Northeast Generals Player Profile: Cedric Savoie

Photo Graphic courtesy of the Northeast Generals

If you look at the NAHL Northeast Generals this year, their top defenders all have a couple of things in common. They are big, physical, and chip in on the offensive end when needed. At the NA3HL level, new General Cedric Savoie has all of those traits. As Bryan Erikson said of Cedric a few months ago when he committed to the Generals “Cedric brings a strong defensive game for the NA3HL team looking to get back to the Fraser Cup. He is a big strong kid that will be a physical presence for Darryl next season. Really looking forward to developing our relationship with Ulysse Académie which is a high end prep school that develops great young men and hockey player.”

Savoie has the potential to earn time with the NAHL group later in the year if he can showcase his skills under the tutelage of Head Coach Daryl Locke, and he has time left in junior hockey to potentially earn a Division One commitment one day, if he can get to the NAHL, that is the next step on his path to the college game.

Player Profile Answers

Why did you decide to play hockey
“I started when I was 6 to do like my brother and now I am doing it because I love it , I always want to improve myself and become better everyday. My goal is to go play college hockey.”


What is your favorite food and why?
“I love seafood, I love how it tastes and to discover new recipes.”


What is your favorite thing about the Generals?
“I like their philosophy of hard working every day and their facilities.”


Where are you from ?
“Montreal, Canada”

What is your favorite subject and why?
“My favorite subject is hockey and everything that’s related to it like off ice training and diet.”

Tell us about the type of player you are
“I am a hard working player , I like to be physical and to make good plays. I like to help my team by playing on the pk and boxing out guys in front of the net.”

Which NHL player past or present do you model your game after? *
“Shea Weber , when he was in his prime he used to be a great player . A right handed player who is physical but who can stay clean even if he is one of the most hard hitting player in the league.”

What is your best hockey memory?
“When we won a tournament in Toronto with my prep team.”

What are your goals on and off the ice this year?
“On the ice I want to improve my mobility and offensive game and off the ice I want to improve my stick handling by using the facilities that we have access to.”


What is your favorite tv show or movie to watch?
“Historical movies”


Tell us one unique thing about you off the ice
“I am a hunter and a fisherman.”


What is your favorite place to go around the rink in Attleboro?
“I don’t know any place but I will discover some during the season.”

What is your favorite video game or thing to do in your spare time?
“My favorite video game is NHL[the NHL series] and when I have free time I like to visit [with friends, or go] fishing.”

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

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Photos : Northeast Generals vs. Amarillo Wranglers

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Check out select photos from the Northeast Generals’ NAHL Showcase finale yesterday against Amarillo. For the full gallery, click the link below the photos. Credit all photos to Kelsey Lee of Violet Turtle Photography, permission from Seamore Sports should be obtained prior to use.

Check out our recap of the game here (click the highlighted text)

Select Photos

Album Link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=VioletTurtlephotography&set=a.1667700970095140

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Northeast Generals Player Profile: David Andreychuk

One of the biggest highlights of David Andreychuk’s game is his speed. The forward knows how to get to the high production areas of the ice and put up points. The St Lawrence commit will be a co captain for the Generals this year and hopes to bring the positive roll the team finished last year on ahead to drive this team to a playoff spot.

Generals Head Coach Bryan Erikson added

“Dave Andreychuk is an 02 St Lawrence commit who will wear a C for us this year on the NA team. One of the smartest players I have coached. He sees the ice at an elite level. And his patience is great both on the rush and in zone. Great PP and PK guy and we think he has a chance to lead our division in points”.

On the top line for the Generals, like his dad in college hockey before him, David knows how to use his skills to create time and space to score. He compares his game to that of Nikita Kucherov, a player who does a lot of things well and one that can hurt the defense with their sauce passes as much as their shot.

PLAYER PROFILE: Andreychuk’s Answers

Why did you decide to play hockey?
“Because of family history and it was my passion ever since I stepped on the ice.”


What is your favorite food and why?
“Giant 43 no onions or peppers from Jersey Mike’s. Because the chipotle mayo is to die for.”


What is your favorite thing about the Generals?


“The atmosphere at the rink, and the facilities that are provided for the players.

