Friday, October 10, 2014

UMD Season Starts Tonight Against #1

Bulldogs Face Familiar Foe Gophers on Neutral Ice

It is that time of year again, leaves are falling, it's getting cooler, college hockey is starting, and UMTC Gophers are ranked at or near the top in polls.  It just so happens the Bulldogs get that #1 Gopher team as their first opponent of the season and the first round of the Ice Breaker Tournament in South Bend, IN.

Nothing is for certain at this time of year and speculation abounds.  The Gophers should be a good if not great team this year.  This first game is a good bellwether test for the 2014-15 Bulldog team.

NCHC Speculation and Predictions.

Waiting for the exhibitions to play out we have finalized speculation and prediction for the final standings of the NCHC for its second season.

Last year was a mess at the end with three of four road teams moving to the Frozen Faceoff with Denver and Miami, two teams needing the auto bid for NCAA entry, playing for the championship.  Was it parody?  Is there complacency among teams already locking into the NCAA Tournament?  Good questions, but not for now.  Now is the time for predictions.

This year there appears to be three top teams, three bottom teams, and two left in the middle.  The there on top: Miami, North Dakota, and Saint Cloud State.  The bottom three: Colorado College, Omaha, and Western Michigan.  The two left in the middle: Denver and Minnesota Duluth.

Overall prediction:
  1. North Dakota
  2. Miami
  3. Saint Cloud State
  4. Denver
  5. Minnesota Duluth
  6. Western Michigan
  7. Colorado College
  8. Omaha
Picks by @afiskness.

The season is about to be on us and like every year I am saying hockey already?  I am looking forward to an exciting Bulldog season.  I hope they can find some solid play between the pipes which should be coupled with a solid blue line.  This Bulldog team has some potential to surprise people as I think they will have very balanced scoring.  Hopefully for Bulldog fans it is a season that goes to the end of March.

Ice Breaker Tournament
Minnesota Duluth vs. Minnesota Twin Cities:  These longtime rivals meet in an usual setting in the shadow of football Jesus.  The Gophers are the preseason #1 and the Bulldogs come in receiving votes.  The question for UMD this season is goaltending which will be very important in this game and tournament.  It is a 1 pm Friday game which will have both teams body clocks all messed up, or least so we hear.  I will pick the Gophers to Win. 

Minnesota Duluth vs. RPI or Notre Dame:  I will pick the remaining tournament games and see how close I get overall.  In the second game (on Sunday afternoon) the Bulldogs will play the Engineers out of Troy, New York and win.  The championship game will be a tie between the Gophers and Notre Dame. 

Miami vs. Bowling Green (home/home):  The #11 Redhawks are looking to erase last years season from their memories.  The Falcons (receiving votes) should be a pretty good team in the WCHA, but I think the Redhawks scoring will re-emerge and find the back of the net.  Miami sweep.

Western Michigan at Canisius:  The Broncos (receiving votes) travel to Buffalo, New York to take on the Golden Griffins (not ranked) at the Harbor Center.  The Griffins have been a pretty good team the last couple of season in Atlantic Hockey and will be ready to put up a good fight.  The Broncos had some key player losses since last year and will need to find some scoring.  No difference in ice size here for these teams, but will the body clocks of the Broncos be affected?  I will go with a split for Western Michigan.

Minnesota State University Mankato @ Nebraska Omaha:  The purple Mavericks go to Omaha and the Century Link Center ranked 13th in the nation to play the red Mavericks who are receiving votes.  The Dean Blais led squad is full of young talent but will they be able to hold the Minnesota State University Mankato scoring down.  I am going with a Minnesota State University Mankato win and a tie. 
Bemidji State vs. North Dakota (home/home):  The Beavers will have their hand full in this home and home with the #2 North Dakota Men's Hockey team.  North Dakota will continue to have the Beavers number as they roll to a sweep.

Colgate @ St. Cloud State:  This is likely to be the best series of the weekend.  The Raiders go to The National Sport Center as the #6 team in the nation to take on the #7 Huskies.  Will the travel and the big ice make for a tough showing by the Radiers?  I pick a split. 

Alabama Huntsville at Colorado College: The unranked Chargers travel to Colorado Springs to take on the now Mike Haviland coached Tigers at the World Arena.  Both teams are picked to be last in their conferences, but everyone wants to see how the Tigers play with a new coaching staff.  So the questions will be will the travel and the big ice make for a tough showing by the Chargers.  The answer is yes. Tigers get the much needed early sweep. 

I bring up the travel, body clock and ice size a lot in my picks.  I say it is all just excuses, but we always hear players saying this stuff.  Check the quotes after this weekend and see what shakes out. 


  1. why would the body clocks for WMU be affected?

    1. Good point. They shouldn't, but a former UMD goalie once said that elevation affected his play negatively at Anchorage. Seeing all the mountains around him must have had him confused and the Seawolves had him looking for excuses.