Jr. | D | Riverview, Mich.
defense will be key for Wayne State's chances, and Kovalchik
leads the effort from the blueline.
by Mark Hicks/Westside Photo)
Statistics: Kovalchik notched one goal and 12 assists
last season. He was whistled for only five penalties (10 minutes)
all year – a scant number for a defensive defenseman
with 31 games played. Kovalchik improved his plus/minus rating
from -23 as a freshman to -4 as a sophomore, which is even
more impressive when you consider how much worse the Warriors
were last year than during their CHA championship season of
He Does: Kovalchik doesn’t draw a lot of attention,
but he’s one of the most dependable own-zone players
in College Hockey America. His No. 1 goal each shift is to
do the little things required for a successful defensive scheme
– clearing pucks out of the zone, covering forwards
down low, tying up sticks in front of the net, blocking shots
from the point. With only one senior on the roster (forward
John Grubb), Kovalchik and defense partner Greg Poupard will
have fill the leadership void.
Bigger Picture: Wayne State allowed a robust 4.00
goals per game last year – fifth worst in the nation.
Obviously, if the Warriors are going to have any measure of
success this time around, the defense will have to cowboy
up. Kovalchik said the edict to play solid team defense –
even, possibly, at the expense of some offensive chances –
has been handed down from the coaching staff. That will put
a great onus on Kovalchik as both an upperclassman and a defensive
defenseman to “show the other guys what to do.”
the obscurity in which most defensive defensemen dwell, Kovalchik
says: “It’s good to get noticed sometimes.
Going against the other team’s top line all the time,
maybe you don’t get the attention from the media, or
have fans coming up to you, but the coaching staff will come
over and give you a pat on the back and let you know you did
a good job. We know that the guys on the team appreciate what
we do, and that’s what matters most.”