OK, so I guess the hunchbacks mantra is a bit overused, and a little too obvious. Nonetheless, I hear Notre Dame's new facility is quite impressive, and I'm quite excited to see it for myself. I'm writing this post from the airport in Fairbanks as I await to catch the flight to Anchorage in a little over an hour. After that, its a long shot to Chicago direct before picking up the rental car and taking the drive over to South Bend. Should be there around 11AM tomorrow local time, right as the guys are getting ready to wrap up their morning skate. Should be quite interesting.
Also, another side note , the Ice Dogs announced via their Facebook page that local forward Alec Hajdukovich has committed to play at UAF next year. Should be interesting to see what Coach Ferguson has in store for the famous Fairbanks/local line, as the trio of Hajdukovich and other Nanooks commits Taylor Munson and Jared Linnell bring to the program. The three of them had some pretty impressive chemistry going, and I'm intrigued to see the production coming into their rookie season at the Division I level.
Well, where should I start this... Notre Dame is quite good...
OK, I'll do better than that. Stout rookies from a season ago in Anders Lee and T.J. Tynan are paired up again for their sophomore seasons, and the infamous "sophomore slump" appears to not be evident at all. The two have combined for about 1/3rd of their total teams scoring and are tied for 1st in point totals in the conference (with each other), good for 7th best in the country.
Their defense starts with their goaltender in junior Mike Johnson, who remains unbeaten this season. His 1.43 GAA and a .928 save percentage in 7 starts shows that he has a stout defensemen in front of him. Their defenders have allowed just 154 shots to reach him, which if you do the math is an average of 22 shots a game. Rather impressive. By contrast, Greenham has seen 217 pucks in 9 starts, just over 24 per game. Not that much different, right? Not exactly, Johnson also played in relief of backup Steven Summerhays, after a rather unfavorable performance earlier this year against Ohio State, allowing 4 goals in the first period (kinda rings a bell...), adding a few more shots in 8 games, which brings the average down to about 20.
To win, and as I said in my last post, the guys really have to step up their passing game and really attack the Irish with speed. I think the Nanooks have a bit of an edge in the conditioning area from the games against Northern Michigan I watched earlier this week. If our guys can take advantage of that and really drive the net hard, we should do just fine. Coach Ferguson has really been preaching the power of believing in the systems and the game that is in place, and I do too. They really are doing quite a few things well, its just the little things, the details if you will that are killing the team collectively. Correcting those issues will likely take some work and in turn, time.
Should be a good weekend of hockey, I'm rather excited. I'll be bringing you live in-game updates from the sparkly new arena. Look for pictures about midway through tomorrow. I'll be getting you a behind-the-scenes tour of the locker rooms and other areas of the arena. Should be a fun time.
And for any parents in the area that might be making the trek to come see the game, shoot me an email (link in the right column), and make a point to come see me!