Where are you from ?
” Sarasota FL”

What is your favorite subject and why?
“I like math because I feel it can be used later in life the most.”

Tell us about the type of player you are


“ Shooting playmaker that will usually look for the pass first. Plays on both sides of the puck.”


Which NHL player past or present do you model your game after?


“I like to try to model my game off of kucherov because of the way he uses deception to implement his game so well.”


What is your best hockey memory?


“Winning championships with the boys”


What are your goals on and off the ice this year?


“To be a guy our coaches can rely on, and a leader on and off the ice.”


What is your favorite tv show or movie to watch?


“I love watching America’s got talent on YouTube the most.”


Tell us one unique thing about you off the ice
I’m a duel citizen, both Canadian and American


What is your favorite place to go around the rink in Attleboro?


“The driving range”


Who do you look up to most in your life and why?
“My dad because he is the reason I started hockey and continue to love it to this day.”

Building the Gens: Head Coach Bryan Erikson on progress after opening of main camp

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

The Northeast Generals come in to the 2021-2022 campaign ready to build on the solid finish their group had to the previous year. While falling short of the playoffs, a team that was in constant change throughout the year found a way to gel near the end of the year well enough to at least come closer to a playoff spot, while helping all of their 2000-born players find college homes.

This year’s team is a mix of returners, and a lot of them, who have to take the next step from last year, and some new players looking to make their mark in this league.

With the NAHL camp just starting this week, Erikson went to great lengths to talk about what the first week of his camp looks like, and how the focus shifts from skill development to evaluation.

As he said:

“It’s mostly skill development right now. We are working on playing with speed, activating our D and how we perform on the rush both offensively and defensively. We have already been on the ice for over 8 hours in 2.5 days. The boys have worked really hard. It’s been a fun week so far. The boys are a little further along than I thought they would be. Still a ton of work to do implementing systems and our play style but the guys that Matt Dibble and the staff have brought in all are playing the way in which I want them to. Fast, physical and accountable And we will use our time in training camp to seamlessly transition to regular practice as we will really get into everything next week and build on it. The players that can adjust quickly within our structure will cement their spots higher in the line-up. The ones that can’t will be facing an uphill battle for consistent ice time until they get up to speed. But there is plenty of time and no reason why everyone shouldn’t have everything down by our first game.” The Generals open up on the road at Danbury for two games in a couple of weeks before the NAHL Showcase in Blaine Minnesota the following week.

As to who has stood out so far, Eriskon had a lot to say including: “Our returners have really taken a step forward. They all had monster off seasons. One key piece is Brent Keefer who added about 19 pounds of muscle and it has really helped him create more space. He looks poised to have a dominant year. On the backend Jackson McCarthy has been very very good. Physical, much more controlled with the puck and making great decisions. Excited to see both of them along with Kyle Schroeder who is buzzing. And then we have our leadership group in Co-Captains Matt Boczar and David Andreychuk. Both have come in and set a tone that the rest of the guys have followed. And our Assistant Captains Adam Smith and Paul Minnehan have both stepped up with their play and their presence in the locker room. Aidan Flynn and Jared Scott have both added speed and more skill to their game and they are looking very good. As for newcomers nobody has stood out negatively at all. But a few that have been a little bit ahead of where we maybe were expecting them to be. Bryce Cooper has been a physical force and his skating is great. Douglas Friberg is getting close to being ready to be dominant. And up front Ryan Corcoran has been a great surprise. We knew he was good but I think he has been a bit better than expected by some of the staff. Sixten Jenersjo has also been great. Has had a great first week. And Joey McGraw the youngest player in the league has handled himself very well in the first week. Good news for everyone is they look good. Bad news in some cases is that they have reset the expectations to be even higher next week.”

Erikson knows the camp process is consistent, and through this process, the staff is finding out where everyone is pretty quickly,

As he said, here is what a typical day looks like, keeping in mind that all Generals players have access to drills ahead of time and are expected to bring knowledge of each drill to it.

