Friday, December 9, 2016

Second #1 vs #2 Weekend for UMD

This Time UMD Comes in as #1

It is surprising to me in the volatile world of college hockey that a two week layoff finds no change at the top spot in the major polls. Certainly some team that is shinier and just of a crushing upset would have bumped the Bulldogs, but here we are.

So what is the take away? UMD is just that good or there isn't a dominant team out there to take the spot? It has been a year of spread out losses for the top teams and usual upper echelon teams maybe struggling a bit.

So take Penn State, the team with the least losses in the country in D-1. One loss, but lack of competition is likely the reason for PSU staying #3 or lower in polls. They did go 1-0-1 against Notre Dame, but that was they're only quality opponent with the lone loss to St. Lawrence.

So here we are again, NCHC teams meeting as #1 and #2. It should be a quality series. That is if UMD can get back up to speed right away.

That "knocking the rust off" stuff has to stay off minds and mouths around the Bulldogs. Self fulfilling prophesy... Top teams don't need or use that and it is what should be expected from this year's Bulldogs.


Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2nd Bye Weekend

The Bulldogs again have the week off to rest up for next weekend likely match up of #1 versus #2 in Denver.

#2 Denver @ Colorado College:  This is a true rivalry weekend and it would seem that home teams win, but I have a feeling that the Pioneers will get the sweep.

#17 St. Cloud State @ #16 Western Michigan:  The Broncos have found a faster pace of play this and it has resulted in great start of the season.  The Huskies goal tending and defense has been suspect this year and the Broncos are looking to pay back the thumping that the Huskies put on them last season.  Broncos sweep.

Miami @ Cornell:  Cornell is likely the better team and at home pointing to a tough go for the Redhawks.  My gut says split.

Nebraska Omaha @ Wisconsin:  The Mavericks have played well on the road this year, but the Badgers have a much improved team this year.  Split.

College Hockey Showdown at MSG (Satuday)
Boston College vs. North Dakota:  The Fighting Fighting Hawks are too inconsistent this season to pick them a winner.  Eagles win.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving Weekend Picks

The Bulldogs are currently have the Thanksgiving weekend off, with there next game coming on December 9th against the Pioneers in Denver.  Even though the Bulldogs aren't playing this weekend the picks will continue. 

#2 Denver @ Air Force:  The Pioneers don't have to travel to far for this single game.  The Pioneers as #2 in the nation should get the road win.

Wisconsin @ Colorado College:  Both teams are much improved over last years teams.  I like the home ice for the Tigers, but I think the Badgers will get a win on the road.

Michigan State @ #5 North Dakota:  The Fighting Hawks finally got the goal tending they were looking for last weekend.  I don't see the Spartans being able to get a win this weekend in Grand Forks.  Fighting Hawks sweep.

Air Force @ Colorado College:  The Tigers will get their home win hosting the Falcons.

Wisconsin @ #2 Denver:  The old WCHA rivals gets renewed.  The Pioneers will continue to show why they are top team in the nations.  Pioneers win.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Duluth at Omaha

Omaha on a Roll Entering Weekend

Three games, six goals in each, three wins. Quite the streak for Omaha, but it was against the likes of Colorado College (one win) and Miami (two wins). And on the flip side, Omaha needed the six because they gave up an average of 3.33 goals in these three games (4,4, and 2 respectively).

So does Omaha have a defensive problem? Maybe as they have no shutouts and give up 3.00 goals per game, 29th in the nation.

But who needs a good defense when your your offense is so good? Enter UMD.

One third of the way through the season and the Bulldogs are right in the thick of the top teams behind a fairly stout, albeit bend but don't break, defense. That defense will be tested this weekend in Omaha.

I expect well played games with lots of speed. And ultimately, it will be a good trip for UMD.

Picks by @afiskness. The Bulldogs split last weekend against resulted in a drop from top ranked team in the nation to number 2 spot.  The second game of the last weekends Bulldog series was a great team effort with fantastic goal tending.  If this continues all season the number one spot will remain within their grasp. 

