After having tryouts last week, we now know who is on the 2017-2018 Kentucky Wildcats hockey team. They will return 13 players from last year’s team, including last year’s leading goal scorer, Beck Schultz. The team will return 52.7% of its goals scored (38 or 72 goals) last year, along with 61.3% of its assists (46 of 75 assists). Considering that the team lost 15 players off last year’s team, that’s a good amount of returning scoring.
The team will return three of the four goalies from last year’s team. Jeff Ison will be back after posting the best save percentage, .911, and second best goals against average, 7.09. The team will also return Francis Eble, who led all goalies with 435 minutes played last year, and Eric Williams who had the best goals against average with 6.98.
Kentucky will have the luxury of returning their leader in points from last season, Beck Schultz. He lead the Cats with 34 points (15 goals and 19 assists) and will look to keep up that level of play as the team will break in a lot of new forwards this season. The Cats will have 5 other returning forwards that put up 21 goals and 19 assists between them last season, respectively. One of those returning is Cory Day, who had 12 points (5 goals and 7 assists) last season. With only 6 of the 15 forwards returning off last year’s team, the coaching staff will look to find more scoring options from the veterans to help while easing in the new players.
The Kentucky blue line will be led by last year’s leader in defensive points, Max Boss. Last season he had 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points. The unit will return 4 of 9 players from last year’s group, and they had 13 points (3 goals and 10 assists) between them last season. This group will need to add to those numbers to help the team improve. Every great team has a great defensemen unit, and hopefully this year’s Cats can get more points from their blue line to continue to move up the standings.
The Wildcats will start the season Friday, September 15th at midnight against Middle Tennessee State at the Lexington Ice Center. Admission is $7. Come out and support this year’s hockey team. Be loud and make a difference at the game!
Go Big Blue!
*All pictures from ukhockey.com*