Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend Musings, Etc.

The North Dakota men took to the ice for an exhibition game against the USA Hockey NTDP Under-18 team Friday night, and here are a few observations following the 6-4 UND victory:
  • First for the most obvious, Knight Line Version 2.0 looked outstanding. Rocco Grimaldi, Corban Knight, and Danny Kristo combined for eight points (4G, 4A) and a +8.
  • Clarke Saunders was the sharper of the two goaltenders vying for the starting job, and one would have to think he will be getting the start in the regular season opener against Alaska-Anchorage Friday night.
  • The line of Stephane Pattyn, Colten St. Clair, and Derek Rodwell impressed. They were fast, gritty and hard to play against while also generating some nice offensive opportunities.
  • It's great to see Derek Forbort so willing to shoot the puck. Granted it's only been exhibition action thus far, but he's scored a couple of very nice goals from the blueline without showing any hesitancy towards pulling the trigger.
  • The strength of Andrew MacWilliam is something else. During one sequence he couldn't get a Team USA forward lined up squarely, but he was able to catch him with a forearm that contained enough power to separate puck from player. He must be just a beast to play against.
  • Defenseman Jordan Schmaltz's offensive reputation comes as advertised. He's very smooth with the puck and has great offensive instincts. He also logged a lot of time on the power play and penalty kill units.
  • Defensively there are still some things to clean up, but with an experienced bunch that should happen much sooner rather than later.
  • For Team USA, North Dakota recruit and Devils Lake native Keaton Thompson looked good. He's a good skater who plays a very poised game. Scouts are high on him and with a solid season he could sneak into the first round of next summer's NHL Draft.
In other news...
  • The UND women took to the road this weekend. They dropped the Friday night game against Ohio State, but bounced back with a Saturday afternoon victory.
  • Matt Greene and a couple other NHLers spent some practice time with a Los Angeles area youth hockey team.
  • The AHL and ECHL seasons kicked off Friday, and a number of former Sioux have had strong opening weekends. Brock Nelson and Matt Watkins got off to nice starts for Bridgeport (AHL). Nelson had a goal and two assists while Watkins had a goal and an assist in two Sound Tiger victories. Brad Malone notched two assists as Lake Erie (AHL) split its first two games of the year. In the ECHL, Aaron Schneekloth (1G, 2A) and Michael Forney (2G, 0A) helped Colorado to a weekend split while David Toews picked up a goal and an assist in two games with Bakersfield.
  • Jean-Phillipe Lamoureux leads the Erste Bank Liga (Austrian elite league) with a .943 save percentage. He also has a 2.08 GAA. Lamoureux isn't the only former Sioux off to a strong start in Austria. Andrew Kozek is the league's leading goal scorer with nine, Ryan Duncan is T-3rd in goals with seven, and Curtis Murphy is T-9th in points among defensemen with eight (2G, 6A).
  • Aaron Dell, who last weekend was released by the Colorado Eagles (ECHL), has signed with the Allen Americans of the CHL.
  • In USHL play, North Dakota recruit and Grand Forks native Paul LaDue is a +8 with three assists in just four Lincoln Star games, while Sioux City defenseman Ryan Mantha leads his team with a +5 in three games. 
  • The much-discussed on-campus arena for Nebraska-Omaha appears to be getting the greenlight. If it does indeed happen, it will be a big-step forward for the UNO program as it heads into the NCHC era.

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