(in order of predicted finish)
Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers
2009-10 record: 28-12-1, 22-5-1 AHA
Coach: Wayne Wilson, 12th season (216-103-25)
Players to watch: Jr. F Cameron Burt (16-31-47), Sr. F Andrew Favot (13-33-46), Jr. F Tyler Brenner (15-11-26), D Chris Haltigin (11-13-24), C Sean Murphy (6-13-19)
Outlook: The Tigers enjoyed a magical ride to the conference’s first NCAA Division I Frozen Four berth last season. If they find a replacement for graduated G Jared DeMichiel (27-10-1, 2.09, .920, 5 SO in 2009-10), they will have the inside track for another trip to the NCAA Tournament.
2009-10 record: 15-20-3, 15-10-3 AHA
Coach: Rick Gotkin, 23rd season (399-272-52)
Players to watch: R-So. F Phil Ginand (15 goals, 19 assists, 34 points in 2008-09), Sr. F Mike Gurtler (14-16-30 in 2009-10), Sr. F Brandon Coccimiglio (14-14-28), Sr. G Ryan Zapolski (15-17-3 record, 2.79 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, 2 shutouts), Sr. D Jeff Terminesi (5-13-18, plus-17)
Outlook: Ginand’s return to a lineup filled with size makes the Lakers an imposing team in the conference. They will be in contention for the conference title until the end of the season.
Air Force Falcons
2009-10 record: 16-15-6, 14-8-6 AHA
Coach: Frank Serratore, 13th season (198-212-32)
Players to watch: Sr. F Jacques Lamoureux (22-20-42), Sr. F Derrick Burnett (10-23-33), Jr. D Tim Kirby (5-19-24), So. F Kyle De Laurell (6-12-18), Jr. D Scott Mathis (2-14-16)
Outlook: Lamoureux, whose sisters, Jocelyne and Monique, won silver with Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics, leads a veteran Falcons’ team. But they need to replace their longtime starter in net, Andrew Volkening (16-15-6, 2.44, .918 in 2009-10).
Canisius Golden Griffins
2009-10 record: 17-15-5, 13-11-4 AHA
Coach: Dave Smith, 6th season (N/A)
Players to watch: Sr. F Cory Conacher (20-33-53), Sr. F Vincent Scarsella (11-30-41), So. F Preston Shupe (10-15-25), Jr. G Dan Morrison (12-11-3, 3.16, .906, 3 SO)
Outlook: Conacher, the reigning AHA player of the year, and Scarsella ignite one of the nation’s leading offenses. But the Golden Griffins need to replace two key weapons in Josh Heidinger (11-28-39 in 2009-10) and Carl Hudson (14-20-34).
Sacred Heart Pioneers
2009-10 record: 21-13-4, 16-9-3 AHA
Coach: C.J. Marottolo, 1st season (0-0-0)
Players to watch: Sr. F Patrick Knowlton (13-26-39), Jr. F Matt Gingera (11-12-23), Sr. F David Berube (10-7-17), So. D Alex Stuart (1-10-11), So. Steven Legatto (19-10-3, 3.10, .907, 2 SO)
Outlook: Marottolo takes over a program that lost four of its top five players from the 2009-10 team. But he still had Legatto, who had a standout season in net as a freshman.
Army Black Knights
2009-10 record: 11-18-7, 10-12-6 AHA
Coach: Brian Riley, 7th season (79-102-32)
Players to watch: Sr. F Cody Omilusik (18-16-34), Jr. F Mike Hull (8-20-28), D Marcel Alvarez (6-14-20), Jr. F Danny Colvin (6-12-18), Sr. G Jay Clark (11-16-5, 3.00, .908, 1 SO)
Outlook: The Black Knights lost leading scorer Eric Sefchik (11-24-35 in 2009-10). But they return enough talent, led by Omilusik up front and Clark in net, to enjoy a solid season.
Robert Morris Colonials
2009-10 record: 10-19-6, 6-10-4 CHA
Coach: Derek Schooley, 6th season (59-94-20)
Players to watch: Sr. F Nathan Longpre (14-17-31), Sr. F Chris Kushneriuk (11-18-29), Sr. D Denny Urban (10-14-24), Jr. F Trevor Lewis (5-16-21), Jr. G Brooks Ostergard (9-16-3, 3.13, .906)
Outlook: The Colonials take a veteran club into their inaugural AHA season. But in this conference, they should be middle of the pack.
Niagara Purple Eagles
2009-10 record: 12-20-4, 6-10-2 CHA
Coach: Dave Burkholder, 10th season (156-141-32)
Players to watch: Sr. F Bryan Haczyk (9-13-22), Sr. F Paul Zanette (11-10-21), So. F Marc Zanette (7-13-20), Jr. G Chris Noonan (7-9-1, 3.20, .909)
Outlook: The Purple Eagles join former College Hockey America counterpart Robert Morris in the now 12-team AHA. With the departure of leading scorers Chris Moran (9-33-42 in 2009-10), Ryan Olidis (14-19-33) and Tyler Gotto (11-14-25), their first season could be difficult.
2009-10 record: 12-19-4, 10-15-3 AHA
Coach: Ryan Soderquist, 9th season (99-154-28)
Players to watch: So. F Joe Campanelli (10-15-25), So. F Dan Koudys (6-14-20), So. F Brett Hartung (10-5-15), Jr. G Kyle Rank (8-12-3, 3.33, .895)
Outlook: The Falcons relied on several underclassmen last season. Those players are back to lead the way again this year.
Holy Cross Crusaders
2009-10 record: 12-19-6, 10-13-5 AHA
Coach: Paul Pearl, 16th season (226-226-54)
Players to watch: So. F Rob Linsmayer (4-15-19), Jr. F Jay Silvia (10-4-14), Jr. D Mike Daly (3-10-13), So. G Thomas Tysowsky (11-17-6, 2.43, .910, 2 SO)
Outlook: The Crusaders need to replace three of their top four scorers – Jordan Cyr (14-16-30), Everett Sheen (9-11-20) and Brodie Sheahan (10-4-14). That should be difficult, since the team scored only 87 goals in 37 games last season.
2009-10 record: 7-27-3, 6-19-3 AHA
Coach: Bruce Marshall, 23rd season (301 wins)
Players to watch: Sr. F Andrew Olson (9-10-19), So. F Sean Ambrosie (7-11-18), Sr. F Jason Krispel (3-12-15), So. G Garrett Bartus (5-14-1, 3.26, .900)
Outlook: Marshall recorded his 300th career win last season. But the Huskies didn’t win many more games. Offense was a culprit, as they scored 59 goals in 37 games.
American International Yellow Jackets
2009-10 record: 5-24-4, 5-19-4 AHA
Coach: Gary Wright, 27th season (264-466-55)
Players to watch: So. F Adam Pleskach (15-9-24), Sr. F Steve McLeod (9-13-22), Sr. F Tom Mele (9-8-17), Jr. F Nielsson Arcibal (3-12-15), So. G Ben Meisner (4-12-2, 3.66, .901, 3 SO)
Outlook: The Yellow Jackets return 17 letterwinners from the 2009-10 team. But that team struggled in many facets of the game. Don’t expect much different this season.
- Victor Fernandes