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View Full Version : UNO 2015 off-season thread - Is the next step in the offing next year?



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Red Cows
04-13-2015, 02:33 AM
UNO opens it's new arena on October 23rd, against Air Force, and will likely be playing in front of a sell-out crowd of 7,800 every home date next season (well, there IS that pesky Trinity Western exhibition game on January 2nd that may very well be the outlier game) and this will likely be in an atmosphere very reminiscent of the old Omaha Civic Auditorium, where UNO played (and sold old out every one of) the first 131 games games of the program's existence in this 8,314 seat venue, about to meet the wrecking ball this summer.

Who does UNO lose? Senior F James Polk, F Kyle Mountain, F Dominic Zombo, D Brian O'Rourke, and G Ryan Massa. 5 guys.

The only two players that merit any loss of sleep at all are Massa and Zombo. The other 3 guys were dead wood.

Polk, career -20 and 14 total points in 4 seasons. Mountain, a senior transfer from Vermont (where he NEVER saw the ice in his last (junior--3rd) season with the Catamounts, finished the season at UNO at -8 and no points and only played in 17 games. O'Rourke, career +2 and 13 total points in 4 years at UNO. These guys will not be missed in the W-L column. In fact, these 3 guys were some of the issues this season's team had.

Zombo had his worst season since his freshman year, albeit injury plagued, and managed only 14 points in 29 games after getting 69 during the past two seasons, total.

Then, there is Ryan Massa, who, if not for the foolish burning of his redshirt two seasons ago would be returning for a senior campaign, where, by his very presence alone, with what we have coming back and coming in, would have likely gotten UNO a top 5 pre-season poll spot instead of the top 10 spot I believe they will still get.

Who is showing up? That is a question with some answers that warm the heart.

1. RW Steve Spinner, current Omaha Lancer (USHL), one of the runner's up to the 13'-14' "Mr. Minnesota Hockey Award" that was won by current UNO forward Avery Peterson. Closest friend is current UNO Defenseman Luc Snuggerud, who he has known since they were both little boys and attended high school with, who was himself another finalist for the award that season. Spinner has 42 points in 56 games for the Lancers this season, is a 6th round draft pick of the Washington Capitals, and has won USHL "Player of the Week" honors twice this season in the USHL, both since the beginning of the new year.

2. D Phil Beaulieu, currently of the Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL), another of the runner's up to the 13'-14' "Mr. Minnesota Hockey Award" that was won by current UNO forward Avery Peterson. He has 29 points in 60 games in Waterloo this season, playing on a Waterloo team that did not make the USHL playoffs.

3. LW Fredrik Olofsson, currently of the Chicago Steel (USHL) where he has 57 points in 54 games, played on a team that also did not make the playoffs (and, where he had only 12 penalty minutes), and is a 4th round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks. He is also a two-time winner of USHL "Player of the Week" honors this season. He is currently the league's 10th leading scorer.

4. D Jack McNeely, current member of the Tri-Cities Storm (USHL) where he is playing out his season after ending his high school hockey career this year at Lakeville North High in the Twin Cities where he had 21 points in 25 games played and helped his team to the Class AA Minnesota High School State Hockey Championship, which is the top level of high school hockey in Minnesota. He's being touted as a 2nd or 3rd round NHL draft pick.

5. F Ryan Galt, current member of the Bloomington Thunder (USHL), another team that did not make the USHL postseason, where Galt had 32 points in 57 games. Galt is Omaha born and raised and is a self-admitted fan of the Omaha Lancers and is utterly stoked to play in his home town and makes no bones about that.

6. F Mason Morelli, current member of the Fargo Force, another team that did not make the USHL playoffs, where Morelli had 23 points in 56 games played.

7. F Riley Alferd, current member of the Penticton Vees (BCHL), where he has 46 points in 56 games, playing on a team that is currently 44-9-3.

