Here are some of my thoughts on the exhibition game verse St. Francis Xavier. (Sorry for the long delay, usually I'll get these up right after or the day after games.)
The Whit featured shallower corners, by about 3 or 4 feet. (The ice used to cover where the steel grate is in this photo.) I'm not too sure what to think of this. The Whit has always been known for it's massive ice size and deep corners. Could this be strategy for adjusting to small away arenas? Or just more foot room for the front row spectators?
-UNH outshot St. Francis 44-14, but tied 3-3. Throwing the puck on net is good, but they got to find more high quality scoring opportunities.
-3 goals on 14 shots didn't mean goalie Matt DiGirolamo had a poor game. St. Francis capitalized on three great scoring chances. Turnovers and uneven rushes can put the goalie in bad situations.
-Paul Thompson looks like he's ready to continue from where he left off last year, scoring two goals. One came on a redirection from a Blake Kessel snipe.
-The second line of Stevie Moses - Mike Borisneok - Greg Burke might be the most entertaining line to watch. They didn't record any points Saturday, but they are three excited players and if they gel they will do great things. The top line of Thompson-Phil DeSimone-Mike Sislo will get the attention, but don't sleep on that second line.
-The third line, which was Dalton Speelman-Austin Block-John Henrion is also fun too watch. Speelman is an undersized scrapper who isn't afraid to do the dirty work. Block is all over the ice and Henrion has shown that he can score when he gets the opportunity.
-Defensively, Brett Kostolansky started the game with Kessel, but later in the game Matt Campanale played on the top defensive line with Kessel.
-UNH seemed a little out of synch. The lines didn't seem to be on the same page for the entire game and they allowed the less talented X-Men to hang around and eventually tie the game.
-UNH seemed to lack the "killer instinct." Towards the end of the second period UNH scored two goals and finally seemed to take control, but they came out flat to start the third. They also came out flat to start the second and didn't seem to be highly motivated. Hopefully their poor performance will motivate them to step their game up against tougher opponents.
-Forget the shot advantage, UNH did not play well or up to their expectations.
-STFX player Mark Louis is a total hack. Kid was scruffing it up after every play and following a 5 minute major for contact to the head he was also slapped with a game misconduct. That came late so he was most likely running his mouth to the ref.
-Speaking of the ref's, they missed several calls both ways. Not gonna complain because it didn't appear to be one sided, but one of the referees was my old buddy Scott Hansen, of course there would be missed calls.
-STFX did not have one shot on either of their power plays.
-UNH recorded 1 power play goal on 6 shots.
-The stick figure made his glorious return, but was not up long enough for the crowd to react.
-Freshman suck. Too many students refused to cheer, or even clap, some left after the first period. Weak showing. (More on this tomorrow in my Like a Pro column).
-The new Wild E. Cat sucks. Sorry, I'm nostalgic.
Stay classy, not UMassy.