Erikson provided the schedule of a normal day with this knowledge in mind

” 10:30am – Video, 11:00am – Team Stretch, 12:00pm – 1:30pm – On Ice (practice 1), 1:45pm Workout Group 1 in Gym, 2:30pm Workout Group 2 in Gym, 3:45pm – 5:15pm – On Ice (practice 2), 5:30pm – Wrap up and preview of next day.”

The goal of camp is to , as Erikson said keep things simple, and “we try to let the kids focus on just the hockey part as much as possible. We set it up to be a grueling two weeks to make sure the players have put in the proper work in the off season and that they are ready to contribute to the team. It helps separate kids pretty quickly between who is ready and who isn’t.”

Earning time in Erikson’s lineup requires all of the things he has mentioned in this piece. The Generals have a lot of talent on a team ready to take the next step from their strong finish to last year. On a team full of talent, after the positive start to camp, just like in games after last year, after a strong first week, the expectations for this group have been raised. Players are competing for a roster spot, and to not be a borderline player subject to what some of the Generals’ talent at USHL camps ends up doing. Some of them could come back to Attleboro, and all head off to their USHL camps during the early part of September. For those in camp for Erikson, the best thing to do is , as Erikson said, focus on the hockey and show that you belong on the team regardless of any external factor, the other stuff will work itself out as a team of veterans and newcomers looks to start the season strong in two weeks.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Liam McCanney to Stevenson: Read what he brings to the Mustangs

Photo Credit: Northeast Generals

When you look at the 2000 birth year players of the Northeast Generals you see a lot of common traits among them. Common among all of them is the amount of honesty and levity they bring to any group they play for. Liam McCanney is no exception. The power forward always brings a sense of leadership and a physical game, and that is no doubt part of the many reasons why the Mustangs offered him a spot on their team, one of the up and coming squads in Division Three.

In a year where hundreds remain in the transfer portal, one program folding for good (Robert Morris…. we hope this is reversed), and one program on suspension pending conference acceptance (Alabama Huntsville), and a glut of players taking their allowed extra year of eligibility afforded to them for playing in in the 2020-2021 campaign, the Mustangs are getting a Division One caliber player to join them.

As Head Coach Bryan Erikson said ” Liam is the D3 steal of the year. He is the poster boy for kids that got looked over or pushed out because of the 5th year, the portal and teams folding. But it’s a great school and opportunity. I have a great relationship with Coach Dawes and Coach Peffall. 2 great guys that do an awesome job. They are a good team so I never want to assume anything but I full expect Liam to be a top producer on Day 1. Just a great hockey player who is also an amazing kid. But when we look at programs to help our kids Stevenson is on a short list of programs we love. ”

Erikson added in the press release about McCanney’s commitment to attend Stevenson:

” But this is not a simple backup plan.  This is a tremendous opportunity for Liam to go to a great school that has a great hockey program led by 2 men that will get a ton out of Liam.  They do things the right way.  Our former goalie Marko Sturma is there and just loves it.  It’s a great school that will allow Liam to continue to play high level hockey and get a great education.  I am really proud of and happy for Liam.  I am going to miss him.”

The Mustangs will be a tough lineup to earn playing time in for McCanney, but his game should transfer well right away in an environment poised to help him develop on and off the ice.

As of now, the Generals have one 2000 born player yet to commit, Jonathan Young. The two way forward looks to have options at the Division One and Division Three levels, and hopefully soon Erikson can have helped find a home for all of his 2000 birth year players.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Fighting Hawks earn sweep with 3-1 win over Denver: Now What?

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography)

Tonight, the Fighting Hawks cemented a series sweep over Denver with a 3-1 hard-earned victory. Matt Kiersted, Collin Adams, and Jasper Weatherby (empty net) all notched markers to help the Fighting Hawks get closer to the next goal, winning the NCHC Penrose Cup.

How did it happen? Well Peter Thome was arguably the best player on defense fo the Fighting Hawks. He managed to make 25 saves on 26 shots tonight. To add to that, UND Head Coach Brad Berry said that he did it ” in style”. The Pioneers through streches of the second and third period played peskier hockey and turned UND over. Multiple times they had multiple looks in close on Thome, but to his credit he handled the challenge well. His counterpart, Magnus Chrona played really well making his first start at the Ralph. He finished the night with 21 saves on 23 shots in a game fans may see again in St. Paul at the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, or perhaps at the Frozen Four in Detroit this April. This game not only had the feel of playoff hockey, but a top-end, herculean battle worthy of the national spotlight,

Now What?

