2010-11 MIAC Men's Hockey Season Preview and Preseason Coaches' Poll

2010-11 MIAC Men's Hockey Season Preview and Preseason Coaches' Poll
ST. PAUL, Minn. – It appears the theme of the 2010-11 men’s hockey season in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) – at least according to the coaches – will be parity. More than half of the league’s teams could have a legitimate shot to host the MIAC championship trophy at the end of the season, which should make for an exciting winter in the “State of Hockey.”
The MIAC Men’s Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll is concrete proof of the anticipated equality in the league. Five teams received first-place votes and only 14 points separated the first through the fifth team in the poll, proving that it really could be anyone’s year in the MIAC.
Hamline – which finished second in the league a year ago – was the team that finished atop the logjam with four first-place votes and a total of 59 points. Augsburg received one first-place vote and its 51 total points were good for second. 2009-10 MIAC Playoff champ St. Thomas finished third with 49 points and one first-place vote and Gustavus – which one the league’s regular season title a year ago – received two first-place votes and 46 total points to occupy fourth place. The final first-place vote went to St. Olaf, which finished fifth in the poll with 45 points.
The rest of the league shakes out with Concordia predicted to finish sixth with 26 points. Saint John’s was just three points behind at 23 in seventh place. Bethel was predicted to take eighth with 16 total points, and Saint Mary’s received nine points in the poll to finish ninth. The poll was voted on by all nine MIAC coaches who could not vote for their own team, and a system was used where eight points were awarded for a first place vote, seven points for a second and so on.
If defense truly wins championships, Hamline might be a wise pick for the MIAC title. The Pipers have been to the MIAC playoffs each of the last three seasons and feature two-time returning All-American defenseman Chris Berenguer keying the defense. All-MIAC selections Brian Arrigoni and Beau Christian are also back for coach Scott Bell’s squad that finished 16-6-4 overall and 11-3-2 in the MIAC a year ago. The Pipers open the season ranked No. 15 in the nation.
Augsburg is another team on the rise in the MIAC. Last year’s 16 wins were the most since 2002-03, and the Auggies return a solid nucleus in 2010-11 despite the loss of All-American Chris JohnsonJoel Sauer and his 28 points are back to try for another All-MIAC campaign and Honorable Mention selection Nick Guran and goalie Justin Lochner also bolster Augsburg’s hopes of competing for a championship and making its fourth trip to the MIAC playoffs in the past five years. The Auggies appear in the “Others receiving votes” section of the Division III poll.
The league’s two champs from a year ago – playoff winner St. Thomas and regular-season winner Gustavus – also bring back high-powered squads that figure to be in contention again in 2010-11. The Tommies featured a balanced offensive attack last year that returns its leader in points, Andrew Kappers (29), and goals, Rob Johnson (11). St. Thomas will need to replace graduated goalie Joe Schraeder, but have high aspirations for a return-trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs. The Tommies are the first team listed the “Others receiving votes” section of the national poll, essentially ranking them at No. 16.