Miami at Denver:  The Redhawks don't have any mojo right now and going to Magness Arena to play the Pioneers usually is not the spot to find your mojo.  Pioneers sweep.

North Dakota at St Cloud State:  This should be two great games and we may learn a lot about both teams.  The Fighting Hawks find themselves in the unusually spot for them in 7th place in the NCHC but within reach of moving up to 5th place past the Huskies with a sweep.  Both teams are struggling between the pipes which will they will need to improve to make a push for the top half of the conference.  I am picking a split, but I would be too surprised to see a Husky sweep.  

Minnesota Duluth at Nebraska Omaha:  Baxter Arena, the home of the Mavericks surprisingly has not been overly kind to them this season.  The Mavericks have the ability to put up a bunch of goals which will required the Bulldogs to keep their heads in the game if they want to come out on top.  I am picking a split.  

Air Force at Western Michigan:  The Broncos proved last weekend that they are a good team getting a big win on the road.  This weekend series heading home the Harry W. Lawson Ice Area will be big advantage for this fast skating team.  I expect Air Force will have a tough time keeping the Broncos and Matheson Lacopelli off the scoring sheet.  Broncos sweep.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Broncos on Streak to Duluth

Tough Test For UMD

This isn't your Western team from years past. But when have they ever been easy for UMD?

WMU has taken many, including this staff, by surprise with a strong start fueled by their increase in scoring. UMD will have to be careful to stay out of the penalty box.

Picks by @afiskness. It is a big weekend for the staff as we take to the woods in search of team building, solitude, and deer. To make it easy, this weekend will be a split-fest as all eight NCHC teams find their way to 3 points on the weekend.

Friday, November 4, 2016

On the Road: UMD to Saint Cloud

Huskies Open NCHC Play Hosting Bulldogs

The parade of ranked teams for UMD to play continues. All opponents the Bulldogs have faced this season were ranked in the top twenty. So what are rankings worth? It is a decent indicator, but this guy relies more on the PWR after Jan. 1 than voters... ever.

That said, SCSU is ranked, but still an unknown. Being swept by Minnesota State Mankato, sweeping UMTC and Alabama Huntsville. Lots of questions with maybe some answers this weekend.

Picks by @afiskness. Now we have moved to November and the college hockey season really starts to heat up with league play. Although, for UMD you could say that happened last weekend by sweeping the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at AMSOIL Arena in their first NCHC games of the season.  Strong goal tending and special teams has put the Bulldogs tied at the top of the NCHC after one week of play.

Minnesota Duluth @ St. Cloud State:  The Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud is always a tough place for visiting teams to win at and this is the first games this year for the Bulldogs on the larger sheet of ice.  I am going to go with a split.  

Colorado College @ Nebraska Omaha:  Until the Tigers show me that they can win on the road in conference games I am not going to pick them to win.  Mavericks sweep.  

Miami @ Western Michigan:  The Broncos played well against the non-conference WCHA foes the first couple weeks of the season but had a tough time of Denver last weekend.  Miami looks like they could be a strong team again this year.  I am going to go with a split since the games are at the Harry W. Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo.

North Dakota @ Minnesota Twin Cities:  After being swept in Duluth last weekend, the games may not get much easier for the Fighting Hawks who go to Mariucci Arena to play the Gophers.  This is the first game between the two teams since the Gophers beat North Dakota 2-1 on April 10, 2014 to advance to the NCAA championship games against Union and the last time the Gophers hosted North Dakota was January 19, 2013, a weekend that ended in a win and a tie for the Gophers. The past is the past. There will be a lot of emotion from players and fans for these two games, I will pick a split.  

Friday, October 28, 2016

NCHC League Play Starts: UMD and UND

Can Bulldogs Break Regular Season Slump Against UND

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016

Bulldogs Take to the Road for Test in Massachusetts

Second Straight Weekend of Ranked Opponent for UMD

It is early in the college hockey season. This is the earliest start for UMD hockey and the first 2-0-0 start since 2001-02 (Maverick Stampede Tournament) and the first sweep of one opponent to start the season since 1995-96 (Ferris State).

