the north face sleeping bags Blizzard talent pool keeps getting deeper
This weekend, defenseman Nick Carson (Blaine) will become the 40th player to suit up in a Blizzard uniform in 2007 08 as the team returns home for a pair of games Friday and Sunday against the Springfield Jr. Blues. In between, Alex travels to Bismarck Saturday.The 6 1, 175 pound Carson was acquired from Des Moines of the United States Hockey League and he comes with a pretty heady resume. It includes a season at Shattuck St. Mary’s, two Minnesota State High School Tournament appearances for Blaine, and a Robertson Cup run with Southern Minnesota.”Obviously Nick is the kind of player who is going to make a difference,” Willner said. “He’s going to bring a little more stability back there and just add to the confidence of our other defensemen.”Carson joins an impressive list of add ons who have arrived since the season began. Forwards Garrett Grimstad (USHL), Jon MacRae (Kenai River) and Jon Swavely (USHL) and defensemen Brandon Larson (North Iowa) and Taylor Vichorek (Fairbanks) have all been impact players.Just how much impact Carson has remains to be seen.Truth be told, Willner is more concerned with his team’s play over the past two weeks, when the Blizzard have been excellent in game one and sluggish in game two.”We have to play every game and not think that we’re good enough to just turn on the switch at any time,” said Willner, who doesn’t believe that fatigue played a factor in losses at Marquette and Southern Minnesota. “I think it’s just a mental thing.”Springfield comes to town well rested but without their head coach. The Blues have been off for the past two weeks after suffering through a seven game losing streak in December and posting a 2 4 0 record in January. Coach Chris Wyler is serving a four game suspension as the result of a fracas in St. Louis. Springfield (19 18 3) is eight points ahead of the Blizzard but Alexandria (15 17 3) has five games in hand.With 18 games remaining, the Blues are five points back of second place Southern Minnesota but must face North Iowa and St. Louis the NAHL’s best eight more times.”I think Springfield always plays with a little bit of an edge,” Willner said. “I think that will be true regardless if their coach is here or not. It’s going to be two tough, physical games. We’re not thinking about catching them. We’re just worried about playing our best hockey.”BLIZZARD BITS Game time Friday is 7 pm. Sunday is Family Night and admission to the 5 o’clock contest is just $20 per family with a coupon from today’s Echo Press . Expect to see backup goalie Dylan Woodring (Medford, Ore.) make his second start for the Blizzard this weekend. Woodring has been patiently biding his time while starter Ryan Leets (Kentwood, Mich.) has been on a roll.