Hockey Opens Season Thursday at Babson

Hockey Opens Season Thursday at Babson

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-With three of their top five scorers returning and an influx of new talent, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's hockey team is poised to challenge for the championship in the Massachusetts Collegiate Athletic Conference this season. The Corsairs will open 2012-13 play when they visit Babson in a non-conference game Thursday evening.

The Corsairs' top returning scorer is sophomore defenseman Steve Ginand (Milford, MA/Northern Cyclones-AtJHL), who scored seven goals and added 14 assists for 21 points while being named second team All-Conference, MASCAC Rookie of the Year and being named to the United States College Hockey online All-Rookie team as one of the top six rookies in Division III.

Senior forwards Dave McDonald (Wakefield, MA/Valley Jr. Warriors-EJHL) and Nick Marquis (Londonderry, NH/Valley Jr. Warriors-EJHL) also return. McDonald was 9-10-19 and Marquis 4-15-19 last season, and both will be counted on up front. In addition, senior forwards Phil Bonner (Wilbraham, MA/Springfield Jr. falcons-EJHL), 8-6-14 in 10 games) and Dan Dempsey (Norwell, MA/Lebanon Valley College, 3-7-10) will join fellow returnees junior Greg Girtatos (Tyngsboro, NH/Bishop Guertin HS, 4-7-11 in 13 games) and sophomore Shaun Walters (Plymouth, MI/Rochester Ice Hawks-MNJHL, 5-5-10) up front.

"We have 13 new players on our 28-man roster, and we feel that we have added quality depth at both the forward and defense positions," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach John Rolli. "We expect significant production from seniors Nick Marquis, Dave McDonald, Phil Bronner and Dan Dempsey, as well as junior Greg Girtatos and a much-improved sophomore Shaun Walters."  

Sophomore forward Dmitry Antipin (Novosibirsk, Russia/Cape Cod Cubs-IJHL) and freshman forwards Swann Boisvert (Blainville, QC/Pembroke Lumber Kings-CJHL) and Casey Skolnik (Ashland, OR/Iron Range Ironheads) lead a promising group of newcomers up front.

Defensively, Ginand's partner, senior Zach Hepler (Sarver, PA/Dixie Beehives-OPJHL, 1-15-16), who also earned second team All-Conference honors, returns, along with senior Matt Correia (Acushnet, MA/New Bedford HS, 2-3-5) and junior Nate Dupere (Fall River, MA/Hebron Academy, 2-4-6). Challengers for the other spots include freshmen Conor Clement (Danvers, MA/Pingree), John Sartell (Wakefield, MA/Bridgton Academy), and Zak Kroll (Anchorage, AK/Spokane Braves-KIJHL).

"Four rookie forwards will be in the lineup each night, with two more waiting for their opportunities," said Rolli. "Four of our top six defensemen are veterans, with our top tandem being Steve Ginand and Zach Hepler.

All three goaltenders return, led by senior Ryan Williams (Milton, ON/Huntsville Otters-OPJHL), who was 3-9-2 with a 2.42 goals against average and a .923 save percentage a year ago. Junior Ben Vandervies (Hanna, AB/Golden Rockets-KIJHL, 3-0-0, 3.63 and .899) returns to back up Williams, with senior Nate Eagan (Hingham, MA/Hingham HS) also back.

"We will be backboned in goal by Ryan Williams, who played well for us last year," said Rolli."While we played in the semi-finals in the playoffs in each of our seasons we have been in the MASCAC, twice losing in overtime. We are looking to take the next step and get to the championship game, win it and secure a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Our 23 league wins in the last two regular seasons are tops in the conference. We believe we are poised to challenge defending champion Plymouth State this season."