There have only been five total NCAA games played, but already UMD is making a statement with their sweep over Michigan Tech. Now the stakes are higher with a fellow top ten ranked opponent in UML and playing them on the road.

Like UMD, UML ended their season last year in the NCAA Regional Finals and roster nine freshman this season. It will be a matchup that will give a broader view of the prospects of both teams even though we are not in double digits of October.

StatPack. Full StatPack next week, but of note now:

  • Bulldogs have a perfect 10 for 10 on penalty kill with one shorthanded goal.
  • UMD is currently clicking at 33% for power play.
Picks by @afiskness. One week is in the books for UMD who looked great against Michigan Tech in the 6-0 shutout Saturday night and the gutty come from behind win.  This week the Bulldogs go out east to take on the highly ranked River Hawks of U-Mass Lowell.  It will be two highly entertaining games with these two good teams.    

Ferris State vs. Western Michigan:  This is a home and home home series and I just don't see the Bulldogs starting the season 0-4.  I will pick the home teams winning resulting in a split.

Miami @ Providence:  This is a good test for the Redhawks going out eat to play a ranked foe. The Redhawks should be a good team this season, I will pick a split.

Colorado College @ UMass:  The Minutemen had eight wins last year to trump the Tigers six wins. Two evenly match teams playing two games often end in a split.

Minnesota Duluth @ Massachusetts Lowell:  The Bulldogs are red hot after one week of play.  This should be two great games that will result in a split.  

Canisius @ North Dakota:  The reigning nation champion Fighting Hawks will have little trouble earning a sweep on home ice this weekend. 

Icebreaker Tournament
Ohio State vs. Denver:  The Pioneers will advance to the championship game.  
Denver vs. Air Force or Boston College:  I am going to say BC will advance to play Denver and Denver will get the big win for the tournament title.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

Unlikely Ending Lends to Possible New Start

UMD Shrugs Off Slow Start to Earn Sweep

Fans of UMD have been there before. Who can blame them for having doubts?

After watching the Bulldogs open up the season with a Saturday night shellacking of the Michigan Technological University Huskies 6-0, they watched the Bulldogs come out flat Sunday giving up a 2-0 lead 8:21 into the game.

In what seemed to be the second night let down so many recent UMD teams have been prone to, exasperation, or maybe expectation of bad results, took over in many people's minds. Mine included. "Here it comes, another split..."

But in a departure of recent teams' struggles with putting two games together, this edition of Bulldog Hockey fought through whatever it is and prevailed taking their first lead with 0:15 left in the game for the win and sweep.

So getting back to the original thought about fans rightfully having panic and doubts about the tenacity and killer instinct of the Bulldogs... How did we get to this place?

The last few seasons have seen UMD reel off long win streaks, but in the midst of those seasons, there have been more then a few games that should have been wins either based on caliber of opponent or results from a previous game. But in many of those situations, UMD came out on the losing end leaving fans frustrated and confused.

So where does the problem, perceived or real, lie and is it gone?

The beauty of college sports is that teams are always changing from year to year and teams have the opportunity to reinvent themselves. As a result, this may be a trend towards a true upper echelon hockey team, not the recent UMD teams that hang on in the PairWise with a few key wins and multiple perplexing losses.

The one thing that does stay the same, nearly the same, from year to year is the coaching. As we have stated time and again, this coaching staff headed by Coach Sandelin is top notch, and they deserve a group that looks like they can persevere and win the games they should.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Post Season Awards

Kaskisuo, Farley Lauded, Need to be Replaced Next Season

Another college hockey season has been put to close and we take this time to hand out our awards to the deserving UMD Bulldog players.

Huffer Christiansen Award (MVP): Kazimir Kaskisuo.  Without the high level play by the now departed Kazimir the UMD Bulldogs would not be have advanced to the NCHC Playoff championship game or out of the first round of the NCAA playoffs.  The Finn provided a lot of highlight film saves and will be missed.

Runner Up:  Tony Cameranesi.  Tony finished off his senior season with a strong showing with 11 goals, 28 assists and 39 points leading the team to the NCAA playoffs.  His 39 points lead the team in scoring.

