GENEVA — The Hobart hockey team finished last season with a 14-9-4 record and reached the ECAC West conference semifinals.
Head coach Mark Taylor and the Statesmen want more. That starts with erasing weekend lapses.
“Basically, the mindset is that we want to do a lot more than we did last year,” Taylor said. “We had a couple weekends that we really weren’t happy with. For us, I’m looking at that we need to make sure as individuals that we’re putting down a pretty darn good performance each night as a team.
“Consistency, not having any lull weekends — I think we’ve had a pretty good track record of not having a bad weekend — we want to get rid of those,” Taylor continued. “They haven’t been a trademark of ours. Play to our full potential every night — that’s really where we’re at.”
Taylor hopes his team’s offensive depth will alleviate those pitfall weekends.
Hobart returns its top five scorers in junior forwards Mac Olson (27 points), Ben Gamache (25) and Bo Webster (23), senior defenseman Ryan Michel (19) and sophomore defenseman Carl Belizario (16).
“Bo Webster, Ben Gamache and Mac Olson, those three guys are key to us for sure,” Taylor remarked. “I look at the three seniors of Tommaso Traversa, Brad McBride and Robert Sovik, there is a nice depth there.
“I look and say that we have four lines every night that we’re pretty proud of, but those four lines have to play to their full potential. There are some excellent players in that group, and there is not one player on any team in this league that is going to carry the offense. I think our guys know that. We have some guys that are more touted than others, but I think it’s going to be our strength as a group.”
In goal, Taylor looks for more stout performances from junior Lino Chimienti. He posted a 13-6-3 record with a 2.58 goals-against average, a .912 save percentage and one shutout last season.
“Goaltending is a job from game to game. That’s the nature of the beast and beauty of the job,” Taylor commented. “If you’re playing good, you get to keep it. We need Lino to put down a lot more stellar games than he has put down. We just need consistently high play out of him. He has definitely shown that he can play very special. As a goaltender, you want to keep adding more special nights every year.
“To have a good program, you need to have more than one guy and we have some other guys in house. Those guys are here to battle for goaltending time. Whichever guy is in the lead, wants to try and stay in the lead.”
The Statesmen also feature junior goalie Tim Keegan, who was 1-3-1 with a 3.16 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage last year. Sophomore Gryphon Richardson will try to earn some time between the pipes.
As for the newcomers, Taylor is hoping for impact performances, but will let the players do the talking with their play.
“I think there are some freshman that are going to factor in,” Taylor noted. “For me, I always look at that as a curse. We had some freshman, all-stars last year, but I wasn’t touting them. My feeling is let the freshman guys make their own noise.”
For the Statesmen to achieve success in 2014-15, Taylor believes it will take a conscious effort by his players to translate individual preparation into the team concept.
“It’s guys getting themselves to the right place mentally and physically so that they can perform up to their individual capabilities, and then do it within the framework and purpose of the team,” Taylor said. “And, you need a little luck.
“Make sure team is first and get after it. Hopefully, the wins take care of themselves.”