Last year, McDaniel leaned on a defense that allowed just 8.4 goals per game. But with the graduation of defensemen Nick Sicuranza and Nelson Hannahs and goalkeeper Brad Motley, the unit could be viewed as a vulnerability in 2013.
That’s why the Green Terror are looking to Christian Dallmus to anchor the back end of the field. The junior goalie has distanced himself from freshmen Eric Ritchie and Corey Shaffer to secure the starting job, and coach Matt Hatton said Dallmus will be expected to lead on the field.
“He started pretty much every game his freshman year and started probably the first eight or nine games last year before he got injured. So the kid can play at a really high level, and he’s actually been better thus far than he has been in years past,” Hatton said. “He’s in a better place, more mature, and his approach has definitely been more cerebral than in years past.”
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Dallmus made 11 starts last season, registering an 8.51 goals-against average and a .560 save percentage. But his record in those contests was just 5-6, which opened the door for Motley to seize the starting role in the latter portion of the season.
Hatton thinks that Dallmus has benefitted from the internal competition from Ritchie and Shaffer.
“We think he’s really talented with a really high ceiling, but we’ve also got two freshmen that we think are pretty good and are pushing him along, and I think that’s part of the competition and part of why he’s shined as much as he has because he knows he has to earn that spot and work hard and all of that fun stuff,” Hatton said. “So I think his communication is going to be critical, and he’s probably going to see some shots that at points he didn’t see simply because we’ve got some new faces at close [defense].”