Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Offense Makes a Bulldog Appearance Saturday

UMD Splits with MSUM 1-3 and 6-2

Moving into the last weeks of the regular season, UMD continues to struggle at times. With the split last weekend at Mankato, the Bulldogs have not lost back-to-back games this year while amassing a 19-7-5 record.

While in Mankato for Saturday’s game, we witnessed the potential scoring power of UMD in a 6-2 win. The score makes the game appear like a one-sided game. It wasn’t. What made this game closer than a first glance was the shaky defense.

The defense concerns start with goal. Coach Sandalin has not come out and declared a number one goalie. At this point he either should make a declaration, or just play Reiter until he proves distinctly that he is not worthy.

Crandall has a good winning percentage, leading the WCHA with 0.808. But hidden in that stat are the basics. Crandall has a GAA of 2.57 and a save percentage of 0.900, right on the border of decent and dismal. Crandall has been blessed with scoring in front of him, thus the winning percentage despite he saves percentage. At this point in the season, UMD needs their strongest goalie to get the starts, and that goalie is Kenny Reiter.

Kyle Schmidt helps celebrate JT Brown's first of two goals.
Three Stars. “As voted on by the media….” I wasn’t given a ballot and am frankly surprised and left in wonderment of who was chosen as the "three stars" for Saturday’s UMD win. Schmidt, Faulk , and Oleksuk were chosen for having played a game and each tallying three assists. I can understand that, but what was left on the table was JT Brown and Mike Seidel who each scored two goals. I would have voted for both as they stepped up and propelled UMD to the win.

In other WCHA action, loses and a tie by the top teams Friday night left an opportunity squandered for the Bulldogs to move up. There aren’t many chances left, and looking at the remaining games of the top teams, UMD moving above #3 in the conference will be difficult.

Michigan Tech finally broke their winless streak by taking a game in Denver 3-2. The Huskies averted breaking the conference losing streak record with the win also. In the Saturday rematch, the Huskies may have started a new losing streak aided by a Pioneer goal from 190 feet on Kevin Genoe.

Bemidji State may be getting ready for a late season run by getting into the swing of things with a three point weekend at home against Colorado College. The real story of that series is the damage done to CC’s home ice aspirations as they become more entrenched at #7 in the conference.

Is it a Wisconsin fall or a UMTC rising? After surrendering three pints to the badgers in Minneapolis earlier this season, the Gophers returned the favor in Madison. What may be most telling in this series is Wisconsin is now winless in their last four going 0-3-1.

Even with players out of the lineup, North Dakota still rolls on. Traveling to Saint Cloud State proved to have one small bump in the road as they tied Friday night before a Sioux win on Saturday.

Finally, the Seawolves followed a trend this year by not being swept at home this season. Omaha was the latest team to travel to UAA and come away with a spilt, Anchorage winning Friday 3-2 and UNO Saturday 4-1.

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