Coach Ballance Leads William Paterson to Success
Individual Excellence Shines as WPU Players Achieve Personal & National Feats
Article by Daniel Fridman
Coach Ballance must now weigh the pro's of a younger team versus the con's of losing arguably the league's best scorer, Shaun McTigue
The team triumphs, however, are derived from a combination of coaching prestige and players’ skills and talents. Ballance has been able to maintain discipline and team chemistry amongst a unit of highly talented and lethal scorers.
Heading into the 2012-2013 season now, William Paterson’s club has fallen short of the National title for three consecutive seasons and finds itself losing seven seniors to graduation. Taking positive note, only forwards Shaun McTigue and Craig Junda make the team’s list of nine 20-point scorers. Taking negative note, departing captain McTigue notched 66 points in 29 games and recorded all three of the Pioneers’ goals in the 3-2 OT win against Siena in this year’s SECHL championship game. Coach Ballance will now be losing what he felt “was the best player in the country.”
As the weather begins to inch closer to summer’s trainings camps and fall’s pre-season games, coach Ballance’s role is now to balance the pros and cons of a three-peat SECHL championship program that has become substantially younger both on the ice and in the locker room.Pioneers Graduating Seniors & 2011-2012 Regular Season Stats
No. # Name GP G A PTS PPG SHG PIM GWG
- 61 McTigue 29 33 33 66 9 5 38 3
- 18 Junda 28 20 24 44 7 0 14 5
- 43 Zamor 26 8 12 20 0 1 8 0
- 17 Beckman 29 4 6 10 1 0 44 0
- 2 Zipfel 28 5 14 19 3 0 87 0
- 27 Wynne 27 4 11 15 1 0 63 0
- 22 Duffy 24 1 5 6 0 0 14 0
The numbers are deceptive; while WPU is only losing 2 of its top 9 scorers, the club waves goodbye to its top minutemen in Wynne and Zipfel, both seasoned defenseman logging approximately 30 minutes a match. Three of Zipfel’s 5 goals on the season were logged from the point on the power play, a pivotal key to a strong power play. Craig Junda broke the 20-goal plateau for the first and final time in his undergraduate playing career, notching five game winners for his club. Junda’s 5 GWG even surpassed team-leader Shaun McTigue, who recorded more goals, assists, and penalties in minutes than he did games played, respectively.
McTigue graduates from the Pioneers as the all-time point-scoring leader, leading in goals and ranking second in assists as well. To salute him for his 66-point season, the SECHL honed captain McTigue as Super East Player of the Year; he participated in the SECHL all-star game as one of five WPU player representatives, joining Coach Ballance, who was elected all-star team head coach. The WPU-comprised squad won the ACHA D2 All-Star Challenge. McTigue’s successes were honored nationally, as were Matt Hunter’s, as the two joined North America United, a select team that competed against professional Austrian clubs this past summer. Additionally, Junior Steve Orozco, who notched 21 points on the season, was named to U.S. Select Team traveling to Europe for competition. The club’s goaltending assets stood in net strongly in 2011-2012, as rising Senior Chris Bauer posted a solid 3.01gaa, going 12-1-1 in 17 games. Bauer also recorded the team’s lone shutout. Backup and third-string goalies Keith and Braun respectively posted 6-1-1 and 5-1-1 records.
This season marked the clubs first trip to the final four in team history, however, only losing two of its strongest scorers and none of its goalies puts the Pioneers program in pristine position for contending for first place for a fourth straight campaign. The team’s biggest setback will obviously be the loss of senior forward Shaun McTigue. Aside from McTigue, however, the team had strong scoring from many of its first, second and even third line forwards. Kyle Garlasco nodded 26 assists, doubling his goals total. Drizis, Kim and Mara all reached double digits in goals and will not be graduating. The remainder of Coach Ballance’s club now must rise to the occasion and show maturity in their play. They will also need to show resilience in adjusting to new captaincy.