A very good home opening weekend for the UMD Bulldogs simply put. A sweep is what was expected and what was delivered.
Scoring is the main headline coming off of the weekend with Providence College. The FCC line combined for 14 points on the weekend with MConnolly and JConnolly netting 2 goals each and Fontaine adding one. That is great, but the part that the HighHorse always talks about is how second line scores and helps takes pressure off of the “main guys.” The second line came through. The Schmidt – Oleksuk – Brown line combined for six goals this weekend and 12 points in total. That is what a team that will make national waves needs to succeed. Is that enough? No, UMD needs to push further and get the third and fourth lines on the scoring sheet to have the best chance of fulfilling the high expectations of this team.
Just as we have borderline called out the third and fourth lines above, we must also commend those players for the even +/- rating for the weekend. If they don’t score, they must not allow the opponent to score.
The defense looked shaky again on Friday night. Shaky you say? Yeah, it was the defense that allowed six goals at LSSU and near comeback in the third period at NMU. The near comeback was in play again Friday night as the Friars pulled within one goal before an empty netter for UMD. But putting that behind them, UMD came out Saturday night and shutdown the Friars offensively for 59 minutes giving up the lone goal 0:58 into the first. That is the defense that UMD needs every game. It is the defense that needs to be present no matter who plays. It was Aaron Crandall who was the goaltender Saturday night making his first collegiate appearance. Kenny Reiter is the main guy, but the Bulldogs need to know that they have competent backup when needed. Good timing for it during non-conference at home.
UMD Rankings. Inside College Hockey and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine has UMD at #5 and USCHO pegs the bulldogs at #6. It should be noted that INCH is a rankings from their staff while USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine and USCHO have polls from voters.
Change at UMTC. Brewster is out…is Don next? That IS NOT a serious question from the HighHorse. Don is safe, for now, but his program did not do itself any favors by being swept at home by UNO in their first WCHA weekend. Welcome back Coach Blais!
Now the real question is should a sweepa t Mariucci be heralded as a big deal? From Inside College Hockey:
Rankings Outrage:Yoopers Still Unbeaten. Going into a deserved weekend off, the Michigan Technological University Huskies are still unbeaten after playing five games in nine days. A 3-0-2 start is good for anyone, but in Houghton, it is phenomenal! It is the start that the MTU program needs.
On the strength of its sweep of (UMTC) this past weekend, Nebraska-Omaha debuted at No. 10 in the USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today poll and climbed seven spots to tenth in the USCHO.com rankings. Good on you, Mavs; that makes for a nice WCHA debut. Pollsters, can we drop the notion that sweeping (UMTC) is a big deal? In the last two seasons and change, the Gophers have been swept nine times – they’re an average to slightly above-average team, not the juggernaut that rolled to two national championships nearly a decade ago.
Still Want the Sioux? On their First Team Tour, UND swept Bemidji in two convincing games to open their new building. UMD also requested and will play UND in their building opener in late December. Hopefully they can do a little more than the Beavers accomplished.
Scoring at a Premium in Saint Cloud. The loss of scorers Ryan Lasch and Garrett Raboin to graduation and David Eddy to academic “problems” is really hurting this year’s squad. That was very evident in this weekend’s 6-3 loss and 1-1 tie. With a scoring drought looming, the net and defense need to step up. That will make or break the Huskies season.