For Denver, well, if you are Head Coach David Carle, you show your team the video of the weekend in two parts. First, you show them all the good things they did to get looks. Last night Denver had more shot attempts and different types of looks for Thome to see. Tonight, were more close-in rebounds, but tough shots never the less. In part two of the film, you question what you need to do better as a team in the rest of the regular season and postseason to bury more of those looks. Denver had plenty of chances to earn a win tonight, even while missing one of the best rookies in the country, Bobby Brink, on a play last night where Cole Smith clipped him and avoided any sort of penalty somehow. Denver being able to put together arguably a better game without Brink in the lineup bodes well for the Pioneers,

Why?

Well Denver is a younger team this year akin to the last two UND has fielded. The difference here is overall team speed. The Pioneers are much faster than the last two UND iterations. The difference between the groups is the ability of speed to make up for a wide array of mistakes. Turning play over quickly on defense and transitioning is a hallmark of Denver Hockey, and this team is no different in that sense. Doing it with more depth players involved bodes well for the national tournament as speed and transition often sets the tone for goaltending and everything else. Ask AIC how much speed mattered to them earning the win over St. Cloud last spring, they will probably spend hours discussing it.

For UND, this weekend showed a lot of things good and bad. A lot more good was shown, but we will talk about both here in some measure. First, to the good, again Jasper Weatherby and Shane Pinto were solid up the middle for the Fighting Hawks. each won a large majority of their draws (11-5, 10-2) and set the tone for the forwards all night. Weatherby’s ability to play defense and utilize his frame has grown in his time at UND, and tonight he rewarded himself for his work with the empty net goal to seal things.

Peter Thome played well, again. His ability to track pucks through traffic, and pick up that complete skill in one offseason has been a sight to behold. He does not overreact to goals any more, and the one allowed tonight came on a shot off the boards going right to Brett Edwards who fired a goal to the middle part of the right side of the net before Thome could react. In close Thome seemed to get better with each multi-save sequence, and as we have been saying here all year, has been worthy of more looks and he has run with them. We would like to see some more of Adam Scheel as the year winds down but when the postseason starts, until proven otherwise it is Thome’s net to defend, every night his watch begins anew now (for those who do not know, Thome has the Night King on his mask and is a huge Game of Thrones fan).

What should UND work on off this weekend before facing a resurgent St. Cloud on the road next weekend? Well i do not think many crews will let as many things grow as the one run by Voss and Wieler did this past weekend. On both sides, a lot of uncalled penalties were left to slide, and other officials we be tougher on the physical game UND plays, seeing the team adapt to different officiating styles will be something to watch, especially in the NCAA Tournament as you never have an official from the NCHC officiating a UND or any other NCHC game.

All in all UND had a good weekend, Denver had some good moments to build on and has some things to fix, like finding the net more, and a great weekend of college hockey took place. Now for the Fighting Hawks, St. Cloud State awaits, take them lightly at your own peril fans.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape, please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link: https://www.paypal.me/oliverfrancies your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Supporters: We thank all of our readers and those who donate, especially Greg and Michelle Livingston.

Fighting Hawks Soar to 4-1 win over Denver: Now What?

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography)

On Friday night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, the Fighting Hawks’ Men’s Hockey Team earned a 4-1 win over Denver playing one of their best games of the season to date. Shane Pinto got the scoring underway on a deflection from a point shot in the first period. In the second, Bobby Brink got Denver on the board capitalizing on a rare passive penalty kill from UND. Denver ping-ponged the puck through the lane to Brink and he found the back of the net. Later in the second Brink would leave with an injury after getting his legs taken out on an interesting play where Cole Smith dove through Brink’s legs to get the puck, no penalty came from this action.

Following the Brink marker, Matt Kiersted wired home a superb wrist shot on the power play from the slot to provide the game winning goal. Collin Adams and Jacob Bernard Docker would add insurance markers to provide the final score for the evening.

