Today was a monumental day.  I was present to witness the first shootout in Gopher Men’s Hockey history.  It was a phenomenal display of individual talent for the Gophers.  Sadly, that seems to be all they have because as a team they just aren’t clicking.  The shootout was forced after the first over time ended with no score.  It was against Air Force, a team that the Gophers should send packing soundly.  It’s sad the Boston College beat Air Force so decidedly last night and tonight we were forced to go into a shootout with them.  I fear the worst when we have a real series against Boston College.  Some may argue that our best players are away in the Czech Republic, but I think it’s a chemistry issue and not a talent issue.  The shootout was wonderful however and Kangas really showed what he can do.  On one stop he spread full out and from skate to skate he was much wider than the goal.  I think that he should be our main net minder due to his very consistent performances over this year.  Today he was only beat once and scored on twice.  To clarify that statement, the first goal he stopped the first shot but an unfortunate rebound was picked up by a pinching defensemen(?).  That should have never happened because one of our D-men should have not allowed the pinch.  The second goal he was in decent position but let it in near side.  (This happened while Air Force had their goalie pulled to get the extra man with one minute to go in the third period.)  Kangas redeemed his mistake by making four saves to completely shut out Air Force in the shootout.  Barriball had an amazing five hole goal that I knew was going in the moment he touched the puck.  It was a definite high for fans who have had a rather mediocre season.  I can only hope that this helps the guys gain some morale and some momentum going into the second half of the season.

Sometimes I wish I could throw Lucia (The Don) some tips.  I would say:

  • It takes 15 seconds to score
  • Tic-Tac-Toe not Tic-Tac-Tic-Tac-Tic-Tac-Tic-Lose the puck
  • Teams are playing the Gophers aggressive.  Take advantage of that by getting them out of position.
  • Passing too much allows opponent goalie to set up.
  • Find someone else who can carry the puck in aside from Barriball.
  • Set Goals to get Goals.  Ever notice how a team plays their hearts out when they know how many goals they need to score?  Well go out there and aim to get 2 goals a period.  Not get as many as you can but get 2 a period.  If a hockey team can get 6 goals in a game they will win 95% of all games.
  • The D-Men need to learn how to clean up the garbage.  Our Goaltenders our doing a fine job most of the time but it is the second, third and even fourth shot that is killing us.
  • You’re not superstars yet.  I still want to see some hustle.
  • If you’re gonna pass, make it a good pass.  Tape to Tape.

I’m clearly not qualified to be a coach, but I’d like to think that if these pointers were followed they would do better.

There is a busy New Year’s Eve ahead of us.  I will try to get a better post up before the new year hits, but we shall see.

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