Michigan kicks off the 2012-13 season for real against the RIT Tigers. The Tigers won their exhibition game against the University of Ottawa by an 8-1 score. Eight different players scored for them in the game, and they went 4-for-8 on the power play.
Last season, the Tigers went 20-13-6 and finished in a three-way tie for third in Atlantic Hockey (two points out of first). They went to the AHA Championship Game before losing 4-0 to Air Force. Against teams from the major conferences, they lost beat Ferris State 3-0, beat LSSU 3-1, and got swept 6-3 and 2-1 by Wisconsin.
From that team they return 16 players including leading scorer Mike Colavecchia (14-18--32, with 8 PPGs), but Colavecchia will not play for the first month of the season due to injury. Because of that, they'll be down their top three scorers from a year ago. They also lost three senior defensemen, including two captains. Additionally, goaltender Shane Madolora, who put up Hunwick-numbers in his sophomore and junior years, graduated and is now playing in the ECHL.
Matt Garbowsky, an alternate captain, will be their top returner in the lineup tomorrow night. He had 9-11--20 a year ago. Adam Mitchell had nine goals a year ago as well, but five of those were game-winners. Bryan Potts had 4-1--5 in seven games before being injured and missing the rest of the season.
On the blueline they're led by captain Chris Saracino, who had 2-7--9 in 14 games a year ago before missing the rest of the season with an injury. He was their best defenseman last year and runs their power play and is on the penalty kill. Greg Noyes had six goals and 20 points from back on the blueline.
Anthony Hamburg is the first-ever draft pick to play for the Tigers. He was a 7th round pick of the Wild back in 2009. He played seven games for Colgate before going back to the USHL. He'll help them.
RIT was 44th in offense a year ago at just 2.54 goals per game. They were eighth in team defense, but again, they lost a lot on the back-end. Their PP and PK were about where you'd expect them to be given the offensive and defensive stats.
According to the USCHO team preview, it sounds like they'll be platooning in net. Josh Watson was 1-1-1 with a 1.63/.940 a year ago. He was in net for their win over Lake State. Jordan Ruby was 1-3-0 with a 3.03/.904. He got to play against Union as well as one of their games at Wisconsin, so he had a little taste of a hostile environment. Watson and freshman Ken MacLean split time in their exhibition win over Ottawa. MacLean had a 2.76/.911 for Kalamazoo in the NAHL last season.
These will be the first meetings between the teams.