Rookie of the Year: Neal Pionk. This past season had good play by several Bulldog freshmen, but the best was Neal Pionk. Neal finished with 4 goals, 13 assists for 17 points in 40 games and a plus 11, pretty good for a freshman defenseman.  He also showed his strength in keeping the puck and getting puck to the net. His development should continue also assuming he will be able to take on a bigger leadership role with the team. Look for Neal to take over as the defensive leader in the coming years.

Runner-up: Adam Johnson who had a strong freshmen year as a forward for the Bulldogs and looks like he should have a great college career.  Johnson played in all 39 of the 40 games this past season and had 6 goals and 12 assists.

Most Improved Player: Willie Corrin. When a guy has 1 goal and 9 assists for 10 points and a plus 5 might not look overly impressive, but Corrin had a strong senior season the helped solidify the blueline.

Runner Up: Karson Kuhlman

7th Defensemen: Willie Raskob. Given to the defenseman who steps up, becomes a regular player for the team and makes an impact.  Willie Raskob as stated above provided offense when we honestly thought we would not see much from him this past season.  Raskob is the type of defenseman we had in mind when we instituted the 7th Defensemen Award.

Runner-up: Brendan Kotyk had a much improved season and provided extra stability needed on defense.

#29 Award: Austin Farley. This past season leading goal scorers Austin Farley and Dominic Toninato tied with 15 goals each. We give the #29 Award to Austin Farely who also had 16 assists for 31 points. He also had a team high 17.9 percent shooting pertcentage and team high plus 26.

Runner-up: Dominic Toninato with 15 goals.

There they are, the 2015-2016 College Hockey HighHorse Award winners.  As we move towards the normal down time for college hockey, we will have articles dealing with expected announcements of more details of the NCHC.  Otherwise, we look forward to the fall when Bulldog Hockey commences a new season.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Frozen Four 2016

The Frozen Four in Tampa, Florida is all set with Boston College taking on Quinnipiac in the early game and Denver facing off with North Dakota the other semi-final game today.  Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were unable to get by Boston College to get to the Frozen Four.  The Bulldogs came close but ran out of time.  Fans of the NCHC are happy though knowing that at least one team from the conference will be in the championship game.

This years final four teams seems to be so well matched that any of the four could win the tournament in my opinion.  Quinnipiac looked like they cruised in their two wins.  I thought Northeastern would remain hot, but the Fighting Hawks quickly extinguished that fire.  The Fighting Hawks looked great in Cincinnati.  Denver played 200 foot hockey in both games and looked strong.  Denver did look beatable against Ferris State for much of the game but finally ran away with the win.  Boston College played good against UMD but of the four teams appeared to have the hardest time getting into the Frozen Four.

My pick for the Championship will continue to be Quinnipiac.  I am going with my gut which is telling me that Denver will beat North Dakota this time on neutral ice as this game has a lot more mean than the 3rd place NCHC game did in Minneapolis.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Haven't We Met Before? Part II

Northeast Region Final Sees UMD Meet BC Again

UMD seems to be at home in the Northeast Region, at least in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. After the first round, the Bulldogs have lost to Boston University and Boston College in their previous two Regional finals.

It was one year after their NCAA Championship that the Bulldogs faced the Eagles for the NE finals where BC buzzed right through UMD on their way to their most recent National Championship.

So is this year any different? Yes.

BC is not the highest power in the land of college hockey this year like in 2012. I by no means am saying they are not good or dangerous, but that Johnny Gaudreau led team was a high powered scoring machine.

Additionally, the surging UMD Bulldogs have seen a rebirth through their defense. Not only stellar goaltending by Kazimir Kaskisuo, but the emergence of Neal Pionk into a standout freshman force and the steady Andy Welinski have really stabilized the ship. Not to be overlooked is the force that Willie Raskob has become on the blueline since the postseason started.

With a defense that is solid and scoring when needed, this UMD team can certainly find themselves in the Florida sun at the Frozen Four.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Haven't We Met Before?

