Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekend Musings

A few thoughts on this past weekend's hockey action at REA. First for the men (to be taken with one, maybe two grains of salt considering it was an exhibition game):
  • Danny Kristo and Corban Knight have developed some great chemistry. The top line is going to be really tough to stop considering what those two bring to the table, and it will be interesting to see who becomes the regular left winger. Freshman Drake Caggiula performed admirably in flanking Knight’s left-side against Manitoba, but my guess is that we will see someone else get that assignment Friday night against Team USA.
  • Kristo was the best player on the ice Saturday night and he appears poised for a monster season. He is electric and he seems to have gotten stronger over the summer as Manitoba was unable to move him off the puck. He is going to be very difficult for opposing teams to contain this year.
  • This weekend marked the much anticipated return to the lineup for Rocco Grimaldi, and he did not disappoint. He had the crowd buzzing on numerous occasions with his playmaking and creativity, and it didn’t take long to realize that he is a very special talent. Just how good will he be this year? My guess is that he is going to have the most productive offensive season by a North Dakota freshman since Zach Parise.
  • The RPM Line was in effect for the exhibition opener. I'm a big fan of keeping this line together considering how they played down the stretch last season. Of course, the enthusiasm was dampened when Michael Parks left the ice with an apparent lower body injury, but Mark MacMillan, Carter Rowney, and Parks all looked really good.
  • As expected, defenseman Joe Gleason returned to his natural position. He did a very nice job filling in upfront last season for a shorthanded team, but he is more of a difference maker on the backend.
Now for the women, who bounced back from Friday's heartbreaking loss with a solid overall performance Saturday afternoon:
  • In addition to what the top line will be expected to create, North Dakota should have some good offensive depth this season. They will be able to roll out three lines capable of regularly generating offensive opportunities.
  • Shelby Amsley-Benzie looked confident in net and played good all weekend.
  • Leah Jensen did a nice job playing right-wing with the Lamoureux sisters, picking up her first career goal Saturday by getting to the net and knocking home a rebound.
  • It didn’t take too long to realize that freshman winger Becca Kohler has a fantastic shot. She can really unwind on the puck.
  • Meghan Dufault is a dynamic player and though she didn’t find her way onto the scoresheet, she created some nice opportunities and was hard to knock off the puck.

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