Last season Kentucky had a rough year going 3-20. This year’s team decided that wasn’t happening again and looked to improve on that record. With a good group of returning players, plus a solid group of freshmen, this year’s team is vastly improved. After the sweep of Cleveland State this past weekend, the team now sits at 12-5-1 (2-0 SECHC). A big boost in production from every position group has lead to a record that is already 9 games better than last season in the win column. The numbers I will be using in this will not include the Cleveland State series, just the games leading up to this past weekend’s series.
Last season this group scored 65 goals and had 54 assists for a total of 119 points. Through the first half of this season the forwards have scored 57 goals and have 65 assists for 122 points, already passing last year’s assists and total points from the group.
There are already five forwards with double digit points on the year. Beck Schultz 30 points (16g 14a), Jordan Shannon 29 points (15g 14a), Blake Riley 12 points (4g 8a), Aaron Bickle 12 points (8g 4a), and Cory Day 10 points (3g 7a) are those players.
11 of the 12 forwards that have played a game this season also have a positive plus/minus for the season as well, showing a big improvement in the overall team defense.
This was one of the spots, along with goalie, I thought if the production went up the team could really improve their record. The defense has done that and then some.
Last year’s unit scored 7 goals and had 21 assists for 28 points on the year. This year’s unit has already passed those numbers in just half a season. This year’s group has already scored 9 goals with 22 assists for 31 points. The scoring is pretty balanced through the unit, and like the forwards, only one player that has played this season doesn’t have a positive or even plus/minus through the first half of the season. Again, the overall team improvement on defense has been a huge factor on the team’s overall record improvement.
Like the defensemen, this unit has stepped up their play in a big way.
Last year’s team had a 7.89 goals against average with a 0.851 save percentage. This year, 3 of the four goalies off last year’s team returned, and have made a big step up in their production. This year the unit is at a 4.31 goals against average with a .903 save percentage. That’s a huge improvement in the goals against average and a solid improvement in save percentage. Francis Eble also got the team’s first shut out in two season against Xavier this season.
The numbers across the board are already better this season compared to last. You can see why, between the numbers and the team gelling together this season, they have already put last season behind them in a huge way, and looking forward to the second half of the season.
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