Friday, October 30, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Home cooking is what the Bulldogs need after the trip to Saint Cloud. Going 3-1 at home and 0-1-1 on the road, the team needs more game time under their belt and the best place to do that is at home.

This weekend they renew competition against Clarkson of the ECAC. Lifetime series, UMD is tied 2-2 against the Golden Knights. The last meeting between the squads was in 1997, a UMD win in the Syracuse Invitational Tournament.

Keep Out! The Bulldogs are averaging 22.7 PIM/game, second to Wisconsin in the WCHA. The penalty kill for UMD has been good with all the work they have had posting a 81.1% efficiency. As they stack up against Clarkson, the Golden Knights power play is currently at a 19.4% efficiency.

You Take the Fall. Coupled with UMD’s problem with penalties is the positive that they have the ninth best power play in the nation at 25.6%. That mark still puts them at second in the WCHA behind Colorado College’s 32.4%.

More Scoring to Come. Rob Bordson has 2 goals and 3 assists this year. His five point total this year is two shy of his previous two years at UMD numbers of 1 goal and 6 assists.

Issues that still need answers…

  • Travis Oleksuk is still out with an ankle/leg injury. His promising offensive skills are being missed by the Bulldogs.
  • UMD needs more players to get into the scoring column. As witnessed last weekend, the players who are doing the majority of the scoring may be held off by a good defensive plan or they may just have off nights. Whatever the reason, if you don’t score you don’t win. Rob Bordson, as mentioned above, and Kyle Schmidt showed great signs of improvement in this area last weekend.
  • Defense will need to be more, well, defensive. Many times against SCSU last weekend a defenseman carried the puck into the offensive zone only to have it stripped and taken the other way. The most alarming time this happened was during UMD’s power play chance in overtime on Friday. Defense needs to take care of business in their own end first, then get involved on the other end.
  • Who will be the starting goalie tonight and Saturday? Is a splitting of nights going to occur? We will have to wait to find out.
In other WCHA action:

Alaska – Anchorage at Minnesota: All college hockey fans will keep at least one eye on Minneapolis this weekend to see if this Gopher team can pull out of their dive. It may be the right weekend to do that seeing that the Seawolves are in town. But it could also backfire if the trend isn’t because they were playing the “elite” teams.

Saint Cloud State at Michigan Tech: Battle of the Huskies will see if a mediocre SCSU team can get things done on the road. Likewise, the Tech offense is going, now they just need a backstop to keep the puck out of the net and they may roll.

Minnesota State Mankato at Denver: This series should be two more chances for Cheverie to add shutouts to his stats.

New Hampshire at Wisconsin: This will be a good non-conference match up to see if the Badgers are the team that played last Friday night (6-0 win) or Saturday night (3-2 loss) at Mankato.

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