Friday, February 13, 2015

Bulldogs Host Huskies in Beginning of NCHC Stretch Run

Early Season UMD Sweep of SCSU to be Tested

Back in early November when Saint Cloud was still ranked and UMD was trying to build its presence in the national picture, the Bulldogs pulled off a seldom seen sweep at SCSU.  The sweep was the first for UMD at Saint Cloud since November of 1999.

The two teams from that point went in different directions.  SCSU found themselves in a free fall and UMD found themselves as the somewhat big surprise up and comers in the nation.  The current PairWise rankings tell the story with UMD at fifth and SCSU tied at 21st.

So this should be a sweep for the Bulldogs, right?  Not so fast.  The Huskies have found a little of a groove and the Bulldogs have had some stumbles in January.

The nice showing UMD had last weekend gives hope that the team feels the importance of the stretch run.  And one look at the standings should give plenty of importance of the weekend.  But this is a game and the players are still young.

What UMD has going for them is coaching.  This is the time, late in the season, where Sandelin has shown that he has the attention of the team and it will be needed here in the last three weeks of Fenruary.

StatPack.  UMD and SCSU by the stats.
Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, NCAA, NCHC, SCSU
Picks by @afiskness.  All of the NCHC teams will be in action this week as the run for the Julie and Spencer Penrose Memorial cup heats up.   The Bulldogs are in fourth place in the standings four points out of first.  Currently first and sixth places are only separated by 10 points.  I think it will come down to the final regular season week of play to determine the top four teams in the NCHC.

St Cloud State @ #6 Minnesota Duluth:  This in-state rivalry heats up at AMSOIL this weekend.  The Bulldogs swept this series in St Cloud earlier in the season but the Huskies are playing much better hockey now.  UMD often stumbles at home, I am going with a split.

Western Michigan @ #4 Nebraska Omaha:  The Broncos travel to Omaha in this former CCHA matchup.  The Mavericks seem inspired this season and even the slow down game of the Broncos will not be enough to get a win.  Mavericks win and tie.

#8 Denver @ #2 North Dakota: This is another great matchup this weekend.  Neither team likes each other much.  The Pioneers will escape Grand Forks with one win in a split.

#7 Miami @ Colorado College: The Tigers are just not that good this season but at home if they get an opportunity they could get a win.  The Redhawks have struggled at times on the road, this should be a Redhawks sweep, but I am going to pick a Tigers upset and a split.

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