Friday, February 25, 2011

Bulldogs to the Front Range

#7 UMD visits #19 CC

Two weeks to go and home ice is for UMD is set. Now it is about bettering position and getting physically and mentally ready for the tournaments to come. The goal is still top two in the conference looking ahead to the new Final Five format.

He’s Back. Jaden Schwartz returned to the Tigers a week earlier than expected when he played against Bemidji last weekend. He played well after a 15 game layoff tallying a goal and two assets. The team didn’t fare as well tying and losing to the Beavers.

Home Ice Wanted. As stated, UMD has home ice locked. CC is looking to make a move from bottom half to top half of the conference and getting home ice in the first round. Currently the Tigers trail UMTC by one point with four games remaining. UMTC holds the tie breaker against CC and has MTU and @ BSU remaining on their schedule. Meanwhile, CC has UMD this weekend and @ Wisconsin to end the regular season.

Get the Lead. The Bulldogs are a staggering 9-0-0 when leading after the first period and 14-0-1 when leading after the second. Conversely, CC is 0-14-0 when trailing after two periods.

Looking at the other side, UMD is 1-6-1 when trailing after two periods and CC is 15-0-1 when leading after two.

Fast Starts. Momentum can be gained and lost by goals early in the period and late in the period. The Bulldogs need to be ready when taking the ice each period as CC has 16 goals this season in the first three minutes of a period. The latest came at 1:09 of the third period in last Friday’s game at BSU.

Outcome. CC needs these games if they plan on staying home for the first round of the playoffs. They will be motivated. What does UMD have to play for? A lot and it has been that way for weeks. Heck, they used to be tied for first in the WCHA! So what is going on with the losses? Players in, players out, it doesn’t matter, the team needs to play complete games, play defense, and win games.

All taken into account, UMD will likely split this weekend with CC. If the Reiter plays both games, UMD will take at least three points. But it looks like the goalie rotation continues so split it is.

Around the WCHA. Mankato is off this weekend and UAA plays non-conference against Alaska.

Bemidji State at #2 North Dakota (Sat./Sun.): in a rematch from earlier in the year, the Beavers and Sioux meet again. Last time UND took three points. BSU seems to be going on a little roll here with a three point weekend against CC. But UND is on a bigger roll as they move to capturing the McNaughton Cup. A tie on Friday leaves the Sioux with three points again.

#4 Denver at #8 Nebraska – Omaha: by far the most intriguing matchup of the weekend. We will get to see if the Mavs can weather a top team of the WCHA as they continue to climb and surprise in the conference. The UNO sweep of Wisconsin gives us the belief that UNO and Denver will split this series.

#14 Wisconsin at Saint Cloud State: SCSU rising, UW falling? This weekend will be telling to see if Wisconsin is for real this year. We will still not be sure when these teams split the series.

Michigan Tech at #18 UMTC: Tech may have some jump, but not enough. UMTC win Friday and tie Saturday for three points.

UAA and Alaska (home and home): Great rivalry between two teams that having decent years. In most games that mean so much to the participants, this will end in a split with home teams winning.

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