Despite almost half of a calendar year remaining before the return of Union Hockey at Messa Rink, big news continues to stream in for the only Division I program on campus.
The Dutchmen, who finished 9th in the ECAC last year, are looking forward to build off of an up-and-down 2015-16 campaign with the addition of nine promising recruits.
As a team that finished 8th in scoring in the ECAC last year, Union is in need of a definite boost to the offense to compete in a conference that finished last season with eight teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation.
With the return of team points leaders Mike Vecchione ’17 and Spencer Foo ’18, the Dutchmen will look to build around their key forwards thanks to an influx of new talent.
Two incoming forwards stand out in terms of goal scoring ability, and their arrivals next season will be sure to add to the team’s scoring output.
Both products of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, Luc Brown ’20 and Anthony Rinaldi ’20 finished first and third respectively in scoring in the OJHL with 42 goals for Brown and 38 for Rinaldi.
Additionally, Brown notably finished an impressive 2nd on the Canada East team in both goals and assists in his appearance at the World Junior A Challenge this year.
Head coach Rick Bennett should also look for potential scoring in a myriad of other incoming forwards, including two familiar names to the program in Wade Novak ’20, brother of Max Novak ’15, and Parker Foo ’20, brother of 2016 Hobey Baker Award nominee Spencer.
On the defensive end of the ice, the Dutchmen will add three newcomers to a defense that was just eighth in goals allowed per game as well as eighth in penalty kill percentage in the ECAC for the 2015-2016 season.
All under six feet tall, Michael Ryan ’20, Ben Newhouse ’20 and Vasili Kolias ’20, will look to bring speed and skill to a blue line losing their top goalscoring defenseman in Sebastien Gingras ‘16.
The new trio of American defensemen all averaged at least .4 points per game in their respective seasons last year, and should help to fill the void in production.
On the defensive end of the ice, the lack of size may be worrisome for a defense that had their fair share of struggles last season, but the Dutchmen will look to added experience for their returning players will pay off in that end.
All of the new additions will look to contribute next year to the Union team that finished 30th in the final national poll, published by the NCAA on April 26th. One newcomer is feeling particularly optimistic.
Vasili Kolias ‘20 said in a press release by the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms that he, “really enjoyed the campus and knew it was the right place for [him].” Hopefully all of the incoming freshmen will feel just as comfortable for a team poised to make a run next year.