Rochester, MI- The first semester for the 2018-19 season has concluded. Oakland head coach Nick Field is in the process of making the Golden Grizzlies in his image and he has had success so far. The leadership group led by captain Greg Meuser and alternates Gino Mini, Nate Richards and Chase Sereno has made the transition for coach Field and his staff much easier.
Several major key points and changes of the first semester include, the new system, structure, along with the way the program is run have been successful. New recruits have come in and contributed in key roles right away and the returning players have shown they have the talent to compete night in and night out with a good structure.
Oakland upset #4 Davenport last month, and played two tough games against #10 Missouri State. The Golden Grizzlies also lead the Jug of Rochester Hills series 2-0. With games three and four next semester.
Oakland has benefited from a healthy Chris Hubbard, who leads the team in goals with 11 and is second in points with 18. Hubbard's goals are coming during key points in the game as well. He is averaging a point per game. Along with Sereno, who continues to be impressive building off his successful freshman season. He is leading the team with 25 points and 19 assists. Sereno is averaging 1.4 points per game.
Forward Keegan Nolan has had a good first semester already matching his goal total from last season (6). Forward Luke Mackin, continues to play hard and gritty. His five goals have passed his total from last season he is one point shy of his 10 points from his rookie season. They will be a key forwards for coach Field and his staff in the upcoming semester and beyond.
Forward's Chandler Gillespie and Ben Grudzien are providing great depth to the program, working hard and making a shift to shift difference. They both have contributed 7 points each this semester. They can be difference makers in tight games for Oakland. Meuser has scored five goals a career high and is on pace for a career high in points. He has transitioned nicely into a good captain for this group and coaching staff.
Mini, once again leads the blueline with 15 points and is on pace for his first 30 point season along with a career high in goal along with his leadership abilities. Richards has a career high in goals (3) and is on pace for a 20 point season as he continues to improve night in and night out. While only having one assist, Kyle Nikles has improved on his defensive play in the first half of his sophomore season and has come close several times at scoring his first career goal.
Defenseman Luke Novack has scored four goals this season from the blueline and has continued to play good smart hockey every night. Defenseman Tyler Simon has become a staple on the Oakland doubling his points with 10, along with playing in key situations and becoming one of the teams most trusted defenders. Simon and Novack are tied for the team lead in power play goals.
The rookie class has been good in the first half of the season. Jacob Novack leads the group with 11 points. Freshman forward Nic Fernzndez has scored 7 goals to lead the rookies and sits second in the team in goals after a good first half. Forward James Bayagich had a two goal night to close out the semester against Illinois State and is second in rookie points with Fernandez. Oakland will be looking for him to continue to contribute to the teams scoring effort. Freshman Daniel Scorzo has been a good new addition to the blueline contributing six points along with playing solid defensively night in and night out.
Oakland has had success in net with Ian Dvorak and freshman Joshua Pack rotating most of the first semester. Both goalies are hovering around a 90% save percentage this season.
Pack was in net for the upset win over #4 Davenport making 41 saves at the ONYX and stopped all 34 shots he faced at Niagara.
Dvorak has improved his goals against dramatically to a 2.89 from 4.60 4.74 his previous two seasons in net. That puts him in the running for the teams most improved player award. Tommy Grassano made his first regular season appearance in net at Niagara earlier this season.
Goalie Alex Moustakis has been injured for the first half of the season and he return will provide much more depth in net for Oakland. He had an excellent freshman season.
Oakland will start the second semester with a pair of games at the ONYX Ice Arena on January 11 and January 12 against the Slippery Rock Pride. Oakland swept the Pride in the teams first two meetings last season also at the ONYX.