On Sunday, April 7th, we will gather one more time at the SJU Hockey Senior Banquet to honor the eight seniors that will graduate this May and to look back at the 2018-19 season one last time.
This season, SJU finished 12-10-5 overall and 9-4-3 in the MIAC. This was good enough to finish second in the MIAC regular-season standings for the second year in a row. Really, the season was a tale of two halves once again. We had a first half (before Christmas break) record of 5-5-3 overall and 3-2-1 in the MIAC compared to a second-half record of 7-5-2 overall and 6-2-2 in the MIAC. This may not seem drastic, but we were playing better the second half and we played some of the top teams in the MIAC.
As a team, we had a 2.3 goals against average (GAA) for second-best in the league and 2.85 average goals per game (GPG) which was fourth in the league. Our GAA stayed about the same from last year, but our GPG fell 10 goals. This is something that we need to work on next year in that we need to find a way to score more goals.
Our special teams net finished fourth in the league with a power-play percentage of 18.4% and a penalty-kill percentage of 85.3%. Together we gave up 15 shorthanded goals and scored 15 power-play goals. These numbers were down compared to last season, where we finished top of the MIAC in all three categories with a power-play percentage of 25.5%, penalty-kill percentage of 86% and a combined special teams of +8. We need to improve our special teams next season to continue to chase our goals of the NCAA Tournament.
We had three players achieve All-MIAC in juniors Kyle Wagner, Brady Heppner and Andrew Lindgren. We also had senior Robb Stautz receive All-MIAC honorable mention. We had a lot of great performers this year, but these four guys rose to the top.
One of the strongest aspects of Johnnie hockey year in and year out, is our depth. I feel that we have the deepest team in the MIAC in that every night we have 4 lines that can contribute and 6 defensemen that can play any situation. This also doesn’t stop at goaltending in that I felt we had the two best goalies in the league with Andrew Lindgren and Mac Berglove. Our depth allows us to be a good 3rd period team with a +10 goal differential. This also shows in our overall scoring with 11 guys on the team with 10 or more points. Only one other team had that kind of depth. Our depth is are biggest strength and in order to keep that strength we need to find players to come to SJU that can fill the shoes of the eight seniors moving on.
It is going to be a big spring and summer in the recruiting world for SJU Hockey. We need to find the next crop of Johnnie Hockey student-athletes that are going to come in ready to contribute right away. The eight seniors that are graduating contributed 37 of our 77 goals this season and five of our top 10 scorers. We will need guys to step up next year along with brining in a great freshman class to get SJU to the top of the MIAC.