After a disappointing season last year, the UB men's ice hockey team is looking to erase the past and create a new future in 2001-2002.
As a club sport, the Thundering Herd competes in Division I of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, in the Central States Collegiate Hockey League.
This season Buffalo has nowhere to go but up, having finished the 2000-2001 campaign with an 0-16 record in league play, and an overall record of 5-22. The Thundering Herd scored just 16 goals against CSCHL competition in their 16 games, and allowed 167.
The Herd switched from Division III varsity to a club sport in 1988. The university had a Division I hockey program as well as their Division III program before 1988.
The Thundering Herd hopes an infusion of new talent will help them earn respectability at the ACHA level.
"The difference between this year's team and last year's team is night and day. ... A lot of new, young talent," forward Robert Noonan said.
Buffalo's offense will not be completely dependent on young players, as key components such as captain Chris Gervaise, Noonan and Shawn Patterson return for another season.
Defensively, the Herd, led by sophomore Dan Carroll, is young.
Goaltender Adam Golder, who was named to the ACHA all-rookie team last year, is also returning for another season. He saw plenty of rubber last year, averaging 60 saves per game.
"With Golder in net we know we can get out-shot two to one and still have the opportunity to win," said Gervaise.
New players Sean Moskal, Jeffrey Kraska and Mike Bellagamba, a transfer from Kent State University, also look to be key contributors.
Although they have a number of returning players, UB is still a very young team. Nine of their 24 players are freshmen, and six are sophomores.
Buffalo will look to rebuild with their core of young players. The Herd will only lose three seniors at the end of this season, leaving them a solid foundation to work with.
UB has an easier schedule this season that consists of only five weekends away, compared to eight in 2000-2001.
"It's easier to play at home then on the road continuously," Gervaise said.
The team is coached by Richard Brooks with the help of assistant coaches Michael Mannix and Jason Kochan.
In their season opener Sept. 28 and 29, UB faced Ohio State University, the seventh-ranked team in the ACHA preseason poll. The Thundering Herd, trying to erase the memories of embarrassing double-digit losses at the hands of OSU last season, showed marked improvement. They lost by five goals both nights, 6-1 and 8-3.
Golder was the lone bright spot for the Herd, making 59 saves in both games.
Buffalo took a step back this past weekend, dropping two road games to Kent State by scores of 10-0 and 11-1. The losses dropped the Herd's record to 0-4 this season.
Buffalo continues their home schedule with a weekend set against rival, and CSCHL 2000-2001 Regular Season and Playoff champions, Eastern Michigan starting Friday, Oct. 19. All home games are played at the Amherst Pepsi Center next to North Campus.