Good Wednesday afternoon from The Oil Can, where Bulldogs men’s puck coach Scott Sandelin is working to keep the local sports media rock stars fat with fresh content.
Today’s pesser outakes:
On banged-up Bulldogs Parker Mackay (upper body), Riley Tufte (left wrist) and Sammy Spurrell (lower body):
Mackay doubtful, still day-to-day. Tufte questionable. Spurrell day-to-day. They’re all going on the trip (to UMass-Lowell, Friday-Saturday nonconference series).
They swarm you with low coverage and make it very difficult to make plays, and you have to be patient. They get pucks out of their zone well, too, because you get a lot of guys trapped, which creates a lot of odd-man rushes. It’s a hard system to play against, because there’s not a lot of room. They’re a team that’s certainly older on the back end, with all their guys coming back. They’ve got some really good forwards returning. They play the game with a lot of speed, and they’re very hard on pucks. They back-pressure really well so they don’t give you a lot of time and space on the rink, so it will be a good challenge for us.
On the play of freshman winger Jade Miller, who scored his first Bulldogs goal Saturday night:
He was the leading scorer in Austin (NAHL). He’s a very smart, intelligent player. This week in practice I see him gaining confidence and improving in some areas.
On the play of the fourth line of Sammy Spurrell centering Blake Young and Billy Exell:
The first night I was a little disappointed when they took a couple penalties, but Blake made amends for that with his goal. And obviously Billy scored a big goal for us on Saturday. It’s a good line, it can create a lot of energy, and they have the ability to chip in goals here and there. But their biggest job is to get pucks in deep and work, and obviously stay on the plus side of the plus-minus. And if they can get goals, that’s great because we will need that and it just helps creates more depth throughout our lineup. If you just look at our whole weekend, we had our scoring pretty spread out from a lot of different people, and that’s a good sign.
On the emphasis on special teams play in practice this week:
The standard of play (out East), I’m expecting it to be a little bit different. Just watching some of the tape, it was (called) a little bit tighter than maybe it was last weekend here.
On rattling in four power-play goals against Tech:
I think we did a better job Saturday than Sunday, when Tech was a little bit better on their penalty kill and challenged us a little bit more. It was a good start for our power play, especially to score the first one early on and you gain some confidence. Confidence is a huge thing on the power play. I thought we got out-worked by their penalty killers on Sunday on some of the power plays, and that’s not a good thing. We were a little bit hesitant, and I’m going to give more credit to Tech than us being poor – I thought they did a better job of killing. We didn’t get a lot of net-front presence, when we were moving around and maybe trying to get too fancy. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. We have to get pucks to the net. We have some plays we can work on, but we need to shoot the puck and get in the goalie’s face and try to create some rebounds like Willie Raskob’s goal. You couldn’t design it any better: Dom (Toninato) wins the faceoff, he goes from the faceoff dot to right in front of their goaltender and Willie gets the shot. It was two passes and a quick shot, and everybody did what they are supposed to do. That’s how simple it can be sometimes. So hopefully we don’t try to complicate it now, especially early in the year.
On the play of freshman goalie Hunter Miska, who starts his Bulldogs career 2-0 (1 shutout), 1.50 goals-against, .929 saves percentage:
We were really excited for him. Anytime your team gets a shutout, it’s not just one guy. But he made some really key saves. Making a couple really hard saves early got him into the game (on Saturday, a 6-0 win). I think one of the things he did really well all weekend was play the puck and start the transition on the breakouts, which was a big help to our defensemen. He showed a lot of poise there. On Sunday, much like our team, we weren’t maybe as focused as we need to be. Maybe we weren’t prepared for what Tech was going to bring, even though you tell them that. We were disappointed from the back end all the way out. We weren’t intense and our compete level wasn’t where it needed to be. We found a way to win a game, but it was a good lesson for our team to make sure they understand how hard it is each and every night – no matter what you do the night before. We had a good discussion about this earlier in the week, just to make sure those things don’t happen. But for him (Miska), it was a great start and hopefully it’s a good building block for him.