View Full Version : UNO 2015 off-season thread - Is the next step in the offing next year?

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Red Cows
09-22-2015, 12:16 AM
Maverick Hockey fan tutorial courtesy of UNO's Red Army:


Just in case you didn't know.

Best line in the entire tutorial:

By the way, DO NOT wear Michigan gear. Not to the game, not on campus, not in the privacy of your own home. If Michigan and ISIS played hockey, we wouldn’t root for Michigan. We’ll explain some other time.

Red Cows
09-22-2015, 05:55 PM
Interesting analysis of NCHC goaltending this upcoming season from SBNation College hockey as it pertains to UNO's goalie situation:

Nebraska Omaha

Kirk Thompson, JR(12 games, .905/2.70), Evan Weninger, FR

Nebraska-Omaha is a trendy pick to finish near the top of the league after making it to the Frozen Four last season with an extremely young team. Nine freshman played at least 10 games last year, and the team's top seven scorers were underclassmen. That group should only get better, to be sure. But any talk about UNO's success last season begins and ends with Ryan Massa.

The Mavericks gave up 139 more shots on goal than they took last season(44th nationally), for a per game shot margin average of -3.56(43rd nationally). That's not a perfect predictor of team success, but Harvard(34th nationally) was the only other team outside of the top 25 in that stat to make the NCAA Tournament. And yet, the Mavericks still finished +15(23rd nationally) in goal margin. It takes some great, great goaltending to make something like that happen, and that's exactly what they got from Massa, who tied for the national lead with a .939 save percentage.

That means junior goalie Kirk Thompson has some huge skates to fill to replace what Massa did last year. Last year, in 12 appearances, he posted a .905 save percentage, which isn't nearly good enough to get UNO back to where they were last year, but he at least showed steady improvement from his freshman season. The Mavericks really need him to continue that progression this season. It's highly unlikely he matches what Massa did last year, but he just has to be close enough that his older, more experience team can close the gap.

This is spot on and, as I have said, previously, what UNO needs, at a minimum this season, is to get "serviceable" goaltending. The definition of what that is can be ascertained with the answer to the following question: How much better is everyone else after this off-season and how good are the newcomers?

UNO led the nation in underclassmen scoring or was near the top last season and have another excellent class coming in so I believe that the entire season's fortune's boil down to goaltending for UNO.

I'll be pretty shocked if Kirk Thompson is still the starting goalie after New Year's Eve this season. Nothing about his pedigree would give you reason to believe he is a championship goalie. His juniors numbers are very pedestrian. Weninger's juniors numbers blow Kirkie's away. So do those of Alex Blankenburg, also an incoming freshman goalie, that isn't even mentioned in this article.

When Thompson was offered 2 years ago, I looked at his numbers and was like "Why?".

UNO would have been a consensus pre-season top 5 team this season if they hadn't ridiculously burned Massa's redshirt two years ago. Without him, I still think they they are pre-season top 10. That said, a goalie has to surface here, somewhere. I doubt it is Thompson, though.

Red Cows
09-24-2015, 12:53 AM
UNO gets voted 4th in the pre-season NCHC media poll.

I am actual O.K. with this since Coach Blais has been genius in using in using our preseason rankings as a motivating factor ever since he's been here.

The media evidently thinks an awful lot of Ryan Massa, since this is easily, on paper, the best overall team the school has ever sent out onto the ice to begin a season in the history of the program.

If somebody turns out to be an actual goalie between the potential candidates, I think they can do better than 4th place in the league. I also think the intangible of playing in a new building in front of a sellout every single night is going to make it tough for any team(s) to come out of here with points. I also think somebody may surface as a Hobey Baker candidate on this team.

Unless goaltending is somehow non-existent, this is a tourney team, again. This year and last year are the best back-to-back recruiting classes in school history, IMHO. We lost 4 seniors. One was by far the greatest goalie in school history. 2 others were defensemen that were being pushed by underclassmen at season's end and both finished negative. The other was the team captain, who barely played after January 1st last season because of nagging injuries. This team looks like addition by subtraction.

This team will go as far as goaltending takes it because the other pieces all look like they are in place. Being a reigning Frozen Four team should add to whatever air of confidence that exists amongst these players and should serve to excite and motivate the newcomers.

Let the games begin.

Does it get any better than a Frozen Four team vs. the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tourney to start the season?