MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State men's ice hockey team has been busy preparing for the 2018-19 season opener, scheduled for Friday night on the road at Lebanon Valley College, and rightfully so, the coaching staff is looking forward to what the upcoming season brings.
During the off-season the Mustangs have added several new faces to their roster for 2018-19, returning another 17 who over the course of their careers have gained valuable experience that will lend to the success on and off the ice this season.
"We've added a sizable freshmen class this year that will contribute in a variety of different areas," seventh year head coach Kevin Krogol stated. "Coupled with the experience of our returners and a great senior leadership group, we have high hopes of noticeable improvement this coming season."
Krogol pointed to the leadership in Captains Ian Wood (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and assistants CJ Stubbs (Pleasant Valley, Utah) and Jimmy Philbin (Chicago, Ill.) who says "will set the tone for the younger group and entire locker room".
Eleven new faces will don the Mustang jersey this season, a class that Krogol said not only adds speed and grit, but scoring ability along with size and strength.
Most pointed to the addition of newcomer Jesse Anderson (Wasaga Beach, ON), a prolific scorer that hails from the Minnesota Moose out of the USPHL. Anderson collected 60 points on the forward line after netting a combined 26 goals and 34 assists last year.
"With a large group of young players, we will need our veterans to step up and lead the way," Krogol stated.
Of that veteran group, Morrisville State returns all five of its leading scorers from a year ago, including the tri-captains, along with Nick DeVito (Averill Park, N.Y.) and Ryan Bochert (Denver, Colo.), who combined for more than half of the Mustang scoring a year ago. DeVito and Stubbs lead the way with 24 points on the year, followed by Philbin with 15, Wood 12 and Bochert 11.
Morrisville State will also look to its veterans on the blue lines to boast a successful battle in front of the goaltending unit. Aidan Conolly (Rochester, N.Y.) was instrumental for the unit last season, contributing not only on the defensive end of the ice, but offensively as well with 10 points on two scores and eight assists.
Thus far in preseason, leadership has fallen to Christian Vella (Rochester, N.Y.) to boost the Mustangs special team's play, in particular the penalty kill, as they look to up their kill percentage from a year ago.
Young made 23 starts in net a year ago, collecting a .901 save percentage across the year behind his massive 758 save season.
Morrisville State, who is looking to get jump on the season with two non-conference outings to open the year, will take the ice for their first contest tonight at Lebanon Valley College at 7 p.m. They follow with a second road battle at Stevenson on Saturday afternoon.
Both contests will prep the Mustangs for their State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) opener on November 2nd as they host Plattsburgh for a double on their ice, followed by Cortland on the 9th and 10th in another home conference battle.
A duo at SUNY Geneseo on the 16th and 17th will lead the Mustangs into two additional non-conference outings, the first a home contest against Chatham on the 20th, followed by a road trip to Anna Maria on the 30th.
Morrisville State heads down the thruway on December 7th and 8th to Buffalo State, before wrapping up the first half of the season with a home match against Bryn Athyn College on the 15th.
January sees the Mustangs taking the ice for the first time in the new year on the 11th at Salve Regina, returning to their home IcePlex on the 12th for a bout with the University of New England.
Back-to-back road trips at Potsdam on the 18/19 and Oswego on the 25/26 will see the Mustangs into February where they will play five out of six contests on their home ice.
Morrisville State meets Brockport on the 1st and 2nd, before hitting the road up north to Canton on the 8th.
Canton rolls into town on the 9th, followed by Fredonia on the 15th and 16th for the Mustangs regular season finale.
"Our goal is to be the hardest working and hardest team to play against in the country," Krogol said.
For additional information on Morrisville State men's hockey, visit the college's athletic web site at www.morrisvillestateathletics.com.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.