UMD Faces Lehman-led Providence

Nate Lehman may seem liek a familiar name although UMD has not faced Providence for years. Lehman was the coach of Union, UMD's first round vicim back in 2011 NCAAs, the year the Bulldogs won their championship.

A sign for good fortunes? It sure could be the way the UMD defense is shutting down offenses. With a good defense, anything is possible in the NCAA Tournament.

Picks by @afiskness. For much of the season I did not think that the Bulldogs would be playing in the NCAAs this season as their scoring was too inconsistent.  However now they are and they have proven they can beat they play.  The same can be said of them as well.

This NCAA tournament appears to be wide open.  I can see any of the 16 teams getting into the final four.  What actually happens will be fun to watch.  

NCHC Picks
Northeast Region
#14 Minnesota Duluth vs. #4 Providence: This is an interesting matchup.  The reigning national champs who prior to the Hockey East tournament had won 10 games in a row against the Bulldogs who just won 7 in a row.  If UMD dictates tempo they will get the win.   I see this as a coin toss, Bulldogs win.

West Region
#15 Ferris State vs. #2 St Cloud State:  The Bulldogs won the WCHA tournament to earn the right to play in the NCAAs.  The Bulldogs focus on defense and will need to be strong against the Huskies.  I like the Huskies high power offense to get the win.

#12 Boston University vs. #6 Denver:  This is a rematch for these two teams this season.  On October 31St the Terriers came out with the win, this time the tables will be turned.  Pioneers win.  

Midwest Region
#13 Northeastern vs. #3 North Dakota:  The Huskies are the hottest team in the county and will not be afraid of taking on the Fighting Hawks.  I think the Huskies will stay hot and get the win.  

My Frozen Four (otherwise known as the kiss of death) is Quinnipiac, Minnesota Duluth, Denver and Northeastern.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

UMD Moves Towards Goals; PWR Important

As Bulldogs Look to NCAAs, Frozen Faceoff Looms First

Speculation and numbers are swirling around college hockey world right now. Some teams are definitely in the NCAA Tourney based on PWR numbers and probabilities and some are definitely out. Others still are in limbo with games to be played, and UMD fits that category.

With a guaranteed two games this weekend in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, the Bulldogs are right on the bubble according to the PWR hanging in at #13. With 16 teams getting in the Tourney, there are the auto-bids that keep moving the cut line up the rankings. #13 is pretty safe place to be, but two losses this weekend will definitely make a slide in that ranking for UMD.

The good news? With the sweep of Miami last weekend, UMD is guaranteed an over 0.500 record, the first criteria for making the NCAAs.

But what will it take to make the NCAAs?

Look no further than here and our PWR friends for scenarios:

  1. From @afiskness here at C3H: I did a little pairwise predictor and I do think it is about 50% the UMD gets in to the NCAAs.  I think they will have to win one game (no tie in 3rd place game) that way they can stay a #13 in the pairwise.  I think this would be different if UMD had one win against BSU this season.  Here are a few other things that UMD fans will want to happen:
    • Michigan win the Bi6 Tournament,
    • Havard or Quinnipiac win ECAC Tournament,
    • UML, BC or Providence win HE Tournament,
      • UML Wins should help UMD the most, and
    • Northeastern Lose at least 1 game.
  1. Work out your own plan at the PWR Predictor and You Be The Committee
  2. Jim Dahl's College Hockey Ranked is a great place to go to see the breakdown of the probabilities and possibilities.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Keep Rolling; March On

UMD Worked to Get Home Ice, Can They Finish?

In an up and down season, the Bulldogs are looking to break the ceiling and crash into the NCAA Tourney. A surge at the end of the season goth them home ice and currently has them on the bubble of the PWR at #13.

But all that work to get to today is for naught and their season will definitely end if they cannot find a way to win their first NCHC playoff game and get by the Redhawks for the second straight weekend.

Look for tighter games, but a very confident UMD squad to come out and turn some heads and March On.

