Friday, November 30, 2012

Bulldogs Travel to Snow Belt

Crucial Stretch Starts With Beginning of the End of WCHA Rivalry

The move to new conference is getting more and more a reality as we move through the season.  This weekend marks the first of two meetings of the WCHA defined rivals.  The truth is UMD has played Michigan Tech the most of any team in the history of Bulldogs hockey and this will be the last season were these teams will play four games.

That said, UMD may miss the games.  The Bulldogs have won eight of the last nine in this series going 7-1-1.  Overall, though, UMD has found MTU to be pesky in their 118-82-19 advantage over UMD.

StatPack.  Here is how the Bulldogs and Huskies match up by the numbers:

Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, WCHA, Husky

Of note:
  • UMD compares well with MTU.  Will home ice be the deciding factor?
  • The 18.7 penalty minutes per game average is still tops in the the negative way.
  • The Bulldogs last started this slowly in 2005-06 when they had the same record 12 games into the season.

Shots and Goals.  The Bulldogs have outshot their opponent in 10 of their 12 games so far.  They average 32.7 shots per game, 12th in the nation.  The problem is that shot are not resulting in goals.  UMD scores on 7.4% of shots while opponents score on 11.2% of their shots.

From UMD Athletics
Scoring Update.  The freshman continue to be the spark to the offense.  Their numbers are the highest as shown at right, but they shouldn’t be that close to the top compared to seniors.

Bright side…the freshman are promising scorers for years to come.  Right now they just the upperclassmen to jump into the fray and use their experience.

It’s Urgent.  The possibility that the season can be turned around is waning.  UMD has the opportunity now to take a stand and determine their place. 

Of the next 10 games, four are against MTU and two each against Alaska – Anchorage and Bemidji State, all current bottom dwellers with UMD in the WCHA. 

Additionally, in that stretch UMD plays in the Florida College Classic against Maine for certain then either Ferris State or Cornell.  Maine is currently in shambles at 2-9-1 overall, 0-5-1 at home, and nation worst 5% power play conversion.  Cornell is currently 4-3-2 and Ferris is 6-4-2.

The saying is to make hay when the sun shines.  The sun is coming out and UMD will have to cut bait or go fishing.

Around the WCHA and Picks by Fiskness.  It is one of those rare weekends where are 12 WCHA teams are playing in-conference games.  It will be a score board watching weekend to see how the standings change.
Bemidji State at Minnesota State Mankato:  Both teams played well last weekend should have it should be a close series.  They are tied in the standing with nearly the same goals for and against.  I will go with a split. 
Minnesota Duluth at Michigan Tech:  The Bulldogs finally got their first win at home while following the game up with clunker.  Tech was off the weekend before but prior to that swept the Beavers in Bemidji.  UMD always has a tough time with the Huskies and I don't think it will be any different this weekend.  The Huskies are the least penalized team in the conference and the Bulldogs are the most.  If the Bulldogs stay out of the box they can get a split, but I am going with the Huskies to take 3 points in a win and a tie. 
Nebraska - Omaha at Minnesota Twin Cities:  This is a great match up to see what the Gophers are made of and to determine how real the Mavericks are as well.  Surprisingly the scoring edge probably goes to the Mavericks in this one as they are averaging 3.5 points a game to the Gophers 2.88 in conference play.  Both teams goals against are nearly identical.  I will go with a split. 
North Dakota at Colorado College:  The Tigers lost two non-conference overtime games at home last week and North Dakota earned (or some Irish fans would say given) a split against Notre Dame.  The Tigers penalty kill is terrible and their power play is tops in the conference, so the games will likely come down to special teams.  I do not see the tigers losing four in a row and will go with a split. 
Saint Cloud State at Alaska - Anchorage:  The Seawolves struggle on special teams and the Huskies special teams has been pretty good.  The Huskies will get a sweep. 
Wisconsin at Denver:  The Pioneers are not happy with the outcomes of last weekends games and much the same can be said about the Badgers.  However Denver has shown to be a very good team this season, meanwhile Wisconsin has had many struggles.  The Badgers power play doesn't exist and their penalty kill isn't great.  I don't think the Pioneers are ready to bounce back with the sweep, so I will go with Pioneers win and tie for 3 points this weekend.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