8. D Jalen Schulz, current member of the Tri-City Storm (USHL), where he has 8 points in 56 games (9 last year in 57 games on the same team) on a team that missed winning the Western Conference of the USHL by a single point. Schulz recruitment is, frankly, something of a head-scratcher. 231 penalty minutes in 113 games for the Storm. Can you say, "enforcer"? He served a 3 game suspension by the USHL this season. He and current UNO D Grant Gallo are going to be real pals. They can take turns beating up other team's stars and sitting in the penalty box. These two guys will probably spend their pregames listening to Michael Jackson's "Gotta be startin' somethin'" before every game.

FYI, current Omaha Lancers (USHL) goalie Kris Oldham, Lincoln Stars (USHL) defenseman Ryan Jones, and Sioux City Roughrider (USHL) Zach Court are all '16-'17 UNO commits.

I'm a little shocked that Oldham isn't somebody they want here next season. He's only 17, though, but is rated the 29th ranked goalie prospect by the NHL of ALL North American goalies (and has been the USHL "Goalie-of-the-Week" 3 times this season on a playoff team in a 16 team league). He will be a draft pick upon arrival and he is perhaps somebody we could use, now. I can't imagine Kirk Thompson being the goalie next season here, despite how "hot" my wife finds him, as his juniors numbers and his numbers with UNO over two seasons, as well, are nothing to write home about. In fact these numbers ALL utterly stink, which makes me wonder why we recruited this guy in the first place.

I would expect Brock Crossthwaite to win the goalie job next season since he has the much better pedigree.

This makes for 20 returning underclassmen and 8 newcomers. A 28 man roster? I think some guys may be disappearing before the start of next season.

Spinner, Beaulieu, Olofsson, and McNeely are all very likely upgrades from anybody that was lost (discounting goalie), at least, long term, except for maybe Zombo.

That leaves the one giant burning question that is going to seal UNO's fate next season. That is, who is going to be in goal and just how good does he have to be? I think that even with "serviceable" goaltending, UNO is a tourney team again next season and if whoever is between the pipes can author up a season like, say, something that is better than or equal to Dan Ellis' now 2nd place, all time, in UNO history, save percentage number in '01-'02 and/or Jared Kaufman's now 2nd all time in team history GAA in '08-'09, then UNO has a legitimate title shot, again.

Understand that Massa broke these team records on a level that Gretzky broke NHL records, mind you.

Nobody is going to get close to Massa's numbers, probably, in what is left of my lifetime, in either of these categories. However, I believe the team will be improved enough just from the level of talent added, and just plain experience, that they can still win a title with goaltending that is not on the level of what Massa supplied this season.

Throw all this in along with the excitement of playing in our new arena, that is going to be filled with 7,800 screaming fans that are also all thinking "Frozen Four, again", every single night, and this upcoming season could could end up being just as special as this one was.

Consider, too, that UNO is led by a a coach that authored up one of the biggest accomplishments of his storied career this season. Something he's been asked about in the local press and is something he has avoided addressing as he seems to not want parallels to be be drawn to this situation and to his previous tenure at North Dakota.

I, for one, can't wait for next season to start. Overall, on paper, this looks like it will be the best team that UNO has ever sent out onto the ice.

Disclaimer. Anything I have said here about next season is subject to change if UNO has any pro defections.

SCSU Euro
04-13-2015, 11:19 PM
Galt was my favorite Des Moines Buc the one year I had season tickets.

Red Cows
04-14-2015, 02:00 AM
Galt was my favorite Des Moines Buc the one year I had season tickets.

That is good thing to hear.

Considering that UNO has 4 or 5 recruits far more highly touted than he is, if HE ends up being my favorite UNO recruit and/or the biggest contributor of next year's class, next season, I will be very pleased.

SCSU Euro
04-17-2015, 03:01 PM
That is good thing to hear.

Considering that UNO has 4 or 5 recruits far more highly touted than he is, if HE ends up being my favorite UNO recruit and/or the biggest contributor of next year's class, next season, I will be very pleased.

