Thursday, December 13, 2012

Long Road for Bulldogs Leads to Alaska

UMD Continues to Find Winning Streak

This season’s Bulldogs team has what it takes to compete for top half or better in the WCHA, but hey just cannot put it together.  An absolute maddening season so far for the fans and most likely the players.  If not, they need their heads checked.

The crazy part of the season so far is the powerlessness the Bulldogs have on the second night of a series.  It is not a Saturday thing necessarily, even though they are 0-5-2 that night.  UMD is a stunning 0-6-2 on the second night. 

Put the second night streak aside.  The latest loss on Saturday to Bemidji State shows how baffling the team is.  The Beavers are the dregs of the WCHA, at least at this juncture of the season.  For UMD to be manhandled and kept at bay as much as the Bulldogs were is sickening.  It makes for terrible hockey to watch and difficult to get revved up for UMD Hockey games.

I felt our report card for the first half of the season was a little harsh in some sections, but our staff went with a consensus and it is turning out to be correct.  Unfortunately correct.

This would normally be a weekend where I would be talking about cleaning up and taking advantage of a weak opponent.  But two big factors are standing in the way from those sentiments: the games are in Alaska and UMD just cannot string two wins or two nights of scoring goals together.  UAA is vulnerable, but UMD is also.

String two straight nights of good effort and play is turning out to be a huge roadblock for the Bulldogs.  Maybe their best two games of the season came in Grand Forks against North Dakota.  But that resulted in a tie and OT loss.  One point did not equal the effort put forth.  UMD needs to find a two game stretch to put together two wins.  And those have come the last two weekends at Michigan Tech and home against Bemidji State.  Both were only one win.

The run of playing against bottom teams is nearing the end.  UAA is the next opportunity of the waning amount of opportunities.

StatPack.  UMD and UAA statistical comparison looks one sided in favor of the Bulldogs.  The breakdown s as follows:

Images via Wikapedia: Bulldog, WCHA, Seawolf
Of note:
  • UMD has now dropped to second in the nation in penalty minutes per game.
  • Top power play in the WCHA is the Bulldogs', last rated penalty kill is the Seawolves'.
  • UMD's conference record is good for 8th place tie compared to UAA who is 12th and last.
Around the WCHA and Picks by Fiskness.  As George Bush once said "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — [pauses] — shame on you. Fool me — [pauses] — You can't get fooled again."  Well the Bulldogs have continued to do that to me all season.  The Bulldogs are a pretty good team that is not playing to their ability.  As a team they do not seem have the edge to push them to prevail and appear not give it their all every night.  Until they decide not to quit and go through the motions the will be a .500 team or less.
Non-conference Games:Alabama Huntsville at Wisconsin: The Chargers are not a good team and even though the Badgers haven't played good recently they will sweep this weekend. 
WCHA Conference Games:North Dakota at Michigan Tech:  North Dakota has not been able to put together an undefeated streak longer than three games all season and the Huskies have played a bunch of tight games against better teams.That should mean a split, but I don't think Tech is playing well enough for a split.  So, I will go with a tie and a North Dakota win giving North Dakota 3 points for the weekend. 
Denver at Bemidji State: Is Denver going to get back on track?  If the Beavers play their slow muck it up games style and Denver gets sucked in they will have a tough time winning.  I will say a split. 
Minnesota State at Omaha:  Battle of the Mavericks, red versus purple.  This is good match up to see what the Mavericks of Mankato are made of as they having been playing a pretty light schedule recently.  Omaha is playing very good hockey and at home will the Red takes 3 points. 
Colorado College at St. Cloud State:  The Huskies lost a barn burner and then beat the Mavericks of Omaha in a low scoring game last weekend.  Mean while the Tigers came from 3 points back to earn a tie and salvage a point in last weekends series against the Gophers.  Not much analysis, this series just looks like a split. 
Minnesota Duluth at Alaska Anchorage: The Bulldogs have not been able to get wins on back to back nights in a series and I don't think that will change against the Seawolves.  The Seawolves are not a great team, but they did beat St. Cloud a couple weeks ago so I will go with a split. 

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