Sunday, September 25, 2011

First Impressions - Thoughts Post-Scrimmage

First of all, it was standing room only in the Patty tonight. I love seeing this much interest, and honestly, I have never seen a line like this clear out into and around the parking outside of the Patty Center like you see in the shot to the left. Truly a great site, and you know that the fans are excited to get this season underway.

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.
I really like these new designs. They look a lot simpler, and more elegant than the old designs. I think they're fantastic. Agree or disagree? Weigh in in the comments.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Getting Underway

The captains have been named, the freshmen have had their shining moment, and the consensus is clear; we are ready for the start of hockey season.

I had a chance to check-in with head coach Dallas Ferguson earlier this week. Check out the Interview

As I write this, we're just a few hours away from the annual Blue/Gold scrimmage. Just a few hours from the first real look at this years team in a competitive setting. Not to mention, getting a peek at who the fastest skater is, as well as who has the hardest shot. Should be a fun night.

The Nanooks have named 4 captains this year, 3 assistants and a true captain. Junior winger Andy Taranto and seniors Cody Butcher and Aaron Gens will back up Ron Meyers, who will don the C on his chest. After all of the talk about nicknames last night, I'm penning a new one in for Ronnie: Captain Cowboy.

Also revealed last night, but much more subtly was the design of the new jerseys. A bit more of a simple, yet elegant design make for a cleaner look. Compared to last year's jerseys, these definitely have my vote. I like them a lot. I will post pictures of them to my Twitter account just before the Blue/Gold game tonight for all of you to check them out.

Should be an interesting weekend, I'm certainly looking forward to getting this season underway. Go 'Nooks!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back To Hockey

It's that time of year when the leaves start to change colors, windows are frosting over in the mornings, and freshly sharpened skates meets freshly made ice to begin my favorite time of year. That's right, hockey season is here, and in a mere 5 days the annual Blue/Gold scrimmage will draw an eager crowd to the Patty Center to catch the first glimpse of the new team. And that's just the culmination event of a full weekend of Nanook Hockey events.