The team that knocked St. Thomas out of those NCAA playoffs was none other than Gustavus, which reached the national quarterfinals and enters 2010-11 as the nation’s No. 8-ranked team. The Gusties had a 20-win campaign last season, going 20-7-2 overall and 12-2-2 in the MIAC under coach Brett Petersen. The Gusties will have to replace MIAC and AHCA Division III Player-of-the-year David Martinson and his 49 points, but Ross Ring-Jarvi and his 25 assists and 40 points are back, along with standout senior goalie Josh Swartout.
St. Olaf is another team with a strong returning nucleus that could challenge the contenders for the MIAC title after earning its sixth playoff berth in the past seven years in 2009-10. Three All-MIAC standouts return for the Oles – Isak Tranvik (32 points), Britton Smith (17 goals) and Charlie Raskob, as well as goalies Ben Leis and Nick Krauss.
While Concordia just missed out on the playoffs a year ago and appear to be on the outside looking in at this year’s title hunt, the Cobbers also have potential to rise up and surprise in 2010-11. Concordia returns its top seven scorers, including leading scorer Nick Thielen (23 points) and All-MIAC selection Erick Galt (16 points), and if its returners continue their development the Cobbers could be a team to reckon with.
Saint John’s hopes its strong finish to 2009-10 will carry over into the new campaign. The Johnnies graduated a number of key players from last year’s squad, but Mike Wallgren’s leadership will be key and they hope for continued progress fromMichael Palmiscno, who was named to the league’s All-Rookie team a year ago. Saint John’s had remarkable balance a year ago – a trait it hopes carries over into the 2010-11 season.
Bethel welcomes a new face to its men’s program in 2010-11, but it’s a familiar one to the school and the MIAC hockey community. Charlie Burgraff moves over after coaching the Royals’ women’s team from 2006 to 2010, and he takes over a team that was eliminated from playoff contention on the final day of the regular season a year ago. All-MIAC First Team returners Jack Paul and Jon Crouse should help make the transition an easy one for their new coach, as both recorded at least 21 points a year ago.
Saint Mary’s was a balanced team in 2009-10, but after winning just one game a year ago, the Cardinals hope that balance generates more victories this season. SMU will look for Vincent Unklesbay and Ben Kitzmiller to increase its scoring output, while sophomore goalies Jason Horstman and Andy Scheib hope to improve on solid rookie campaigns.
The 2010-11 season officially begins for all nine MIAC men’s teams this weekend with the 2010 MIAC Men’s Hockey Showcase, which will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Fogerty Arena in Blaine. Each team will play two games over the course of the three-day tournament, and these games do not count in the conference standings.
Friday’s games feature Augsburg vs. Gustavus at 4 p.m., St. John’s vs. Hamline at 5:30 p.m. and St. Thomas vs. Bethel at 7 p.m. Saturday’s action also begins at 4 p.m. with St. Olaf vs. St. John’s. Bethel will take on Concordia at 5:30 p.m. and St. Mary’s meets Augsburg at 7 p.m. Sunday’s games include Concordia vs. St. Thomas at 1 p.m., Gustavus vs. St. Mary’s at 2:30 p.m. and Hamline vs. St. Olaf at 4 p.m.
CLICK HERE to visit the MIAC Showcase home page, courtesy of Saint Mary’s University and SID Donny Nadeau.
The five-team MIAC playoffs will be held Feb. 25, 26 and March 2, with the high seed hosting in each game. The No. 4 and No. 5 seeds will meet in the quarterfinal round, with the winner meeting the No. 1 seed in one semifinal and a No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup in the other. The winners meet in the championship on March 2 with the victor claiming the MIAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Championships. 

