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Wholin1
08-15-2013, 08:04 PM
RPI blog Without a Peer's annual post about Union http://www.withoutapeer.com/2013/08/know-your-enemy-union.html.


I have no connection WaP except as a reader.I thought this was an objective analysis and hit on the big question marks that will be answered one way or another as the season plays out.

Union and RPI were very closely matched last season and if possible, the margin may have narrowed or even swung to an edge to RPI this upcoming season. Union however has become the seasoned post season performer and RPI has much to prove in that regard.

GameOn
08-16-2013, 11:07 AM
I agree as well. There are more questions this year than years past however I like some of the potential answers. There's a culture around this team now that knows only about winning. Gone are the days of one league win and missed playoff opportunity.

I like Stevens in goal this year. We know more about him than we did about Troy a few years ago. We also have some experienced D in front of him to help out. Scoring will come around and I believe we'll actually have more weapons than last year as the season progresses.

8 weeks from opening night!

Hokydad
08-16-2013, 11:36 AM
Kind of objective but with a jaded spin

"Although there's not a great deal of buzz about Union's freshman class outside of Vecchione,"

Maybe not by him but the real hockey world looks at Taylor as a potential very, very good player in the league. He had 27 points and was a +41 in USHL last year, as an 18 year old.. Second in USHL for all Dmen. From what I saw, better at same stage than Shayne G, not saying he will develop as quickly first 2 years though.

RPI has not won a tournament game since 1985, has not scored a goal in NCAA's in over 28 years and you would think they have BC's resume. Worst performing team in ECAC playoffs over last 10+ years, relative to regular season seed. Who is now looked at as the joke of the league. Have gone 3 times in 30 years, never won a game, never scored a single goal. Union has scored 14 goals in the NCAA tournament in the last 2 years alone, RPI zero in over 28 years. ZERO

Over past decade


Union is 164-135-42 with 4 straight years of having over 20 wins, going 95-43-27, missing out the previous year with 19 wins. Making NCAA's last 2 years in a row, including Frozen Four and last year beating defending natl Champ BC 5-1. RPI had 20 wins once in past decade, than immediately lost in first rd of playoffs to dead last Colgate.

Just the past 2 years alone, Union is 6-0 against RPI outscoring them 32-13.
Over past decade, Union is 18-5-4 against RPI. losing only once in the yearly series

Union has a better incoming freshmen class this year and will have better results for next several years.

All talk, RPI has great freshmen class every year, ranked high and nothing comes out of it. Even losing recruits such as Light to Union. Even though RPI has scholarship money to throw out there.

Union program is in far better shape

Wholin1
08-16-2013, 12:49 PM
Hoky and RPI do not mix, but a lot of what he says actually makes sense. Union's recruits rarely if ever included "blue chippers". Without scholarships, they were impossible to entice to Union especially when they were the doormats of the ECAC for the better portion of 15 or so seasons. I've said this before, but Union's recruiters were tasked with bringing older and under the radar players to the program and molding them and developing them into "Union" hockey players. Not enough credit can be given to Nate Leaman, RB and their staffs for dragging this program by its bootstraps to the upper echelons of college hockey. That being said, I am cautiously optimistic that things may be a little different this season in as much as Vecchione, Taylor and Pontarelli may have "blue chip" potential. Only time will tell.

UnionFan4Life
08-18-2013, 06:32 PM
What's everybody think of this potential lineup?

1: Carr---Novak---Wilkins
2: Ciampini---Hatch---Sullivan
3: Ikkala---Pontarelli---Vecchione
4: Lichtenwald---Roy---Gonye

Would RB convert Hatch to center?

Hokydad
08-18-2013, 09:37 PM
Cruice will be in lineup. Will have a good season.
Vech will prob be a center, which is where he always played. Even played last 15+/- GMs there last season. He will be top 2 lines

ADK11
08-19-2013, 12:29 AM
Cruice will be in lineup. Will have a good season.
Vech will prob be a center, which is where he always played. Even played last 15+/- GMs there last season. He will be top 2 linesWas hard to tell from the USHL vids what position Vech played, but did look like he was in more of a center position at times in those later games.. as a center I too would be surprised if he didnt' get a good hard look on the top 2 lines. Lichtenwald & Gonye also have played center and would guess they will get a crack at 3rd line. Hope you are right about Cruice too, he plays with a lot of jam and is a Bennett type of player that makes things happen.