First Intermission: Bulldogs One Third Through Season

A Report Card on UMD's First Period of the 2012-13 Season

The first third of the 2012-2013 UMD Bulldog’s season is in the books. In following with our past precedent, we are issuing our first period report card, the first third of the season

Bulldog fans look for more Cameranesi and Farley connections
in the future. (CollegeHockey HighHorse: Andrew Craig)
Offense: D+. There was concern over the offense entering this season with so many high scoring players leaving and freshmen filling the gaps. So far the freshmen corps have looked good and have been the driving force of the offense.  That is good, but also bad because the upper classmen, for the most part, are not pulling their weight.  The lack of offense has put unnecessary strain on the defense creating a developing train wreck as the season progresses.

Of note:
  • Top three scorers for the Bulldogs have been linemates for most of the season.  They are Mike Seidel (8-6-14), Tony Cameranesi (5-7-12), and Austin Farley (4-6-10).  Their points are 47% of the team total and their goals are an alarming 59% of the team total.
  • Pleasant surprises are few.  Closest is Joe Basaraba who has three goals on the season, close to half of his output of seven last season.
  • Strong freshman presence is noted from Cameranesi and Farley, as noted above, along with defenseman Andy Welinski (1-5-6) who is fifth in team scoring.
  • We want to see more from last year's freshman scoring leader Caleb Herbert.  Herbert is currently goalless with four assists.
Team Defense: C-. This was supposed to be UMD’s strong suite for the season to get past the freshman learning curve of the forwards.  In reality, it is one of the most frustrating aspects of the team.  The defense has struggled at times with basic positioning, keeping leads late in games, and keeping possession of the puck.  As a result, UMD has given up an average of 3.08 goals per game.  Not horrendous, but close to horrendous and not what was expected.

Of note:
  • None of the defenseman corps is in the positive range for plus/minus rating.  Of all players, only Farley, Dan DeLisle, and seldom used Max Tardy are positive with +1 each.
  • Strong freshman presence from Andy Welinski who is providing a great offensive presence from the blue line.
  • We want to see more from last year's defensive stronghold Wade Bergman.  Bergman was held goalless until last weekend and has logged a team low -8 in the plus/minus rating.
Special Teams: B-. This is the brightest spot of the team.  UMD has the nation’s 8th best power play that is connecting at 23.7%.  The penalty kill is also decent at 81.4%, but they are on the ice too much.  UMD has the highest penalty average in the nation at 18.7 minutes per game.

Of note:
  • Seidel, Cameranesi, and Farley lead the team in power play goals with 10, 71% of the team's total.
Goaltending: C+. Goaltending has not been stellar, but it has been good enough that UMD should have more wins.  Newcomer Matt McNeely is playing well for a freshman behind this team defense.  McNeely is currently at a 0.888 saves percentage with a 2.95 goals against average.  Aaron Crandall again this season is there, but not excelling with 0.889 and 3.15.  The stats the UMD netminders have put up place them above only three tenders in the WCHA.  

It is still unknown as to who is the number one, but McNeely looks to be a solid goaltender for the future and a good one for the current season.

Of note:
  • UMD is without a shutout this season.
Coaching: BThe struggles are there, but they are likely growing pains that must be endured as the team matures.  Coaching will expedite the process and Sandelin is a great coach to have.  What is at issue is the number of penalties and penalty minutes.  The team plays undisciplined hockey and that can be helped from the top.  What is most alarming is the number of 10-minute misconducts the team has taken that are not associated with another penalty.  That is the sign of frustration, which is understandable, but it more a symptom of undisciplined play.

Overall Team: D+. We didn’t and don’t expect a top three WCHA team, but we do see more than 11th place from this team.  The pieces are there, but they are not working together for a common goal.  Small gains in one facet are usually coupled with a step back in another facet.  The team has time to come together, but will it be for the better of this season or seasons in the future?

