Read the complete NAHL Weekly Release for 10/8/2007.
After a pair of wins over the Kenai River Browns Bears to close out September, the North Iowa Outlaws continued their dominance over Alaskan foes with two victories over the Fairbanks Ice Dogs last weekend.
"It's been huge for us to get off to a good start and not have to battle from the bottom of the pack," said Outlaws coach Dave Boitz, whose team sits atop the NAHL's Central Division with a 6-1-1 record. "It also builds excitement in the community, which is nice to see."
On Friday, four different players scored as the Outlaws skated to a 4-1 win over Fairbanks. Max Mobley (game-winner), Shea Walters and Krystian Dziubinski each tallied a goal and an assist for North Iowa, while goaltender Robby Moss turned aside 17 shots.
The next night, Moss' 31-save performance helped lift the Outlaws to a 2-1 win. Kyle Politz scored the game-winning goal, with Walters adding the other North Iowa marker.
"We been playing great defense, extremely tough," said Boitz, whose team has surrendered only 13 goals in its first eight games. "Our goaltending has been great, but our defense is the key."
Moss has been nothing short of exceptional. The St. Louis native, who turns 20 next week, holds a 5-0-1 record on the young season to compliment a sterling 1.31 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage.
"Robby was a little shaky in his first outing (a 4-3 shootout loss to Marquette at the NAHL Showcase in which Moss allowed three goals on 18 shots), but he's been solid in every game he's played since.
"Last year at this time, we didn't know who our goalie would be, but this season Robby has been stellar and we don't have to worry at all."
The Outlaws boast an experienced bunch in front of Moss, with eight of their top 10 scorers having already played a full season of junior hockey.
"Our vets have stepped up huge and have played terrific and very unselfish," said Boitz. "They're sharing in the scoring and are very much focusing on the team's success this season as well as leading our younger guys."
Leading the offensive charge is Walters. The 20-year-old Bemidji State recruit played last season with Green Bay of the USHL and has five goals for 12 points in his first eight games with North Iowa.
"Shea has been great. He's scoring and he's been great defensively," said Boitz. "He's a great leader and works hard in practice. He's a very mature player and a mature person and just a great kid to coach."
Of the newcomers, goaltender Austin Maginnis, from Mason City, Iowa, has played well in his two starts, posting a 1-1 record along with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage, while forwards Politz, Alex Carlson and Jack Paul have also impressed early on.
"They've all been good upfront working hard to make an impact," said Boitz.
Defensively, AJ Knapp and Beau Braun have been logging their fair share of minutes effectively.
"They're doing a good job back there," Boitz noted.
After two more home games this weekend against Springfield, the Outlaws will finally be tested outside North Iowa Ice Arena, as five of their next six games leading up to Thanksgiving will be contested on the road.
"We know we have skill upfront and our offense will continue to produce," said Boitz. "We just need to continue to play good defense and get good goaltending."