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The Russ Report: Ole Miss Hockey Preview of Mizzou

By Russ Eddins

Journalism student

Coming off a two-game sweep of Dallas Baptist University on the road, the Ice Rebs look to continue their streak of good play. They face Missouri at home on Thursday at 8:45 p.m. and Friday at 9:30 p.m. Both games will be at the MidSouth Ice House in Olive Branch, Mississippi. 

Challenges

Missouri brings a few different challenges to Ole Miss. First, the Ice Rebs have never played Missouri before. They do not know what to expect; however, neither does Missouri. 

What the coaches do know is that Missouri is an excellent hockey team. “They won their conference championship last year; they always put together a solid program,” said head coach Josh Herbert.  

Defense coach James Erwin said this series will be the team’s “first big test of the year.”

To prepare for Missouri, Herbert believes the team needs to tighten up in certain aspects of their game. 

Notable Players

Missouri has a major play-making threat in Nick Spolec. He has three goals and 14 assists for 17 points in four games; that is 4.25 points per game.

 To deal with Spolec, James Erwin says they need to have tight gaps from the start (gaps are the space between the skater with the puck and the defensive player). High-scoring players generally have a lot of speed, so the tighter the gap you have on them, the harder it is for them to build up speed. 

Andrew Knapp is a freshman at Missouri. He has seven goals and five assists for 12 points in four games. 

Coach Herbert does not think one player can determine a team, but he knows they will have to pay more attention to Missouri’s top players, especially Spolec. 

Mike O’Malley is a freshman forward for the Ice Rebs. He has eight goals and three assists for 11 points. 

The Fox (J. Keller – Fox – O’Malley) line has dominated. They will be a trio to watch in the series. 

Lastly, Luke Maher and Doyle Coughlin have had a couple of moments of brilliance and shown spectacular skill; both will click and impact this series. 

The Teams

Missouri:

They are in the MD3 MACHA Silver South division (the same division as Arkansas). Missouri is 4-0-0. They have 31 goals for and five goals against for a 26-goal differential

Ole Miss:

Ole Miss is in the second division of the CHS. They are 3-1-0. They have 21 goals for and 11 goals against for a10-goal differential.


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