While not playing games of the same panache as some of their conference brethren in the out of conference portion of the schedule, the Golden Griffins still have a schedule full of tough non conference opponents
One team that stands out amongst their out of conference foes is the school that their bench boss, Trevor Large, graduated from, Ferris State. While the Bulldogs are not the opponent with the biggest resume on the Golden Griffins’ Schedule, they are one that perhaps has the most intrigue.
First, this Bulldogs team has a lot of new talent coming in. For a team that only won one game last year, you would not have known that in watching them play. The style that Bob Daniels’ team plays is an up tempo one that relies on turnover generation and solid goaltending to win games. When the Bulldogs were at their best last season, they shocked Dryden McKay at home, one of the best goaltenders in the country, and got him pulled on a very small amount of shots faced.
In addition to this, this is the only two game series in a non conference setting Large will get to have his team that was arguably a game misconduct away from earning an NCAA spot to play in front of their faithful fans. They will face a team full of new players, and returners hungry to improve on their season from a year ago. Former Robert Morris defender, Brandon Michaelian would have tied Jake Transit for the team lead with points based on his totals from a year ago (15).
In net, Logan Stein has top flight pedigree and will pose a challenge for Large’s group given his technical skill. As part of a goaltending group of three, Stein looked the best for a goaltending group that was often having to face a high volume of high danger shots nightly.
For the Golden Griffins, they do not have as many newcomers, but the ones they are bringing in are set to have an immediate impact on a team full of top end speed and skill in their conference. Their most immediate impact player they are bringing in is Randy Hernandez. The Robert Morris transfer is one of the better skaters in college hockey, and paired together with Keaton Mastrodonato, and a player like JD Pogue, there is no limit to what Hernandez can do. if he can continue to hone his release and pick his shot up to match his skating, he will make life tough for the Bulldogs and many other teams.
While Large’s group plays many tough non conference opponents including Clarkson and Penn State, their is some mystery in the Ferris State team they will see for two days in October. The top end potential for the Bulldogs, if they can get some more skill contributions to match the grit they play the game with, they are able to compete with anyone in the CCHA. While they will not be picked to finish high, the Bulldogs, like Large’s group, are poised to knock off some favorites and prove some people wrong.
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