Lancers open at home tonight against struggling new comer, Fargo. This will be a good team for the Lancers to open up against. It should build some team confidence ss the Omaha works through certain woes in the defensive end. Fargo is struggling in that end of the ice too, going 0-3 in Sioux City last week and getting out shot 92-54 (3 game total). The difference between these two teams is that Omaha is able to find the back of the net despite defensive woes, Fargo has not. Lancers will win and should put of 6 or more goals tonight. The big question is will the Lancer defense/goaltending be able to shut down Fargo’s lackluster offense. Hopefully they will and continue to build confidence in that end of the ice.
Speaking of goaltending, the shake up has started, err, continued. Goetz was sent packing, as well as Weninger. The Weninger departure caught some off guard but I suspected either Teglia or Weninger to leave, though I didn’t see it happening before tonight’s matchup. Obviously Bliss see’s something in Teglia that he didn’t see in Weninger. To replacling Weninger, Bliss has brought in Dan Sullivan. Sullivan played for Apple Core of the Eastern Junior Hockey League last season and compiled a 4-6 record in 10 starts with a 4.04 goals-against average and .886 save percentage. Dan played for Apple Core Junior B team in the EMPIRE league at the start of last season and was arguably the best goalie in the leage. Apple Core called him up to their Jr. A team in February to play for their EJHL Junior team where his 4-6 record comes from. The EJHL is not the strongest of leagues, taking a back seat to the NAHL. But it is getting better and some argue that the NAHL is falling off a bit. The gap seems to be closing between these two leagues.
In summary, I think Dan Sullivan is worth a look but I don’t foresee him being the “end all, be all”. I don’t think this fixes the Lancer’s goaltending issues and I don’t believe this will be the last major goaltending change on the roster. I still look for a trade to happen in the first half of this season and I don’t think we see our post season starting goalie present on the roster yet.
In other news, Bliss cut USHL veteran Ryan Peltoma and acquired defenseman, Ian Ruel from Indiana. Ian is a 6’ 4” second year player and Michigan native that should help our depth on the blue line. I think Bliss will continue to keep his eyes open for defensive changes but his is a start.
Tyler Elbrecht also left the team this week to attend college at Iowa State. I assume he will play for their club team. Tyler was the only returning defenseman from last year’s championship team. I was hoping Tyler would step up this season, but looking at the numbers in Sioux City, the only role he was looking to fill was Conboy’s goon role (minus Conboy’s ability to score). I know fighting is part of hockey and nobody agrees that hockey has a necessary place in the game more than me. But anybody that knows me, and none of you do, knows that I’m not a fan of cheap or unnecessary penalties, or unnecessary fighting. With that said, before we get into a Conboy discussion, let me say this: Conboy is a decent hockey player but I think he could have been more effective if he wasn’t so focused on being a goon last season. I think many of his fights were unnecessary. At times he showed great discipline but many times, he was a loose cannon. From what I saw in Elbrecht last weekend, he was trying to fill that role. It’s my opinion that this team has other problems to address outside of who’s going to be the goon and judging by last weekend’s performance, we could have done without Elbrecht’s 24 penalty minutes. I don’t see this as a big loss.
So the game is on tonight. More to come on this next week.