Looking Ahead. The next “period”, or third of the schedule, brings some favorable games for UMD.  They play Michigan Tech twice, Bemidji State, and Alaska – Anchorage, all teams just above or below UMD in the WCHA standings.  These games will show just where UMD willfinish at the end of the season.  Splitting these series will probably not be enough for UMD to make any significant moves in the standings.  

The other games include the Florida College Classic and a pair of games at Colorado College.

Of note:
  • UMD is 1-4-1 against fellow furture teams of the NCHC so far this season.  The Bulldogs have six more games against future NCHC left.

The next grading period will end after playing at Colorado College on January 19, 2013.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Thoughts: Nov. 25

UMD Earns First Conference Win in a Split Weekend

Hey, first conference win for the Bulldogs this past weekend.  The game was messy, each team had chances to win and lose the game, but the Bulldogs did what they had to do to pull out the win.

Freshman Tony Cameranesi sores the game tying goal en route
to a 2-1 UMD win. (College Hockey HighHorse: Andrew Craig)
It was a good first step, a door that opened to something good.

Saturday was the closing of the door.  Actually a slamming of the door.

Whatever the Bulldogs pieced together and gained Friday against SCSU was lost in a 5-1 drubbing.  Disheartening after the hope from Friday.  But in the end, we looked at the last two series, at North Dakota and home against SCSU, as a place to start by getting one win.  The Bulldogs exceeded that small expectation and gained three of a possible eight points.  Baby steps, man.

Elsewhere in the WCHA.  Bemidji hosted Alaska – Anchorage and took three points.  With that, BSU helped UMD stay out of the basement of the WCHA and left UAA as the only team yet to get a win in the WCHA.  With UMD in 11th place is Wisconsin who was swept at home to the pesky Minnesota State Mankato team.  MSUM won both games 4-2 and never trailed in the weekend.  Denver and Colorado College swapped opponents on the weekend as they both played Yale and New Hampsire.  The results were not good for either WCHA team.  Denver was swept and CC managed to earn a tie with a loss.  North Dakota traveled to Notre Dame in search of their first sweep of the season and they failed.  North Dakota won Friday, but succumbed to the Irish Saturday.  Minnesota Twin Cities made a regular season trip to the east coast for the first time since 2005 and swept the host Catamounts of Vermont.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bulldogs to Host Huskies of SCSU

UMD Plays Third Straight Series Against Future NCHC Team

There is a lot of talk about the importance of the upcoming series when Saint Cloud comes to Duluth.  It all isn’t necessarily true, but doors can start to shut with each loss tacked onto the six already.

The problem is the regular season is one third complete after the weekend and the conference schedule is about one fourth complete.  Time is ticking, but it is never too late.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and take a look at this weekend against the Huskies.

Penalties Abound.  UMD is the most penalized team in the nation with the average of 20.6 minutes per game.  The counter to that is opponents average 20.1 minutes in all games.  Does UMD bring the worst out of teams or is there something else going on?

It may be the latter as the conference disparity is larger where UMD averages 21.3 minutes and opponents average 15.8 minutes.  Bottom line is UMD needs to stay out of the penalty box.
Scoring.  The Bulldogs are in an interesting position as far as time they are playing in the lead.  UMD is 2-6-2 but have equal percent of time in the lead as trailing, 31.9%.  So UMD has been in some close games or when they go the wrong way, it goes fast.

The only period UMD has the advantage in scoring is the first period.  That fact is not lost on most who tuned into last Saturday’s game when the Bulldogs held a 3-1 lead after the first only to lose 4-3 OT.

Young and Old.  The disparity of freshman/senior scoring versus sophomore/junior scoring continues to grow.  This week scoring is 50 to 17.

The player who is definitely missing from the scoring sheet is sophomore Caleb Herbert.  He was the leading freshman scorer last season and is 0-4-4 for the season.  He currently is on a seven game pointless streak and is a good player that UMD needs to be successful this season.  Kick the sophomore slump, Caleb, and get in on the scoring.

