Overall a pretty decent effort. We're going to struggle to score goals in the early going (which has me a little worried about next Friday when we face Schneider) but eventually this team IS going to be very good.
I thought Johnson was a little too into playing offense tonight. I'm all for jumping up into the play, but he was a little too careless at times. He made one bad pinch that led to a breakaway but luckily a dman got back. He has an absolute rocket of a shot though, and he's such a smooth skater. One thing that he had problems with in the Toronto game--but was better about tonight--was shooting the puck where there was no way it was getting through the dman who was right out on him. That's a good way to end up with a breakaway for the other team and he did it at least 3 times. Didn't notice him doing it tonight though, so hopefully he's getting a little more patient. He wasn't head and shoulders the best player on the ice tonight, but he still looked good.
Cogliano never really got it going tonight with his speed. He did make several nice passes on our powerplays and he's going to do very well in the playmaker role.
I don't like Ebbett running the point. He's so good behind the net that it seems like we're wasting him out there, especially since he doesn't have a big shot. I've never been a fan of us using a forward back there. Tamby was decent at it. This is one area where we've been lacking since Komo left. I like Jack, Hunwick, and Mitera as point guys on the PP. Not sure who I'd use as #4, but I don't like Ebbett back there.
As Spath pointed out to me, we had a TJ Hensick sighting on the PK. That, and Tim Cook calling for the puck (and seeing a few seconds of PP time) were the two surprises of the game. Cookie seems like he's trying to get into the offense more this year. He's probably had enough being made fun of about not having a point last year.
Billy Sauer played really, really, really well I thought. He didn't face a ton of rubber, but he was there when we needed him, and he had at least 4 big saves. I didn't think the goal was his fault. He had a guy laying in the crease and no stick (which I think the guy in the crease knocked out of his hands). He had back-to-back point blank saves in the third when it was 2-0 that were just outstanding. He's really quick down in that butterfly. The student section needs to give him some more love....there were a couple of "Billy Sauer" chants, but he had 3 or 4 saves that were pretty decent that barely drew a cheer, where if it had been Montoya, people would've been going crazy.
The one thing that I don't like about Sauer is that he's a complete opposite from Montoya at playing the puck. I meant to mention this after the Toronto game and it slipped my mind. He gave the puck away behind the goal at least 3 times during that game and once tonight. That doesn't seem to be a real strong point of his game. I think he knows it though, as he doesn't wander the way Al did.
He gave up a couple of rebounds that he probably didn't want to give up, but nothing came of it. Overall a pretty darn good effort from the kid in his first real start. He was the #3 star of the game.
Dest got tossed early on for a hit from behind. I thought it was a pretty weak call. I have no problem with them trying to crack down on it, and giving stiff penalties will help to get it out of the game...but a 5 & a game for a hit like the one Dest gave is pushing it. It was probably a 2, but definitely not a 5 from what I saw.
Is college hockey in general starting to give out instigator penalties when there are coincedental roughing minors, or is this just a Brian Aaron thing? I was just waiting for him to bust out the facemasking call. I think he's my least favorite ref in the CCHA...I hate it when he does our games.
I love Travis Turnbull. He had 2 goals tonight (Edit: Both goals got taken away, but he still had 2 assists) and he's just strong in all facets of the game. He has a lot more speed than I was expecting him to have as well. He's gonna be a good one for us.
Our defense blocks an awful lot of shots. They're all so big that they SHOULD be blocking a bunch, but I really noticed it tonight. Mitera is also good about using his skates to not let the puck get through his legs when a guy is coming in on him. He had a pretty solid game tonight I thought. Got back and cleanly broke up a breakaway.
I love the hustle by Danny Fardig. Got rewarded with a goal too!
This was another game where they seemed just a half second slow on stuff. The powerplay wasn't great again (apart from the 2 minute 5 on 3 where it took 10 seconds to score), but that'll come. There were 2 or 3 chances that should have been goals...Ebbett (or was it Kal? Maybe both...) had a golden scoring opportunity that I have no clue how it stayed out.
Overall a pretty good effort against a team that usually plays us pretty tough. Sauer's definitely earned himself another start tomorrow and I look forward to seeing him play again. I think we're gonna be ok in net, even though it is really early.