We’re switching it up a little for this week here on Under the Radar. Rather than take a look randomly throughout DI, we’re going to do a deeper dive into one conference for each of our topics. For this week, we’re taking a look at the America East conference, and seeing what we can below the surface. It’s been quite the week for the America East. Tehoka was suspended, then quickly unsuspended, by the NCAA over an Instagram post, missing Albany’s one-goal loss to #2 Cornell. The real fun of the America East this year, however, is the parity in the league. Naming a favorite for their auto-bid to playoffs is nearly impossible at the moment. So, let’s take a look, shall we?
America East: Storylines of the Week
- Outside Issues: The out-of-conference slate has not been kind to the AE teams. Only Vermont currently has a winning record. UMBC, normally a contender, sits at 1-3. Stony Brook is 2-2, but could be gaining momentum after a good win over Hofstra. The expectation is that Albany will bounce back to win the league, but they’ve been a bit of a mess so far. This conference is wide open, and waiting for a team to take the next step.
- Goalie Struggles: The conference doesn’t have a single goalie in the top thirty in save percentage. With a ton of losses in the conference already, defenses in general in the AE have not had a great start, but it’s still rough to see how much the goalies are struggling in their situations. Only two teams, Vermont and Binghampton, have goalies saving at least have the shots-on-goal so far. Defensive struggles and mismatches have something to do with it, but oof.
- The Bite Louder Than the Bark: UMBC has started the season 1-3, but they’ve got a pretty potent offense so far. Five players are up into the double-digit points range now, and they’ve got three of the conference’s top six goal scorers thus far. A switch in cage to freshman Jack Morton has produced better results so far, and the defense coming together could turn UMBC into a contender for the conference title.
- Albany’s Balance Problem: The Dane Train has, in recent years, been carried by superstars. From the Thompsons to Conner Fields, the leader of this offense was usually a Tewaaraton type. A lot of people, myself included, expected Tehoka to be next in the chain. So, his four points so far is real concerning. In a 13-12 win over Drexel, Tehoka was quiet, posting just two points in the game. His suspension kept him out of the Danes’ loss to Cornell. In his place, Albany has spread the love, but the results haven’t been great so far. Right now, Albany has just a single player in the top fifteen for goals in the America East conference, junior Jakob Patterson. This is a team used to being carried, and that offensive juggernaut has not appeared yet. There’s plenty of time for Tehoka to turn this year around, but it’s been ugly for the Danes so far. Perhaps missing fall ball mattered more than we’d anticipated.