As for WaP's prognostication, all I'll say is that with all the question marks on U's roster I would expect most preseason picks will be for 5th-7th, and reality is that if a couple things don't go right, that's how it could end up. But I definitely like this recruiting class and think that Pontarelli's addition moves it from a C+/B- to a B+/A-. There is talent and depth at all positions now, what is missing is NCAA experience. How the team gels and how certain players respond to new roles/increased responsibilities will determine if expectations are exceeded.

..and while I'm not going to step too far into it, I will mention that Union COULD achieve a significant historical milestone this season in it's series with a certain ECAC rival.

rdf8585
08-19-2013, 12:28 PM
But I definitely like this recruiting class and think that Pontarelli's addition moves it from a C+/B- to a B+/A-. There is talent and depth at all positions now, what is missing is NCAA experience. How the team gels and how certain players respond to new roles/increased responsibilities will determine if expectations are exceeded.


Even without Pontarelli, this recruiting class was better than C+/B-. Now with Pontarelli, it's arguably the best recruiting class since the one that just graduated. I know there are some who think this could rival that class in the end... and that one was the most successful in program history.

GameOn
08-19-2013, 01:47 PM
For fear of looking too far ahead it will be interesting to see what other positions are focused on to fill out next years class.

Going forward this year I think the incoming freshman have a good group of returnees to look up to.

rdf8585
08-19-2013, 02:12 PM
For fear of looking too far ahead it will be interesting to see what other positions are focused on to fill out next years class.

Currently known 2014 commits:
D Connor Light (Of the 9 defensemen on this year's roster, only Bodie is a senior.)
F Roman Ammirato (a Pontarelli-type player, but not quite to his level.)
F Tyler Hynes (originally supposed to come this year, but deferred a year)
F Ryan Scarfo (more on him soon)

Others
F Mark Dufour may come next year, or could be held back to 2015.
G Joe Young, originally set to come next year, is now apparently coming in 2015.

GameOn
08-19-2013, 04:20 PM
Scarfo has had injury issues as I recall. When he committed though I thought people were relatively high on him. Where is he playing this year again?

Dutchfan
08-19-2013, 05:41 PM
Scarfo has had injury issues as I recall. When he committed though I thought people were relatively high on him. Where is he playing this year again?

Scarfo is playing for Powell River of the BCHL this season. Powell River is the same program that Carr, the Bodie brothers, Presizniuk, Wakita, and Noah Henry have all played for prior to coming to Schenectady. Ryan has apparently healed up from his injuries as he scored quite a bit (3 G, 2 A in 3 games) during the Beantown Classic earlier this summer.

ADK11
08-20-2013, 12:54 AM
Even without Pontarelli, this recruiting class was better than C+/B-. Now with Pontarelli, it's arguably the best recruiting class since the one that just graduated. I know there are some who think this could rival that class in the end... and that one was the most successful in program history.LOL, I was afraid somebody would ask me where the heck I made up this stuff :p.. I try to look at how recruiting classes stack up against each other, because in the end, its not just whether you get good players but whether your players are better than players that the other teams in your league get. To me, an average (grade C) recruiting class in the ECAC has 1 high impact recruit and maybe 2-3 that "could be good/very good". Without Pontarelli, I saw Vecchione & Taylor as impact recruits and maybe 3 others as potential G/VG, so overall slightly above average. Meanwhile, Qpac & Yale have classes with potentially 3-4 high impacts and the rest pretty much in the G/VG category. With Pontarelli, I now see 3 high impacts and the others will have less pressure to be top line performers right off the bat, so hopefully will see better development from them. Still I would be hesitant to compare this group too soon to the one that just graduated. I'm very unsure what the potential is for players like Gonye, Lichtenwald, Martin, Krug and Sakellaropoulos. Hopefully you're right and I'm wrong, and this class turns out to be a stellar one.

