Ballance and WPU Continue to have Success
By Daniel Fridman
Joseph Ballance's WPU Pioneers are the SECHL's finest for Three Years & Counting
WPU Pioneers GP W L T PTS GF:GA
2011 -2012 29 19 8 2 40 176:87
2010-2011 31 25 6 0 50 188:109
2009-2010 36 25 10 1 51 201:155
Most interesting of these statistics is the fact that through William Paterson’s high scoring play, scoring numbers have decreased as success ratios have risen. Ballance’s first year coaching saw the Pioneers finish second in the Northeast to Boston College having scored 52 more goals than BC. The downfall was having given up almost 100 more tallies in two more games played. A year later, Ballance’s club played to an identical win total, with an impressive five less games played. The goals for/goals against ratio tightened as well, for a second of three straight years that it would reach in 2011-2012. This past season brought a decrease games played and therein produced less of an opportunity for points, however, the Pioneers still finished ranked first in the SECHL.
In 2010-2011, the Pioneers program was coming into its own as a force in the SECHL and ACHA, ranking 6th nationally in Ballance’s second year of coaching. A year later, the Pioneers would jump from 6th to 3rd, and fall to Grand Valley State University in the Final Four semi-final round.
Keen on continuing the program’s success, Ballance now finds himself looking to surpass the 3rd place national ranking and win an ACHA D2 championship. He’ll need to do so without his go-to scorer of the past three years, POTY and 2012 graduate Shaun McTigue.
Ballance’s club, now noticeably younger and primed to mature, has beaten ACHA Division 1 opponents the past three seasons consecutively, poised to further greaten the presence of William Paterson hockey in the ACHA spectrum.
Ballance is confident that his recruiters will stabilize the roster and assure that WPU continues its success. WPU Hockey’s website editor writes, “While it isn’t an easy task, Coach Ballance is confident that the program will be right back at it next year crediting Director of Recruiting Ian Michaelchuck’s tireless offseason efforts.” The team is currently lined up to return 2 goaltenders, 10 forwards, and 4 defensemen, and henceforth not even fully dressed to sport an opening day lineup.
For more on WPU’s groundbreaking season and success into the Final Four, check out www.WPUHockey.com, and read the articles, A Final Four Season and A Season of Change. To read more about graduating Player of the Year, Shaun McTigue, and Coach Ballance’s individual players’ successes, check out the SECHL.com article, Individual Excellence Shines as WPU Players Achieve Personal & National Feats.