UMD Hockey Season Preview: 2014-15

Snow is bound to fly any day now.  You can finally go outside wearing the perfect outfit - a sweatshirt and jeans - which was voted actually voted by the Bulldog Country staff to be the best trending fashion statement thing of this century.

Anyway, we're one day away from the very first puck drop of the season.

(Photo: UMD Athletics)

The Roster

So between the last game of last season and to this point in time, the Dogs have lost a total of three forwards, two defensemen, and a goalie.  Below is just a brief glimpse at what happened to those guys and who they were...

  • Joe Basaraba (F) - Graduation - San Antonio Rampage
  • Max Tardy (F) - Graduation - Pensacola Ice Flyers
  • Caleb Herbert (F) - Early Departure - Hershey Bears
  • Tim Smith (D) - Graduation
  • Luke McManus (D) - Nerve Injury
  • Aaron Crandall (G) - Graduation - Alaska Aces

Replacing those individuals will not be easy, but the brighter news is we're only losing 20% of goals and 19.5% of the total points from last season.  Of those points, Herbert, who lead the team last year with 19 assists and 31 points, will be the most difficult to replace.

The biggest question mark coming out of the roster situation is going to be the goaltending situation.  Aaron Crandall spent 1,738 minutes and 18 seconds between the pipes for UMD last season, which is about the equivalent to 4 out of 5 games.  Matt McNeely brings experience to the table, but not near as much as Crandall.

Luckily for the Dogs, Sandelin has done very well in recruiting top-end talent.  With that being said, heres a look at the new Pups coming in this season...

  • Karson Kuhlman (F) - Dubuque USHL | Esko, MN
  • Jared Thomas (F) - Sioux City USHL | Hermantown, MN
  • Brett Boehm (F) - Yorktown SJHL | Martensville, SASK
  • Blake Young (F) - Battlefords AJHL | Battleford, SASK
  • Brenden Kotyk (D) - St. Scholastica NCHA | Regina, SASK
  • Nick McCormack (D) - Brooks AJHL | Ramsey, MN
  • Kasimir Kaskisuo (G) - Minnesota NAHL | Vantaa, Finland

Kuhlman and Thomas, who both had very nice years in the USHL last season, scored 25 goals for 44 points and 20 goals for 66 points last season, respectfully.  These two, in combination with Young and Boehm's ability to find the back of the net and see the ice, should provide UMD's offense with a great start going into the season.

Also exciting is Kotyk's arrival to the ice for game days.  He was allowed to practice with the team last season but could not participate in games per NCAA regulations.  His presence on the ice during practice was scary enough, you know, given his 6-6, 225lb frame.  Kotyk, in combination with Ramsey native McCormack should give the Pups some needed strength amongst the blue-liners.

The most anticipated arrival comes from former Minnesota Wilderness netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo.  The Finnish goaltender put up crazy statistics last year allowing him to placed on the Midwest All-Division Team.  SBNation College Hockey's Chris Dilks wrote a great article on Kaskisuo, check it out by clicking that link.

Lastly, well from a roster standpoint, is number changes.

  • Dominic Toninato from #17 to #19 (Max Tardy's old number)
  • Carson Soucy from #4 to #21 (Caleb Herbert's old number)
Well, moving on.

Line Predictions

Bold moves here.  I really have no idea what to expect, but I thought I'd give it a go.  So, with that being said, this is how I see the lines opening up against the Minnesota Gophers this upcoming weekend in South Bend, Indiana.

Osterberg - Cameranesi - Crandall
Farley - Decowski - Kuhlman
Iafallo - Toninato - Krause
Sampair - Thomas - Boehm
B. Young - A. Young - Spurrell

Soucy - Welinski
Johnson - Raskob
Corrin - Kotyk
McCormack - Molenaar

McNeely - Kaskisuo - Fons

Again, just a toss up here based on last season's trends and some assumptions.  I think goaltending could change, but I couldn't tell you for sure.

By The Numbers

The University of Minnesota Duluth's Athletics website ( recently posted some interesting facts about the Men's team.  I'll highlight some of the facts below, but check out the rest - "Bulldog Men's Hockey ... By The Numbers".

  • 89 – Points generated by the UMD's seven freshmen last season. Only nine other schools in the country (and none from the National Collegiate Hockey Conference) possessed a rookie ensemble with a higher scoring total.
  • 50 – Bulldog hockey alums who have gone on to do time in the National Hockey League . Larry Wright was the first (Philadelphia in 1970-72) and Justin Fontaine is the latest (Minnesota Wild one year ago)
  • 15 – Seasons Scott Sandelin has presided over the UMD hockey program. That's the longest continuous tenure of any NCHC head coach.
  • 6 – Europeans who have enlisted their services with the Bulldogs since 1931. The latest addition to that club is rookie goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo (KAH-see-mer KAH-skee-swah-oh), a member of the North American Hockey League's Minnesota Wilderness one year ago. The Vantaa, Finland, product is the first non-North American to play for 15th-year head coach Scott Sandelin.
  • 4 – NHL Draft picks on the 2014-15 roster. That list includes Tony Cameranesi (Toronto), Carson Soucy (Minnesota), Dominic Toninato (Toronto) and Andy Welinski (Anaheim).

More to come...  Eventually.  The first puck drops tomorrow night at Amsoil Arena against Lakehead.  Be there or be square.


Questions?  Comments?  Ask Below!


Anonymous said...

I'm curious to see how much playing time the freshmen class will get this year. As of late Sandelin is not afraid to play his freshmen right away. The top three lines are pretty much set except Herbert's center (probably Decowski) and Basaraba's RW (probably Kuhlman)...but I'd like to see Brett Boehm there too - he's been a scoring machine the last few years in Canada. His 6-3 size would be beneficial on that line with 5-8 Farley and 5-7 Decowski.
I'm also excited to see big man Kotyk on the blue line...I've heard he's got potential to be the next Justin Faulk.
I hope goalkeeper Kaskisuo's game translates well from the juniors to the NCHC.

After watching this weekend in South Bend, I'm very comfortable saying it's going to be a fun year.