Saturday, March 18, 2017

NCHC Semifinals: UMD vs WMU

UMD Moves on with 5-2 Win

Toninato's PP goal
Iafallo beats Balcker; puck in the back of the net

Blacker looks back at Iafallo's goal
Mackay set up by Johnson for his goal

ENG celebration and 5-2 win

Friday, March 10, 2017

Miami at UMD for NCHC Playoff First Round

Miami Returns to Duluth for Playoffs

For the second time this year Miami make the trip to Duluth for a hockey series. For that matter, this is also the second year in a row the Redhawks have traveled to Duluth for the playoffs.

With UMD looking to have gotten back on track last weekend after a big slip Friday, they are poised to continue a run towards Minneapolis and eventually the NCAAs.

Picks. The regular season has ended and the now the NCHC playoffs are on us.

Colorado College at #1 Denver:  Denver sweep
Miami at #3 Minnesota Duluth:  Bulldogs win in three games (win/loss/win)
Nebraska Omaha at #7 Western Michigan:  Broncos win in three games (win/loss/win)
#20 St. Cloud State at #14 North Dakota:  Fighting Hawks win in three games (loss/win/win)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Beginning of the End: How the Mighty Have Fallen

WHCA Woes Display the Changes in College Hockey Today

Remember back in 2005? That was the pinnacle for the WCHA with four teams in the Frozen Four. Yes, all four of the final teams in the NCAA Tournament, the Frozen Four, were from the same conference, the WCHA. What outrage was had by the college hockey community!

But they were the best teams that year. It is not the WCHA's fault the NCAA set the bracket up for an all WHCA Frozen Four.

That was then, this is now. And now looks a lot like the dregs of college hockey landscape.

For the first time in.... well, as long as the Internet has been around and then some, the WCHA will send one, and only one, team to the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the league tournament will get the auto bid as league leader in the standings and PWR is Bemidji State at #24. Wow.

Additionally, the product isn't drawing the crowds the Final Five once used to. In the "old days," The WCHA Final Five had the event of the year for many college hockey fans. It was at a consistent venue unlike the NCAA's and people made it a priority to make each and every year no mater the teams. Why? The hockey was GREAT.

This year for the first time, again in the near past like above, the WCHA Tournament will be at the highest remaining seed. Home games for the top team. This is the WCHA, right?

Blame the Bi6 Ten? NCHC? Maybe, but it is a change that is the new reality in college hockey.

WCHA First Round Picks. All series are best of three games.
#8 Northern Michigan at #1 Bemidji State  One has to think that this whole thing is going to go through Bemidji on the way to the NCAA Tournament. And BSU is a good team that has great defense, they just need to score. Why does BSU have a #24 PWR? it may be their competition, but mainly their 0-7-1 non-conference record. BSU sweeps and moves on.

#5 Ferris State at #4 Bowling Green Five seasons ago FSU was the runner up in the National Championship, and here they are now on the road in the current WCHA. Can FSU bring it? No, but it will take three games. BGU in three.

#6 Alaska at #3 Minnesota State  Supposedly overheard in the WCHA war room, "Why can't both Alaska teams not be in the top eight?" But here they come, the Nanooks take to Mankato for their three game series where they will bow out to MSUM, but not without three games.

#7 Lake Superior State at #2 Michigan Tech  Battle on the Big Lake! It could have been MTU and NMU, but LSSU is pretty good match-up. Tech will be up to the task and will sweep.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Miami Redhawks In Town

Last UMD Home Series for the Regular Season

Last weekend's tie to the Colorado College likely sealed the fate for the Julie and Spencer Penrose Memorial Cup.  With the Bulldogs now two points outside first with four games left I would be surprised to see the Bulldogs leap back into first place.  Bulldog fans will be cheering for their team to win out and for the Huskies and Mavericks to beat the pioneers the next two weekends.  The season is not over so there still is a chance.

Miami @ Minnesota Duluth:  The Bulldogs return home for a rare Thursday and Friday series.  All bets are off due to the unusual schedule for NCHC teams and the whole body clock excuse.  The Bulldogs are a better road team them home, but the Redhawks have not been a good road team this year.  Split.

