Thursday, March 15, 2012

Semi-Final Previews: UMD and DU; UMTC and UND

Bulldogs and Pioneers Set for 2:07 Matinee Friday

Now that UMD's opponent is set, we can start to look at the match-up by the numbers. The StatPack for tomorrow's game:

Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, WCHA, DU
Of note:
  • Similarities abound in the stats between these two teams. What may be overlooked is Denver has played two more games than UMD.
  • Denver’s power play is strong and UMD’s penalty kill is a real weak spot. UMD must stay out of the box and average fewer penalty minutes than the Pioneers.
  • Juho Olkinuora played in the net for Denver Thursday. UMD has yet to see usual starter Sam Brittain this season due to a Brittain injury.
Hot or Cold. Denver will be playing their fifth game in eight days. Two of them went to overtime. UMD last played Saturday night.

Denver is coming in maybe getting a little ragged, but they may also be in a groove that can keep rolling. Meanwhile, UMD is playing a “normal” WCHA week going the normal week between games. I can’t say which is an advantage, but it may be a focus of the postgame Q & A depending on how the game ends.

Just Don’t. UMD has to play disciplined hockey. Sounds simple, but penalty kill could prove to be the Achilles’ Heel of the Bulldogs. Ranking 54th of the 58 Division I teams, UMD just cannot give Denver, the #5 power play, chances with the extra attacker.

Prediction by Fiskness. Predictions were made in yesterday’s post. To summarize, UMD matches up well against Denver. It should be a fast paced game, but in the end Denver runs out of gas and UMD will win the first semi-final of the Final Five.

North Dakota and Minnesota – Twin Cities (7:07pm)

Of note:
  • The Gophers won the regular season series 3-1-0 with a sweep at home and a split in Grand Forks.
    • Most remember that tempers flared in the handshake line the last time these teams met and there should be plenty of emotion tomorrow night.
  • North Dakota gets to this game by beating Saint Cloud State 4-1 Thursday night.
  • This is the first Final Five for UMTC since 2009.
Prediction by Fiskness. Again, predictions were made yesterday and Fiskness likes how North Dakota matches up with the Gophers and picks UND to win the second semi-final of the day.

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