Friday, October 9, 2009
It All Starts Tonight
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.
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…..you 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!