Monday, January 19, 2015

Black is the New Green

After A Frustrating Weekend Against WMU, UMD Must Regroup Quickly

The past weekend being described as frustrating is an understatement.  One point out of a possible six for the Bulldogs has taken control away from UMD in the NCHC regular season race.

The Bulldogs are still second in the conference just as when they entered the weekend, but third (North Dakota) and fourth (Miami) now have two conference games-in-hand.

What is most striking from the weekend is how the Broncos used size and defensive minded pay to take the Bulldogs off their game and keep scoring at a premium.

That is not to say that UMD did not have their chances.  UMD had some good scoring chances in tight both nights but had problems finishing the play.  The difference maker was that UMD faced a goaltender that was up to the task along with some untimely misses.

It was fairly apparent UMD has more skilled scorers along with more speed that the Broncos, but WMU still had the best of the games.  The more I watched the Broncos dictate play and keep a tight lid on space and time for the Bulldogs, the more I am reminded of a team in green, Bemidji State.

BSU has seemingly had a way to do the same tight checking (maybe even clutch-and-grab) style has given Sandelin coached teams fits.  And it really makes for boring hockey to watch.  But as said this past weekend and years earlier with BSU, you make the team based on what you get in recruiting.  And a slow-it-down, grind-it-out style is what the Bulldogs need to be wary of as the season progresses.

There is not time to wait as this weekend's North Star College Cup brings the green Bemidji State team in as UMD's first opponent Friday at 4pm.

PairWise Commentary.  It is after the calendar turned so talking PWR is alright, I believe.  So why talk about it?  It does have bearing, especially if the team is not winning.  Winning makes PWR watching easy if not ignorable, it is when winning takes a break.

And this weekend is not time to take a break from winning.  After another test, of sorts, against Bemidji State Friday, the second game could bring on the #1 rated Minnesota State - Mankato or highly regarded (nationally at least) UMTC.  The Cup?  That would be nice.  Wins are the highest prize this upcoming weekend.

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