As last week’s hockey preview so eloquently stated, there have been some serious changes around the Lawrence hockey program this year. New head coach Mike Szkodzinski now mans the Viking saddle. In his two seasons as an assistant with St. Norbert, Coach Szkodzinski posted a combined 49-8-5 record and snagged the NCHA title in 2005. Around Lawrence, however, his credentials have been a little slower in transferring to Viking success. The Viking season opened Oct. 27 when Lawrence hosted UW-Stout, and it wasn’t pretty. After suffering two quick goals inside of seven minutes, Lawrence looked defeated. In their efforts to attack they mustered only two shots on goal in the first and repeatedly gave up the puck leading to costly counterattacks. In all, Stout forced 53 shots on net and Lawrence managed only 12. A ray of light came when senior Joe Searl and junior Austin Montgomery hooked up with freshman Billy Siers for a power play beauty that put the Vikings on the board. Freshman goalie Pat Greeley made 49 saves in a one-man effort to stop the UW-Stout onslaught. Oct. 28, in an attempt to redeem themselves, Lawrence’s offense crawled out of its hiding place against UW-River Falls. After falling behind in just two minutes Lawrence refused to give up, scoring in the 10th minute and again with three ticks remaining before the first intermission. After giving up two more goals in the second period, Lawrence stormed the ice in the third and scored after only 22 seconds when sophomore Aaron Lafave rippled the mesh for his second goal of the game. Captain Joe Searl responded with his first of the year to tie it up at four with seven minutes to play. But the heroics weren’t enough as River Falls added two more chicken scratches before regulation expired, leaving Lawrence puzzled and with ample room for improvement. Conference play begins Nov. 10 and 11 for Lawrence when they play host to Northland College.