Written by Stuart Miller-Davis
Photo by Marc Lafleur
After a trip to Europe and exhibition hockey coming to an end, the Ravens enter the 2019-2020 season looking to repeat the success of last season.
Head coach Shaun Van Allen, in his second year as a head coach, led the Ravens back to the U Sports national championship after a two-year hiatus.
Carleton is getting a new look for the 2019-20 season with the Back in Black alternate jersey and will have a new looking roster after seeing players move on and the recruit class coming in.
OUA East Standings: 2nd
Playoffs: OUA Bronze Medal win over Western Mustangs, First round loss at U Cup
Goals For: 99 (tied for 3rd in OUA)
Goals Against: 75 (5th in OUA)
Graduated Players: Hayden Hulton, Adam Chapman, Travis Douglas, Brett Gustavsen, Francois Brassard
Departed Players: Troy Martinyuk, Jake Smith (now with Cincinnati Cyclones of ECHL)
The Ravens rode all-star performances from Brassard, Alex Boivin (Ottawa, ON), Josh Burnside (Brampton, ON), Darian Skeoch (New Liskeard, ON) and Jake Smith to a 2nd place finish in the OUA East division.
After slaying their demons, the UQTR Patriotes, in the first round of the playoffs, the Ravens continued to defeat McGill, in the second round, before falling to the Queen’s Gaels in the OUA East Final. The Ravens avenged the loss with a win over the Western Mustangs in the Bronze Medal game to earn a spot in the U Cup in Lethbridge, AB. It was over almost as fast as it started for the Ravens in Alberta as they fell in the first round to the eventual champion UNB Reds.
Head Coach Shaun Van Allen
“We want to be fast; we want to be physical and we want to be really hard to play against.”
On team strength – “From the looks of it, is depth and trying to find guys on the power play and pk. Guys can play multiple roles and we want two powerplay units that can push each other.”
The Ravens forward group is led by fifth year veteran Alex Boivin who was the highest scorer among retuning players. He set career highs in goals (15), assists (19) and points (34) through 27 games last season. Other returning players playing important roles in the offensive zone for the Ravens will be second years Brogan O’Brien (Prince George, BC), Matt Forchuk (Okotoks, AB) and Cody Caron (Sault Ste. Marie, ON).
O’Brien chipped in 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in his debut campaign. He also played an important role on special teams tallying three power goals and a shorthanded goal.
Forchuk put up seven goals and seven assists for 14 points while adding three goals on the man advantage in his first season with the Ravens after a single season with Quinnipiac of the NCAA.
Caron, who joined the Ravens prior to the 2017-18 season but was unable to play due to injury, posted five goals and nine assists for 14 points.
Fresh off a season where he recorded 84 points in 68 games with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL, new recruit Parker AuCoin (St. Albert, AB) showed off his offensive skills in the preseason.
Another rookie to keep an eye on is Cole Carter (Orleans, ON), the captain of the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL last year and had 68 points in 61 games.
The Ravens return most of their defence core from last season which bodes well for the team. The group was led last year by Josh Burnside whose offensive prowess (21 points) earned him aa spot on the OUA East second all star team. Darian Skeoch was the groups other all-star nabbing a spot on the OUA East all-rookie team in his debut season.
Other key veterans that return from last years group include C.J Garcia (Pickering, ON) who anchored the top pairing with Burnside a season ago while chipping in 12 points, Evan de Hann (Carp, ON) enters his fourth season and Andrew Jarvis (Morrisburg, ON) who put up 10 points from the back end in his first season as a Raven.
In goal, the Ravens face questions with former star Francois Brassard graduating and joining the New York Rangers farm system. Justin Nichols (St. Catherine’s ON) is the more experienced of the Ravens netminders with 3 seasons backing up Brassard and appearing in 17 games. Mark Grametbauer (Halifax, NS) is the newest addition in goal. He played 51 games last season with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL last season. Van Allen said the team are confident with both guys behind them and the two will push each other for the starting role.
The Ravens open the season on the road against the UQTR Patriotes on Wednesday, October 2 at 7 pm.