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Atlantic Hockey: What to expect this season

In predicted order of finish (with last season’s record and finish)

1. AIR FORCE (21-11-7, 1st)

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 Top returnees: F John Kruse 16-14—30; F Kyle De Laurell 15-23-38; F/D Stephen Carew 9-5—14.

 Top newcomer: F Max Edson. Hometown: Hermosa Beach, Calif. Last year’s team: Waterloo (USHL).

 Outlook: Air Force is coming off its fifth Atlantic championship in the last six years, and four of the top five scorers are back along with goalie Jason Torf.

2. NIAGARA (17-11-9, 2d)

 Top returnees: F Chris Lochner 13-3—16; F Giancarlo Iuorio 10-14—24; F Patrick Divjak 6-18—24.

 Top newcomer: F Hugo Turcotte. Hometown: St. Cyrille, Quebec. Last year’s team: Grande Prairie (AJHL).

 Outlook: The Purple Eagles have 21 players returning as well as a strong freshman class, which should lead to another successful year.

3. MERCYHURST (20-16-4, 4th)

 Top returnees: G Max Strang 16-14-3, 2.68 GAA, .927 save percentage; F Daniel Bahntge 10-21—31; F Nardo Nagtzaam 11-19—30.

 Top newcomer: D Anthony Mastrodicasa. Hometown: Woodbridge, Ontario. Last year’s team: Springfield Jr. Blues (NAHL).

 Outlook: The Lakers return 23 of 26 players from last season’s team, which earned 20 wins for the first time since 2008-09. Nineteen of the returnees were freshmen or sophomores last year.

4. BENTLEY (16-16-8, 6th)

 Top returnees: F Brett Gensler 23-27—50; F Alex Grieve 15-19—34; G Branden Komm 16-14-7, 2.41, .923.

 Top newcomer: F Andrew Gladiuk. Hometown: White Rock, British Columbia. Last year’s team: Nanaimo (BCHL).

 Outlook: The Falcons’ core group returns, but it will take some adjustment for the young defense to get up to speed.

5. RIT (20-13-6, 5th)

 Top returnees: D Chris Saracino 2-7—9; F Matt Garbowski 9-11—20; F Adam Hartley 7-8—15.

 Top newcomer: F Anthony Hamburg. Hometown: Phoenix. Last year’s team: Omaha (USHL).

 Outlook: The Tigers graduated eight seniors, but have earned at least 19 victories over the last six seasons.

6. HOLY CROSS (20-15-4, 3d)

 Top returnees: F Adam Schmidt 18-19—37; F Erik Vos 13-14—27; G Matt Ginn 17-8-2, 2.42, .904.

 Top newcomer: F Castan Sommer. Hometown: Shrewsbury. Last year’s team: Bismarck (NAHL).

 Outlook: The Crusaders are coming off their best record since 2005-06, and return 17 players.

7. CONNECTICUT (16-19-4, 8th)

 Top returnees: G Garrett Bartus 16-19-3, 2.55, .923; F Sean Ambrosie 7-20—27; F Brant Harris 18-15—33.

 Top newcomer: F Joe Birmingham. Hometown: Medford, N.J. Last year’s team: St. Louis (NAHL).

 Outlook: The Huskies return five of their top six scorers as well as goalie Garrett Bartus, who led the NCAA last year in saves with 1,179.

8. ROBERT MORRIS (17-17-5), 7th)

 Top returnees: F Adam Brace 14-9—23; D Tyson Wilson 3-14—17; G Eric Levine 6-4-1, 2.61, .921.

 Top newcomer: F David Friedmann. Hometown: Toronto. Last year’s team: Toronto Jr. Canadiens (OJHL).

 Outlook: The Colonials lost 10 seniors and will need some help from the nine incoming freshmen to make an impact up front. Their strength will be on defense and in goal.

9. CANISIUS (10-22-4, 9th)

 Top returnees: F Kyle Gibbons 11-15—26; F Taylor Law 11-15—26; G Tony Capobianco 5-11-2, 3.09, .913.

 Top newcomer: Stephen Miller. Hometown: Boxborough. Last year’s team: New Hampshire Junior Monarchs (EJHL).

 Outlook: The Griffs were extremely young last season and lost only two players to graduation. With 22 returning, they hope experience translates to winning.

10. ARMY (4-23-7, 11th)

 Top returnees: F Andy Starczewski 13-11—24; D Cheyne Rocha 0-1—1; G Ryan Leets 4-16-4, 3.50, .889.

 Top newcomer: F Joe Kozlak. Hometown: Duluth, Minn. Last year’s team: Amarillo (NAHL).

 Outlook: The squad is heavy in freshmen with 13, so someone is going to have to emerge out of the gate. The defense is solid.

11. AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL (8-26-3, 10th)

 Top returnees: F Adam Pleskach 16-13—29; F Steve Mele 10-11—21; D Jeff Ceccacci 4-14—18.

 Top newcomer: F David Gandara. Hometown: Canyon Lake, Calif. Last year’s team: Chicago (NAHL).

 Outlook: The Yellow Jackets have a nice balance of young talent and experienced players. They will need to get scoring from everywhere to be competitive.

12. SACRED HEART (6-28-3, 12th)

 Top returnees: F Eric Delong 9-12—21; F Drew George 14-9—23; F Brian Sheehan 10-12-22.

 Top newcomer: F Nick Curry. Hometown: Augusta, Ga. Last year’s team: Springfield (NAHL).

 Outlook: After a rough start, the Pioneers hope to build on their 4-4-2 finish. They will expect even more from George and Sheehan after strong rookie campaigns.

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