Also want to caution about expecting too much from Pontarelli right off the bat. Yes, the Spinks did very well at Gate, but the cupboard was pretty bare at forward when they got there so they got 1st line/1st PP status right off the bat. I expect Ponti will have to earn that kind of icetime at U and won't see that right away. He'll also have to deal with bigger players that are nearly his equal skill wise, something he won't have seen as much in Jr. A, and the grind that this takes on the body over the course of a season. I noticed on U's roster that he is listed as 172# and not the 180#+ that he was listed in Jr. A (a typical exaggeration on most Jr./prep rosters, they must weigh them in their pads :rolleyes:). Still, I'm very excited to see him, cause he has skills that you can't coach.


For fear of looking too far ahead it will be interesting to see what other positions are focused on to fill out next years class.

Going forward this year I think the incoming freshman have a good group of returnees to look up to.Currently have 3 forwards and a d-man to replace graduating one D and 4 Fs. Would expect at least one more forward for '14 and possibly another goalie on the horizon for '15 when both Stevens & Piiri graduate. The '14 class is all about forwards. Ammirato and Scarfo have very good offensive potential, though Ammirato is small (155#s :eek:) and Scarfo is coming off a shoulder separation. Hopefully Scarfo gets strength back in his shoulder (it is a very heal-able injury) and Ammirato gets a little bigger. So far this class looks promising. Very high on Light, who could be really important if both Bodie and Ghost leave after this season.

rdf8585
08-20-2013, 04:49 PM
Eyewitness Report on 2014-2015 recruit Ryan Scarfo: http://bit.ly/16tz9PU

GameOn
08-20-2013, 10:01 PM
Great piece on Scarfo. Hopefully he can stay healthy this year and continue to develop. The U has gotten some great players from the BCHL...more notably Powell River

garnetfan
08-21-2013, 09:46 PM
Perhaps overlooked here is the benefit of an another year of experience for RB and staff, last year had to be a challenge for them with many of the same and new challenges this year.
Team defense from the goal out is the mantra of course but the little things like who will take face-offs in the various situations , the penalty kill and the power play line up etc. will need to be solidified.
Watching Union develop this year will be more interesting since their are more unknowns than last year, so good luck to RB and staff, my prediction is most likely a 4th to 6th place finish league wise
with an outside shot for the top three, nationally we will be in the top 20 still but exactly where I don't know. And of course hats off for the great year last year.

Wholin1
08-22-2013, 03:19 PM
Perhaps overlooked here is the benefit of an another year of experience for RB and staff, last year had to be a challenge for them with many of the same and new challenges this year.
Team defense from the goal out is the mantra of course but the little things like who will take face-offs in the various situations , the penalty kill and the power play line up etc. will need to be solidified.
Watching Union develop this year will be more interesting since their are more unknowns than last year, so good luck to RB and staff, my prediction is most likely a 4th to 6th place finish league wise
with an outside shot for the top three, nationally we will be in the top 20 still but exactly where I don't know. And of course hats off for the great year last year.It's been mentioned before, but one thing that deeply concerns me is the lack of centermen. Asking players to play out of position at this level could be fraught with peril.

UnionFan4Life
08-22-2013, 05:18 PM
It's been mentioned before, but one thing that deeply concerns me is the lack of centermen. Asking players to play out of position at this level could be fraught with peril.
I believe Hatch could make an easy transition to center because he is arguably the fastest guy on this team, he would have to learn how to take faceoffs though. This teams lacks a veteran centerman (thanks Jooris) but with Vech, Gonye, Eli, Roy, and maybe Pont as potential centerman there is some excitement.

Hokydad
08-22-2013, 05:29 PM
Vech has played center since he was 8. Played center every game at Malden Catholic, where he was Massachusetts high school player of the year. Played wing in ushl because he was more versatile and stronger on the boards than a couple others. It was good for him. He played center a ton down the stretch.

Wholin1
08-22-2013, 06:52 PM
I believe Hatch could make an easy transition to center because he is arguably the fastest guy on this team, he would have to learn how to take faceoffs though. This teams lacks a veteran centerman (thanks Jooris) but with Vech, Gonye, Eli, Roy, and maybe Pont as potential centerman there is some excitement.Don't forget about Novak. BTW, I understand that Jooris was on the ice this week at Messa. Mixed feelings about that if true..