Renew the rivalry…well at least for the Bulldogs. The Twin Cities campus will stand by Wisconsin and North Dakota as their rivals, but for the Duluth, these are the games the fans really want to win.
Take it to Minneapolis and the challenges increase exponentially.
So how is UMD going to win at Mariucci? Boil it down to two factors: penalties against and defense.
|Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, NCAA, Gopher|
Though UMD has a top ten penalty kill and the Gophers are in the bottom for power play, you don’twant to give that much advantage to the home team. Additionally the more time UMD spends in special teams, the more those few players are on the ice and the third and fourth chill on the bench. In cliché speak, it kills the flow of the game.
The Bulldog defense and goaltending have continued to be bright spots for the team, but this weekend they are in a hostile arena against a high scoring attack. Aaron Crandall will be the center of attention. Crandall and the rest of the defense corps will have to take this opportunity to put it all together for 60 minutes of solid play to win.
Flying Freshmen. The good and the bad. The freshmen are on a tear scoring an average of 3.20 points per game. The down side is finding the rest of the scoring to win games, or to pick up the team when the froshes hit a slump. We stand by our belief that successful teams have balanced scoring across classes.
Picks by @afiskness. The Bulldogs are beginning to find some consistency. The defense and penalty kill looks strong, but unfortunately the power play has only seen marginal increases and the Bulldogs continue to take way to many penalties. If the Bulldogs can find some discipline and stay out of the box, I would expect to see the scoring increase.
This weeks games:
UMD @ UMTC: The first matchup of these teams as non-conference foes. I don't think there will be any change in the rivalry for the players and should be two good games. The Gophers are the #1 team, but I think the Bulldogs will get a split.
Denver versus Air Force (home-home series): The Pioneers goaltending looks good this year and even though scoring may not come as easy the Pioneers will get two wins.
Western Michigan versus Michigan State (home-home): The Broncos are the better team in this series, but the home game for the Spartans should help them to earn at least a tie. Broncos win and tie.
North Dakota @ Boston University: North Dakota is starting slow again this year and trip to Boston against the Terriers could be difficult. But the Terriers just may be the most inconstant team this season in all of college hockey. I will go with a split.
Miami @ Nebraska Omaha: The Mavericks are playing pretty good hockey right now making this a tough series for Miami, but I think the Redhawks are a notch above. This looks like a Miami win and tie.
Colorado College @ St. Cloud State: The Huskies looks for real and will be competing for the conference title. On the other hand the Tigers look like they are in for a long season. The Huskies sweep.