The Rainmen are on the road this weekend playing a pair of games south of the border. Today they’re playing the Manchester Millrats and Sunday they take on ABA powerhouse, the Vermont Frostheaves. (Rainmen, Millrats, Frostheaves… who the hell is coming up with these names?)
The Millrats (1-0), also an expansion team, beat the Boston Blizzard at home in their first ever game on Nov. 12. The score was 127-112, but the Boston squad that played in Manchester, NH was deeper than the one that made the trip to Halifax. The Millrats also feature Souleymane Wane a 6’11 centre, originally from Senegal. Wane was on the 1999 University of Connecticut team that won the NCAA Div. I championship tournament, and his size should cause problems for Halifax’s undersized front court. Like many of the Rainmen’s road games, the game will be in a venue much smaller than the Metrocentre: The Millrats drew 1000 people to their home opener; a crowd that local media thought was impressive.
The real test will come when the Rainmen line up against the Vermont Frostheaves (3-0). They finished last season as the ABA’s best team in the regular season and won the playoffs. They placed three players on the All ABA team, and had the coach of the year. They’ve rebuilt their backcourt this year, and only started training camp a month ago (it seems like Halifax started training well before almost all the other teams) but their frontcourt is supposed to be extremely strong. Most pundits suggest that last year’s was among the best in the ABA, and this year they added Erik Nelson, a veteran forward who had a long career in Europe. This means that Eickelberger and Richard will need big games on the defensive end. It also means that Halifax’s strong backcourt should be able to put some points on the board. Check out their website to see the impressive gyms that they play in – it’s like something out of Hoosiers.