First Month Recap

Mike Szmatula

MNF was a blowout, so I decided to crank this out tonight instead of tomorrow.

Well ladies and gentlemen, if you have a weak stomach I suggest you avert your eyes.  This has not been pretty.

For some reason everyone and their mother expected Northeastern to continue that hot streak they were on. You know, the one that ended in February. Obviously, that did not happen.  I think we got a taste of what this team really is at the end of last year.  That being said, I don’t think anyone thought the Huskies would go out and fall flat on their faces like they have to start this year.

The god Clay Witt has only played two games this season due to a concussion.  In those two games he posted a .848 save percentage, which is nowhere near what he was able to do last year.  Enter Derick Roy.  He’s posted an .895 save percentage in his time in net so far.  Although this number isn’t great, it’s about all that can be expected from him.  In the five games he played last year, he had an .877 save percentage.  Plus, he isn’t getting much help from the defense.

This brings me to my next point.  The defense is terrible.  There is no redeeming aspect, at least thus far in the season.  It appears that shockingly, last years strategy (letting the opponent fire at will on net) is no longer working.  The penalty kill is giving up a goal on nearly 30% of penalties.

Adding to the defensive troubles is that Northeastern cannot get through the neutral zone.  It truly is amazing to see how a team with such offensive talent can be so graceless through the neutral zone.  They simply cannot carry the puck through to the offensive zone.  When they then attempt to dump it in, they cannot retrieve the puck and keep it in.  The Huskies aren’t even shooting well, scoring on just 5.56% of their shots on goal.  Although it’s well established that +/- has limited use for evaluating players, I think it’s worth acknowledging that Northeastern only has two players with a positive +/-, one of them being Jarrett Fennell who has only played in one game.

So, although that was overwhelmingly negative there is some hope for the Huskies this season.  Clay Witt will come back, and while he likely won’t put up the same kind of numbers he had for the first two thirds of last season, he will be better than what we have seen from him and Roy so far this year (I also think Roy will play better when he isn’t the number one, but that’s just my opinion).  Secondly, the offense will have to be better than they are right now.  The low shooting and powerplay percentages will improve.  5.56% is an unsustainably low shooting percentage, and Northeastern’s powerplay was 4.8% better last year without losing much offensive talent.  The Huskies’ PDO of .929 is unlikely to continue for the rest of the season.  The team will be better than they are right now, but they are not as good as the preseason polls predicted.

I realize this has been a long first post, but I missed a whole month.  They won’t be this long going forward, I promise.

Follow on Twitter: @neuhockey

PS – If anyone knows of a website to find advanced stats for college hockey, PLEASE let me know.  Dying to know what Cockerill’s CorsiF% is.

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