In net, Peter Thome again had another quality night for the Fighting Hawks. He allowed no goals at even strength, and on the night stopped 26 of the 27 shots on net that he faced. His counterpart, Devin Cooley, did not have the best evening as he only saved 19 of the 23 shots on net he faced.

Now what? 

First off, the officiating on Friday was at best inconsistent. Multiple penalties on both sides were not called. One of the most odd non calls was not issuing even a minor penalty to Cole Smith for diving into the legs of Bobby Brink and injuring him. I understand it was a heat of the moment play and things get missed, but Smith dives into Brink’s legs while going for the puck and gets no call. Did UND have a few calls go against them? Sure they did, but to me, the non call on Brink shaped the course of the game as UND kept one of its most important defensive players in Smith for the whole game while Denver lost one of its best offensive threats in Brink .

Secondly, credit to UND for focusing on efficient shot distribution, something we have harped on all year. Of UND’s 32 shot attempts, 23 found their way on net, and Denver blocked seven of them. While the Fighting Hawks always want more offensive zone chances, their ability to be efficient with what they were given is a promising sign for the postseason, where teams play with speed and pace all game, and who wins the shots on net battle does not always equate to who wins the game. Of Denver’s 54 shot attempts, UND blocked 13 of them which means that Denver missed the net 14 times. Part of that is attributed to Thome of course, but another part arguably is the fast start of the Fighting Hawks.

As they took control of puck possession, it looked liked Denver gripped their sticks a bit tighter. The Pioneers are more than fast enough to do well against the Fighting Hawks. They had several breakaways as they almost punished UND’s defense for pinching with goals the other way, but Thome and missing the best looks stopped them.

For the finale, watch how many breakaways Denver actually puts on net. Thome has played plenty well this season on breakaways but has faced a more limited number per game than Adam Scheel, his net minding colleague. How Denver makes Thome change direction could change the direction of the series for the Pioneers.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape, please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link: https://www.paypal.me/oliverfrancies your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Supporters: We thank all of our readers and those who donate, especially Greg and Michelle Livingston.

UND Earns 4-1 Saturday Victory over Omaha: What’s Next?

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography)

Last night at another sold out Ralph Engelstad Arena, the Fighting Hawks earned a 4-1 Saturday victory over the Mavericks of Nebraska Omaha. Collin Adams potted the game winner in the first period, and was joined in his scoring efforts by Casey Johnson, Mark Senden, and Shane Pinto. Taylor Ward added a goal for the Mavericks on the loss.

What happened? Well as Mavericks Head Coach Mike Gabinet noted on Friday night, his team needed to do better supporting the puck carrier in the offensive zone and build some cycle time into the game to slow down UND. The Mavericks were very unable to do that last night. Every time they found the zone, they would get an occasional look or two than have to back check against a UND team that often times likes to reside in its opponents’ defensive zone.

UND Assistant Coach Dane Jackson noted the improvement in his defense from Friday. The Fighting Hawks tracked Omaha better and made zone entry a lot more contested, leading to less offensive zone time for the Mavericks and UND’s eventual goals.

The Mavericks had plenty of chances to earn the sweep, but hit three posts on the evening. In addition, they had multiple odd-man looks that went wide of the net and required no action from Adam Scheel, who played well in net making 18 saves on 19 shots faced.

Finally, Shane Pinto did play well on this night for the most part, but did something very unnecessary that could have him on the wrong end of some supplementary discipline from the NCHC. He retaliated for a marginal hit from Joey Abate with arguably one of the least disciplined choices in his arsenal. Pinto came back over to Abate when the play was moving away from that area and violently cross checked him in the back, right between the numbers as well. He rightly earned a game misconduct and a five minute major which UND did survive unscathed; however that is not the point of this part of the recap. If the NCHC wants to showcase itself as the best league in Men’s College Hockey that cares about its players, it needs to strongly consider suspending Pinto for the opener of UND’s Miami of Ohio series next weekend if not more. Has UND had bad things happen to their players and not get called majors or result in suspensions, well yes, the knee on Jacob Bernard-Docker Friday night was pretty bad but was in the run of play and the Maverick who caused that did not do anything but skate through the area. Pinto went back and cross-checked Abate for some odd reason away from the play. Doing things to players away from the play that are injurious in nature deserves a harsh looking at and potential suspension. Pinto is one of the best players on this team and he has been and still is a joy to watch for the Fighting Hawks, this is an issue with the game itself. When players retaliate and its away from the play, there needs to be action taken to discourage it in the future. Ask yourself this, in the NHL if a player on the other team did that to one of your favorite players how would you feel?

