Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Season Preview: Nebraska-Omaha

Head coach Mike Kemp says:
"We're looking forward to a great year. The opportunity with Doc leaving gave me a chance for the first time to bring a former player on as and assistant coach. It's a thrill for us to have Nick Fohr, who played on our second through fifth teams at UNO, in a full-time coaching position. He served under Enrico Blasi at Miami for one year as a graduate assistant, had spent three years as our director of hockey operations and will now step into a full-time coaching position, which for me is very gratifying to have one of our own guys move up the coaching ladder. We have some big shoes to fill in our program losing Scott Parse who was our four-time team MVP, three time First Team All-CCHA selection, and holder of every scoring record in our school's history. That's going to be a big hole to fill, along with Alex Nikiforuk, who was another one of our high-scoring forwards that we lost to graduation. We have three seniors that have been consistent scorers, Bryan Marshal, Brandon Scero from Canton, Michigan and Mick Lawrence returning. We'll look for those guys to give us some offensive punch throughout the course of the season. We'll be relatively green back on the blueline. Juha Uotila will be a junior defenseman who has shown some offensive ability back there. Eddie Del Grosso returning from an All-Rookie Team in his first year at UNO and Mark Bernier are our only defensemen with any experience. We'll be playing five freshmen defensemen this year who will all be vying for playing time. And it will be a test to prep them for the rigors of CCHA play. Goaltending should be stable if nothing else. We have Jeremie Dupont coming back from a strong freshman season. He'll be supported by Jerad Kaufman and senior Eric Aarnio. We feel that position can give us some stability for what we consider to be a very difficult cluster in a very difficult CCHA league. We're looking forward to seeing everyone on the road and a great CCHA season."

WCH says:

The biggest story for Nebraska-Omaha is the gaping hole left by Scott Parse. Parse led the Mavericks in scoring all four years at Nebraska-Omaha, and led the program from last place in the CCHA his freshman year to the school's first NCAA appearance in his junior year. Seniors Bryan Marshall and Brandon Scero have put up decent numbers in their careers, but will have to make a big jump this year to help replace the loss of offense.

The Mavericks have a fairly big freshman class this year with 9 new freshman, but there are two players not in this freshman class that could be bigger losses. Defenseman Quinn Waller was able to qualify academically for UNO, and will instead play for Division III Adrian College this year. Also, talented forward John Kemp was unable to qualify academically and is instead playing another year for the Indiana Ice in the USHL. Kemp would have helped offset the loss of Parse, as well as Alex Nikiforuk, who scored 43 points last year for the Mavericks.

If nothing else, the incoming freshman will add a little more size to the Mavericks roster. Last year, Nick Fanto was the only Maverick forward taller than 6-0. The Mavericks add a little more size in forward Matt Ambroz(6-4 198), defenseman Alain Goulet(6-3 195), and two late additions on defense in Nick van Bokern(6-4 210) and Pasko Skarica(6-3 210).

In goal, Jeremie Dupont saw most of the minutes last season, despite not turning 18 until December. His numbers weren't spectacular, but about as good as any team could hope for given that he was an underage goalie. He should be even better this year with another year of maturity.