Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Good and The Ugly

OK Saturday night from a hockey perspective was a great night especially that a small conference like the ECAC can win back to back NCAA Frozen Four championships. So much was made of the "super hockey" conferences where so many were rightfully concerned that the schools with the biggest of money would control college hockey.

Final score in case you did not watch it was Union 7 Minnesota 4 as the little school from upstate New York won it's first national championship. More than anything else what it said was that there is a need to change how Division 1 Men's Hockey selects both it's tournament sites and how it selects/seeds teams for the tournament.

Now for the ugly news which was if this was your first time watching Brady Skjei (NYR 2012 1st) play then please toss this game out the window because this wasn't the Brady Skjei who this spot has been following for the last 2 years. I have to admit I was more shocked by how poorly Skjei played than I was Union defeating the team that had been the anointed NCAA champions at the beginning of the season.

Wow 19 seconds into the game and Skjei takes a very bad penalty for roughing. Skeji might have been better off being called for "contact to the head" and just getting ejected to get this evening over with. Skjei was lucky that Union did not score on the resulting power play but he was on the ice for 2 of the 4 first period goals that Union would score to take a 4-2 lead after the first period they would not give back.

Skjei had a very costly turnover which directly led to Union's 4th goal as he made a blind attempt to clear the puck out of the zone but instead put the puck right on a Union player's stick who in turn got the puck to a teammate who scored. Skjei would wind up with a -2 on 3 hots and 2 minors for roughing.

Skjei finished his sophomore season with a 6-8-14 +15 with 30 PIMs which is not bad overall as I expect Skjei to have a breakout season next year as a junior as he is almost ready to turn pro with the key being "almost." He needs some more muscle in his upper body, this game aside want to see a better overall improvement in his decision making process and I want to see him play a smarter more physical game.

Taylor Cammarata (NYI 2013 3rd) finished his freshmen season with a strong finish as he was one of Minnesota's better players in this game with a 1-1-2. Overall a 10-17-27 mark is pretty good for a freshman playing for a Minnesota but next year the key for him is going to be developing a better consistency. 4 stretches where Cammarata went 4-5 games without a goal is not the mark of a Top 6 forward.

Jake Bischoff (NYI 2012 6th) was a health scratch for the Frozen Four with good reason as Bischoff had not registered a single point since January 17th (14 games) and no goals since November 16th. Bischoff needs work in every part of his game.

In Medicine Hat, Kootenay Ice coach rolled the dice and sat Mackenzie Skapski (NYR 2013 6th) in favor of Wyatt Hoflin for game 5. The Ice were looking to close out their series with the Tigers but instead after a 9-2 whipping are heading back to Kootenay for game 6 not knowing which goalie to play. Hoflin was left out to take on 53 shots surrendering 6 goals in the 3rd period alone.

So far I have been wrong trying to guess which goalie McGill will go with so why stop now. I say he has to go back to Skapski and hope Skapski can close out the series on Monday in Kootenay.

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