Thursday, February 26, 2009

Statement Weekend

There has been much discussion this week about expectations of this year's UMD team, their ability to finish off the lesser teams and the fate of the coach, Scott Sandalin (see section below). It has taken some time, but I think I have clarified my position on these issues. As far as the expectations of this years edition, I have grown accustomed to a UMD team that is up and down and ultimately is fighting for home ice into the last weekend (maybe), fighting to get to Saint Paul for the Final Five and having an outside chance at the NCAA tourney (again, maybe). It has been a tortured (exaggerated) existence being a Bulldog fan, having to put up with the sisters of the poor or Gopher rejects calls and jeers. When it all comes down to it, I am sure it is the same for all of the "lesser" Minnesota D-I teams compared to our FSN anointed Overlord, UMTC (or Minnesota as they like to be called like they own the whole state). I don't want to belabor the point and run the risk of being called a whiner by fans of the Overlord. But this is our time to rise up and put to rest the past years mediocre finishes and take control of home ice destiny by finishing the Gopher's chances of Mariucci round one. This is a statement weekend for the Bulldogs; is this season a bark and growl or a whimper and die?

Calls for Sandelin's job? Not here will you find those! Just at a blog put out by a Howie at will you find that this is the year that has been the most disappointing. That this is the year that the Dogs are underachieving. That this is the year to dump Sandy. I say that it is Sandy that has helped make this season successful. Where were these calls in the past when a Frozen Four team heavy on junior class talent goes 15-17-5 as seniors? Has the shine from the Spencer Penrose Trophy been dulled enough now that the calls start to come? As I said to Andrew Fiskness, the other contributor to the HighHorse, change for the sake of change is not wise. And Howie's pick for successor is marginal at best. Norm was a great player, but let's dump Sandy for a first time head college coach? No way this year! And what delusion to call for the head of the esteemed AD and national champion football coach Bob Nielson? Howie, go take a leap into Kitchi Gammi and clear your head!

Onto the hockey!

To stay or not to stay... This stat is one that shows the difference between UMD and UMTC: of the current Gophers on the roster, the total number of goals against the Bulldogs is 6. That includes four games last year between the squads! Where have the goals gone? To the professional ranks as the senior classes of hockey players at UMTC are very small in recent years due to early departures. But where would this UMD team be in the standings if Niskanen and Raymond were seniors?

The Iron Alex in net. Both teams rely heavily on their Alex in net as Kangas has started 51 straight games for UMTC and Stalock has started 67 of the last 68 for UMD.

Kan-gas out of gas? It was just last weekend that the objective and non-senile dynamic duo (sarcasm very strong) of Shaver and Sonmor (UMTC radio guys) were discussing what went wrong at the end of last season for the Gophers. they were bent on blaming too much use of Kangas and he got fatigued in the end. HE HAS STARTED EVERY GAME THIS SEASON! THE GOPHERS ARE 1-6-1 IN THEIR LAST EIGHT GAMES! What will be the excuse this year? As a side note to the Kangas tiring issue, CC scored 5 goals in route to a 5-4 win last Saturday night on only 19 shots...or is it the defense in front of him?

Intermission. Cue the Common Man elevator music. Really though, the stats are outrageous for the Dogs at the intermissions. When leading this year during the 1st intermission they are 9-0-0 and when leading during the 2nd intermission they are 11-0-2.

This Week's WCHA Games. Michigan Tech is idle and Anchorage plays their true rival (not Mankato) the Nanooks of Alaska.

  1. Colorado College at North Dakota: This is plain and simple, a NoDak sweep towards the McNaughton Cup.
  2. Wisconsin at Mankato State: Wisconsin may have found the bottom again after the beating at home against Denver last weekend. Split this weekend with MSU.
  3. Saint Cloud State at Denver: Is it too late for Denver to win this conference? Yes, but they do help the Bulldogs immensely with a sweep this weekend.
  4. University of Minnesota - Duluth at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities: Enough has been said above (some will likely say too much, but it that time of year) about this series. Sandy will have the maroon clad Bulldogs ready against whatever color the Gophers decide to wear (the Gopher stats include records for each of the three colors they wear). UMD's Alex will show UMTC's Alex how a goalie leads a team on and UMD will sweep. I will be in attendance Saturday night with broom at the ready!

Crazy that there are only two weekends left in the regular season! Let's make them count.

Time to get off my HighHorse and be a fan. Go Dogs!

1 comment:

  1. I am hoping the Bulldogs can get off to an early lead Friday night. For whatever reason this season Friday nights on the road have been tough, a quick goal or tow would definately boast the confidence. A win last week on Friday night also helps. I think it should be a good series.

    Will it be good hockey? That is a different questions. The last UMTC game I watch was brutal. Refunds should have been offered to all in attendance.