Let’s move on to next week now for UND.

For Miami of Ohio what I would like to see from this team 

First off, Adam Scheel played great Saturday, but I will note this until Peter Thome this year gives me reason not to do so. Thome needs to play one night next weekend. He stabilized the team Friday night after Scheel was pulled, and looked calmer in his game on limited work than he did through a lot of last year. While Jackson noted that Scheel has been “money in the bank” for this team, in a sport where losing one game in its tournament ends your season, that statement alone should not justify sitting Thome all year. If Scheel is injured or has a bad game or two ahead, one would think seeing more from Thome would be reassuring to fans of this team. Ask St. Cloud State fans about how good “money in the bank” is from a goalie come Tournament time the past two seasons. Scheel looked better, but Omaha also did not capitalize on some odd man chances and did not event test him on a few of them. Having two goalies that can play and  limiting the workload of your number one (Scheel) occasionally should not be viewed as any sort of bad thing.

With that said, one more thing to watch as the team heads on the road to Oxford to take on Miami of Ohio. That team, much like the Mavericks, plays a transition game and likes to score laterally on the rush. The defense of the Fighting Hawks needs to be able to track the forwards through the neutral zone consistently to ensure smooth sailing on the road. The RedHawks scored most of their goals in their November series here in transition on lateral feeds to get Scheel moving the wrong way.

Here are some thoughts from Jasper Weatherby on the weekend and UND’s next opponent

 

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape, please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link: https://www.paypal.me/oliverfrancies your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Supporters: We thank all of our readers and those who donate, especially Greg and Michelle Livingston.

Bring the Chargers to the Winter Classic: A few reasons why

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography)

Next year, the Minnesota Wild will host the 2021 Winter Classic at Target Field as part of a celebration of the game in Minnesota. As part of this celebration one would have to think given the history of Minnesota College Hockey, a Minnesota team would also get to play outdoors as part of this wonderful event. This event, to any program that could participate, would be the largest exposure in terms of viewers and reach that their school would get all year. Hopefully both Men and Women’s schools get a chance to play.

Now, as you see in the title, I would strongly ask the decision makers at large to consider an opponent for a Minnesota team to play for this outdoor game. The University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers should be part of this experience. Head Coach Mike Corbett has built a program at the Division One Level largely on his own fundraising efforts. He not only coaches a team in a market that is a newer one for the game we all love, but he fundraisers for them. He runs so much of the Chargers program and they get so little exposure even among legacy media outlets that the Chargers have a story the national audience would love. A team on the brink of being cut being saved by Corbett and his fundraising, and one fighting daily to bring college hockey to the southeastern most locale in the country is a story made for a Netflix series, and the Winter Classic as well.

Why do I say this? Well Corbett talked to us after the Saturday finale where his team held tough against the Fighting Hawks in a second 5-2 loss, and mentioned exposure. His program barely makes television at all despite representing a school that churns out engineers for NASA, and other quality companies in the area. The amount of free media coverage the school and town would get could not be adequately measured.

Imagine for a minute, the amount of Huntsville fans that could be created from tuning in for a few minutes to watch this game. Now you may be saying why them? This program has to find out what to do in the 2021-2022 season and beyond as they are one of the programs not looked on with favor from the departing members of the WCHA. This team needs a chance to showcase its school, its town and its market on a national stage. Playing a Minnesota school on the national stage is one easy way to show the commitment of the NHL and all its partners to growing hockey nationwide.

Corbett tried to schedule one-off games against Penn State and UND in Nashville at the home of the Predators around the Hockey Hall of Fame Game next year, and was unable to find success in doing so.This matters here, because it shows his dedication towards finding his program more exposure, and the Winter Classic is a great place to meet that goal.

