Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Moment in the Sun: Steve Rohlik

The Ohio State University will always be a football school but this year the men’s hockey team has started the season with a five game unbeaten streak. Much of the recent success of the hockey program can be traced to one guy, the head coach, Steve Rohlik.
Steve Rohlik has been a winner where ever he has been around hockey. Whether it be coaching or playing, success has followed him throughout his career.
Rohlik was a four year letter winner when he played at Wisconsin. Twice named the captain, he helped the Badgers win the 1990 NCAA Championship. He played 166 games during his time at Madison, compiling 34 goals and 47 assists. He was named the most competitive player on the team in 1990.
He started his coaching career at his high school alma mater, Hill-Murray High School, which is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. His coaching record was 107-2-1. In his five year with the program, the team made the Minnesota State High School Tournament twice. The tenure highlighted by a runner up finish in the 1993 Tier 1 event.
After two 1 year assistant coaching jobs at Wisconsin and Stillwater High School, Rohlik took over the upstart Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) program. He coached three seasons with the Mavericks. His time in Omaha was highlighted with the team’s first trip to the CCHA Championship Final in 2000.
From UNO, Rohlik spent the next ten seasons on the Minnesota Duluth coaching staff. A team known for its gritty and physical play, it was perfect match for Rohlik and his personality.  The Bulldogs made the tournament twice and all the way to the Frozen Four once.
In 2010, Rohlik joined the Ohio State staff. He coached under Mark Osiecki, who was a former teammate of Rohlik when he was at Wisconsin. This lasted until 2013 when Osiecki was let go and Rohlik became the head coach.
The 2013-14 season was the first for Rohlik and the first for the Big Ten Hockey conference. Ohio State’s biggest win of the season came in the Big Ten Tournament when they upset #1 seed Minnesota. The Buckeyes almost won the championship but a furious comeback by the Badgers ended the dream.
The 2014-15 campaign started with a bang as the Buckeyes upset the eventual National Champions, Providence, 5-4 in OT. The team finished strong, going 7-4-1 in the last 12 games. The Buckeyes made it to the Big Ten Conference semifinals before being bounced by the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Last year, Rohlik and the Buckeyes had a tough start to the season but they did not give up hope. The team got things on track with a trip to the Florida College Classic. The Buckeyes upset Boston College 3-2 and then destroyed Cornell 8-3 to win the tournament. They finished the year undefeated in eight of their last nine games. They also were 3-1 on the season, against a highly ranked Michigan team.

Success has continued into this season, as Rohlik and the Buckeyes have a five game unbeaten streak to start the season. They started off with a huge upset of #3 Denver, who made it to the Frozen Four last season. They have added a shootout win over Miami (OH) and a sweep of Bowling Green to the 2016-17 resume. They are on the road against Niagara this weekend.

As you can see, Steve Rohlik has been a winner wherever he has coached. I believe at some point with his coaching, Ohio State will become a top ten hockey program. Right now, the sky is the limit for the Buckeyes, and hopefully that means an NCAA tournament appearance this year!
Steve Rohlik's Offical Bio - A great resource, used in the formation of this blog post.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Widespread Panik in Chicago

Panik Scores!
While the start of the NHL season has not been all that the Chicago Blackhawks have hoped for, there has been one bright spot and that is the play of Richard Panik.

Richard Panik is currently leading the NHL with 6 goals. He has scored in 4 of 6 games, including a hat trick against Nashville on 10/15. He also has points in 6 of the 7 games.

He had another good game against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 3-2 loss for the Blackhawks. Panik scored a goal, and assisted on the other Hawks goal.

He had the game tying goal against his former team the Maple Leafs in the Blackhawks’ last game. The goal was huge in the comeback effort by the Hawks, which resulted in a shootout win. The goal was scored late in the third period at the 18:32 mark, just what the Hawks needed to force overtime.

Panik is playing his second season with the Chicago Blackhawks. He played in 30 games for the Blackhawks last year.  Panik was acquired in a trade by the Blackhawks for Jeremy Morin. Panik had been playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL team the Toronto Marlies.

He had a breakout with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2014-2015. Panik played 76 of the 82 games, compiling 11 goals, and 6 assists. The 11 goals were a career high for the right winger with only three years of limited NHL experience under his belt.

He was expected to make the team the next season however he failed to make a roster with the Leafs. So he was sent to the Marlies. This was not the first time that Panik had been sent down to the AHL after struggling in the NHL.

Before being claimed off waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Panik had spent a couple of seasons in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. He started in 2012-13 with the Syracuse Crunch because of the NHL lockout. He finished the 2012-13 by playing 25 games with the Lightning. The next year he saw his play with the Lightning cut and he ended up back in Syracuse to finish out the season.

Panik has experienced success in the AHL, amidst being sent up and down from the AHL to the NHL in his short professional career.  He was part of the 2011-12, Norfolk Admirals that won the Calder Cup. The team also set a professional, North American record of winning 28 games in a row.

Hopefully, this success will continue for Panik. The Chicago Blackhawks need all the help they can get right now. They have had to start a bunch of rookies this season so Panik’s scoring has greatly boosted the team.