Nebraska Omaha @ North Dakota:  The Fighting Hawks are struggling down the stretch here but they have had the Mavericks number this year.  I think the Mavericks gets some redemption with a split.

Western Michigan @ Colorado College:  Will the Broncos be able to get a couple big wins on the road this weekend?  The Tigers only have one win at home this year and I think the Broncos will take it to the Tigers for a sweep.

St. Could State @ Denver:  The Huskies are Jekyll and Hyde this year, I am not sure what team will show up in Denver.  They are a good team, so I will pick safe with a split.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Last Push for NCHC Title

UMD Looks to Avenge Bad Weekend Against CC

What were you thinking that Saturday night in early January after UMD scraped a two point weekend from the basement dwelling CC Tigers? Here we go again? Just a bump in the road? Who are these guys with Bulldog jerseys on?

Luckily UMD bounced back showing that it was a bump in the road. But another bad weekend could be a blueprint for opponents moving towards playoff time. 

It must be a good weekend for UMD, a sweep most likely, to keep hopes of an NCHC title alive. A sweep would also be beneficial coming off of a bye weekend setting the stage for the end of regular season run.

Picks by @afiskness

Tonight's game for the Bulldogs marks the final stretch run and the Bulldogs now find themselves in second place in the conference.  At this point if they want to take the home the Julie and Spencer Penrose Memorial Cup they just may need to win out.

Minnesota Duluth @ Colorado College:  This rematch is very important series for the Bulldogs.  I think the rest from the break and now on this road will result in a sweep.

North Dakota @ Western Michigan:  The Fighting Hawks have been a little streaky this year and going to the Harry W. Lawson ice area will not be easy.  The Broncos have been great at home this year, but I think the Fighting Hawks will steal one and get a split.

Denver @ Miami:  The Redhawks are a much better team at home then on the road, but the Pioneers haven't showed much weakness this year.  My gut says this will be a Pioneer sweep. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Much Deserved Break

The Bulldogs have reached their final bye weekend of the season.  I personally think this comes at a good time.  The team is currently #1 in the polls, the pairwise rankings, the NCHC conference standings and riding a seven game unbeaten streak; so one might say don't stop while you are hot, but a break should help for the final stretch run.

There are six conference games left for the Bulldogs prior to the conference playoffs and these will be very important games.  League wide you couldn't ask for better match ups  especially considering they the way the standings are bunched from 3rd to 7th place only being separated by five points.  It should be a great run for the Julie and Spencer Penrose Memorial Cup.

Colorado College vs #2 Denver (home/home):  The rivalry factor with the home/home format could be an equalizer leading to a split, but I will go with a Pioneers sweep for the Golden Pan.

Miami @ St. Cloud State:  The Redhawks have been very competitive both at home and on the road recently.  Not knowing what Huskies team will show up leads me to believe this will be a split.

#8 Western Michigan @ Nebraska Omaha:  The Mavericks have struggled at home and the Broncos haven't been very good on the road lead me to believe it will be a split or a pair of ties.  Split.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Bulldogs host the Mavericks

In arguably the most important North Start College Hockey Cup tournament ever the Bulldogs finished the mission of winning the tournament.  This in all accounts gives the trophy to UMD to keep for perpetuity.  This will be a nice addition to the trophy case.  More importantly the Bulldogs got two more wins and are now on a five game winning streak.  Now the team enters the final push with four series of conference games for the Julie and Spencer Penrose Memorial Cup.  This trophy is much more meaningful and should be the next milestone the team is eyeing.

Nebraska Omaha @ #1 Minnesota Duluth:  I am concerned about a let down and the general home funk that the Bulldogs seem to get when going back to Amsoil Arena.  Having said that I will pick the Bulldogs who are the better team to get a sweep.

St. Cloud State @ #13 North Dakota:  The Fighting Hawks continue to be inconsistent after split in Colorado Springs last week.  The Huskies are a very good 7th team in the NCHC.  This will be a split.

Arizona State @ #9 Western Michigan:  The Sun Devils picked up arguably their best win since joining D1 last, season beating Quinnipiac 4-2 last weekend.  This weekend they go to the Harry W. Lawson Ice Arena and will hear the chants from the Lawson Lunatics.  There will be home cooking and the Broncos will sweep.