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The Good, The Bad, & The Future: America East

We continue our conference recaps with the America East Conference!

Bill Ziskin

With the offseason now in full swing, it’s time to look back at the 2017 season! We’ll dissect all the individual teams from worst to first based off my final Power Rankings later during the summer.

But first, we’ll dissect each conference and return The Good, The Bad, & The Future series. We won’t talk a ton about each team until the individual dissections, but this should be a good quick glimpse at each team. Yesterday, we did the SoCon teams. We’ll now take a look at the teams from the America East!

So let’s get started!

UMass Lowell River Hawks (4-12)

The Good: Despite having the same record as they did in 2016, the River Hawks did take another step forward in 2017. Sean Tyrrell and Jon Phillips took another step forward as juniors on the program, and sophomore goalie Grant Lardieri was the team’s starter.

The Bad: UMass Lowell had some tough one-goal losses to Fairfield, Monmouth, Vermont, and Stony Brook, and also blew a lead against UMass back in mid-March.

The Future: I would not be shocked if you see the River Hawks in the America East Tournament next season. Plenty of the current team returns, as it will be UMass Lowell’s fourth year of play in 2018. Ed Stephenson will see more improvement in 2018.

Hartford Hawks (6-8)

The Good: Ryan Martin’s first season at the helm didn’t result in any tournament berths like last season. But the Hawks did get the support of midfielders Griffin Feiner and Alec Brown on offense, along with Ryan Vanderford in goal and Dylan Protesto at the face-off X.

The Bad: The Hawks didn’t lose many players from 2016 but took a step back this season. Their worst loss came against Manhattan in double overtime, but also fell to UMass by two and to Binghamton and UMass Lowell by a single goal in AE play. Attackman Jaedon Henderson also graduates from the school.

The Future: Henderson, along with Brown and Doug Giondi at midfield and Conor Daley, Chris Duffy, and Kevin Sanna, all leave. Justin Huggins and Dylan Jinks return at attack, with Trevor O’Brien at midfield and Claude Bradshaw on defense. There are some holes for the Hawks to fill in 2018, but if Protesto can have a solid season taking draws and Vanderford stands tall in goal, Hartford should contend for an AE Tournament spot.

Vermont Catamounts (5-8)

The Good: The Catamounts won their first three games under new head coach Chris Feifs, and two of them came in overtime. Four of their five wins came by a goal, and four of their five one-goal games were wins. Attackman Ben French and goaltender Nick Washuta were impactful freshmen to work with veterans Cam Milligan and Dawes Milchling.

The Bad: Eight of their final ten games were losses, and they never could continue their hot start. Not having stud attackman Ian MacKay for the entire season also didn’t help. He should be back for 2018 to work with French and Milchling with Milligan graduating.

The Future: As mentioned, the attack will be fine for 2018, but the defense will be a question. Warren Jeffrey is the only returning starting defenseman, and Graham Bocklett is an LSM that will also be back. Charlie Erdmann was impressive in his freshman year taking draws.

UMBC Retrievers (6-8)

The Good: Another first year head coach in the AE was Ryan Moran, who replaced the legendary Don Zimmerman. And they improved from last year’s 4-10 mark and made the AE Tournament. Senior Max Maxwell not only had a good name, but also led the Retrievers with 18 goals and 21 assists for 39 points. Two other players had 18 goals in sophomore midfielder Billy Nolan and freshman attackman Ryan Frawley. Defenseman Jason Brewster was a Second Team All-Conference choice.

The Bad: UMBC played well against Towson, but couldn’t get the win over the Tigers. They also lost to Michigan and Hartford in the regular season before they were bounced by Binghamton in the conference semifinals after defeating the Bearcats by one in the regular season.

The Future: Maxwell and Souder were the only senior starters on the team, so the core should be back by 2018 to be a contender in the America East. Midfielder Dylan McDermott and LSM Garrett Hasken are other seniors that leave. With the chemistry and understanding of Moran’s system, UMBC should get at least to .500 next year.

Stony Brook Seawolves (7-7)

The Good: Although they were nowhere near their 12-4 record last season, the Seawolves still did fine in 2017 and qualified for the America East Tournament. Seniors Alex Corpolongo and Jeff Reh were also drafted to the MLL, and Ryan Bitzer was a big part of the attack unit.

The Bad: The three aforementioned players and Jay Lindsay are graduating, and that’s a big loss on offense. The team also had tough losses to Hofstra and lost a lead to Princeton late.

The Future: There are some bright young players, especially on offense. Tom Haun and Cory Van Ginhoven started on attack this season and scored over 20 goals. Wayne White played a role at midfield. There’ll be a question about who will start at goal between Michael Bollinger and Brandon Maciejewski. They both started seven games, but Bollinger had the edge in minutes played, goals against, and save percentage.

Binghamton Bearcats (11-5)

The Good: It’s a sin Tom Moore was at Binghamton for just one year. He had 48 goals and 25 assists and was drafted by the Atlanta Blaze in the MLL Draft. He’s currently continuing his hot year there. Defenseman Garrett Waldron and goaltender Tanner Cosens also had solid final years.

The Bad: After starting 9-1, the Bearcats went 2-4 to end their season, with two of their losses coming to eventual AE champion Albany. And Moore graduates. That team was ranked and contended because of him for the most part.

The Future: Sure the majority of the team will be back, but losing Moore, Waldron, and Cosens will hurt a ton. How will Kevin McKeown keep this team churning wins and competitive performances in 2018? He’ll need guys like Thomas McAndrew, Joe Licata, and Zach Barrett to improve from their 2017 seasons in order for that to happen. Kevin Carbone might be the starting goaltender as well.

Albany Great Danes (15-3)

The Good: Plenty of good here. 15-3 without the Thompsons, a Tewaaraton finalist in Connor Fields, a freshman FOGO stud in TD Ierlan, and a crazy home crowd for their NCAA First Round win over North Carolina.

The Bad: So close, but no cigar. The season ended with a one-goal loss to Syracuse in their season opener in a game they had. They then lost to Maryland at home in mid-April and again in the Quarterfinals in late May. They lose starting midfielders Bennett Drake and Adam Osika, along with John Glancy, Eli Lasda, and Ky Tarbell as key reserves

The Future: Plenty of the team returns, including the entire starting attack and defense, including goaltender JD Colarusso. Add phenom Tehoka Nanticoke to that roster along with other freshmen and the Great Danes look like a possible Final Four team. This could be Scott Marr’s best team yet.