The puck is close to dropping for the season, and I'm excited, of course. This Sioux team is loaded, and could be the best one that the Sioux have seen in years. With the return of Chay at defense, there are very few glaring weaknesses on this team. I'm trying to figure out if the Sioux have anything to worry about, and yes, I found a few things that need to go in their favor this year to continue success.
1. Stay healthy
The loss of Chay hurt the team early on in the season last year, and various injuries up and down the team hindered their progress. Losing Hextall for 9 games shattered their power-play. Certainly, injuries are a part of the game, but if the Sioux can stay healthy for the most part, they will be fine.
2. Stay out of the box
The Sioux get a lot of attention when they are out on the ice, most of it unwarranted. And last year, we saw the bias in officials when they played DU at Magness on Saturday night, when they were called for 9 penalties in a row compared to DU's 0. But that being said, the Sioux need to continue to be smart. They antagonize a lot of teams and if they can play that to their advantage, they will be looking at a lot of powerplays.
3. Fill the voids
VandeVelde returned for his senior season, and his presence on the ice will definitely be missed. Darcy Zajac definitely shined in his senior year, especially on the faceoff dot. Guys like Brett Hextall, Corban Knight, and Mario Lamoureux will have to step up this year. We saw Evan Trupp really shine in the Final Five and when Frattin returned to the team, he certainly provided a nice spark. It is critical that those guys continue to produce like they were last year.
4. Give Eids a rest
Eidsness has established himself as one of the best goaltenders in college hockey. He had a great GAA last year of 2.11 and a save percentage of .914%. That all being said, I don't want to see the Sioux leaning on him all season long. We saw that with Lammy in the 2007-2008 season and while I'm not blaming him for the 6-1 defeat in the Frozen Four, it would have been nice to have him get some rest during the year. Brad is a great goalie; Aaron Dell is just fine and can spell him when necessary. I'd like to see Dell play 8-10 games this year.