Monday, February 4, 2013

The Sky is Not Falling, But Close

UMD Swept by Denver 3-0 and 4-3

It was like an episode of the twilight zone for UMD against Denver the past weekend.  Friday felt like a Saturday in the Bulldog’s 3-0 loss.  Then Saturday felt like a Friday when UMD lead 2-0 and 3-1 late in the third period.  It was at the 13:40 mark of the third when the twilight zone broke open and reality poured in.  in 91 seconds the Bulldogs went from leading 3-1 to trailing 4-3, the eventual final score.
Some may call it an out of body experience, but in Duluth this season most would call it just another Saturday night.  Then again, it has never been this bad of a melt down.

The Saturday night collapse makes UMD 24-2-4 when taking a lead into the third period.  That mark started after a loss to Bemidji State in the 2011 Final Five.  The two losses since then have both come this season (4-3 OT loss at UND).

Stunned can’t even start to explain how the fans, followers, and players felt after the game.  They knew a huge opportunity was blown for this Bulldogs team looking to be relevant in the home ice competition of the WCHA.  Now UMD will most likely be waiting to see where to make hotel reservations.

With the sweep, Denver jumped from 7th to a 4th place tie in the WCHA.

Stop the Hemorrhaging.  Some fans and followers commented after the Saturday game that Coach Sandelin has his work cut out for him.  They are absolutely correct.

Sandelin has never been afraid to use his timeout to get his point across.  The problem Saturday is that he used it earlier in the third period attempting to put out another fire, the lackluster power play.
UMD was having power play opportunities and not cashing in.  Then early in the third UMD was to get 46 second of five on three.  That is when Sandelin used his timeout to rest the top line and get the players on the same page.  One can’t argue with the logic then because no one knew what was coming later in the period.

Without the timeout, Sandelin had to rely on his on-ice leaders to right the ship.  Whether it didn’t take or, as some have speculated, there is a lack of leadership since the last batch of seniors left, the results do not equal a team headed up in the standings.  There is definitely an opportunity for a player, or group of players, to step up and lead this team.

Take Two.  Again this weekend UMD hosts an opponent directly ahead of them in the standings, Minnesota State Mankato.  MSUM is playing good hockey and will not be an easy opponent by any means.  The Bulldogs need to get some wins instead of helping other teams move up.

Saint Cloud State continued their front running ways winning a pair of games at Bemidji State.  SCSU now has first place by three points over Omaha.  SCSU’s next opponent will be Minnesota Twin Cities which was idle this past weekend giving them two games in hand against the Huskies, but trailing by five points.

Omaha hosted Michigan Tech and was upset in the second game of the series 2-1 in OT.  That win was Tech’s third OT win of the season and the first against a team other then Bemidji State.

The Colorado College traveled a long way to Alaska – Anchorage to tie two games, 2-2 and 3-3 respectively.  The downside for the Tigers is they gave up the game tying goal in both games, each late in the third period.

North Dakota held off a surging Wisconsin team to gain three points.  The good weekend for UND started with a tie Friday night giving them a five-game winless streak prior to a 4-1 win Saturday.

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