StatPack.  Huskies and Bulldogs by the numbers in this week's StatPack.

Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, WCHA, SCSU
Of note.

  • Penalties may not be the achilles heel as UMD holds the advantage in PP and PK.
  • Both Crandall and McNeely have career saves percentage similar to the team average, 0.889 and 0.888 respectively.
  • This is UMD's first home series in 4 weeks.

Around the WCHA and Picks by Fiskness.
Last weekends games didn't go exactly as UMD fans had hoped, but there was some signs of encouragement.  We did learn that the Bulldogs can skate with anybody, however if they continue to take penalties at the current rate they will be one of the bottom teams in the league.  We also learned that the Bulldogs have one good line and three number 3 lines.  Earlier we at the C3H had speculated that UMD was the only team in the nation with four number 3 lines.  I think it is safe to say the Seidel, Farley and Carmanisi is an actual number 1 line.

WCHA Conference.
Saint Cloud at Minnesota Duluth:  The Huskies come into this series well rested and UMD is looking to get their first win in conference play.  The Dogs get home ice, only problem is with Thanksgiving it will likely be a split crowd.  I am going with a split based on the glimmers of prosperity shown last weekend in Grand Forks. 
Minnesota State Mankato at Wisconsin:  This should be a really good series.  The Badgers with home ice will play better, but without Zengerle they will only be able to get a split. 
Alaska - Anchorage at Bemidji State:  Last weekend was disappointing for the Beavers getting swept at home by MTU.  The Seawolves managed to get a point at home against the much favored Gophers.  Both teams are looking for consistency and scoring.  This should be two good games.  I will go with a split.
Minnesota Twin Cities at Vermont:  Vermont appears to be much improved over last season, but are currently in the bottom half of Hockey East.  The Gophers have not put together two really good games back to back and have had difficulties on the road.  The Gophers have more talent but willnot be able to get the two win, win and a tie.

Yale and New Hampshire at Denver:  Denver is hot and will be playing two good teams on their home ice.  Yale is #9 in the Pairwise and UNH is #2 right behind Denver.  I don't think the Pioneers will be able to keep the win streak going through both of these teams.  The Bulldogs have not played the strongest competition, whereas the Wildcat have played good teams and handled them without any problems.  I will go with a Denver win and a UNH win. 
New Hampshire and Yale at Colorado College:  The Tigers got swept by the Pioneers last weekend and will definitely be playing with an edge.  As much as I like the Wildcats this season, CC will bounce back and get a win.  However, the jubilation will be short lived as the Bulldogs will get a win over the Tigers the following night. 
North Dakota at Notre Dame:  UMD has played both of these teams and they are really well matched for this series.  Look for UND to cause the Fighting Irish to be more physical.  These should be a split. 
Alabama - Huntsville at Nebraska - Omaha:   The chargers come in having gotten their first win of the season last weekend against the Lakers, while the Mavericks were resting.  The Mavericks will remember their games against the Chargers last season in Nashville and will not have a problem winning both games.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Thoughts: November 18

UMD Gains One Point in a Pair of OT Games

UMD is getting closer, but still has a long way to go.

Mired in last place in the WCHA, they gave two valiant efforts this weekend in Grand Forks against North Dakota.

Friday night the team fought back in the third to gain the game tying goal and a precious point on the road in a 4-4 game.  It definitely looked as though the team was making a statement and was poised to take the next step.

Saturday saw an apparent continuation of a statement started by the Bulldogs Friday night as they roared to a 3-0 lead.  Then the problems of old entered in demonstrated by UMD allowing the next 4 goals en route to a 4-3 OT loss.

Even though play seems to be getting better for UMD, there is no moral victory here.  Time is ticking and the season is moving by.  Next week at this time UMD will have finished the first third, or period, of the regular season and we will be working on the first report card for the team.

