Don Hoekwater - Inside Sparta: Do you consider the past season a success? Why or why not?
Andy Dickerson - SJSU Hockey: I consider last season to be a major disappointment. Our annual goal is to not only make the National Tournament, but to compete for and hopefully capture a National title. With the talent we had this past season there was no reason why we shouldn't have accomplished those goals.
DH: What factors contributed to your appraisal of the season?
AD: This season our team was extremely inconsistent. Oftentimes we would play a fantastic first period and amass a two or three-goal lead, but then would play a horrible second period and end up having to come-from-behind in the third to try and get the win. Only once (against Utah State in Logan) were we able to do that. If we want to improve as a program we will have to learn how to play a 60-minute game.
DH: You played some tough games to start the year. How did those games affect the team since you opened 0-4 with some tough OT losses?
AD: Starting the year 0-4, and eventually stringing our record out to 3-7 with three OT losses, made the rest of the season an uphill battle. We played well enough to win all but one of those games (that being the 8-0 shellacking by University of Colorado), but for some reason couldn't find a way to get the ‘W'. We didn't really get rolling until the Battle of the Bay, after which we won 11 of our next 12. That streak helped solidify our place in the Top 10, but our inability to beat the top teams down the stretch in the 2nd semester prevented us from moving up.
DH: Who were the standout players?
AD: We had a bunch of guys who played well individually this year.
- Sean Scarbrough was great for us yet again, finishing second on the team in scoring with 66 points. He notched his fifth straight 30-goal season with 37, eclipsed the 300-point mark for his career and really was our go-to offensive catalyst.
- Jeff Sawhill brought a physical edge back to our defense, something that had been missing since Ian Fazzi and Andy Whiteside were patrolling the Spartan blueline. Jeff also led our defense in scoring with 14 goals and 44 points.
- Lathan Logan and Kyle Dutra stood out as our top rookies, combining for 59 points and 3 game-winning goals. Kyle proved to be adept in the face-off circle and was a great set-up man for sniper Robbie Vaughan. Lathan, meanwhile, proved to be one of the team's best stickhandlers and slickest skaters.
- Finally, I had my best year yet as a Spartan, acting as playmaker for our team's top gunslingers. I led the team in seven statistical categories (games played, assists, points, plus-minus, power play goals, power play points, and shorthanded points) and with 74 points I broke single-season points record Sean set last season.
DH: The last few years have been filled with rookies. How is the team coming together?
AD: In the past three seasons we've had over 40 rookies play on this team. That kind of massive turnover has made it extremely difficult for us to gel as group, but I feel like next season should be a whole lot better. Barring any players not making grades, we'll only be losing five players next season. With 80-percent of our team returning, it should make it much easier for us to come together as a single unit.
DH: What difficulties have you had to surmount?
AD: Personally, my difficulties have been off the ice, administratively. Serving as president of the club for the past two years has been a large undertaking; having to deal with the day-to-day responsibilities of booking ice & officials, scheduling our games, helping coordinate game-day operations & promotional efforts, etc. Fortunately I've had the help of my fellow officers and our GM, Kristin Appleton, to make everything run relatively smoothly.
DH: Which players have emerged as leaders on the team?
AD: Heading into this past season, we had some good leadership in place already (Paul Fuller, Scarzy, Vaughan, Steven Stichler, and myself), but Mickey Rhodes and Mikey Bodulow emerged as great leaders on this team this past season. Mickey was elected as one of our alternate captains and really took the role to heart; he focused on putting the team first (evident when he didn't make a stink about being demoted to the fourth line at the end of the first semester; instead, he worked his butt off and quickly moved all the way up to the top line alongside Scarzy and I) and made a concerted effort to stay out of the penalty box (a fact which can be seen in his penalty minute total – down from 155 in 07-08 to only 74 this past season).
Mikey, meanwhile, served as a steadying force on the blue line – providing solid defense on the top ‘D'-pair alongside Fuller and making timely, meaningful statements in the locker room.
DH: Talk about your most rewarding moment as a Spartan.
AD: I'd have to say that beating Long Beach State in the first round of the 2008 Regional Playoff was my most rewarding moment. This relates very closely to my most difficult time, in that we weren't expected to even compete with the 49ers due to the fact that we'd lost half of our team to injuries and ineligibility. Lo and behold, though, we were able to pull through with a dramatic 5-4 (OT) victory.
DH: What was your most difficult time?
AD: As I just mentioned, my most difficult time would probably have to be December of 2007 when we found out that half of our team was ineligible due to poor grades. It was baffling to me that so many players were unable to pass 9 units and maintain a 2.0 GPA. With so many guys out of action, we had to call up players we'd cut at tryouts just to field more than three lines.
DH: What's in store for next season?
AD: I have about 90-percent of the game schedule finished and it's looking to be one of our most competitive and exciting yet. We'll be hosting three showcases and making five road trips to face some of the West's best competition. As I mentioned earlier, we hope to have 80-percent of our team return and with a disappointing early exit from Regionals this past season squarely in our minds we'll be fully focused on making another trip back to the National Tournament.