This past Saturday we played our first regular-season game against #11 UW-Eau Claire in Eau Claire, WI. We went on the road and came away with a 1-1 tie. I feel we learned a lot in this game as to what it is going to take to beat some of the best teams in the country.
The biggest thing that we can control and improve on is our discipline. We took 10 penalties for 20 minutes and killed 16 minutes of 5-on-4 and three 5-on-3 situations. So with that, our discipline needs work, but our penalty kill was very good not giving up a single goal against. Eau Claire went 0-for-8 on their power play. Another aspect to improve on is our power play as we were also given 7 power plays and came up empty handed on all 7. We needed one big goal from our power play to come away with a very big road win.
Senior Brady Heppner got his first goal of the season and it was assisted by junior Jake Dittel and freshman Auggie Moore with his first college point. We also got a stellar performance again by senior goalie Andrew Lindgren. Andrew made 44 saves on 45 shots and kicked off his senior season with another great game.
Moving forward, we play our first MIAC games this weekend against Bethel. The first game will be on Friday night at 7pm in St. Cloud and the second game of the series will be on Saturday at 7pm in Blaine. These are both huge games as there are only 16 MIAC games that determine the regular-season championship. We have always said that playoff hockey starts on the first game of a college hockey season. With only 25 regular-season games and 16 MIAC regular-season games, you need to be ready to go from day 1. The boys are jacked up and ready to go with this series and we are all looking forward to our first home game this Friday night.
Finally, I would like to mention that our 2019-20 Johnnie Hockey captains were announced last week with Adam Orn taking the reins as the captain and senior Kyle Wagner and junior Jake Dittel being names the assistant captains. We have a team full of leaders and I know several guys could have been named a leader, but these three rose to the top and will make a great leadership group moving forward.
I am excited to get this season underway and I hope to see a lot of Johnnie Red in the buildings this weekend.