Chalk Talk with Head Ice Hockey Coach Dave Reno - Week 1/2009

Coach Reno discusses the team's last series with NKU and the upcoming trip to Pittsburgh | September 20, 2009

The Xavier Ice Hockey team started off the 2009 – 2010 season with 2 wins over rival Northern Kentucky University; 10 – 2 and 11 – 7.  21 goals in two games is incredible and an absolutely fantastic start considering the limited number of practices we have had due to the flu on campus.  Every player had at least one goal or one assist; and every player’s plus/minus is positive!  As coach, it was one of those rare opportunities to watch and enjoy the team perform.
Both the offense and defense did an excellent job.  There is no doubt that our offense can put the puck in the net and all 3 forward lines did just that.  Brian Campbell was the leading goal scorer, with 4, while freshmen Nate Han and Malachi Henry were our top point producers with 6 each. Henry was also our top plus/minus producer at plus 9.  Our defense was also stellar with Cody Barney and Nate Han combining for 9 points and a plus 6 rating.  Defenseman Phil Merwin ended the weekend with a plus 8 rating.
Our freshmen were most impressive and combined for a total of 8 goals. They have proven themselves in just the first weekend with their solid hockey skills and exceptional team play.  Combined with the returning upper classmen, this season has the potential of being a very successful one.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the weekend’s performance.
Other notables include the play of Captain Justin Wheeler who demonstrated to the team the meaning of passion in getting the job done.  His hustle was an inspiration for the team; especially on Saturday when NKU seemed to be turning the game in their favor.  Freshman Nate Han was also recognized by the team and earned the nickname Hans Solo for his ability to skate from end to end and score.  And as usual, Scott Caine did another exceptional job in net!
That said; the team knows we have a long way to go and need to keep working on our game conditioning and team play.  The remaining schedule is a tough one and includes 34 games with 10 games against higher division teams. Next weekend will be our first true challenge when we travel to the Pittsburgh area to play the University of Pittsburgh – Greensburg, St. Vincent and California University of Pennsylvania.  The boys are hoping to bring back more good news, but will take it one game at a time.