(Photo Courtesy of Bucknell Athletics)
Led by one of the nation’s top goal scorers, Will Yorke, the Bucknell Bison got off to a 5-1 start and it looked like the Bison were on the brink of putting together another stellar season led by a stellar offense, just like they did in 2018.
But then the Coronavirus outbreak cancelled the reminder of the 2020 season.
The Bison boasted an offense that was tied for the 12th best scoring offense in the country, averaging 23.33 points per game and 14.6 goals per game. Bucknell also ranked 16th in DI in assists per game with 8.67. The Bison’s offense looked to be on track to match or surpass their 2018 numbers, where they had the 13th ranked scoring offense in the nation when the season was all said and done.
And not all of their success came on one end of the field during the shortened season, either. The Bison had the 16th best scoring defense in DI, allowing 9.83 goals per game and being second in caused turnovers, creating 12.50 per game.
Despite being robbed of what could have been a successful season, the Bison look to have tools in place to put together a successful season again in 2021. And if they can, the Bison could achieve something that they haven’t since 2013: multiple winning seasons in a row. Bucknell posted winning seasons in 2011, 2012, and 2013 but hasn’t had back-to-back winning seasons since.
Offensively, the Bison lose their biggest weapon, Will Yorke, to graduation. But they will still return a pretty good chunk of talent on that end, including four of their top five scorers from last season.
Junior Tarry Alston (12G/14A) and senior Tommy Sopko (16G/5A) will be running the show at the attack spot following a good year in 2020 where they were played, essentially, second and third fiddle. But in 2021, they should both be ready to step into the limelight and run the show.
The Bison offensive midfield also returns some heavy contributors from last season, as sophomore Harry Wellford (10G/2A) and senior Summer Brumbaugh (5G/5A) will be back back. Wellford started all six games last season and Brunbaugh started three and saw action in all six.
With those four, as well as numerous othey contributors coming back, the Bison offense should be in good hands next season. And while there is always the chance they take a step back, they should stay pretty consistent or even take a step forward.
On the defensive end, the Bison return starting goalie Ben Clark. As a junior and a first-year starter, Clark posted a 54% save percentage and only allowed 9.37 goals per game. The Milton, Ga. native looks to be a solid anchor to a solid defense once again in 2021.
In front of the cage, the Bison will return their top pole from last season in Travis Talarico (23GB/15CT). The junior will be their only returning pole who started in all six games and looks to be a leader on the back end once again. They will also have senior Bryant Bowell (7G/10A), who appeared and started in five games, back.
The one place where they will need to find a solid replacement at is at the LSM spot, where they lose Hunter Newman to graduation. The LSM was huge for the Bison last season, making an impact on both ends and in transition. Sophomore Luke Diioro and junior Reid Delanos each saw some action last season and could take over that top spot in 2021
While the Bison defense should be pretty solid, overall, with key contributors back in 2021, they will also get some aid at the faceoff dot. Junior Nick Crovatto went 87-157 (53%) at the dot last season. If he can keep up or better his performance, it will be a big win for both the Bison offense and defense.