Friday, December 28, 2007

Starting The New Season With A Bang!

Bring on the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux!

This year I expect the back half of the season to be its own distinct season and it is going to have to be.

This team has to set down tonight that it is going to be tough, confident and consistent. Look for them to come out guns blazing led by our captain, Matt Fornataro. The team has plenty of rest and I bet they're rearing to go - it's time to let the Wildcat out of the bag.

Our 'Cats will be without the incredible talents of freshman, James vanRiemsdyk, who is in action today representing the United States at the World Junior Championships. The US skates into action at noon against the Swiss Junior Team. So, don't miss the live audio!

What we can expect to see tonight.

Mike Radja at left-wing (you'd be crazy otherwise, ha ha!), Phil DeSimone at center (making a triumphant return to the west) and Matt Fornataro at right. This line put up a whole bunch of points versus Brown and Lowell - I think there's chemistry here.

Pollastrone-LeBlanc-Butler, need I say more. While this line struggled defensively they are much more solid all around and they are a great agitator line that can really get the puck to the back of the net.

Then it gets hazy for me. This is what I'm thinking.

Dries-Fortney-Thompson. A lot could come of this combination. You have Fortney and Dries who like to dish the puck and Paul Thompson who likes to find the back of the net. Add to that that Dries can dangle a bit and these three like to play a bit physical and could really cause trouble for the opposition.

Collins-Manz-Sislo. We're running out of options here. Kapstad played fourth line forward in the Maine game and Mike Beck got his first start of the season after recovery from knee surgery - he played D in Kapstad's stead. I like the notion of getting three forwards out but haven't seen enough to choose. Dan Vranek played high school at Eden Prairie in Minnesota. I'm sure it would be nice for him to get the start. Whoever it is you have Greg Collins who is one of our very capable juniors and Mike Sislo, a very solid freshman, who hails from Superior, Wisconsin nearby and will surely be stepping it up, as he really needs to if he wants to score, being back near home. Greg Manz has had a couple starts but has not seen the scoresheet, but still a very good option.

On defense we have nearly endless choices and combination. The easy ones, Fritsch and Flaishans, Switzer and Charlebois, the last is really where the choice comes in. If Matt Campanale is healthy we have a choice between him and fellow freshman Mike Beck. On top of that we have sophomore Nick Krates and junior Kevin Kapstad. If one of them is chosen to play forward that limits the options to some extent but we still have plenty of reserves there.

In net, Kevin Regan. He is our starting goaltender and after some early season struggles we are seeing the same resurgence that we saw last year that left his stats at the top of all Division I NCAA hockey. I would add though, that getting Brian Foster into one of the games would be a great test of the youngster but I wouldn't bet on it.

The Match-Up

According to Goon, the North Dakota blogger, one of the best out there.

This is how I see it.

Simple and sweet. These are two very similar teams. They are Artemis Entreri to our Drizzt Do'Urden. It will be a battle of skill and speed. Of grit and determination. From every last skater to the goaltenders between the pipes. This is going to be the marquee match-up of the year until possibly the rematch in the NCAA Tournament. We're going to have to look within ourselves and find our identity in the face of incredible opposition and adversity.

It begins tonight. The journey starts now.

New Hampshire, North Dakota - UNH, UND - Wildcats, Fight Sioux! Let the battle begin.

Go 'Cats!


Post a Comment

<< Home

Web Site Hit Counter

Firefox 2