Monday, September 22, 2008

GB Gamblers/ Waterloo Black Hawks Scouting Report

Work took me to NE WI on friday and that coincided well w/ the Gamblers exhibition game against the Black Hawks at the Cornerstone Ice Center in DePere. I wanted to make this game because it features the highest concentration of Badger recruits in one place. The Gamblers have Jefferson Dahl and Chase Drake, while Waterloo has Craig Smith, Brock Montpetit, Keegan Mauer and Tyler Barnes.

Before I review my thoughts, I must say the Cornerstone is a nice little rink, and a good place to watch a game. I sat in the corner, which gave me the best view of ice. St. Norberts has banners all over the place and it appears they have dominated their conference for most of the decade. GL to them on defending their DIII title.

Besides the Badger recruits I listed, I made some notes about Sean Little (GB) as he is receiving interest from Wisconsin (and from other teams), and Scott Pavelski (Waterloo).

Jefferson Dahl was not in the lineup for Green Bay so nothing to add on him.

Chase Drake started at defenseman for Green Bay. I wasn't overly impressed by him, though w/ his and all my other thoughts from the game the season is just starting. He spent time on the PP and PK; the one thing that stuck out most to me was his decision making. He made a lot of poor decisions passing the puck, especially out of his own zone.

I really didn't notice Sean Little much during the game, though he did have an assist on GB's 3rd goal. He skated w/ what appeared to be the 3rd line and on special teams.

For Waterloo, Keegan Mauer started the game at C. He was the last guy out of the tunnel after jacking up all his teammates on their way out. No one was wearing captains' designations, but I wonder if he will be this season. He is a scrappy player, and twice he got a glove to the mouth from his opponent after the whistle. He reminded me of a combination of Ratty Johnson and Matt Ford. Always in the middle of things after the whistle (like Ford) and doesn't stand down to anyone (like Ratty). I was suspect on Eaves adding him to the 09 recruiting class, but he seems like a good character player who plays good D, and should be solid on the offensive side of things.

Craig Smith centered what appeared to be the 3rd line. He got a lot of PK time (the team was in the box a ton throughout the game), usually teamed w/ Brock Montpetit. He did some strong skating rushing the puck into the offensive zones at times, and had a nice goal 5-hole on the PP (5 x 3). He is a solidly built kid, excited to see if he puts it all together this season.

Brock Montpetit was on the RW w/ Smith. He was strong on both sides of the special teams. He had to be right up there for overall ice time. On the PP, he had quite a few good chances. Similar to Mauer he is a scrappy player who, while gifted offensively, isn't afraid to do the hard work in the corner. The main thing I noticed was that he never gives up on the puck. He'll join the group in the corner or at open ice and come away w/ the puck. He wants to be part of the action. I liked what I saw out of Montpetit.

Tyler Barnes skated on the RW of the 2nd line and played the most of any forward on the PK, while seeing time on the PP (sometimes w/ Montpetit). If you've caught on, the future Badger forwards were a large part of the Waterloo PK, see if that continues past exhibition games. Barnes is fast and a good skater. He did a nice job of crashing the net trying to make opportunities instead of waiting for them to happen. Barnes impressed me as well.

Lastly, Scott Pavelski skated w/ the 4th line and spent a decent amount of time on the PK. He wasn't the dominate player his brother was on the ice, but he is a good overall player. Didn't impress me in any area, but didn't disappoint me in any area either. I doubt Scott is on Wisconsin's radar since he is an 09 recruit, though the way things have gone lately you never know. I could see Scott skating in DI somewhere next year. Following a post whistles shuffle, he was the one talking to the refs as they figured everything out. Maybe he'll be part of the captain group as well.

I was somewhat detailed because I'd never seen any of these kids play. Most of this you can take w/ a grain of salt, since its early in the season. I hope to catch at least one more GB/Waterloo matchup later in the season. See how things change.

More than anything, I really enjoyed watching a live game again. The regular season hasn't even started and there are some hard feeling flowing between these teams. I think one of the linesmen was even head butted trying to break up a fight. Sometimes I wish there was fighting in the WCHA. While I think fighting just for the sake of fighting, I have no problem w/ a player dropping the gloves after the opponent pulls something. Imagine if Blake Geoffrion could drop the gloves w/ out a one game suspension and game disqualification?