Friday, January 28, 2011

UMD Has Weekend Off Before Push to the Finish

Deserved Rest After Sweep at MTU 5-0 and 3-0

The Bulldogs have the week off and it certainly feels like a week off. Time to rest injuries and refocus for the final stretch of the season for the team. Time for us a t the HighHorse to pull together our 2nd trimester report card that will be out early next week.

The week off is not because of the unprecedented double shutout weekend sweep the Bulldogs came away from Houghton , Michigan with, but it is a just reward for their hard work. The team went on the road and did their job against a lower tier WCHA team that has in recent years been trouble for UMD.

Many outlets are championing the fact that this is the first time UMD has shutout a team in a series and only the second time they have posted shutouts in back-to-back games ever (2009 WHCA final Five was the only other time). What was lost, but now found by Kevin Pates of the Duluth News Tribune and Rink and Run is that this season marks the second time ever that UMD has won a four game season series against MTU in 39 years.

But enough about last weekend. It was a series that the Bulldogs had to have and they got the sweep done.

Bracketology.  This is the first installment of bracketology for USCHO.  See where the Bulldogs land in this edition.

In Short. This week off for UMD has made me a little lethargic about getting the weekend review out so we’ll do that in short order.

Blais had his return to Grand Forks with Omaha in grand style destroying the Sioux Friday 8-4. If it weren’t for a late flurry of goals late in the game when the outcome was pretty much decided, it could have easily been 8-1. The Sioux, as expected, came out with a strong performance Saturday to gain the split.

The only other conference series all ended in sweeps. Wisconsin took care of Mankato, not as expected here, but not a surprise. SCSU sweeping at BSU was a surprise and we wait to see if this is trend or mirage for the Huskies in the second half of the season. And finally, as expected, Denver swept Anchorage, but not without a close game.

This Week’s WCHA. All teams have a weekend off between now and the end of the season except for UMTC, SCSU, and MTU. This weekend it is UMD, Denver, and BSU with rest time.

#2 North Dakota at #18 Colorado College: Both teams have had their lapses in recent weeks. NoDak’s lopsided loss to UNO last weekend in Grand Forks was a red flag, but UND came back. CC was swept two weekends ago at Anchorage before getting “on track” against Alabama Huntsville. UND is solid in the PWR and CC needs to solidify their stature to be in the NCAA Tournament. What an opportunity for the Tigers this weekend to better their outlook. Home cooking for the Tigers helps them to gain a split.

# 8 Wisconsin at Michigan Tech: The woes of Tech continue. Can they score a goal this weekend? It will be tough against Gudmandson in the Badger net. And at some point, MTU has to pull out a win, but it won’t be this weekend as they get swept.

Anchorage at University of Minnesota – Twin Cities: Anchorage has been playing well as of late and has been seeing some wins for their effort. Their sweep at home against CC shows that they are a team with promise. It will be tough this weekend at UMTC, though. The Gophers are rolling a little bit, but they still have that consistency problem. This weekend series looks like a split.

Minnesota State – Mankato at Saint Cloud State: we talked earlier in the article that SCSU seems to be getting on track, but is it for real? At the same time, Mankato is a young team that has to be learning something from all of the close losses they are taking as of late. Still, SCSU is at home and they may very well be making a real run in the second half.  SCSU sweep.
This weekend included, the WCHA has six weeks left before playoffs. The ebb and flow of the PWR will be monitored in relation with WCHA teams. Currently the WCHA has six teams in the top 20 and 10 teams in the TUC range.

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