Thursday, October 13, 2011

Opening Weekend in the Books

We had an electrifying 4-3 win Friday after raising the banner only to fall apart and give up five straight goals after a bad bounce Saturday. I'll take a split against the top-ranked team in the nation. Let's talk about the good and the bad from the weekend that was.
The Good
  • It looks like we have at least four solid guys on offense. JT Brown, Travis Oleksuk, Mike Seidel and of course Jack Connolly will be legit scoring threats for UMD this year.
  • JT could be the best player in the WCHA and Oleksuk could have a 45+ point season. 
    • I'm drinking the Kool-Aid on both these guys. JT peaked right at the end of the year (Frozen Four MVP) and has really started to remind me of Mike Connolly - not quite as fiery, definitely quicker, and preposterously undrafted. 
    • Oleksuk scored two goals in the exhibition against Lakehead had two assists and two goals against the Irish. He's awesome taking faceoffs and has looked confident. I sat in the third row on Friday (more on that later) and he was our most vocal guy on the ice.
  • Keegan Flaherty had first career goal Friday. Always nice to see a staple of the penalty kill get one. Here's to a few more for him this season.
  • The already awesome concessions at Amsoil actually got better this season. As far as I can tell they added a coney dog, (delicious and satisfying), a gyro, (good but small and not worth $6) and a prime rib sandwich, which I did not try. It's not surprising that UMD increased concession sales by %150 after moving into Amsoil last year.
  • The Duluth News Tribune's front page Saturday. What a great shot. God I'm going to miss the student section.

Clint Austin/DNT - just check out the whole gallery
The Bad
  • What was up with the banner raising celebration? After the huge turnout at the pregame tailgate/drinkfest outside of Amsoil I was really jacked for a hyper-dramatic ceremony of some kind. Instead we got a minute-long voiceover from Howie as a little black sheet was removed from the front of the banner. Compare that to the Boston Bruins' ceremony:

  • Seems like the goaltending will be the same as last year. Kenny Reiter is better than Aaron Crandall, but not reliable enough to be a dominant workhorse goalie. Obviously that could change, and last year Reiter did play well enough to win a national championship, but 14 saves on 17 shots isn't gonna get it done.
  • After missing all of last season because of a freak ATV accident, Cody Danberg hurt his shoulder in the season opener and will miss all of this season. Ugh, what a bummer. You gotta feel for the guy. 
  • I had tickets in the third row, which I thought was going to be great. Unfortunately my section was right next to the UMD bench, so every time the action went to the far end my view was blocked by the coaches standing behind the bench. It was so, so frustrating having to alternate looking up at the JumboTron and down through the glass all game. Obstructed-view seats in the third row. Amsoil does have flaws.

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