It has been said that youth brings enthusiasm to a hockey team. While
this is true, youth cannot make up for experience. That’s something the
Northern Michigan University Wildcats lost a lot of after last season.
In fact, three of its five leading scorers from the 1999-2000
campaign-Roger Trudeau (17 goals, 8 assists, 25 points), Bryan Phillips
(6-14-20) and J.P. Vigier (9-11-20)-are no longer there.
Can the team be just as solid with the players they have coming back?
Head coach Rick Comley, one of the most honest coaches in college hockey
or any sport for that matter, is not sure experience equals solidity.
“I’m not so sure those two things go together,” says coach Comley, in
his 25th season with NMU and the only coach in their history. “There’s
no question with a senior goaltender and six returning defensemen that
we can be solid. The question is will we be?”
Indeed a very good question. Suppose one of those players goes down?
Suppose one of them isn’t performing up to their potential? What then?
That’s where, if your Northern Michigan, you hope that the experience
you gain from each game and each practice adds to the players
repertoires…in a hurry.
“It’s something we work on in practice, trying to give all of the
freshman and sophomores more opportunities, chances and ways to get
experience,” says NMU team captain and senior defenseman Mike Sandbeck.
“We have to keep everyone involved, because everyone has good days and
bad days. We have to keep everyone focused.”
Focus will be no problem in goal, with Marquette nat Read more»
There are very few teams in college hockey that can boast about having
this little problem: two of the top 10 goaltenders in their league and
not sure who to start on any given night. Yes, opponents will feel very
sorry for them. Yeah, sure.
Playing at Ferris State University’s Wink Arena, this season (or against
them at any time) won’t be an easy task with the likes of goalies Vince
Owen (13-8-2, 2.18) and Phil Osaer (8-8-0, 2.95)-call them the “O’s”
(and no Cal Ripken doesn’t play on defense in front of them). But, the
defensive corps for the Bulldogs is strong too, with six defensemen
returning. In other words, don’t expect to put the biscuit in the
basket too many times against the ‘dogs, unless they don’t show up to
the rink one night.
Ferris head coach Bob Daniels, a former goalie himself, maybe sounds a
bit worried, but he’s got to be smiling and salivating on the inside.
If your team has no scoring punch, the Bulldogs will surely leave you
Coach Daniels feels good about this year’s goaltending and defensive
unit and knows they can go a long way.
“I am truly most confident with our goaltending situation, no question,”
said Daniels, in his 7th year with Ferris State. “We could start either
goalie on any given night and the kids feel confident. Any team with
quality goalies, especially two, will help you finish at or near the top
of the league. If you don’t have it, you’ll finish no better than
But, with two good goalies, what about a controversy? Won’t that
situation unsettle both goalies, kind Read more»