In our staff discussions last week, we were looking two weeks ahead, at UND and home against SCSU.  We talked about playing two good teams and how UMD needed to get at least two points somewhere in those four games.  Now being halfway there in both game and points we have three thoughts:
  1. Scoring needs to be spread out.  Our preview for this past weekend talked about how freshman heavy scoring is for UMD.  This weekend didn’t change that much if at all.  Farley and Cameranesi teamed for three goals and two assists.  Look for Cameranesi to be in consideration if not a front-runner for WCHA Rookie of the Week.
  2. Holding leads.  The Bulldogs have lead in their last three games and have only one point to show for their efforts.
  3. Talent abounds and the future is bright.  Good, but bad.  Fans want to win now and this team should be in the W column more than they are now, zero for November.
Up Next.  As mentioned above, Saint Cloud State is the Thanksgiving leftovers for UMD in Duluth this Friday and Saturday.  The Huskies were off this past weekend and are currently 6-4-0 overall and tied for 4th in the WCHA.

Elsewhere in the WCHA:

Michigan Tech travelled to Bemidji State and played two OT games just like the UMD-UND series.  Except here, the Huskies took both games in the extra session.  Great for MTU, but devastating for the Beavers moving forward.  

The Gophers still are showing they are a team building towards something, we think.  I know that Wisconsin is a rival, but they are down especially with Zengerle out and UMTC should have had four points.

Denver is on a roll after sweeping CC this weekend in part one of the Goldpan series.  It will be a hard climb for CC to take the Pan.  Denver certainly looks to be in the driver seat of the WCHA right now.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Searching for Answers in Grand Forks

Bulldogs Travel to North Dakota for Series

Bulldogs need to pull together.  Pictured above is the well
rounded team in 2011 prior to playing Notre Dame in the
Frozen Four.  College Hockey HighHorse: Andrew Fiskness
The Bulldogs find themselves in a place they are not accustomed to in the WCHA, last.  Two years removed form the national championship, UMD is struggling to find consistency in defense and upperclassmen scoring.  The result is a dismal 2-5-1 overall record with 0-3-1 in WCHA play.
Dismal may be strong, but the opponents have not been the really good teams of the NCAA.  The highest regarded team the Bulldogs have played thus far is Notre Dame and they found a way to go 1-1-0 against them in South Bend.

This weekend’s travel brings UMD to Grand Forks to face the North Dakota Hockey Team.  North Dakota is 4-3-1, 2-1-1 good for 6th in the WCHA, the highest team with four conference games played.

Defense for 60.  The defense’s struggles this season have been talk about by many and on full display for those in attendance.  At times they look great, but it is the mental letdowns, turnovers, and bad positioning that is occurring that really has UMD in a hole.

The question that needs to be answered here is can the defense play a solid 60?  Even with the scoring ups and downs, the team has managed to out score opponents in the first and second periods.  The third period is where UMD is getting destroyed scoring three goals for and allowing seven against.
The Bulldogs have prided themselves on their third period dominance in recent years and that attitude and effort needs to be rediscovered.

Looking for Scoring Leaders.  UMD is a young team and a talented team.  Nine freshman is quite a few, but the seven seniors and four juniors should help even that out, right?  Not really.  The seniors (7) have tallied 17 points (7 goals 11 assists) and the freshman (9) have the exact same number of goals and assists.  That tells me the freshman are carrying this team even though they have more of them, the experience up top should be doing more.

Individually, senior Mike Seidel leads the team in scoring followed by freshmen Tony Cameranesi and Austin Farley with senior Wade Bergman rounding out.  Seidel and Bergman combine for 5-10-15 of the 17 senior points!  Meanwhile Cameranesi and Farley are 5-8-13 of the freshman 17.  Where is everyone else and who is going to lead this team?  The numbers are low and they come from only a few and that will present a problem as UMD goes through the season if it doesn’t change.

As an alarming side note, the four juniors, none of whom are goalies, have three points.  All three points have come on goals form Joe Basaraba.

Weekend by the Stats.  The StatPack for UMD and UND:
Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, WCHA, North Dakota
 Of note:
  • UMD saves percentage now has fallen below 0.900 for the first time in weeks.
  • The Bulldogs take the most penalty minutes per game in the nation.  UND's PP isn't staler, but they will likely get many chances this weekend.
  • UMD opponents have earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for the Bulldog's last two series.  Both are goaltenders.

