Men's Hockey Takes Aim at 2011-12 NESCAC Title
Contact: Ben Badua
2010-11 SEASON RECAP
Opening the 2010-11 season with a 6-2-2 mark following a 4-2 victory over then-No. 3 Williams, Amherst managed just one win over its next seven games. Closing out strong, the Lord Jeffs won five of their final seven regular season matchups en route to the No. 4 seed in the NESCAC Championship. Hosting fifth-seeded Bowdoin in the quarterfinals, Amherst dropped a hard-fought 4-3 overtime decision, finishing the year with a 12-9-4 overall record and a 10-6-3 league ledger.
“I think they learned a lot last year about day-to-day focus and preparation,” said head coach Jack Arena ’83, now in his 29th season. “We were a pretty inconsistent team last season and I think this group recognizes that. They’re coming into this year as prepared as any team I can remember.”
Senior co-captain Mike Baran
Hoping to help fill the leadership void left by six graduated seniors are co-captains Eddie Effinger ’12 and Mike Baran ’12. The second two-time captain during Arena’s tenure, Effinger appeared in 21 of the squad’s games a year ago while Baran played in all 25 contests.
“Eddy loves to play,” said Arena. “His enthusiasm is infectious and the guys respect his approach and how much he puts into it. There’s nothing that he will ask of the team that he hasn’t done or isn’t willing to do himself. Mike is a fierce competitor. He raises the intensity of everybody when he’s out there.”
With the graduation of 2009 All-America selection Cole Anderson ’11, Amherst will look to a pair of experienced veterans to help fill the void in net. In two seasons as a reserve goaltender, Nathan Corey ’13 has posted a 5-1-2 record with a 1.49 goals-against average and a 0.929 save percentage.
Looking to compete for the starting position after a two-year absence, senior Jonathan La Rose hopes to regain the form that made him a two-time all-NESCAC honoree in 2008 and 2009. Splitting time with Anderson as a sophomore, the Edmonton, AB native finished with a 12-1-0 record while leading the nation in both goals-against average (1.39) and save percentage (0.956). During his first two seasons, La Rose went 20-3-1 with a 1.74 GAA, 0.944 save percentage and three shutouts.
“Cole was a fantastic player for four years and replacing him will definitely be a challenge,” said Arena. “We know where Nathan Corey ended last year, so he is the most known quantity right now. We also certainly know where La Rose was two years ago and if he can approach that level of play, it will be a huge boost for us.”
Also battling for playing time will be sophomore Johnny Russell, who saw limited action as a first-year, and newcomer Danny Vitale ’15.
“Russell has the potential to develop into a very good NESCAC goalie,” Arena said. “Danny has shown a lot of promise and we hope he can develop into a contributing player for us.”
Headlining the Amherst defense is Baran, who has been a staple in the Lord Jeff lineup since arriving in 2008-09, making 76 career appearances. An integral part of the NESCAC’s second-best penalty killing unit a year ago (85.1 %), Baran will look to lead a veteran group that features five upperclassmen.
Fellow senior Jeremy Deutsch played in 19 games last season, at times showing the potential to be one of the team’s best defensemen while Jamie Hawkrigg ’13 played in 22 games, tallying six assists. As a first-year, the offensive-minded blue liner recorded four goals and 10 helpers en route to second-team all-NESCAC honors.
Brandon Hew ’13 and Elliot Bostrom ’14, who combined for two goals and seven assists, will look to provide a Jeff defense that ranked fourth in the league in scoring defense (2.56) with a strong physical presence.
Nik Garofalo ’13 and first-years Jake Turrin and Aaron Deutsch should provide Amherst with added depth in the back.
Senior co-captain Eddie Effinger
Despite the loss of leading scorer Matthew Rhone ’11 to graduation, the Lord Jeffs return the bulk of their offensive production from 2010-11 with Effinger, Mark Colp ’12, Nick Brunette ’13 and Mike Moher ’13 all back in the fold.
Effinger ranked second on the squad in scoring last season with 10 goals and nine assists while Colp finished with nine goals and eight helpers, tying for the second most power-play goals (3). In three years in Purple and White, Effinger and Colp have combined for 111 points on 49 goals and 62 assists.
Complimenting Amherst’s top scoring duo are Brunette and Moher who should provide the Lord Jeff offense with added punch. A talented passer, Brunette dished out the second-most assists on the team last year (11) while Moher has continued to improve over his first two seasons and will look to surpass his 14 point output from 2010-11.
A strong center with a great shot, Andrew Kurlandski ’14 comes off a rookie campaign in which he posted seven goals and six assists while fellow sophomores Brian Safstrom, who played more of a defensive role a year ago, and Erik Hansen return after finishing last season with eight and seven points, respectively.
Hoping to step into larger roles this year are Kevin English ’12, Johnny Van Siclen ’13 and Dylan Trumble ’13, who brings a lot of intensity and toughness to the Amherst front line. Chris Finch ’14 and Ryan Edwards ’14, one of the team’s best skaters, round out a deep and balanced group of forwards along with first-years Mike Rowbotham, Andrew Fenwick, Michael Cashman and Dan Merenich.
Playing each NESCAC opponent twice in a new double round-robin format, Amherst opens a challenging 2011-12 schedule against Hamilton at Orr Rink on Friday, Nov. 18. After a non-conference matchup with Westfield State on Nov. 22, the Jeffs will participate in the Cape Cod Lighthouse Invitational Tournament hosted by Babson on Nov. 26-27 before hosting four-straight league games from Dec. 3-10.
Following a pair of non-conference showdowns with Lake Forest and Manhattanville, the Jeffs travel to Brunswick, Maine to face USCHO preseason No. 8 Bowdoin on Jan. 6 before taking on preseason No. 7 Utica later in the month. Amherst will close out the regular season with a pair of road games at archrival Williams (Feb. 18) and Middlebury (Feb. 19) before the start of the NESCAC Championships on Feb. 25.