Therefore if the Chargers want to play a destination game, the Winter Classic could be an option if those in power would allow them to participate. To me, the Winter Classic should be a platform to grow the game for all, having a Women’s Hockey Tournament and having the Chargers play perhaps a WCHA game against say the Mavericks of Minnesota State-Mankato, or Bemidji State would be a good way to promote all who want to play the game.

If the Winter Classic folks wanted to, they could schedule multiple outdoor games at Target Field over two days or even on the first, given the right time for the ice to improve. This event would be a great way to promote college hockey to new fans across the country, and Americans love a story of underdogs working to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. To me, the Chargers are that team for this moment.

These are some thoughts after seeing the Chargers play, seeing how dedicated Corbett is to making his team better, and growing the game at large is arguably the best way to expand the amount of schools offering the game. His team would relish the opportunity, Huntsville would get national television coverage, and the game of hockey would reach people it likely never has before.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape, please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link: https://www.paypal.me/oliverfrancies your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Supporters: We thank all of our readers and those who donate, especially Greg and Michelle Livingston.

 

UND Uses Strong Second to hang on against Alabama Huntsville: Now What?

(Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography)

Last night at a nearly sold out Ralph Engelstad Arena, the Fighting Hawks’ Men’s Hockey team hung on through a close checking first period against the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville and were able to get their second half of the season started right with a 5-2 win.

Do not let the score fool you, this game was a lot closer than the final totals indicated. While the Fighting Hawks out shot the Chargers 36-15, they also were not able to solve the Chargers’ netminder, Mark Sinclair, early enough to put the game in a more comfortable position. The Fighting Hawks also had to play from behind early as Christian Rajic fired home a shot 18 seconds in to put UND in a position it has not been in a lot, trailing early.

The Fighting Hawks responded with two goals from Grant Mismash and Jordan Kawaguchi, and an empty net tally from Cole Smith for the final margin. Read on for some thoughts for each team on how to be a bit better tonight.

If you want UND to do better, read this section

The second period should be the benchmark for this team. The Fighting Hawks were a lot better at moving pucks around and not  letting the Chargers plug shooting lanes as much. For a comparison, in the first period, the visitors blocked eight shot attempts, in the second they only blocked two. That alone forced Sinclair to see more shots and in part because of how Huntsville defends, opened up more chances.

As Grant Mismash noted, since the Chargers were playing a man-to-man coverage when he shook loose from his defender and had open space. Therefore, he had a decently easy net front drive for one of his markers. If this team can work on getting more isolation-like looks, they should be able to drive the net more and make Sinclair’s life harder than it was last night.

In addition, Head Coach Brad Berry noted a rare needed improvement for the Fighting Hawks, they need to win more faceoffs. A team that routinely wins the large majority of its draws only won 33 of 60 total on the night. Players were getting kicked out and the Chargers’ ability to have their wingers come and help made a big difference.

UND should have enough to win on Saturday, but keep reading to see what the Chargers can do to make things more interesting than on Friday.

If you want the Chargers to do better, or know what UND needs to watch for, read this section. 

Well, when the Chargers get chances they have to convert more of them. They had a few breakaways that did not even result in a shot on net. In addition, when UND holds them in for a long period of time, they have to make the simple play and get the puck to the neutral zone. Their inability to do this directly lead to a goal on a long shift where Sinclair had his head down for a minute after. A Charger had a chance to clear it but did not put enough zip on the pass and it stayed in the zone. UND being the good team it is was able to bury the puck .

I will say this for the Chargers, this is a team not afraid of anyone, and they hung with the number one team in the country pretty much all night. They have some things to clean up, but woe unto teams taking them lightly because they have won one game, If the Chargers clean up their defensive zone a bit and tighten their box to force some more blocks who knows what we could see. Easier said than done of course, but this team played with no fear in front of the biggest crowd it will see all season. If Sinclair stands on his head as he did multiple times last night, UND will have to earn their win.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of UND Athletics, and under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape, please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about UND Athletics as a supporter of independent, crowd funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link: https://www.paypal.me/oliverfrancies your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Supporters: We thank all of our readers and those who donate, especially Greg and Michelle Livingston.