Around the WCHA and Picks by Fiskness.  The Bulldogs struggles continued last weekend and are hoping for a big turn around this weekend in Grand Forks.  It is hard to say must win in November, but these games are must wins (at least a split) if the Bulldogs want to fininsh in the top half at the end of the season.  All of the WCHA games this weekend should show exactly how good is each team.

Wisconsin at Minnesota – Twin Cities:  This series is a great rivalry and will be a nice benchmark to see where the two teams stand in the conference.  The loss of Zengerle will hurt the Badgers scoring in these games.  I think we will finally see the Gopher team the everyone had hyped in the off season, Gophers sweep. 
Minnesota – Duluth at North Dakota:  The is a good rivalry with North Dakota having a large advantage all time in the series.  I don't think a whole lot of analysis is needed in this series. The Bulldogs continue to take penalties and do not have enough talent to overcome penalty kill goals.  I don't see why that will change this weekend.  UMD gets swept by North Dakota. 
Michigan Tech at Bemidji State:  Both teams have been up and down so far this season.  The home ice should help the Beavers, but I think the talent leans towards the Huskies.  I will go with a split. 
Denver and Colorado College (home and home):  This is another great rivalry.  Both teams are playing well and are in the top 10 overall in team scoring.  The defense advantage goes to Denver, with the Pioneers near the top averaging just 1.88 goals against per game so far this season.  The home and home should make for a split.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday Thoughts on a Monday

UMD Swept Out of Omaha

What was thought to be a reloading season has quickly moved to a big time rebuilding season for the Bulldogs.  The pair of losses to Omaha displayed the struggles and inconsistencies for UMD.

The now frequently maligned defense was thought to be the stronghold for the young front liners and they are.  Yes, turnovers have lead to goals, some of which were really bad turnovers, but giving up two or three goals per game should not be a killer in college hockey.  In the five UMD losses, they have allowed two goals twice and three goals once.

The main problem coming to light with UMD is the lack of scoring from the upperclassmen.  Mike Seidel was expected to be a leader and he is tops in scoring for the team.  Players that the Bulldogs are waiting to get on track are surprises like Herbert, Flaherty, Hendrickson, and team captain Cody Danberg.

The Bulldogs have dug themselves a hole and they really have nowhere to go but up…or maybe stay at the same level.

Up Next.  North Dakota fresh off a split at Saint Cloud is the next opponent for UMD in Grand Forks.  North Dakota is a team with lots of talent and firepower that has yet to sweep a series this season.  This weekend may be their next best chance.

Run in Saint Cloud.  The Huskies are night and day better than last year.  That is what getting good, experienced players to return will get you.  SCSU is a team that is playing at a high level this year after going 17-17-2 a season ago.  Look for the Huskies to stay in the top half of the league and do well behind the play of upperclassmen Hanowski, LeBlanc, and Dowd.  

Oh and UMD hosts the Huskies after playing in North Dakota.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

UMD Back to Work at Omaha

Saturday/Sunday Series on Tap for Bulldogs

UMD will try to get back on track after a week off when they get to work against Nebraska - Omaha.  The series is a Saturday/Sunday series as UMD looks for their first WCHA win of the season.

UMD is currently tied for 11th and last in the WCHA with Alaska - Anchorage with one point.

StatPack.  The current statistic analysis for UNO and UMD:

Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, WCHA, Maverick
Of note:

  • UMD's defense is good, at least on paper.  It is the offense that is lagging behind.
  • The amount of penalty minutes is still putting UMD in a bad situation most nights.  maybe that isn't as dangerous this weekend looking at UNO's power play numbers.
Missing Offense.  Don't go looking on the sides of milk cartons for the offense for the Bulldogs.  It is there, but it needs to be primed again.  The first game of the season against Ohio State showed what the scorers are capable of.  Now they need to find the scoring groove again and take the pressure off the defense to be perfect.

