Season in review, huh? It has taken long enough to get to it, but believe me, it has been in the forefront of my mind since I heard the buzzer sound ending the game against Miami. Puzzling? No, at least to those who know me or have gotten to know my passion (insanity?) for UMD hockey. I see this as the season that could have been and would go so far as to say should have been. Regular season aside, because really, I could go on for pages about that roller coaster ride, it was a great run. Like all runs, it had to end. I wish it would have ended with a win and a national championship, but it didn’t. And that is what is gnawing at me. Of all seasons of late, this was the one that was the most wide open. With all the “top” teams going down and BU barely squeaking out wins, this was the year that a Bemidji State, a Miami, a UMD could make it far. I firmly believe that the Bulldogs should have beaten Miami and if they would have, they would have been vying for the title if not winning it. Events just fell together that made the tournament seem very winnable for the Dogs, but yes, in the end you need to keep winning. To sum it all up, thanks to the boys for a great and exciting season! Onto the 1st ever HighHorse Awards.
The HighHorse Awards
As voted on by the HighHorse “staff.”
MVP: It has to be Alex Stalock. Where would the team have ended without the net minder? Likely not in the NCAA Tournament. He was the stonewall and the 3rd defenseman on the ice. His early departure will have great consequences, but really, I should have known it was coming.
Rookie: It is the Connolly game! In this case Mike Connolly is the winner. Mike Connolly and Jack Connolly both played well all season, but Mike really turned it on for the last third and landed himself on the Inside College Hockey Freshman All-American list. He was fun to watch and has skills that are unbelievable! We should all look forward to seeing the Connolly Boys back at UMD for years to come.
Most Improved: Justin Fontaine seemed to come out of nowhere and score and score and score. He went from 4-8-12 (goals-assists-points) in 07-08 to 15-33-48 in 08-09. if he makes the same leap……OK, that is likely not going to happen, but next year’s team needs him to be the scorer he was this year and he needs to make it work with some new faces.
7th Defenseman: Given to the defenseman who steps up, becomes a regular player for the team and makes an impact. This year we salute Chad Huttel. Not expected to log many games nor many minutes, Chad worked his way onto the regular playing team and logged many minutes on the ice. It is always good to see hard workers be rewarded and Huttel receive just that.
#29 Award: Given to the leading goal scorer and named after the most famous #29 from UMD, Brad Federenko, no really it is definitely Brett Hull. For both conference games and overall games that player this year was MacGregor Sharp. A leader on the ice and a hard working forward who saw that pay off in goals. His stats include 24 goals for the season, 50 goals over his four year career, and 105 points for his career. Good luck to Sharp in his hockey future.
This article is close to over, and when it is over, then the season will be fully completed to me. It will seem like a long wait for the 09-10 season to start, but I like summer and fall. Still, I do miss the weekends full of college hockey and all the speculation and analysis that accompanies it.
Now this isn’t the end of posts for the season. Look for WCHA expansion articles and anything that may happen this summer with recruits and with the new DECC opening December 31, 2010!
Time to get off my HighHorse and get out the lawn mower.