I think it's good news for Navy. The Mids like to fly under the radar...and I can't imagine that many college coaches are going to make the trek to Dallas for Saturday's game. Navy fans, keep your fingers crossed for bad Beltway traffic for the Colgate game next Wednesday...
Anyway...The defense played very well in front of Colin Finnegan. Teague drew Kevin Ross, Canisius's best attackman. Ross scored 36 goals last year and was the MAAC player of the year. I thought going in Dow would get that assignment. My guess is it went to Teague because of the lefty-lefty combination (I believe both are lefties).
Canisius scored two early goals, both of which appeared to come on blown slides by Navy. Both times, the Canisius player got a step on the Navy defender. On one, the slide defender never came (this may be appropros of nothing, but on the sideline after the first goal the coaches talked right away to Woeppel). On the second, Dow was too late; he arrived after the player had shot the ball.
The Golden Griffins only scored five, and one was on EMO, so half of their six-on-six goals came very early and were largely because of errors that Navy corrected rather quickly.
The offense got some very good looks. I had the Canisius goalie with six saves on point-blank shots. (He finished with 12 saves.) On Navy's first possession, Dingman got the ball right on the doorstep but it fell out of his stick as he attempted to shoot and resulted in a turnover.
In the box score, Dingman went 3 for 12, but just as important, eight of the shots were on goal. It wasn't a perfect performance. At least once, if not twice, Dingman got in close and shot high-to-high. (He had his stick high, the goalie's stick also was high and thus Dingman essentially shot the ball into the goalie's stick.)
That, too, is correctable. Later in the game Mirabito got in close and gave a couple fakes before shooting. He, too, shot high to high, but the fakes got the goalie's stick moving, and he buried the shot. If Dingman has the confidence to do the same, he will score plenty of goals on that move alone.
The last word on Dingman for now: Of his 34 shots this year, 24 have been on goal (71 percent). Last year he was around 50 percent in that statistic. It's a huge improvement, and one that, as the stakes get higher, may lead to big dividends.
Wallin was everywhere. He played as a wing on faceoffs, he played on the first offensive unit, he played on the defensive midfield and he was on man-up. I couldn't tell if he were on man-down because the one time Navy was called for a penalty while the starters were still in the game...the penalty was on Wallin!
Navy had a three-minute man-up and didn't do much with it. Richie Meade said afterward it was the first time it had happened to Navy this year, so hopefully it will learn from the experience.
In the upcoming Navy opponents watch...Georgetown really struggled in two key areas against Syracuse. It went 0 for 7 on extra-man offense (and missed 12 shots in those situations) and it really struggled facing off. I forget the numbers, but the Hoyas had to double-pole the wings on faceoffs to try and win possession. Syracuse dominated that statistic even though its best longstick groundball guy, Panarelli, was playing close defense on Brendan Cannon and thus never made it up to the wings on faceoffs.
The Syracuse coaches said how much having Panarelli down low really hurt against UVa--they had to make the switch after Rubeor proved too fast for any other defender--but somehow Gtown never made SU pay for it.
That said, Gtown's shooting was a couple inches away from being incredible. They counted five pipe shots (I counted three but acknowledge there were a couple shots I did not see cleanly) so that may improve by the time Navy comes calling.
Also, I wonder what will happen when a scouting report emerges on Colin Finnegan. Talk about flying under the radar...a year at NAPS, three years backing up Russell...I doubt there's much if anything out there on him at the moment. It's sort of like what happened with David Newhan of the Orioles (or even Jim Traber in the summer of '86). Once a scouting report starts to make the rounds, the question sometimes becomes whether Finnegan will have to make a counter-adjustment...
I always worried that Russell became a victim of his success. That he watched so much film that shooters knew this and would switch up their tendencies on him. For instance, that Gtown player who only played EMO last year (number 24, I think his last name was Mills) scored two pretty good goals in the regular season game, and I remember wondering if part of the problem was that Mills hadn't played to that point in the season (he was out injured) and thus Russell hadn't seen any film of the kid and thus was caught by surprise...
We will chat again before the weekend and then next Wednesday following the Colgate game...