Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Ayes Have It

With 50% of the preseason polling of Wildcat Nation coming in for an exhibition victory, the majority was not let down last night.

Wildcats 8, St. Francis Xavier 4.

It was never close.

Junior Bobby Butler sent our 'Cats to a 1-0 lead at 1:17 of the first period on the sweetest breakaway backhander to the top shelf and they never looked back. Before the night was over Butler would come within inches of the hat-trick and fellow junior Peter LeBlanc (1-2-3) along with sophomores Phil DeSimone (2-1-3) and James van Riemsdyk (0-3-3) would finish with three points apiece.

Brian Foster and the defense had a strong showing despite the four goals on the board even with a low shot total from the opposition. The 'Cats spent around six minutes on the five-on-three penalty kill and did not allow a goal. Two of the four goals - two of three scored on Foster - were powerplay goals though and the final goal, scored on freshman Matt DiGirolamo (It's Dee-Jir-o-la-mo), a perfect cross-ice one-timer on the rush, was no fault of his own.

What stood out?

What a team! From the warm-ups I was seeing an incredible amount of communication and even anticipation of each other's moves. They are bringing new and diverse looks on offense and defense - it is something to see. They are flat out DANGEROUS. van Riemsdyk hit the top post corner twice on very hard shots with little to shoot at and under pressure. You know what, I'll say it right now - the way James van Riemsdyk is playing, the rest of college hockey can breathe a sigh of relief because, James van Riemsdyk will not return for his junior year. He was owning the ice last night. Though I didn't see it, the X-Men's own number 21 took van Riemsdyk hard into the boards to hoots from the Nation in attendance. Not a good idea. van Riemsdyk became Philly-V. He shifted into a brutal power role - absolutely leveling opposing players. All night long he drew attention to himself and dished to his linemates, DeSimone and Mike Sislo. Man they all looked so good!

Best newcomer - hands down, Blake Kessel. Kessel was awesome. The only freshman to record a point, Kessel was everywhere. Though he predictably showed his youth a couple times he was a force on the ice. Watch out upperclassmen!

Looking to next week's regular season opener.

Though this was a tough Xavier team they just could not compare to the 'Cats this night, so I say bring on Wisconsin and we will start to see what the 2008-2009 Wildcat Men's Hockey Team is made of!

Go 'Cats!


Post a Comment

<< Home

Web Site Hit Counter

Firefox 2