2010-11 MIAC Preseason Coaches' Poll

Coaches voted for every team in the conference except their own team. Points were assigned for each vote (8 for first, 7 for second, etc.) Teams are ranked in order of highest point total to lowest with vote totals listed and first-place votes shown in parentheses.

2010 MIAC Men's Hockey 
Coaches' Poll
Rank Institution Total
 1  Hamline (4)  59
 2  Augsburg(1)  51
 3  St Thomas (1)  49
 4  Gustavus (2)  46
 5  St. Olaf (1)  45
 6  Concordia  26
 7  Saint John's  23
 8  Bethel  16
 9  Saint Mary's  9

2010-11 MIAC Playoff Dates
First Round (Friday, February 25); Semifinals (Saturday, February 26); Finals (Wednesday, March 2).
2010-11 MIAC Schedule | 2009-10 MIAC Statistics | MIAC Recordbook | MIAC Archives |

Coach: Chris Brown
Career Record: 43-53-8 (4 seasons at Augsburg)
2009-10 Finish: 4th (8-7-1 MIAC, 16-10-1 overall)
Augsburg Season Preview
The Auggies closed out their 2009-2010 season with a history-making performance, as Augsburg and Gustavus played the longest game in NCAA Division III history, as GAC escaped with a 6-5, four-overtime win in the semifinals of the MIAC Tournament. … Goalie Justin Lochner stopped an NCAA record-setting 98 shots in that semifinal loss. … The Auggies made their second straight MIAC Tournament appearance — and third in the last four seasons under head coach Chris Brown — a year ago. … Augsburg's 16 wins last season are its most since the 2002-03 campaign, when the Auggies went 17-9-0. … The Auggies will be without graduated senior and two-time All-American Chris Johnson, who finished third among the Auggies in scoring with 28 points, including 11 goals and a team-high 17 assists. … Joel Sauer returns for his senior year, after earning First-Team All-MIAC honors a year ago. Sauer finished second on the team in goals (16), assists (16) and points (32). … Nick Guran, an honorable-mention all-conference selection a year ago, was the team’s leader in goals (18) and points (33). … Lochner appeared in 19 games in goal for the Auggies last season, compiling a 2.32 goals-against-average and a stellar .925 save percentage. … After starting the season 2-3-0, the Auggies went 14-7-1 overall their final 22 games, including a season-high seven-game winning streak.

Coach: Charlie Burgraff
Career Record: 0-0-0 (1st season as Bethel Men's Head Coach) 
2009-10 Finish: 6th (8-8-0 MIAC, 10-15-0 overall)
Bethel Season Preview
The Royals finished sixth in the conference standings a year ago — and for the second year in a row, were eliminated from MIAC playoff contention on the regular season’s final day. … The Royals will have a new face behind the bench this season, as Charlie Burggraf — who coached the Royals’ women’s team from 2006-10 — replaces Joel Johnson as Bethel’s head coach. … The Royals will be without the services of graduated senior goaltender Aaron Damjanovich, a First-Team All-MIAC selection a year ago. Damjanovich appeared in 22 of the team’s 25 games, compiling a 3.46 goals-against-average and an .889 save percentage. … The Royals do return a pair of All-MIAC first-teamers in Jack Paul and Jon Crouse, as well as honorable-mention selection Tom Menozzi. … In his first year as a Royal last season, Paul led the team in goals (12) and points (24), while Crouse posted a team-leading 17 assists and was second in points with 21 during his freshman campaign last season. … The Royals’ 79 goals last season came from 20 different players. … Bethel was a perfect 3-0 in overtime games last season. … Eight of the Royals’ 25 games were decided by one goal, including five of Bethel’s 15 losses.

Coach: Chris Howe
Career Record: 8-35-7 (2 seasons) 

2009-10 Finish: 7th (4-7-5 MIAC, 5-15-5 overall)
Concordia Season Preview
The Cobbers finished three points out of the MIAC playoff hunt a year ago. … Erick Galt returns after earning All-MIAC honors during his sophomore campaign a year ago. Galt finished with two goals and 14 assists for a career-high 16 points last season. … Pat Deitz, who finished third on the team in scoring with seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points, was named to the MIAC All-Rookie Team a year ago. … The Cobbers return their top seven scorers, including leading scorer Nick Thielen, who led the squad in both goals (10) and points (23). … Concordia boasted seven players with 10 or more points a year ago —and all seven are back for the 2010-2011 campaign. … Last year, Concordia led the MIAC in combined special teams play (56.5%) and was second in penalty kill (89.8%). … All five of the Cobbers’ ties last season came in MIAC play —3-3 and 1-1 vs. St. Olaf, 4-4 vs. St. Thomas, 1-1 vs. Saint John’s and 2-2 vs. Hamline. … Fourteen of Concordia’s 25 games were decided by two goals or less. … All five of the Cobbers’ wins last season came on their home ice, where Concordia went 5-5-1.

