Thursday, December 4, 2008

Report Card: Indiana Ice

Team Record: 14-3-1

Total Points: 29

Goal Leader: Stanislav Galiev - 11

Assist Leader: Brandon Richardson - 15

Points Leader: Brandon Richardson - 22

PIM Leader: Will MacDonald - 34

+/- Leader: Garrett Kennedy - +13

Wins Leader: Brett Bennett - 11

I thought Indiana may start off slow and have some growing pains with a new coach, but they have made me look bad with that and are playing some great hockey. Brett Bennett seems to be the real deal and he has played in 15 of Indiana's 18 games. He has compiled an impressive 11-3-1 record along the way. Backup goalie, Chris Paliafito, has chipped in when his name is called, posting a 3-0-0 record.

Their offense has been great so far, notching 71 total goals. That's almost FOUR goals per game. The offense is led by USHL rookies Brandon Richardson and Stanislav Galiev. Also chipping in is USHL veteran Max Cook and newcomer Shane Berschbach. Berschbach has been a pleasant surprise for me. I had heard good things about him, though I wasn't sure he'd be able to produce like he has at this level right out of the gate. He stands in at 5'8" and weighs a hefty 135 lbs. Brent Gwidt hasn't factored much on the scoresheet, but you can bet he's doing all those little things for the team. He is one of, if not the best, defensive forward in the USHL. A player I'd keep an eye on now is Dan Cecka. He had a solid career in HS up in Minnesota, but hasn't translated that success to the USHL...yet.

Defensively, Indiana has allowed only 42 goals, good for 2nd best in the league. Leading the way offensively from the blue line are Torey Krug and Joe Hartman. Mikael Owilli has also been a nice surprise. I thought he played fairly decent at the Fall Classic, but Indiana has a surplus of overage players and I thought he may be the odd man out. Head coach, Jeff Blashill, decided to keep him and it has definitely paid off. Owilli has posted 8 points and is a +11.

For Indiana's first third of the year, I give them a very high A.

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