The Thanksgiving weekend is here and the UMD Bulldogs have played 14 games to date and have this weekend off. This leaves 21 games left on the schedule for the Bulldogs. So we decided to look back and grade the team at what has happened to date.
We will start with the offense. UMD is currently third in the nation for team scoring averaging just over 4 goals a game and has five players with 15 points or more. We give the team an "A" for offense.
On team defense UMD is currently averaging 2.50 goals against per game which is good for 17th in the nation. This is also good for the 2nd best in the WCHA in all games played. Individually the defensive players have played good. It has been great to see Dylan Olsen start off strong again and Justin Faulk be rock solid on the blue line. We give the team a "B+" for the defense.
For special teams it has been a little up and down. The power play is clicking great, sixth best in the nation at 25%. The penalty killing has been below average though. Currently the team is 80% on the kill, the good thing however has been the four shorthanded goals. We give them a "B-" for special teams. The team will need to solidify their penalty killing throughout the remainder of the year if they truly want to make a run for the MacNaughton Cup and the NCAA tournament.
As for goal tending, it is hard to say it is the Bulldog's weakest spot when you see a record of 11-1-2, but it is. UMD has been switching back and forth between Aaron Crandall and Kenny Reiter. Crandall has the better statistics and will likely be leaned on more the rest of the season. Wins, losses, and goals against are good stats, but the one we focus on a the HighHorse is save percentage because it measures what the goalie does with the shots on net. With only one loss it is hard to give the team a poor grade, but unless both goalies can get above 90% save percentage a "B-" is the best we can give.
With the Bulldogs being the number one team in the nation the overall grade is an "A-." Yes there is always room for improvement, but if they keep skating they have the first 14 games of the season good things will happen for this team.