Thursday, October 18, 2012

UMD Takes to the Road

Rare Thursday - Friday Games for UMD at Notre Dame

UMD has the opportunity to take the bad taste from the Saturday night loss to Ohio State and erase it.  It won’t be easy going into South Bend to play a pair at Notre Dame tonight and tomorrow night.

The series between the Bulldogs and the Irish is in Notre Dame’s favor 19-12-4.  Most of those games were played when the Irish were a member of the WCHA.  Since Notre Dame left the WCHA, UMD leads the series 4-3-2 with most recently the teams split a series in Duluth last October.

Notre Dame offense is the usually the biggest worry for opponents.  But last weekend in the Icebreaker Tournament, the Irish showed their defense is potent too winning 1-0 and 3-2.  It is early in the season, but the Irish appear to be a well put together team.

UMD is still looking for their identity that likely will be a lunch pail crew.  It is going to take a well balanced attack from all members of the Bulldogs to be successful.  That was very evident in the Friday 6-2 win over the Buckeyes with five players scoring and nine recording at least one point.

The problem for UMD is when some players are off like on Saturday night.  Coach Sandelin called out upperclassmen as a whole as not coming prepared.  The result was a close game, but a loss to an Ohio State team that the Bulldogs should have swept.

This weekend look for a more concentrated team from UMD, the coach will make sure of that.  The challenge is playing an upper echelon team at their place.  But UMD has thrived on the road in past seasons, so we will have to see what that leaves us in this rare Thursday-Friday series.

Around the WCHA and Picks by Fiskness.  The first week of college hockey is in the books with a few surprises and some games went just as expected.  It was great to watch the young UMD players get their first goals and points of their college careers.  Bulldog fans can also hope for continued point production from th upperclassmen as well.  The effort Friday night looked like a UMD team of the last few years that can beat anybody.  However the Saturday night effort was not there.  This Bulldog team does not have the horses that can carry a team at this point and will need a solid effort from everybody to be successful.  This weekend is the first games of conference play with the Gophers heading up to Houghton, Michigan to take on the Huskies.  This should be a good series for these teams. 

Games this Week:
Minnesota Twin Cities at Michigan Tech:  This should be a good test for both teams to see where they stand in WCHA.  The Gophers looked great last weekend and their defense by offense should help out the inexperienced goaltending.  Tech comes in this week after splitting a series with Lake Superior State.  The second game of the series the Huskies showed it may still have some offense.  I am going with a split. 
Minnesota Duluth at Notre Dame:  The Bulldogs look to hand the Fighting Irish their first loss of the season, which will not be an easy task.  If UMD plays up-tempo like last Friday night they should put up some wins, but if they play flat like Saturday, the win column will not fill up fast.  I see UMD getting in at least 1 good effort this weekend and getting a split. 
Lake Superior State at Bemidji State:  This is a good test for the Beavers and A home series for the first real games of the season for Bemidji.  The Beavers like the home cooking and should be able to get a split. 
Colorado College at Air Force; UMass Lowell at Colorado College:  All of the teams in two games are undefeated after the first weekend of play.  CC will be looking for a better defensive showing than last weekend.  I pick a split with CC beating the Falcons and falling to the Riverhawks.  
UMass Lowell at Denver; Air Force at Denver:  The Pioneers will be too much for both of the non-conference foes and will get the sweep at home. 
Alabama – Huntsville at Saint Cloud State:  SCSU looks to get the ship back on course after getting swept out east.  The Chargers should be just the team to do that for the Huskies.  Huskies sweep the series. 
RPI at Minnesota State Mankato:  Both team had three point weekends the previous week.  The Engineers win and tie against the NCAA runner up last season Ferris State where as the Mavericks were against the Chargers.  Any team that has trouble with the Chargers will likely have a tough time against better teams, even at home.  So I say a loss and tie for the Mavericks this weekend. 
Alaska Goal Rush – North Dakota at Alaska – Anchorage; North Dakota at Alaska; Merrimack at Alaska – Anchorage:  North Dakota starts its NCAA schedule this weekend and should make the most of it by earning two wins, but this is two games against Alaska teams in Alaska.  Two wins are very possible, but it looks like North Dakota will slip up against the Nanooks.  The Seaswolves will have trouble this weekend in gaining no more than one point in the Nanooks Tournament. 

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