Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Thoughts: Week III

Bulldogs Struggle While Gaining One Point

A frightful Halloween weekend for the maroon and gold of Minnesota Duluth.  The Bulldogs lost and tied the Badgers in Duluth and the one point “earned” is of little consolation.  I use the word earned, but really it is stumbled upon that would be more fitting.

Friday night displayed all of UMD’s weaknesses and struggles on offense where is was at times like keystone cops on ice.  Saturday brought scoring, but limited in only scoring two goals before letting UW tie it up in the third en route to the tie.

And it was the same thing that UMD has struggled with the whole young season, keeping the defense from making bad, really bad, plays that allow scoring chances.   What really hurts the team is that the defense is what was supposed to anchor the team and give the young forwards a chance to get their legs under them.  But now it just looks like the whole team is not cut out to challenge in the WCHA.

I did say that the forwards are young, but not all of them.  And really no forward is consistent or really even a threat that the other team needs to pay close attention to.  The closest UMD has to a threat is Mike Seidel, but he was held to one point on the weekend, an assist.  To look at the lineup and how they are playing, it may be that UMD ahs the most “third liners” in the nation.  It has been said here and it may be like beating the dead horse, but no player like a Connolly, Brown, or Oleksuk is going to walk in and take over the game.  This team needs to understand that and step up, end of rant.

What is going right is the goaltending position.  Granted the team isn’t winning, but the goalie is doing his part to keep the team in the game.  McNeely over the weekend did everything you can expect a young goalie to do.  He gave up two goals each night which is not a game killer in college hockey and similar to a baseball “quality start.”   McNeely’s overall GAA is a terrific 1.64 with a phenomenal 0.935 save percent.

Bemidji Owns Omaha.  It is amazing how the Beavers can dominate game after game now for the three seasons each have been members of the WCHA.  BSU has gone 7-1-4 against the red Mavs over the past three seasons.  Lucky for Omaha, there is likely one more series with the Beavers before they part when the WCHA breaks up next season.

WCHA Still the Best?  It is early in the season, but indicators are setting up.  How do the Gophers tie the US U18 team and come back to beat mighty Canisius 1-0 earlier today.  And both games  were played by their main players in the lineup.  Additionally, Colorado College traveled to Cornell and was swept back to Colorado Springs.

On the other hand, Denver looks good in their first four games and will be pressing for the league title.

Next Up.  The Bulldogs are looking at a weekend off that may be coming at an excellent time so Sandelin can circle the wagons and rally the team.  The goal is always to get better, but UMD is also looking at a trip to Omaha in two weeks and will need to be ready for the red Mavs.

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