Friday, March 27, 2015

UMD and UMTC Meet in NCAA First Round

As Their Seasons Started, One's Will End

The saying goes: keep your friends close and your enemies closer.  So why shouldn't the Bulldogs and Gophers be paired for their fifth game in a fifth arena and for the second time in the Eastern Time Zone?

It seems like years ago now, but the 50 or so people who were in attendance for the first game of the Ice Breaker Tournament in South Bend back in October saw the first step in a long season culminating in the newest, most important game for these rivals.

Both teams have seen successes and struggles this season.  Along the journey, UMD has posted a 3-1
Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, NCAA, Gopher
record against UMTC.  Full season stat comparison is noted at right.

Maybe most luckily for the Gophers is their hot streak coincides with the start of the NCAAs.  While UMD has seen many struggles since the calendar turned to 2015.  8-9-3 since the start of the calendar year and one win in their last seven games, UMD needs a spark.

And that needed spark may be the return of Alex Iafallo, back from mono starting today against the Gophers.

Iafallo is tied for second in overall points (8G-17A-25pts) and tied for first in points per game (0.78) with line mate Dom Toninato who also missed games with an injury.  Toninato leads the team in goals with 16.

Bringing the pieces back into place, the promise of regaining the early season success is promising for Bulldog fans.

One piece that was great early and has been just good as of late is goaltending.

Freshman Kasimir Kaskisuo is the guy the team relies on.  And he will need to be on his game and get help from his defensemen to find the shutdown play he had consistently in November and December.

Ready for success that has been on the horizon most of the year, Bulldog fans are patiently waiting to find the right mix from early in the season.  If the season has to end, please be it not at the hands of the Gophers!

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