Picks by @afiskness. All season the Bulldogs defense and goaltending has been very strong, but the inability to score goals hurt this team over the year.  The scoring appears to have come around while the defense and goaltending has remained strong.  Fans of NCAA hockey are wondering if the UMD Bulldogs have finally "figured it out" since they appear to be playing like the preseason media favorite to win the NCHC.  If the defense and goaltending remains what it has this teams does have the ability to knock off any opponent.

The Bulldogs need to keep winning to stay in the NCAA hunt.  At large teams can't have a losing record, so the Bulldogs must win more games than they lose.  A sweep this weekend would be huge going into the NCHC tournament as they would would likely still be able to finish 4th in the NCHC Tournament and get an at large bid to the NCAAs.  

NCHC #5 Miami @ #4 Minnesota Duluth:  As George Bush said “There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.” this applies to the Bulldogs this weekend.  They appear to have everything rolling, but I can't pick a sweep.  UMD in three games as they will lay one egg this weekend. 

NCHC #7Western Michigan @ #2 St. Cloud State:  The Huskies absolutely own this series.  In the previous four games played between these teams this year the Huskies scored 31 goals to the Broncos 8.  There will be no change this weekend, Huskies sweep.  

NCHC #8 Colorado College @ #1 North Dakota:  The Tigers long season is nearly over and they do not have enough left in the tank to pull an upset.  Fighting Hawks sweep.

NCHC #6 Nebraska Omaha @ #3 Denver:  The Pioneers are lava hot right now, have one loss in the last 18 games including nine straight wins.  The Mavericks are glacier ice cold with four wins in their last 16 games including six straight losses.  Why would that change?  Pioneers sweep.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Wait is Over?

UMD Hosts Miami to Likely Decide Last Home Ice Spot

Can't lie, last weekend was a total surprise. Even with the strong defensive effort displayed the previous weekend at North Dakota, a split, let alone a sweep, at Saint Cloud was wishful thinking.

Could this be it? The team's fans have been waiting most of the season to see the potential that preseason pollsters saw to pick UMD to win the NCHC.  The type of season when a successful team brings back eight seniors. But it has been elusive until last weekend.

UMD has the opportunity for their second home ice in the first round of the NCHC Playoffs as they look for their first trip to Minneapolis for the Frozen Faceoff. At this point, needless to say that it is Minneapolis or bust for UMD to continue their season.

Picks by @afiskness. The Bulldogs wacky season continues.  Last weekend the Bulldogs swept the Huskies in St. Cloud making them the favorite to get the final home ice spot in the NCHC playoffs.  The two wins by the Bulldogs also moved them back up into the top 15 in the pair wise rankings.  As long as the Bulldogs continue to win more then they lose in their remaining games they may be able to move high enough in the Pair Wise and have a .500 record needed to get them large bid for the NCAAs.

PWR #18 Miami @ #15 Minnesota Duluth:  This series has split written all over it.  

PWR #39 Western Michigan @ #2 North Dakota:  The Fighting Hawks will secure the Julie and Spencer Penrose Memorial Cup with a home sweep this of the Broncos.

PWR #13 Nebraska Omaha @ #7 Denver:  The Pioneers will sweep the struggling Mavericks in Denver.

PWR #3 St. Cloud State @ #53 Colorado College:  The Huskies let down will continue as they will split with the Tigers in Colorado Springs. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Pair of Road Series Goes to Saint Cloud

Road Trip Stays Tough with Another Visit to First Place Team

Here we are in the end of February and the Bulldogs are watching from the outside as teams jockey for top spots and make plans for postseason trips. It wasn't supposed to play out like this, but here it is.

A once promising season has turned into being left playing possible spoiler. And this weekend may prove to be the greatest challenge.

Saint Cloud comes in on a tear and any points stolen by UMD this weekend will be because of stellar defense coupled with offense. Can it all come together?

Picks by @afiskness.  With the 2015-2016 season nearing the end the Bulldogs are looking to remain in the hunt for home ice in the playoffs and spoiler.  The next few weeks will be difficult for the Bulldogs playing two strong teams.  There strong defense and goal tending should keep the Bulldogs in these games, now if they can score a few goals maybe they can get a win.  

