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’15 – ’16 Season Preview

Posted By Sean Levin On 10/01/2015 @ 10:53 AM In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

Broncs Drop Puck on the 2015-2016 Season

By: Matt Metzger

 

The Rider Broncs will drop the puck on their nineteenth season this weekend with match-ups against West Chester University and the Pioneers from William Paterson University. Coming into this season, the Rider ice hockey program will be working towards their fourth American Collegiate Hockey Association’s (ACHA) regional qualifying bid in the last five seasons.

Coming off of an 18 win season, the trip back to regionals will be one that features the Broncs top four scorers during the 2014-2015 campaign. This group is going to be spearheaded by forward Pat Grilli (Senior, Holland PA) who recorded all team highs in goals (24), assists (22) and points (46). The roster also includes fellow forwards Chris Daley (Senior, Hopewell, NJ) and Chris Johnson (Sophomore, Freeport, NY) along with blueliner Connor Fox (Senior, Belle Mead, NJ).

“Having some of our top forwards back is major blessing,” said Head Coach Sean Levin. “We have three firth year players who have so much game experience to help the younger players. Mike Kennedy, Pat Grilli, and Chris Daley have been through the good and bad times with the program and will be key in preparing the team for the upcoming season.”

While Rider will have consistency both at the forward and defensive positions, the goaltending situation will be one that will no longer feature one of the best netminders is the ACHA, Nate Kholodenko. Kholodenko graduated this past year and for the first time in four seasons, Levin will be looking for a new “King” between the pipes. To complicate this search, the Broncs coaching staff will be working with goaltenders that have very little college level playing experience.

“This is the first year we’re starting the season with questions about our goaltender,” said Levin. “We’ve been lucky to have two great netminders the past four years and now we start a new chapter with new goalies. All of our goalies have never played in a college game but the coaching staff is confident that no matter who is in net we’re, going to have a chance to win.”

Coming into their opening weekend against the Rams and Pioneers, the Broncs will get an early glimpse into the how their new campaign will begin to take shape. Looking for consistency in all three areas of the game and finding concsistency on a nightly basis will be the foundation to return to regionals.

“Consistency is the key this season in order to make regionals and contend for nationals,” said Levin. “We can’t afford to take a night off this season. The past few seasons we would rattle off a few great wins but follow that with a few bad loses.”

A unique challenge this season will be the total number of games played. The 2015 season will start later this year thanks to a late Labor Day holiday, making every game that much more important.

“The total number of games is less so there is less room for error,” said Levin. “I think we play in one of the best leagues in the country (Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey) so if we win our league games we should be there in the end for regionals.”

 

The Week Ahead

Game 1: Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 4:45 p.m. (A)

To open the season, the Broncs will take on the Rams of West Chester University. These two squads faced-off last season and the Broncs skated to a 7-4 victory. Pat Grilli recorded a four point (3g,1a) while Nate Kholodenko and Mike Haggerty, both graduated from the Rider, split time in the crease.

Game 2: Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. (H)

The puck will drop at the Loucks Ice Arena for the first time in 2015 as the Broncs take on the visiting William Paterson University Pioneers. The Broncs and Pioneers last faced each other during the 2013-2014 season and thanks in part to an outstanding performance by Kholodenko, 39 saves, Rider defeated WPU 3-2. As a reminder, all Rider University Club Ice Hockey games are FREE for Rider students with your Rider I.D.


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