That being said, what a great start of the season, getting things rolling in style. Highlighted by quite a few strong scoring plays and some great offensive flow. I do have to come out and say this now though, Cody Kunyk will flat out make things happen this year. Picking right up where he left off after his high scoring freshman campaign, Kunyk is looking as sharp as ever. His stick skills continue to dazzle, and just the playmaking ability of this sophomore forward makes me a bit worried for our opponents this season.... Kind of...
Speaking of worried for opponents, how about the play of Justin Tateson tonight? Outside of a miscue or two, this kid gets it done. Winning battles in the defensive zone going against guys like Andy Taranto is no joke. But his offensive mind is also quite impressive. With 3 assists tonight, he can find the open guy and get the play started. Should be an interesting play with him on the blueline this year, especially if coach Ferguson is planning on working him into the special teams units.
Overall, I thought this years Blue/Gold was one of, if not the best that I've seen in recent memory. Great pace, and not a whole lot of mistakes for this time of year. A few, but nothing that jumps out and makes me worried about anything.
If I had to use one word to describe the team that I've seen thus far, that word would be "balanced". Since Dallas took the helm, the team has been very defensive focused and opportunistic offensively. Tonight, I saw more players trying to create plays, and trying to open up the offensive zone, as well as taking chances keeping a forward back in the defensive zone trying to create breakaways, which Ronnie Meyers got a chance at one, and some good looks at another breakaway or two.
After the skate with the Nanooks was winding down after the game, I had a chance to follow up with two of the Nanooks upper classmen. Junior assistant captain Andy Taranto, and senior goaltender Scott Greenham (click on their names for audio of the interview).
Skills Competition Results
This year's skills competition was quite exciting. After the banquet last night, freshman Matt Gates claimed for the world to hear that he was packing a 97mph slap shot. Needless to say, expectations for him were high. Unfortunately, failing to crack the 90mph barrier made way from some other big shooters, but taking the fastest shot title this year was Kaare Odegard, with a 97 mph blast.
After trailing at the half-lap point, senior captain Ronnie Meyers was in danger of giving up his fastest skater title to a freshman. Nolan Youngmun put up a very good fight, but the Cowboy turned on the jets and cruised to the win. His official time isn't known, but according to my stop watch, I clocked him at 13.58 seconds, .12 seconds faster than his last years outing if it holds up.
The Blue squad took the shootout 3-2 with goals from freshman forward Garrick Perry, junior right wing Andy Taranto and sophomore left wing Colton Beck. Kunyk and Enders each tallied goals for the Gold. Steve Thompson was the winningest goaltender of the trio, only allowing one goal while Greenham and Cahill each allowed a pair.
New Jerseys Unveiled
And lastly, thanks to Taranto and Meyers for modelling this years new home and away jersey designs. Check them out.