Colorado College @ #RV Miami:  The Redhawks are having a strong second half of the season and should be able to pull out a sweep hosting the Tigers.  

#8 Denver @ Western Michigan:  The Pioneers have really turned it on the second half of the season.  The Broncos remain inconsistent and even the home ice won't prevent them from being swept this weekend by the Pioneers.  

#4 North Dakota @ #13 Nebraska Omaha:  The Mavericks second half of the season has been difficult, but they always get up for the Fighting Hawks.  This looks like it will be a split.  

Minnesota Duluth @ #3 St. Cloud State:  The Bulldog's good defense but low scoring offense travels to St. Cloud and should help the Huskies remain in pole position for the Julie and Spencer Penrose Memorial Cup.  Huskies sweep.

Friday, February 5, 2016

UMD Hosts CC, Looks to Sweep Tigers Again

Bulldogs Sweep Drought is at Two Months, Relief this Weekend?

Over and over Bulldog fans have been hearing how important the games are. Every weekend seems to be "the last stand" for UMD and their chances for home ice in the NCHC playoffs, NCAA playoffs, and to live up to expectations of this talented team.

And over and over, the struggles for UMD trump the efforts. Some say UMD can't score "enough", but when they do, the defense sags. When the defense is tops, offense sags. Early leads vaporize, late leads don't feel safe. Baffling season.

But here it is again, the chance to right the ship with a 110% effort when backs are against the wall in this must-have weekend. Check.

Picks by @afiskness. This weekends series against the Tigers is likely to be one that Bulldog fans will point back to no matter the outcome.  A sweep will really help UMD stay in the race for home ice in the playoffs.  A split or a couple ties won't change the standings much and being swept will likely keep UMD in the bottom half of the standings at the end of the year.  My concern is the lack of scoring will continue and UMD will fall to seven or eight in the NCHC standings.  Not a good place to be this or any year.  

What seems crazy with the remaining schedule I think if UMD won six of the next nine games they will be a top 15 team in the pairwise when the playoffs start even though they currently have only won nine games.    

PWR #2 St. Cloud State @ #22 Miami:  The Huskies are currently finding it pretty easy to put the puck in the back of the net, but the improved play by the Redhawks will help them get a split at home.  

PWR #48 Colorado College @ #19 Minnesota Duluth:  The Bulldogs are having significant difficulties scoring this season, playing the Tigers may be a good short term cure.  I think UMD will play strong enough defense and score enough goals in one of the two games to get a split.  

Tuesday 2/9/2016
PWR #34 Bemidji State @ #19 Minnesota Duluth:  This is the make up game for the power outage at the beginning of the season.  I don't like the match up for the Bulldogs who have not played well at AMSOil Arena. I will pick a Beavers win.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Pivotal Weekend as UMD Faces Saint Cloud

State of Hockey: #1 vs #2 This Weekend in Duluth?

With the Bulldogs the fifth wheel in this year's North Star College Hockey Cup tournament, the games against instate teams brings more meaning as to the state of college hockey in the State of Hockey.

Without a doubt, I think that is safe to say, the Huskies of SCSU are the best currently in Minnesota. Number two leaves some room for discussion, but it is quite safe to say that Minnesota State Mankato and Minnesota Duluth are the two vying for that spot.

For arguments sake, MSUM swept the Beavers of BSU while UMD has lost their only game played with a rematch coming in early February. The Bulldogs swept UMTC Gophers convincingly while MSUM was shutout and pulled out an improbable win in the closing minutes and OT against the Gophers. MSUM is at the top of the New WCHA and UMD is struggling in the middle of the NCHC.

All said and done, the C3H State of Hockey Rankings:

  1. Saint Cloud State
  2. Minnesota Duluth
  3. Minnesota State Mankato
  4. Minnesota Twin Cities
  5. Bemidji State
Luckily for fans, UMTC and BSU face off in the opening round of the NSCHC coming up at the end of January.

What to Expect in Duluth: my take.
To say you know what UMD is about, what their blocks have stemmed from, this season is a game only fools and charlatans should take on. The Bulldogs have been as much of an enigma and roller coaster as ever, all wrapped into one. Defense seems to be the closest to a constant that one can make out for UMD. Other than that you sit back and take it in.