Coach: Brett Petersen
Career Record: 133-116-18 (10 seasons) 

2009-10 Finish: 1st (12-2-2 MIAC, 20-7-2 overall)
Gustavus Season Preview
The Gusties, the 2009-2010 defending MIAC regular-season champions reached the NCAA national tournament quarterfinals for the second year in a row last season, falling to St. Norbert 3-1 in DePere, Wis. … GAC was part of NCAA Division III’s longest game, beating Augsburg 6-5 in four overtimes in the semifinals of the MIAC Tournament. GAC then played another overtime period the following night in falling to St. Thomas 2-1 in the title game. … Gustavus’ 20 wins last season were the most since the Gusties went 22-6-1 during the 1992-93 season. … GAC?will be without the services of graduated senior David Martinson, the MIAC and American Hockey Coaches Association Division III Player of the Year. A first team All-American, Martinson led the MIAC in scoring with 23 goals, 13 assists for 36 points. Nationally, he led the NCAA with 1.04 goals-per-game (29 goals in 29 games) and ranked fifth in points-per-game at 1.69 (49 points in 29 games). Martinson compiled 76 goals and 55 assists for 131 points in 85 career contests. …  Ross Ring-Jarvi is back, after leading the team in assists (25) and finishing second on the team in goals (16) and points (40). … Josh Swartout returns to his senior season, after starting 26 of the team’s 29 games. Swartout compiled a 2.09 goals-against-average and a .910 save percentage.

Coach: Scott Bell  
Career Record: 60-58-12 (5 seasons) 

2009-10 Finish: 2nd (11-3-2 MIAC, 16-6-4 overall)
Hamline Season Preview
The Pipers finished second to Gustavus in the regular-season conference race, then fell 5-4 in overtime to eventual MIAC playoff champion St. Thomas 5-4. … Last year’s MIAC playoff appearance was the third straight for the Pipers. … The Pipers return two-time AHCA All-American defenseman Chris Berenguer, who finished second on the team in points with 28 (6 goals, team-high 22 assists). Berenguer also ranked seventh in NCAA Division III in defensemen scoring (1.12 points-per-game) and led all MIAC defensemen with 17 points (3 goals, 14 assists in 16 conference games). … The Pipers boasted five players on the All-MIAC First Team a year ago, and three of the five — Berenguer, Brian Arrigoni, and Beau Christian — are back in 2010-2011. … Arrigoni led the team with 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists), while graduated senior Kyle Kurr boasted a team-leading 14 goals. … The Pipers had 12 players record 10 or more points — including six with 20 or more. … Christian started 25 of the team’s 26 games in goal, compiling a 2.43 goals-against-average and a .907 save percentage. … Ten of Hamline’s 16 wins came at home, where the Pipers finished the season 10-3-2.

Saint John's
Coach: Doug Schueller
Career Record: 5-9-2 (2 seasons) 

2009-10 Finish: 8th (5-9-2 MIAC, 9-12-4 overall)
Saint John's Season Preview
The Johnnies are looking to pick up where they left off in 2009-2010, when SJU closed out the season winning three of its final four games. … Michael Palmiscno, who tied for fourth among all MIAC freshmen with 16 points, became the fifth Johnnie since the 2004-2005 season to be named to the All-MIAC Rookie Team a year ago. … The Johnnies will rely heavily on the experience of returning captain and standout two-way player Mike Wallgren, since they will be without the services of graduated seniors Karl Gilbert and Gabriel Harren. Gilbert led the team in goals (12) and points (22), while Harren was the team’s assist leader (11). … Also missing when the Johnnies take the ice will be goaltender Stu Van Ess, who appeared in 15 games during his senior year, posting a 2.70 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage. … The Johnnies got at least one point from every player on the roster a year ago — all 24 players. … The Johnnies won three games at home, three games on the road and three games on neutral ice. … SJU outscored its opponents 27-26 in the second period and 29-25 in the third. … Fourteen of the Johnnies’ 25 games last year were decided by two goals or less.

