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ISSUE 120 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 3/16/2007

Hockey reflects on seasons: Coaches have high hopes for 2007-2008

By Ryan Maus
Staff Writer

Friday, March 16, 2007

Expectations have risen exponentially for the St. Olaf men's and women's hockey teams in recent years, and much of this improvement is due to stellar coaching. Men's head coach Sean Goldsworthy '94, whose team fell 5-1 to Bethel in the MIAC playoffs last week, led his team to three consecutive conference semifinal berths including the program'’s first-ever NCAA tournament appearance last year.

For the women, second-year head coach John Bazzachini was named the MIAC'’s “Coach of the Year” for leading the Oles to a second-place finish, the highest seed in program history and tying a program record with 15 wins. Bazzachini's squad also suffered a disappointing season-ending playoff loss last week, dropping a 6-2 decision to St. Thomas.

Despite being unable to defend St. Olaf'’s 2005-2006 conference title, Goldsworthy had many positive things to say about this year’'s team.

“"We didn't really hit a ‘playoff stride’ like we did last year, which is disappointing and leaves a somewhat bad taste in my mouth,"” Goldsworthy said. "But when you reflect back, this is the third straight year we’ve reached the semifinals, so it’'s hard to be disappointed with the effort and the season in general."”

Bazzachini also saw a silver lining in his team'’s final game.

"“It's hard to move on from a disappointing loss, but the reality is that you have to move on,”" Bazzachini said. "The most disappointing part of our last game was allowing six goals at home in the playoffs. We didn'’t play a great game but we didn’'t play a horrible game either –- - we gave up some easy goals to a good team, and you can't do that in the postseason."”

The MIAC recently released the results of the 2006-2007 All-MIAC voting, and a number of Oles were honored. John Paulson ‘'08 (a unanimous selection) and Dylan Mueller ‘'09 were named to the All-MIAC team, and Jeff Budish ‘'08 and goalie Jeff Wilde ‘'07 were Honorable Mention honorees.

Goldsworthy, who expects Paulson to be named St. Olaf's first All-American since 1992, was happy with the selections.

"“John was widely considered to be the best defenseman in the Western Region,”" Goldsworthy said about his marquee defenseman. “"He had a great year, and even though his statistics might not show it, night in and night out he was probably the best player on the ice.”"

For the women, Lindsey Boeser ‘'08, Susannah Brokl ‘'07 and Jess Magnuson ‘'09 were All-MIAC picks. Boeser and Brokl, both three-time All-MIAC selections, also finished first and second in the conference in scoring with 39 and 38 goals, respectively.

"“I wouldn't be surprised if [Boeser] is named an All-American as well,"” Bazzachini said. “"At times, she was a dominant player for us this year. Susannah also had a great year and made tremendous progress in areas that don'’t always show up on the stat sheet. She took her leadership role very seriously …- - I thought she became a better all-around player this year.”"

With this year'’s hockey season finished, both coaches have begun making preparations for next winter. The men will lose five seniors, while the women will lose just four.

"“The heart and soul of our team was the junior class of this year, and I think all those guys have their best season ahead of them,"” Goldsworthy said. “"We’'ve already got a couple of top recruits landed, and if we can get three or four more I think we'll be right back to where we are now next year.”"

Bazzachini was even more optimistic about his squad’'s prospects for 2007-2008.

"“I feel pretty similar to how I felt last year at this time,”" Bazzachini said about the outlook for next year. "“I believed that this year’'s team would be better than last year'’s, and I believe that next year'’s team will be even better than this year.”"

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