SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA (Sept. 26, 2017): After the late addition of a few key pieces just days before the Polar Bear’ first official game of the 2017-18 season Sept. 23, first-year head coach Nate Panek is ready to officially announce his roster for the first half of the season.
Seventeen players will suit up for SRJC— a slightly smaller roster to begin the year than what the Polar Bears are used to. But with a healthy mix of returning and new players, SRJC is pretty primed for a comeback after the less-than-stellar end to the previous season.
Last year’s points leader David Lundgren highlights a healthy list of 10 forwards. This is his fourth semester with the team, and will no doubt anchor SRJC’s top lines, and quite possibly, defense as well. Lundgren is one of four returning Polar Bears who switch between both positions. His leadership, along with returning players John Zerbe and Anthony Giampaoli, is paramount to the success of first-year players Mike Anderson, Blake Coleman, Auston Ghirardelli, Steven McDowell, Bobby Rogers, Marco Schamoni and Jacob Yaden.
Before the official start of the ACHA season, SRJC Hockey will head out on the road for a few tune up games against some stiff WSHL competition. These games will serve as “extra practices” as the team looks to find its bearings since setting the official roster in late August.
This season 28 skaters will don the SRJC jersey, with an even mix of returning and rookie players.
Last year’s points leader Josiah Nikkel tops an impressive list of forwards that includes goal leaders John Keshishian and Chris Whitten. Sophomores Jackson Waldron and Steve Wolmarins look to make a full-season impact this year, as does Sam Davis in his switch over from the blue line. SRJC will rely on these veterans to provide leadership to the 12 new players who round out the position.
De facto captain Blake Johnson will once again lead the defensemen, with the hard-hitting Alex De Vaughn, sophomore standouts Eric Zagacki and Brandon Bronze and new players Colin Ridenour and Jonathan Durrell.
While a few familiar faces are gone, fans will see Travis LaBrucherie and Dominic Jones return to the ice. Jones will see significant time in the net, pairing with veteran goaltender Jacob Pavsek and the newly acquired Dylan Farinacci.
SRJC also has a change at the helm, as long-time head coach Tom Billeter repositions as general manager and last year’s assistant coach Mike Kovanis takes over lead. Mike Bodulow will also return for a second year as assistant coach, and is optimistic about the new roster and upcoming season.
"I'm pleasantly surprised to see such a significant number of young and promising players who've turned out for the JC this year,” Bodulow said. “I can't wait to see what they bring to the table once the rust wears off and we start playing some ACHA competition."
The Polar Bears will take on the Tahoe Blue this weekend and the South Oregon Spartans the next before kicking off its official home season at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Snoopy’s Home Ice against UC Berkeley.
For a full roster list, please click here.
The first puck drop of the Polar Bear’s 2013-14 campaign is only days away and with a schedule full of tough competition this season, SRJC will host 25 talented players in its quest for a national title.
Early last season, SRJC struggled to put together a cohesive game plan with a squad full of new skaters. But with 14 returning players ready to lead the team, lack of experience will not be an issue this season.
The offense looks promising with top forwards Josiah Nikkel and John Keshishian returning to the ice. Nikkel led the team in points (70), while Keshishian scored 22 goals in 24 games played. Fan favorite Adam Johnson will also return to Snoopy’s Home Ice to continue his impressive play from last season. After rejoining SRJC in the second half of the year, Johnson dominated the ice with nine goals and 21 assists in only 10 games.
Rounding out the core offense are forwards Jackson Joyce, Willis Swift, Lucas Weeks and Chris Whitten. Santa Rosa native Matt Sullivan highlights the list of six impressive rookies ready to compete for ice time.
One key to the Polar Bears success this season will be its veteran defense. Marcel Delagnes, Blake Johnson, Steven Dempsey, Alex De Vaughn and Andreas Rahm will all suit up again for SRJC, providing leadership to four new defensemen.
Guarding the net this season will be returning goalies Jacob Pavsek and Chris Tomaszewski. In his first season with SRJC, Pavsek had a 5.47 goals against average (GAA) and a .80 save percentage. Tomaszewski, who took over in the second half of last season, owned a .79 save percentage with a 3. 85 GAA.
SRJC will carry a third goaltender in San Diego native Troy Tennison. The rookie goalie had an impressive preseason and is expected to challenge Pavsek and Tomaszewski for playing time.
With a mixture of proven skaters and hungry rookies, the SRJC hockey team is primed for the challenging matchups that lie ahead. Every single player is ready to put on a show and Polar Bear fans are sure to have at least one favorite player this season.
A complete roster listing can be found at www.SantaRosaHockey.com/Roster
Article by: Keshia Knight, SRJC Hockey Staff Writer.