Off the most recent split by the Bulldogs, this time at UMTC Gophers, we have our latest Up, Down, Neutral:
- Power play, a long time staple of the Sandelin Bulldogs, is back after going four of seven opportunities in Sunday’s game. The test will be if it keeps up because the game prior was a zero for seven effort.
- Resiliency continues to be an up with this season’s UMD team. On the road for six straight games and finding a way to come back after Friday losses at UND and UMTC for wins demonstrates the mental toughness of the young team.
- Penalties! The numbers are staggering after a slight down tick in the minutes, they spiked again all the way up to 19.0 minutes per game and a tie for third nationally for the most.
- Still on the penalties, another major was logged this weekend when Andy Welinski was shown the gate Sunday for facemasking. In the same vein, Caleb Herbert took three minors Friday and according to Bruce Ciskie, he should have had to pay rent for the space. It just can’t happen if the team is going to reach even near their goals.
- Split, split, split. The splits get tiring, but at this point, they are good enough. As the season progresses they have to step up to some sweeps to step up in the NCHC.
- Goaltending at UMD is a “who’s hot” kind of deal. As long as one of them, A Crandall or McNeely, is on, the team can always bounce back.
Bold prediction alert, UMD will end up 17-16-1 going into the playoffs. The regular season is just over one-third completed and the Bulldogs have five splits in six series. The remaining series was a Bulldog win and tie against MTU.
The opponents so far have been good teams for the most part. In some cases, like this last series, a split is good. But in others, CC and Ohio State, more than a split is expected.
But winning some and losing some inexplicably is a symptom of a young team. So is the way they win and lose. The scoring is coming in streaks. Plentiful scoring in one game followed by a drought and not necessarily in that order. It is not a first game/second game of the series thing as UMD has a two game winning streak and a two game losing streak.
Up next is another weekend off and time for Thanksgiving. The following weekend brings NCHC league play to Duluth for the first time as Saint Cloud State comes to town December 6 and 7.