Saint Mary's
Coach: Bill Moore
Career Record: 5-43-2 (2 seasons) 

2009-10 Finish: 9th (1-15-0 MIAC, 1-23-1 overall)
Saint Mary's Season Preview
The Cardinals are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2009-2010 season, in which SMU led or was tied in the third period in nine of their 23 games, but managed just one win. … Vincent Unklesbay returns as the Cardinals’ top offensive threat, after scoring four goals and adding eight assists for 12 points. … Unklesbay had a team-best, three-assist night vs. Bethel on Jan. 22. … Ben Kitzmiller led the team with four power play goals. … SMU’s 47 goals came from 18 different players — including career firsts by Blake Zemaitis, Nate Peterson, Chase Marshall, Nate Percy and Kevin Wentland — while 23 different Cardinals notched at least one point. … The Cardinals scored a season-high four goals three times — a 4-4 tie vs. Nichols, and 5-4 losses to Bethel and Augsburg. … Goalies Jason Horstman and Andy Scheib each enjoyed stellar first years. Horstman, who stopped 40 or more shots three times — including a career-high 42 at Concordia on Nov. 14 — compiled a 4.29 goals-against-average and an .880 save percentage in 14 starts. Scheib, meanwhile, kicked out a career-best 41 shots in his final start of the season against Gustavus on Feb. 19, finished with a 3.98 GAA and an .889 save percentage in five starts. … The Cardinals scored first in seven of their 25 games. … The Cardinals were 2-0-1 in OT games a year ago.

St. Olaf
Coach: Sean Goldsworthy
Career Record: 136-174-39 (13 seasons)

2009-10 Finish: 5th (6-6-4 MIAC, 12-10-4 overall)
St. Olaf Season Preview
The Oles are coming off a fifth-place conference finish — and their sixth MIAC playoff appearance in their last seven seasons — in 2009-2010. … St. Olaf fell to Augsburg 3-2 in double overtime in last year’s conference playoffs. … The Oles return three First-Team All-MIAC selections in Isak Tranvik, Britton Smith and Charlie Raskob. … Tranvik finished last season as the team leader in assists (18) and points (32), while Smith had a team-high 17 goals — including 10 in conference play — and was second on the team in points with 30. … The Oles finished 2009-2010 with three players boasting 10 or more goals — Tranvik, Smith and Caleb Harrison (10), while seven players collected 10 or more points. … Twenty different players scored for St. Olaf a year ago, while 23 players had at least one point. … Ben Leis and Nick Krauss are both back, after sharing the goaltending duties a year ago. Leis compiled a 2.51 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage in 14 games, while Krauss had a 3.14 GAA and an .893 save percentage in 13 games. … Eighteen of St. Olaf’s 27 games were decided by two goals or less. … The Oles were 4-4-5 in one-goal games. … St. Olaf played six overtime games a year ago, going 0-1-5.

St. Thomas
Coach: Jeff Boeser
Career Record: 0-0-0 (1st season as St. Thomas Head Coach) 
2009-10 Finish: 3rd (8-6-2 MIAC, 16-6-4 overall)
St. Thomas Season Preview
The Tommies, the MIAC playoff champions — after finishing third during the regular season — made their seventh NCAA Division III National Tournament appearance in the last 12 years a year ago, falling to Gustavus 3-1 in the opening round. … With their 13-11-4 overall record in 2009-2010, the Tommies locked up their 28th consecutive winning season. … The Tommies return their top two scorers in Andrew Kappers and Rob Johnson. Kappers led the team in assists (19) and points (29), while Johnson was the team’s leader in goals with 11. … Kappers was one of three UST players with 10 goals last season. Alex Arnason and Parker Burgess, both seniors in 2009-2010, are the other two. … UST boasted four players with 20 or more points and six with 10 or more. … The Tommies will be without the services of graduated senior goalie Joe Schraeder, who played in 23 of the team’s 28 games, compiling a 3.25 goals-against-average and an .887 save percentage. … The Tommies were 10-4-1 when they scored first last season and just 3-6-3 when their opponents scored first. … UST played six overtime games last season, going 2-0-4. … UST went 6-2-4 in one-goal games a year ago.