Friday, October 24, 2014

Bulldogs Open NCHC Play Against Denver

UMD and DU Look for Strong Starts

UMD With Penalty Problems… What's New?  It was a point of emphasis in Coach Sandelin's weekly presser that the team is taking too many penalties.  And although that may be a symptom of the early season tight officiating, second highest average in the nation at 23 minutes per game is ridiculous.  

It has been recurring theme over the past few seasons that UMD is in the top ten in the nation for penalties, but how does it stop?  How is hockey discipline taught when the seeming culture of the upperclassmen is not conducive to more five on five time and less special teams?  

Final note on the penalties, if the team puts together wins, the issue will become less glaring.  Lose half or more of the games and it will be in the forefront.

No Sophomore Slumps.  Dom Toninato is not seeing a sophomore slump.  In fact he is leading the team in goals and points with five and seven respectively.  He is back looking stronger and hungrier than ever and his work off the ice is obvious.  Toninato's five goals puts him on pace to crush his seven goals in his freshman year.

With two short handed goals in four games, he has equalled his total form all of last year.  The shorties paired with a power play goal demonstrates that he is a main player who is being utilized on the special teams.

Close behind Toninato is Alex Iafallo with one goal and five assists and Carson Soucy with two goals and three assists.  Those three sophomores along with Tony Cameranesi round out the top four scorers for the Bulldogs.

StatPack.  It is early in the year, but the NCHC games are starting and so does the StatPack:

Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, NCAA, NCHC, Denver

Picks by @afiskness.  Last weekend the Bulldogs struggle to play a good game of hockey for a full game continued.  The play in the first half of the Friday game was not where it should be if the team is going to be a contender.  Saturday’s game however was much better.  Hopefully the goaltending will improve and become more consistent.  It is early in the season but this team looks like they could be good if they get solid play between the pipes.

NCHC Picks
Denver @ Minnesota Duluth - The Pioneers come into the series ranked 11th playing at Amsoil Arena against the #19 Bulldogs.  Last year the Bulldogs struggled at home this season they are hoping to find some success.  This will likely be two high scoring games which will end in a split.  

Non-Conference NCHC Picks
St. Cloud State @ Union - The #9 Huskies travel to Schenectady to play last years NCAA champions the #2 ranked Dutchman.  This will be a good test for both teams.  I give the edge to the Dutchman who seem to be continuing where they left off last season.  I will pick a Split as Huskies find a way to win one of the games.

Colorado College @ Boston College, CC @ New Hampshire -  The unranked Tigers travel out east to play the #6 Eagles in Chestnut Hill followed by game at the Whittemore Center in Durham against the receiving votes Wildcats.  The road and playing better teams will take its toll on the tigers who will lose both games.

Saint Lawrence @ Miami - The Saints are unranked looking to find some consistency.  Last weekend they split a series with Ferris State.  The #10 Redhawks are now red hot as they are on a 3 game winning streak.  I think Miami is finding its grove and will sweep.

Providence @ North Dakota - The #5 Friars travel to Grand Forks to take on the #3 North Dakota men's hockey team in a great non-conference series.  North Dakota looked like the team should last week against the Tigers after spliting the weekend earlier against the Beavers.  The Friars have only played two NCAA games this season splitting at Ohio State.  This series should be a split.

Alaska @ Western Michigan - These two unranked former CCHA Conference rivals renew the series this weekend in Kalamazoo.  The Nanooks are red-hot having not lost a game yet this season mean while the Broncos are hoping to get the bus back on the pavement after being swept last weekend.  The home ice should be enough for the Broncos to get a split.

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