Friday, March 16, 2012

Another Slow Start Dooms UMD, Opposite for UMTC

Rally Comes Up Short in 4-3 2OT Loss; North Dakota Shocks Gophers

The Bulldogs received some time to wait and rest up.  Not that they wanted it, but it was a parting gift from the Denver Pioneers in their 4-3 double overtime win.

Just like last season the Bulldogs make a one game appearance at the Final Five just to turn the bus around for extra R & R at home. Also like last season, UMD falls in OT, but that is where the similarities pretty much end.

Today’s game against Denver was a good hockey game to watch. “It was a hell of a game,” stated Coach Sandelin when asked for his comments. He went onto liken it to last year’s defeat in OT to Bemidji while adding that game was terrible to watch and this game was a good game.

Jack Connolly, Hobey Baker
Finalist, Scored the Tying Goal
The coach was quite content with the outcome of the game. UMD was down 3-0 just over six minutes into the second period, but battled back to tie the game fueled by two Mike Seidel goals in the second. Seidel later had the game winning chance just as time expired, but was stopped by the stretching leg of Pioneers goalie Sam Brittain.

The third UMD goal was scored by Hobey Baker finalist Jack Connolly.  Connolly took a pass from Drew Olson and rifled a one-timer from the high slot past Brittain.

UMD had all the chances they could have wanted, it was just a matter of converting opportunities and there just weren’t enough to get the Bulldogs over the hump.

Sunday’s NCAA selection show will reveal where UMD plays next weekend.  As the PWR looks now after all of Friday's results, UMD will not be in Saint Paul.  The reasoning is UMD is stuck in the #2 or #3 seeded bands with the Gophers and intra-conference games cannot be scheduled in the first round.

Of note:
  • UMD scored the only power play goal of the game and went 1-4 on the PP.
  • The ailing Bulldog penalty kill was a perfect 5 for 5 and looked much improved.
  • Kenny Reiter was strong in net and kept UMD in the game at many points early in the game.
  • The game winning goal by Zac Larraza is his first as a collegian.  He is Denver's "extra man" as the Pioneers are skating five defensemen and 13 forwards.  Larraza estimated that he was out for about 10 shifts for the game.
North Dakota and Minnesota - Twin Cities

The semi-finals of the Final Five was the day of comebacks.  UMD came back, but couldn't finish off Denver, but North Dakota did finish their comeback.

Down, and seemingly out, North Dakota used their timeout at 14:07 of the second period.  At that point they trailed the Gophers 3-0 and were being out shot 20-2.

What occurred next goes into the Final Five record books.

North Dakota proceeded to score the next six goals and out shoot UMTC 26-5 in a stunning 6-3 win.

Gopher leaders reported being shell-shocked and trying hard not to lose instead of going of the win.  Coach Lucia seconded the remarks and said he is not worried going into the NCAA Tournament next weekend.

The UMD loss was hard to take, but the absolute meltdown by the Gophers will be hard to forget.  If a team of collegians can nose dive that badly, whose to say that their psyche is resilient? 

Fans will get to see the resilliancy of the Gophers next weekend back at the Xcel Energy Center for the first round of the NCAA West Regional.

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