He won't be. He's not among your most talked about recruits for a reason. I'm not saying he was the best player, I just liked the way he played and held himself. Plus... as a season ticket holder with a place to crash across the street... let's just say I drank a lot. He could have been my favorite player bc his name was the easiest to remember in my stupor.

purpleinnebraska
04-17-2015, 03:12 PM
FYI, current Omaha Lancers (USHL) goalie Kris Oldham, Lincoln Stars (USHL) defenseman Ryan Jones, and Sioux City Roughrider (USHL) Zach Court are all '16-'17 UNO commits.


Come on, man! It's the Sioux City Musketeers! Cedar Rapids, where Court played, is the Roughriders. We're only 90 miles away from you, and we gave you Guentzel and Peterson! Respect!

Red Cows
04-17-2015, 04:27 PM
Come on, man! It's the Sioux City Musketeers! Cedar Rapids, where Court played, is the Roughriders. We're only 90 miles away from you, and we gave you Guentzel and Peterson! Respect!

Shame, shame, shame on me.

Dunno what I was thinking, there. Must have been the time of my post (late).

Red Cows
04-17-2015, 04:33 PM
A little belated in pointing this out, but, UNO achieves it's highest ranking at season's end in program history at #4:

http://www.uscho.com/rankings/

Red Cows
04-19-2015, 01:41 AM
Among all the new ground being tread by the Mavs this past season, this ground is among the more improbable:

http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20150418&content_id=119047424&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_t541&sid=t541

We'll be attending this game. In fact, I live right by Werner Park. Close enough to watch the fireworks from my deck on Friday night home games.

MAVFANJEFF
04-19-2015, 04:11 PM
I look for a mediocre season coming up. Not enough experience in net. Surely we will have another goalie here by fall. Anyone heard if Massa signed a pro contract yet?

Red Cows
04-22-2015, 01:28 AM
I look for a mediocre season coming up. Not enough experience in net. Surely we will have another goalie here by fall. Anyone heard if Massa signed a pro contract yet?

Goalie is my ONLY real concern next season. I think we will be improved enough from an experience standpoint and by the addition of of our next recruiting class, which has 4 players in it, at least, that any school would love to have commit to their program, that even serviceable goaltending will make us a dangerous, dangerous team next season.

I don't think Thompson is our goalie next season. He was very pedestrian in juniors and his numbers at UNO so far are predictably very so-so as well. Crossthwaite had much better numbers coming in and if he doesn't win the starting job then that will concern me. Why Oldham isn't coming in this upcoming season, I am not clear about. We'd be better served if he came in this year. Perhaps somebody can enlighten me as to why because, I haven't heard.

Spinner, Beaulieu, Olofsson, and McNeely are all almost certainly upgrades from the guys they replace.

Think any of the teams that are on our home schedule are relishing playing in a small 7,800 capacity venue that will be full every night to play a Frozen Four 4 team from last season that has 17 returning underclassman besides the 4 quality recruits we have coming in to bolster this roster? In an atmosphere that rivals or surpasses what we had at the Civic? "Serviceable" goaltending is really all I see us needing next season to be at least a factor next season. We get "above average" and I see us maybe being a title threat next season as well.

FYI, I don't care about Conference Championships. I care about getting into the NCAA's and winning a National Championship.

I have heard that no less than 10 NHL team's have talked to Massa, by the way.

Red Cows
04-22-2015, 01:36 AM
By the way, lest anybody think that UNO wasn't really in uncharted waters this season, behold, today was offically proclaimed "Maverick Hockey Day" today by the City of Omaha:

http://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/Omaha-City-Council-Proclaims-April-21st-As-Maverick-Hockey-Day-300838001.html

https://twitter.com/brandipetersen/status/590596417841954816

Red Cows
05-09-2015, 05:34 AM
Here are two of the biggest reasons that this picture is even possible:

https://instagram.com/p/2XRCZEtsK5/

Red Cows
05-19-2015, 01:52 PM
This might end up being the most significant thing that has happened involving UNO Hockey this off-season:

http://www.sjhl.ca/news_article/show/516571?referrer_id=618093

If this guy can fill what appears to be the only hole on UNO's entire roster and play anywhere even remotely close to as well as he appears to have done in Juniors, then UNO has every piece of the puzzle in place, now.

