Cardinals Have Lofty Aspirations Entering 2011-12 After First-Ever NESCAC Semi-Final Showing in 2010-11
With the advent of the home-and-away round-robin NESCAC schedule in 2011-12, Wesleyan will be looking to pick up where it left off in 2010-11 when the new campaign kicks off Fri., Nov. 18 with a home weekend against Conn. College and Tufts. The Jumbos will be the opponent on Sat., Nov. 19.
Last year, the Cardinals went 5-4 against NESCAC teams during the regular season and 8-10-1 in league play with games against the ECAC East counting in the league standings. Entering the NESCAC tournament as the #8 seed, the Cardinals marched to #1 Hamilton and upset the Continentals in the opening round of the NESCAC playoffs, 5-2. Then at Williams for the semi-finals, the Cardinals carried a 2-1 lead into the final period only to fall, 3-2 in overtime. The Cardinals and Ephs had played to the same result during the regular season.
Wesleyan returns nine of the 11 players from 2010-11 who cracked into double-digits for scoring, giving Cardinal mentor Chris Potter reason to say "I feel the offense will be our strength, we are extremely deep and experienced up front." Leading the way are 20-point scorers Nik Tasiopoulos '14, Geoff Mucha '12 and Keith Buehler '14. Tasiopoulos and Mucha tied for the team lead in goals with 12 while Buehler was one of three Cardinals with seven goals and also generated a team-best-tying 13 assists. Also back with seven tallies a year ago is team co-captain Adam Kaiser '13 (#29, main photo). Fellow co-captain Tom Salah '12 (#5, photo insert upper left) collected six goals and nine assists for 15 points and has 49 career points over three seasons.
Tops among the blue-line crew in scoring is Chris MacDonald '13, who is back after tying for the team lead in assists with 13. Rounding out the returning players in the 10-point-or-more department are Nick Craven '13, Tommy Hartnett '14 and John Guay '13. Also back after seeing plenty of action in 2010-11 are defenders Micah Ehiorobo '13 and Brad Improta '14 along with forwards Ryan White '13 and Donald Kleckner '13. Additional returnees and a corps of top-notch newcomers will round out the very capable Cardinal skating crew.
In goal, the Cardinals have both starters back from a year ago as Matt Hadge '13 and Glenn Stowell '13 split time almost evenly with Hadge posting a .926 save percentage and 2.52 GAA with a 6-5-1 record while Stowell posted a .904 save percentage, 3.13 GAA and 4-7-2 mark. Coach Potter commented, "We are extremely fortunate to have two quality goaltenders and their ability to be good teammates for each other as they compete for the job. They both have played well and I look forward for that to continue."
In January and February, Wesleyan will play nothing but NESCAC games as 14 of the 18 scheduled conference affairs come up consecutively after playing just Conn, Tufts, Amherst and Hamilton during the first semester.