Friday, October 9, 2009

It All Starts Tonight

The University Of Minnesota – Duluth Men’s Hockey team embarks on the 2009-2010 season with the third version of the Superior Cup. Again UMD plays Lake Superior State first, followed by a game with Northern Michigan University. Both matches are at the DECC in Duluth.

With two previews (season and Superior Cup) merged into one article, we will start with the season outlook from the HighHorse. There are many questions leading into a season that also has many things to look forward to. The losses of Stalock at goal and Sharp on the front line are the obvious gaping holes. The defensive corps was looking to be a definite strong spot, but that was also put into the unknown category by the departure of Oberg.

What UMD can lean on. Even with the departure of Oberg over the off-season, the defense will be the strong point, especially with the addition of Dylan Olsen and the return of a seasoned Brady Lamb. Strong defensive play is key to helping the goalie, be it Hjelle (pronounced “jelly”) or Reiter, get their “WCHA legs” early in the season. When the goaltender gets into the swing, the strong defense will propel UMD to better places in the standings.

The Bulldogs don’t know what they have yet. We need to see game experience to place an outlook on the goaltenders. Last week in an exhibition against British Columbia, both net minders played well. As a result, the current plan is to use both with Hjelle starting tonight’s game.

Biggest question. Can the production of the returning forwards flourish without Sharp’s presence? UMD has 3 of the top 4 scores back, but will be without the leading scorer and team leader of MacGregor Sharp. Two lines that can score is needed to crack the upper half of the WCHA. We do not have tonight’s projected lines, but last weekend UMD had Jack Connelly on the first line with Fontaine and Mike Connelly on the second with Aitkins. Those kind of combinations, with supporting help, will likely make two solid scoring lines.

Pre-Season MVP: His last name is Connolly… can flip a coin for the first name.

Pre-Season Rookie of the Year: Dylan Olsen.

We want more of what we saw last year (Drakhorse): Travis Oleksuk

WCHA Prediction: The staff is split between 5th and 6th. Yes, we can be impartial.

On to the Superior Cup. Can we finally beat lake State after 2-2 ties for two straight years? Will NMU score a goal against UMD? We will have to see, but with the competition, UMD ahs a very good chance to repeat as the three-time, and only, winner of the Superior Cup. NMU will pose the toughest test, so the Sunday game will be key.

Prediction: Win (Lake State) and tie (NMU) to start the season, then it is on to WCHA play.

Let the season begin!


  1. GO DOGS!!!

    Who is going to St Cloud?

    Drop the puck,

  2. Preseason Mvp. Not a Connelly. Fontaine all the way. Did you not see him play last year. Look at the start this year. Give your head a shake.