Like the Vikings, UMD has not fared well against the upper echelon ("tournament bound") teams this year. 

After getting on a roll, they get swept by UND. And I wanted to say they got destroyed by UND, but in reality, they played well, but that pesky yeti-like-thing called "puck luck" did not go their way. And that is about it for the UMD season so far...could have, should have, played well enough, but...

Yet another week to see if this thing can be turned around in time.  

My prognostication? Who the heck knows! It could be a sweep, in either team's favor. That would be interesting if UMD could sweep or backbreaking if swept. Split would be good for UMD, but not a likely scenario. I pick a SCSU win Friday followed by a tie.


Picks by @afiskness. 
During last Friday's night game against the Redhawks many Bulldog fan were probably wondering if the Bulldogs would ever score a goal again.  Thankfully Tony Cameranesi was able to get a late 3rd period goal and extend the game with a overtime tie.  Now it would have been great to get the extra 3 on 3 overtime point, but the one point was greatly needed for the standings and the pairwise rankings. The tie and the win pushed the Bulldogs up to #16 in the Pair Wise rankings.  Hopefully the can ride this momentum and continue the push for Bulldog hockey games in March and April.

PWR#3 St. Cloud State @ #16 Minnesota Duluth:  Last weekends biggest NCHC surprise was the Huskies loss to the Tigers.  This came after the loss to the Under 18 Team the weekend before that at the National Sport Center.  What does that mean for the Huskies this weekend?  I am not convinced that the Bulldogs can score, especially at home.  I am going to pick a Huskies rebound and a sweep.    
PWR#7 Nebraska Omaha @ #2 North Dakota:  The Mavericks lost for the first and second time at the Baxter Arena last weekend and the Fighting Hawks beat the Under 18 Team.  I think Dean Blais will have the Mavericks ready and motivated earning a split in Grand Forks.  

PWR#27 Western Michigan @ #14 Denver:  The Pioneers earned a huge sweep in Omaha and now are at home hosting the Broncos.  The Broncos are brutal on the road but have historically played the Pioneers well.  Something has got to give.  I will go with a home sweep by the Pioneers.

PWR#20 Bowling Green @ #32 Miami:  The Falcons are traveling to Oxford to play one game against the Redhawks.  The Falcons have played well on the road and the Redhawks are having a down season.  This should be a Falcons win. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

UMD Gets Back to Work

Bulldogs Travel to Miami (OH) Balanced at .500

Games in October - December aren't that important said one college hockey analyst. The UMD Bulldogs are looking to see if it can possibly be true.

A run is in order for UMD to make it from #25 in the PWR now to the area of being in the mix for the 16 in the tourney. No better place to start (again) than at Miami...this

Why the interjection of "again" in that last sentence? UMD has been here already...this season...going to Colorado College. At that time UMD reeled off four wins in row before hitting the buzz saw that is North Dakota.

It is time, again.

Picks by @afiskness. After the holiday break the Bulldogs are back to action traveling to Oxford, Ohio to take on the Redhawks.  The first half of the season was very average with the Bulldogs having a 7-7-3 record and definitely not playing up to the preseason expectations.  The bulldogs will need a strong second half to play their way into the NCAA playoffs.


PWR #25 Minnesota Duluth @ #27T Miami:  Neither team is playing great or up to expectations.  The Bulldogs generally play better on the road then at home.  I give the edge to the Bulldogs but until they prove that they can consistently score I will pick a split. 

#57 Colorado College @ #3 St Cloud State:  One this the Huskies have done well this year is to score goals.  I don't see the Tigers hanging with the Huskies this weekend, Huskies sweep.

#18T Denver @ #2 Nebraska Omaha:  The new Baxter Arena has been kind to the Mavericks and I think that will continue.  I am going with the Mavericks home sweep.

#27T Western Michigan vs. #13 Notre Dame (home/home):  The Broncos are bad on the road and play much better at home.  But this weekend I think the Fighting Irish will be able to pull off a sweep.