Season 2 Episode 7 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; “Omapod” This week with Dustin away, Tim Braun and Rob Gilreath were joined by Ryan Johnson of www.JohnsonsJerseys.net and David Cummings, better known as Biddco. We took the time to discuss (times are approximate):
- NCHC Pod in Omaha (Omapod) (5:35)
- BSU Series Recap (20:57)
- Joe Shawhan Hour Review (34:39)
- Alaska Season Cancelation (39:54)
- ASU Situation (49:39)
- NMU Series Preview (53:03)
- Realignment (58:50)
To begin the show, our hosts talk primarily with guest David Cummings about the NCHC Pod in Omaha. For fans unfamiliar with the NCHC’s return to play approach, they are spending 2 weeks at Baxter Arena in Omaha playing 10 games per team under similar conditions to the NHL’s Bubble in order to ensure each team can get close to the 13 COVID-year game limit required to be considered for the NCAA Tournament. The NCHC has done a great job at ensuring players and staff are adequately protected, all games are able to be played as scheduled, and most notably, their production quality has been on point. The NCHC is offering a “Pod Pass” which allows owners to view all 40 games in the NCHC pod for $45. That’s just a bit over a dollar per game for a quality high definition broadcast with not only competent, but exemplary announcers. As WCHA fans, we can only dream of the price point and quality NCHC fans are currently experiencing in the Omaha Pod.
#MotivationMonday— Baxter Arena (@BaxterArena) December 14, 2020
We are motivated by our colleagues from @unmc for their help with testing during the #NCHCPod 🏒
Thank you to all our healthcare workers for all your efforts 👏
Thank a healthcare worker today! #BaxterArena | #MotivationMonday pic.twitter.com/UCb329RgzZ
The guys then pivot to a recap on the Bemidji State series.
MTU @ BSU highlights, December 12, 2020
MTU @ BSU highlights, December 13, 2020
The 7 minute stretch of the second period of game one that shall not be named are discussed, along with the fact that the team overall didn’t play that poorly other than that aforementioned stretch. The guys scratch their heads for a second on the starting of Mark Sinclair, but they find it difficult to fault Shawhan’s decision to start both goalies during the non-conference games that count for nothing in order to find the right guy to ride through the regular season. It was also refreshing to see that the team seemed to pick up play in the third period of game one, then kept the energy rolling into game two’s shutout win. Fans were likely beginning to dread the prospect of dropping the ball against a good team that we know we’re going to have to see again later in the season, should we make a reasonable playoff push. In terms of these non-conference games against conference opponents, there is general consensus among the hosts and guests that these games will most likely to turn out to be inconsequential at the end of the season when every other league is essentially doing a similar thing.
At this point, fans should probably also begin to prepare for the reality that Winter Carnival likely will not happen this year. While that is usually an apex weekend on the schedule, it may just turn out to be two regular games this year. This could turn out to be difficult to handle for a team that has grown used to raucous crowds, particularly during these events.
Rob also makes an excellent point that Tech fans today have been spoiled by not only competent play, but really good play over the last half decade or so. Our team is not very far removed from being in the dumpster of the NCAA and having double digit losses to powerhouse schools be commonplace.
The guys then segue into a discussion on this week’s Joe Shawhan hour. Joe was back on the call with Dirk this week, and we’re happy to hear that he’s feeling better from his health issues last week. During the show, Shawhan made a great math analogy about how last year he taught addition and subtraction, thinking that this year he could move on to multiplication and division, but it turns out our guys still need some help on addition and subtraction. Essentially, we need to have our basics right before we can move on to being the powerhouse of the conference we’ve come to expect from the Huskies. Jake Crespi finally got his first goal on Sunday, and Joe feels as though he may be turning a corner on gaining some more responsibilities and becoming a lineup staple. Tim argues that sometimes Joe’s defensive mind takes over the game just a little too much, and there’s an extent to which he wishes to see some of our more offensively gifted players get creative in the zone, so long as they’re reasonably defensively responsible. We will look to how the Huskies strategy will play out against Northern Michigan, who has trended towards an offensive-minded approach.
