2013-2014 Season Preview
The Knights enter the 2013-2014 season with high hopes after a disappointing end to last season. After starting with a 7-0-0 record, the team went 7-11-0 to end the year with an overall record of 14-11-0. The team lost a hard fought game with UM-Flint (3-5) at regionals and lost in the first round of the MCHC League playoffs to GVSU (3-4).
The end of last season also brought the end of a few great careers. Defensemen Todd Jacobs (A) and Caleb Bosma (C) were solid contributors over their careers. Bosma finished 8th on the Knights All-Time scoring list and Jacobs was an inspiring player who played without fear. Perhaps the biggest loss was the departure of Goalie Trevor Boardway. He was named to the ACHA Selects Team and was considered by many as one of the top 5 goalies in the country.
Filling the void left by those players won’t be easy, but the Knights are fortunate to be returning some key players and great leaders. The Captains were announced following the end of the season to allow them to guide the team through the off season. Defenseman Evan Koetje was named the team Captain. He is entering his senior year and is a leader through his play. Joining Koetje as a Captain is Defenseman Rich Luimes, who was named an Assistant Captain. Luimes, also a senior, has played both forward and defense and is known for his hard hitting and vocal leadership. The third Captain is Brent Harris who was named an Assistant Captain and is also a senior. Harris enters the season ranked number 17 on the Knights All-Time scoring list. He is the definition of a two-way forward and never takes a shift off.
In addition to the Captains, the Knights also returned a few other key players. Charles Kingston, a Sophomore Defenseman, led the Defense in scoring last season. Forward John “JC” Conz will look to build on his strong end to last season. Also coming back are solid players in Brandon Sopjes (Junior, Forward), Jake Pruiksma (sophomore, forward), Ryan Blaauwendraat (Second semester freshman, Defense/Forward) and Galen Wood (sophomore, Forward).
The team will have a lot of new faces this year as 20 freshmen have been selected to be in the program. Head Coach Mike Petrusma has brought in arguably his best recruiting class in his 18 years at Calvin. Coach Petrusma had this to say about where this freshman class ranks, “In 2002 we brought in two players that are ranked 1 and 2 in scoring in program history along with a few other key players that won the 2004 National Championship, so that is obviously tough to beat. Also, it is difficult to compare this group to that one, because this class is as impressive in terms of top-end talent as it is in its depth. I’d hate to put unrealistic expectations on these guys, but I can say that on paper, it is impressive.”
We’ve highlighted only a few of the recruits below. If you would like to see the full list and learn a bit about them, you can see that here.
Austin Kath – A Defenseman from the Milwaukee Jr Admirals, Kath has spent the last few years playing Tier 1 AAA. He is extremely mobile and has an exceptional passing ability.
Jared Coulter – A 6’4”, 195 pound forward, Coulter was drafted 46th overall in the 2013 NAHL Draft by the Wichita Falls out of Flint Powers High School. He is fast, physical and has an incredible passion for the game.
Ian Fleming – A Defenseman who was named Captain of Team Indiana last season. He is an excellent skater and an excellent skill level.
Cameron Bell – A forward with AAA experience, Cameron spent last season with the Brampton 45’s AA team. He helped lead them to an OMHA Championship and scored 114 points in 80 games.
Dean Griffin – Dean was named to the Michigan Division 1 All-State Team last year. He is a strong, physical player who also has the ability to score in bunches.
Zac Olin – A forward who comes to Calvin after playing with the Chicago Jr Bulldogs (MNJHL). He is a strong two-way center who can play on the power play and penalty kill units.
Jordan Duncan – A quick, shifty forward, Duncan spent last season with the Oshawa Generals (Ontario AAA). He has the ability to score and will provide much needed quickness to a lineup full of size.
In addition to these recruits, Coach Petrusma also brought in three goalies. Micah Timmermans, Brent Smiles and Jonah Savitt will all compete to fill the void left by Boardway. What has Coach Petrusma seen out of the goalies in camp so far? “I’ve been impressed with all three up to this point. They are all young and have some things to learn, but I’m pleased with the depth. It is early, but I think that all three could win us a game if needed.”
The future looks bright for the Knights, but with such a young team, how will they react to the challenges of a college season? They have one of the toughest schedules in the country and won’t have to wait long for their first challenge.
Their first four games are against D2 opponents (Ferris State and Notre Dame) followed by three games against each of the number one ranked teams from last season in each region (Colorado State, Central Florida and California University of Pennsylvania). Combine that with a grueling MCHC West schedule and you can see that the Knights will have no false sense of how good they are, after the first two months of the season.
The one thing that we know for certain is that this is one of the most anticipated season openers in the last 10 years of Calvin Hockey. The Calvin College Knights will open their season at home against Ferris State on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 8:00 PM at Eagles Ice Center.