BABSON PARK, Mass.—The Babson College men's ice hockey team, which returns 23 players from a squad that made its fourth straight conference tournament championship game appearance last winter, enters the 2016-17 campaign looking to continue its tradition of success.
Under the direction of 13th-year head coach Jamie Rice '90, the Beavers have won 18 or more games in four consecutive seasons after finishing 19-6-3 last winter. Despite the loss of two All-America selections, the Green and White brings back its top eight scorers and 14 forwards, led by senior captains Michael Phillips (Richmond Heights, Ohio) and Tim Searles (Chesapeake, Va.).
Phillips, who produced four goals and 10 assists for 14 points last season, has played in 85 straight games since stepping on campus, while Searles earned New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) all-conference honorable mention honors after leading the team in scoring with eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points. Fellow senior Bill Seligman (Toronto, Ontario) has recorded 23 goals and 46 points over the last years and classmate Dan Casey (Chatham, N.J.) scored nine times and led Babson with three game-winning goals last season.
Junior Charlie Ackerman (Bradenton, Fla.) scored a team-high 12 goals during the 2015-16 campaign, classmate Rob Devaney (Reading, Mass.) tied for fifth in scoring with nine goals and nine assists, and fellow juniors Matt McMorrow (Pearl River, N.Y.) and Ryan Gouveia (Dartmouth, Mass.) combined for six goals and 16 assists in 2015-16. Additionally, sophomore Matt Brazel (Hingham, Mass.) had a strong rookie year with eight goals and 11 assists, while classmate Tommy Munichiello (Weymouth, Mass.) tallied nine goals in 26 contests.
Junior Bobby Hall (Westwood, Mass.) has 15 points in 45 games over the last two seasons, while senior Patrick Young (Medford, Mass.), sophomore Stevie DeForge (Norwood, Mass.) and junior Zach Phelps (Manorville, Pa.) give the Green and White plenty of depth and experience at the forward position.
The Beavers return six defensemen, led by junior Jake Donahue (Groveland, Mass.), who finished with 10 assists and 12 points in 28 games last year. Classmates Josh Casper (Lake Forest, Ill.), Matt Holtshouser (Londonderry, N.H.) and Joe DePietto (Westbury, N.Y.) have all appeared in more than 25 games along the blue line over the last two seasons, while fellow junior Paul Wagner (Walpole, Mass.) and sophomore Matt Michalke (Parma, Ohio) both saw action in 17 games last winter.
Sophomore Matt Pompa (Palm City, Fla.) is the most experienced goaltender on the roster after making six starts during a successful first-year campaign. He went 5-1-0 with a 1.56 goals against average to go along with a .833 save percentage and three shutouts in 2015-16, and will be backed up by senior Gene Lane (Plymouth, Mass.) and classmate Bryan Botcher (Mequon, Wis.).
In addition to its veteran core, Babson has three first-year players that are looking to make an immediate impact on the ice.
"We are looking forward to the 2016-17 season and excited to get underway this weekend against a perennial top 10 opponent in Hobart on the road," said Rice. "We have a great group of returning players, led by a very successful senior class, and are looking forward to seeing our team develop over the next five months. The NEHC will be a tight and competitive league with so many outstanding players and excellent coaches, and our non-league schedule will be extremely challenging with many of our opponents being ranked entering the year. We have had a great two weeks of practice and now it is time to evaluate where our strengths and weaknesses are as we begin to play games."
The Beavers open a two-game series at Hobart on Friday at 7 p.m. before returning home for seven consecutive games beginning on November 4 against Plymouth State.