Next, the guys discuss the heartbreaking news that the Alaska Nanooks have cancelled their season like their statesmen the Seawolves. The coaching staff at Fairbanks was not involved in the decision, and NMU was in talks with the Nanooks in order to use the Berry Events Center as a temporary home for the season, making the decision not to play all the more confusing. There were several tweets from coaches disappointed in the decision because they wanted to play. There is a potential penalty that may be levied against the Nanooks for deciding to cancel their season this late into the season. This decision may present a chance for players on the Nanooks this season to commit to a different team, as next year the Nanooks will be without a conference. On the Alaska end of things, this also has the potential to decimate the program if they fail to find a conference and struggle to build back up as an independent.
RELEASE | Alaska Nanooks Opt-out of Hockey, Basketball https://t.co/MVZWVFbDVg— Alaska Hockey (@NanooksHockey) December 12, 2020
The Chasing MacNaughton team then transitions to talk about the situation at Arizona State. Despite not having a conference, their school has money and name recognition. This, coupled with their scheduling agreement with the Big 10 for this year, have been instrumental in getting them games and thriving as an independent DI school. Arizona State may ordinarily have bragging rights over the weather they have on campus, but playing their schedule completely away, they no longer have that bragging right. Shortly after the podcast was recorded, Arizona State released the renderings of their new home arena, scheduled to be completed by December of 2022.
After briefly discussing the Sun Devils’ situation, the Chasing MacNaughton guys discuss the upcoming series against Tech’s archrival, the Northern Michigan Wildcats. Northern begins their season Wednesday at Ferris State, but the Wildcats have yet to play a game this season and it is hard to get a good idea of what the team will be like. If everything goes according to plan, we will finally have a regular Friday-Saturday series with somewhat normal times (7:07 Friday and 6:07 Saturday). The real question is whether we will see a Mankato-style “haven’t played in awhile” where they lay an egg or a Bemidji style “haven’t played in awhile” where you get a bunch of guys that are rearing to go, lighting up the scoreboard. The inherent hatred between the schools has historically brought out all the fun, regardless of whether or not fans are in attendance, and that is what we’re hoping to see.
During Wednesday’s game against Ferris State after the recording of the podcast, the Wildcats led the Bulldogs 3-0 after the first, but Ferris eventually climbed their way back into the game. The Wildcats managed to hold on for a narrow 5-4 victory after an impressive Bulldog push. Expect Northern to come out this weekend as an offensive dynamo, but they have some pretty severe holes on the defensive end of the puck that hopefully the Huskies can capitalize on.
To finish up, the gang discusses what realignment has meant for NCHC schools, in the fact that life hasn’t been too much different post-alignment for teams like Minnesota Duluth. They still get to see all of their favorite in-state rivals, they still see a lot of old foes regularly, and their quality of life has been more or less the same. For Tech fans, as we know, the opposite has been true. Tim moved to Minnesota with the hope of being able to see Tech for up to 8 series a year, down to just seeing Bemidji and Mankato, soon to be St. Thomas as well. An idea that David floats is reducing conference games from 28 to 24, allowing for 2 more out of conference series for each team every year which could make for some more interesting out of conference matchups for everybody. We also hear the guys discuss the financial hardship the WCHA, as some of the least financially lucrative schools in the NCAA, had to take on in taking on both the Alaska schools and Huntsville. We were happy to see those schools not get left in the dust, but keeping all of those teams in one conference with one of the smaller purses in DI hockey was a tall ask, likely being a key factor in the formation of the new edition of the CCHA next season.
Cut for Time
This week, Patreon patrons can expect to have access to additional discussion about college hockey jerseys. There is some discussion about the status of the THG Authentic Jersey Order, but as of now there is not enough information worth giving out to the general public other than it is definitely slated to take place. Here are a couple pictures of some jerseys that were discussed:
We also discuss the band The Thank You Notes as the provider of the bumpers for our podcast, and this questionable high-sticking call from the Ferris State-Bowling Green series.
To find out more about what was discussed, be sure to sign up for our Patreon page to gain access to more exclusive content!
For additional information and more episode liner notes, check out our episode overview on Tech Hockey Guide. To make sure we can afford all our fancy equipment we purchased for the podcast and the THG website in general, please check out our Patreon page and consider joining. Patrons at our Black Level or above receive an authentic MTU jersey patch and access to extra podcast content including extended versions of our other episodes. This week’s extended version is nearly 84 minutes.
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