You'll notice the colors and picture have changed here at IPNO, from NU red and black to Angels red and navy. Seasons are changing, despite the frigid temperatures in Boston. I'm still messing with the layout and picture, so expect semi-regular changes until I find something I like.
So, just under 24 hours after the puck dropped for the NU/Cornell game, here are some of my thoughts.
This team's inability to win the big game as been a problem I've chronicled and which others have mentioned. Frankly, nobody really saw the Huskies as national title contenders this year, and only three years removed from an awful 3-24-7 season, it's hard to be "disappointed," per se. But this team is losing critically important players in Liotti, Chisholm, Ginand, and Vitale, and a couple significant starters in McCauley and Rassey. That's without even mentioning the potential departure of Thiessen, but I'll touch on that in a moment.
If you've never seen Heisenberg's site, take a look. Basically, it shows all the verbally and officially committed players to every NCAA college hockey program. Brodie Reid and the Daniels brothers look to make significant impacts next season. Chris Rawlings is a potential Thiessen clone with some questions currently surrounding his commitment to NU. Add in progression from MacLeod, McNeely, and the other sophomores/juniors, and you're looking at a very competitive team in what will be a weaker Hockey East next season. Quailer, Tuckerman, and McLaughlin will likely suffer from something of a sophomore slump, so don't expect to see too much out of them at the start of the season.
A lot of next season hangs on Brad Thiessen. As of right now, I don't think he has what it takes to make it at the next level, and after this season, I really think he owes it to the NU community to stay. Look, the kid threw the team on his back for more than a few games this season. But he also failed to perform in big games. Here's his stats from big games:
Dodge Holiday Classic Final (3-2 OTL): 30 shots, 27 saves, .900 save percentage
Beanpot Final (5-2 loss): 34 shots, 29 saves, .853 save percentage
Final game of HEA regular season (4-1 loss): 25 shots, 21 saves, .840 save percentage
Hockey East Semifinals (3-2 OTL): 44 shots, 41 saves, .932 save percentage
NCAA Tournament First Round (3-2 loss): 32 shots, 29 saves, .906 save percentage
Totaled up, and comparing results to his season totals and a mystery goalie:
Big games: 165 shots, 147 saves, .891 save percentage, 3.60 GAA
All season: 1283 shots, 1195 saves, .931 save percentage, 2.17 GAA
Mystery Goalie: 291 shots, 260 saves, .893 save percentage, 3.33 GA
That's including the "big games" in the season total, and subtracting the 3 empty-net goals opponents have scored. In other words, Thiessen went from being an elite, top-5 national goalie to...Doug Jewer. Whoops.
I'll do a report card on a player-by-player basis later this week.