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Colorado College hopes to take a step up this season under second-year head coach Kris Mayotte

The Tigers had one of the youngest rosters in NCAA Division I men's hockey last season. With eight of their top nine scorers returning, there is a strong foundation to build from.

College hockey players and coaches in interviews
Colorado College captain Bryan Yoon talks to reporters during NCHC Media Day on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

ST. PAUL — After a season moving into a new on-campus arena and welcoming Kris Mayotte as the team's new head coach in the fall of 2021, the Colorado College hockey team is feeling a bit more comfortable going into this season.

"We've done it once, but what are we going to change and we're going through the process of evaluating of how you were in your first year, so this is the last new thing that we have," said Mayotte, a former Michigan, Providence and St. Lawrence assistant coach. "But it's great. You're more comfortable. In that, I don't mean that you put your feet up or anything like that.

"But the players come in and there's a set expectation and there's a standard. It allows you to hit the ground running a little bit versus everything being new and having to answer questions about everything. Now we have leaders who can step up and answer some questions. You see the growth happen faster because there's more help."

Colorado College had the 10th-youngest roster in the country last season. While the team had nine wins, it had 16 games decided by one goal.

With the return of the team's top six scorers — led by Hunter McKown, who played for Team USA in the IIHF World Junior Championships — and the addition of New York Rangers draft pick Noah Laba, there is reason for optimism with the Tigers.


"I think the big thing for us is just to play with confidence," Tigers graduate student defenseman Bryan Yoon said. "I think sometimes we would just give the puck away just because we weren't really sure what to do.

"We had a really young team. Our sophomores, that was their first year of college hockey."

Head coach: Kris Mayotte (2nd season, 9-24-2 overall, 6-17-0 NCHC).

Last season’s record and finish: 9-24-2 overall, 6-17-0 NCHC. Tigers were swept in the opening round of the NCHC playoffs in two 2-1 games at North Dakota.

Last season’s NCHC finish: 7th out of 8 teams.

NCHC preseason media poll: 6th.

Notable changes: John Lidgett replaces assistant coach Mark Stuart, who left to become an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers. Lidgett is a former Colgate forward who spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Niagara. Goalie Dominic Basse, who played in 24 games last season, has transferred to St. Cloud State. Forward Jordan Biro has transferred to AIC and forward Jackson Jutting has transferred to Bemidji State. There are eight freshmen on the roster.

Outlook: While a number of teams have dipped into the transfer portal, the Tigers did not as Mayotte tries to rebuild from within. Colorado College had 16 games decided by one goal last season with a very young roster (10th-youngest in Division I). The Tigers were 48th in the country in goals-per-game (2.19), 41st on the power play (16.8%) and 57th on the penalty kill (72.3%) last season. All those numbers need to improve for the Tigers to move up. The good news is that eight of their top nine scorers are back and 10 returning players had 10 or more points last season, led by junior forward Hunter McKown (13 goals, 21 points).


New faces: Forwards Ryan Beck, Noah Serdachny, Noah Laba, Gleb Veremyev and Cade Ahrenholz; defensemen Nikolai Charchenko and Ethan Straky; and goaltender Kaidan Mbereko are freshmen.

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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