This explains why Kris Oldham isn't joining the team until '16-'17 and confirms my suspicions that Coach Blais knows he probably isn't going to win a title with either Crossthwaite and, in particular, Thompson, in goal, both of whom had rather pedestrian numbers at the juniors level, even.

Welcome, Evan Weninger.

Some bodies are likely going to be disappearing around here this fall. Weninger pushes to 32 the number of guys currently on UNO's roster for next season.

Red Cows
05-23-2015, 12:23 AM
Cool aerial tour of the UNO campus:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_CJBaFJpes&app=desktop

Unfortunately, it entirely neglects the portion of UNO's campus that is in the Aksarben Village area where the new arena is located. All of that is well over a mile away from anything you see in this video.

As an aside, UNO has one of the most state-of-the-art soccer facilities (the old football stadium) in the country (which is depicted in this video). At ANY school, anywhere:

http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/university-nebraska-omahas-caniglia-field-earns-elite-fifa-2-star-certification-1918119.htm

Red Cows
05-28-2015, 11:07 PM
This seems, on it's face, to be kinda nutty:

http://nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=14892

UNO now has 4 goaltenders on it's roster for the upcoming '15-'16 season and there are now 33 guys on the roster for this upcoming season.

And, Omaha Lancers (USHL) goalie Kris Oldham is '16-'17 UNO commit.

It's raining goalies around here.

I think it is logical to now really infer that Dean Blais and Company don't think very much of returnees Brock Crossthwaite (Soph) and Kirk Thompson (Jr).

I wonder what Kris Oldham might be thinking, today?

5thYearFreshman
07-09-2015, 02:20 PM
This seems, on it's face, to be kinda nutty:

http://nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=14892

UNO now has 4 goaltenders on it's roster for the upcoming '15-'16 season and there are now 33 guys on the roster for this upcoming season.

And, Omaha Lancers (USHL) goalie Kris Oldham is '16-'17 UNO commit.

It's raining goalies around here.

I think it is logical to now really infer that Dean Blais and Company don't think very much of returnees Brock Crossthwaite (Soph) and Kirk Thompson (Jr).

I wonder what Kris Oldham might be thinking, today?

Crossthwaite is gone along with Jono Davis and Yuoso. Someone else left too but I don't remember who it was.

Red Cows
07-10-2015, 03:05 PM
Here is the updated UNO roster:

http://www.omavs.com/SportSelect.dbm...1&SPSID=795014

Matt Youso, Brock Crossthwaite, Jono Davis, Brian Rideout, underclassmen all, are gonzo from the program. It was obvious UNO had "numbers problems" and some departures are no surprise. None of these players were meaningful contributors although I had wondered if Crossthwaite might be the "new starting goalie apparent"

Apparently not.

UNO, a team I expect will be in the top 10 in the pre-season poll, will have all of 2 seniors on it

Red Cows
07-10-2015, 03:08 PM
News release from the school about the incoming recruiting class and players leaving:

http://www.omavs.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=795013&SPID=135111&DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=31400&ATCLID=210187598

vizoroo
07-10-2015, 03:45 PM
News release from the school about the incoming recruiting class and players leaving:

http://www.omavs.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=795013&SPID=135111&DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=31400&ATCLID=210187598
Two NLI signees not joining freshman class? :confused: Next year?

Didn't UNO have 10 freshmen last year?
Two years in a row of big recruiting classes.

Red Cows
07-28-2015, 12:39 AM
New UNO roster page just put up on the school's web site:

http://www.omavs.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=31400&SPID=135111&SPSID=795014