order to protect the inexperience in net. The Catamounts were 10th in Hockey East last season in goals scored (2.15) as well as goals allowed (140) so there is clearly some work to do on both ends of the ice. On the offensive end, Connor Brickley returns from injury and will need to provide some offensive punch to a line-up lacking offensive firepower and considerable depth. Hockey East all-rookie team member, Kyle Reynolds (10 G) and junior forward Chris Reynolds will also need to put the puck in the net on a regular basis if Vermont wants to improve their last place standing.
Beanpot Forum’s Predicted Hockey East Position: 10th – Between adversity and loss of key personnel, it is simply too much to overcome for a last place team.