My first impression of tonight's hockey game between UNO and Northern Michigan is that the Wildcats might be one of the worst team's I've seen play in quite some time. UNO pretty much dominated the play the entire night; final shots on goal were 41-13. At one time in the 2nd period, UNO held a 3-0 lead, and Northern Michigan only had two shots on goal.
So I went to see just how bad Northern Michigan is...and saw that the Wildcats swept Wisconsin last weekend in Green Bay to open the season. The Wildcats are ranked #17 in the USCHO poll this week.
So did Northern Michigan just have a bad night tonight, or were the Mavs simply on fire tonight? No way to know, but suddenly, that 5-2 win looks a lot better than it did when I left the CenturyLink Center. UNO simply skated around and through the Wildcats all night long and controlled the puck for long stretches of the game. Northern did manage to get a couple of rushes put together in the game, and those led to both Wildcat goals. Probably not a good sign for senior UNO goalie John Faulkner, though he probably could have taken a Northwestern cat-nap in goal much of the evening.
UNO wore alternate uniforms that seemed to have the logos everywhere they could stick them on the jersey...and didn't put names on the back. Bad move for the first game of the season; there was a bunch of "who's that guy" thoughts for the night. They looked kind of amaturish with logos stuffed anywhere they could...featuring a little "Mavs" tramp-stamp at the bottom of the back. Whatever.
For the action on the ice, Matt White and Brock Montpetit had strong nights, as did freshman defenseman Nick Seeler.
Closing off the south end upper deck didn't improve...and probably detracted overall from the atmosphere at the game tonight. Stashing the Red Army behind the students meant much of the sound from the "buckets of boom" were muffled by the empty stands, and the students took a while to get into a rhythm with the chants. It's the first game in my new seats in the upper deck. I suppose it's nice to not have to look through the net, but I'd still rather be in my old seats....which happen to sit outside the Hefty bags they've dropped from the ceiling to allegedly improve the atmosphere.
It'll be curious to see how Northern Michigan reacts tomorrow night to getting shelled. Tonight's game got a little chippy at the end; that's probably a fore-bearer of things to come.