Around the WCHA and Picks by Fiskness.
UMD is looking to get back into the winning ways as UMD is currently in a very unfamiliar spot in the standings.  This year has the appearance of parity across the league.  It is important for UMD to get some wins and stay in the hunt.  A week off should help steady the team, now the veteran defense needs to stand strong and play they way they have in the past.

WCHA Conference:
University of Minnesota Duluth at University of Nebraska Omaha: This is a good series for UMD to figure out who they are as a team.  The last few years the Bulldogs have been a good road team and they hope to continue that trend.  The Mavericks have been up and down this season so far.  I am picking a split.

University of North Dakota at St. Cloud State University:  This should be a great series with lots of hitting and probably a good bit of scoring.  If there is an advantage to one team it is for the home ice.  I will pick a split.

Denver University at Minnesota State University Mankato: The Mavericks played the Gophers well the previous week showing they might have more than expected.  Denver had a tough series at home that resulted in a split.  I think the Mavericks played up for the Gophers and there will be a let down this weekend.  Pioneers sweep.

Bemidji State University at Colorado College:  This is the Beavers first real test of the season and I think the Tigers at home will hold off Bemidji resulting in taking 3 of the 4 points.  Tigers win and tie.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities at University of Alaska Anchorage:  This is always a tough road trip for any team.  If the Gophers had be playing better I would say a sweep without hesitation, but The Seawolves seem to have enough spunk along with lack of rhythm for the Gophers will result in a 3 point Gopher weekend.  Gophers win and tie.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Off Weekend for UMD Welcomed

UMD Gets Time; WCHA Has Four Conference Series

This weekend UMD is off.  The punch line some may insert here is that they have been “off” their game all season.  And that is why having time to fix things early in the season may likely get the Bulldogs on track.

The hope is that time off, extra coaching, and relaxation will get the players ready for the grueling road series coming up at Omaha and North Dakota before coming back to Duluth to face Saint Cloud State right after Thanksgiving.

Around the WCHA and Picks by Fiskness.  The bye week for the Bulldog’s couldn’t come at a better time. This statement on the fourth weekend of the season is a little unsettling for Bulldog fans, but true. Last weekend UMD hosted the Badgers and after two games the Bulldogs were able to hold on for a 1 point weekend. The Bulldogs continue to have issues scoring and giving consistent play for a whole game. Another problem seems to be the rate at which UMD is taking penalties. The Bulldogs will need to be more disciplined if they want to finish in the top half of the standings. A weekend off should help the Bulldogs regroup after this past disappointing weekend.

It is still early in the season and teams are still trying to get an identity. More analysis can be made after a few more series are played.

WCHA Conference:
Nebraska – Omaha at Michigan Tech: The huskies have played some good hockey on their home ice and the Mavericks will have to be ready for a tough weekend. I still am skeptical that Tech can put together 2 solid games back to back so I will pick a split.

Minnesota State Mankato and Minnesota Twin Cities (home and home): The Gophers barely got past the Golden Griffins last weekend meanwhile the Mavericks got run over in St. Cloud. The Gophers are a much more talented team, but this series always ends up being very physical. I think the Mavericks will be able to do enough to earn 1 point as the Gopher will win one and the other game will be a tie.

Colorado College at Wisconsin: The Badgers had an impressive weekend against Duluth and appear to have gained positive momentum back after being swept the first weekend of the season. The Tigers come into this series trying to get the ship back upright after giving up 5 power play goals and getting swept by the Big Red of Cornell. If the Tigers defense and special teams play good enough they will be able to get a split, but they are very suspect right now. Split.

Saint Cloud State at Denver: The Huskies put up a bunch of goals against the Mavericks last weekend and may now be playing with the potential that many expected. Going to Denver will not be easy for the Huskies though as the Pioneers appear to be in mid-season form this early in the season. Two hard fought games resulting in a split.

Boston University at North Dakota: This should be a good matchup for both teams. The advantage goes to North Dakota on the home ice, but the Terriers should have enough to earn a split in this series.