Friday, February 21, 2020

UMD at WMU: The Home Stretch

Bulldogs Take Four Game Win Streak to Kalamazoo

With three weeks left in the NCHC regular season, teams are actively jockeying for position and the Penrose Cup. North Dakota definitely has the inside track to the Cup and have already locked up home ice for the playoffs. The Bulldogs and Broncos both are currently in line for home ice, but nothing is locked up yet.

Where They Stand Now
Western Michigan is coming off of a somewhat disappointing weekend taking four points at Miami. But the Broncos are looking up losing only one game in their last 11. Their last loss was at the hands of the Bulldogs in Duluth.

The Broncos have endured more than a fair share of injuries this season and have lately looked like a top half team. As usual, seniors Hugh McGing and Dawson DiPietro lead scorers for WMU.

UMD has also improved their standing since these teams last meeting losing one game in their last 12, IF you take out the terrible sweep at the hands of Saint Cloud State.

Home ice for Duluth can happen this weekend if they sweep or SCSU is swept and many matriculations in between.

Currently the Bulldogs are lead in points by Scott Perunovich and goals by Noah Cates who is also second in points.

I haven't been correct often recently and have been reluctant to go full in with the Bulldogs, but I do see UMD coming on strong and sweeping the Broncos this weekend.


Friday, February 7, 2020

Omaha at UMD: Things are Looking Up

Omaha and UMD are Both Better than Last Meeting

Almost exactly two months ago, December 6 and 7, the Mavericks and Bulldogs met in Omaha with UMD sweeping the series. Things have changed for both teams since then.

Where The Teams Are Now
Omaha has arguably been the hottest team in the NCHC since early December turning a basement place in the conference into the lead pack pushing for hime playoff series. Albeit a long shot for home playoffs, Omaha has seen great growth this year as predicted by many close to the program.

Much of Omaha's success has been an uptick in offense catapulting them into the top ten in the nation for scoring. But that is not all as freshman goaltender Isaiah Saville is getting into the groove of what it takes to play in the NCHC and has been steadily improving.

Signature wins at North Dakota and home against Western Michigan along with a road sweep of Colorado College has seen the Mavericks stock rise in 2020.

Not to take any fanfare from the host Bulldogs as they too are starting to play like a real contender for making it into April again this year.

Although it was a rough start to 2020 being swept at Saint Cloud State who is tied with Omaha for the fifth spot in the NCHC, they backed that up by beating North Dakota at home and last weekend sweeping at Denver. Those Bulldog wins last weekend broke Denver's 11 game win streak with a crash.

Similar to Omaha, UMD goaltending has seen a surge as of late with Hunter Shepard upping his GAA and save percentage while being a steady saving force in net.

It won't be an easy weekend for UMD by any means. But these are games that they need to win to keep the PWR momentum going. Too many losses to much lower teams has been a hinderance to the Bulldogs and these games could be more dark marks if they lose one or both.

A sweep very could be in the cards, but last time UMD played a lower team it wasn't good (swept at Saint Cloud). A sweep is likely but I still may see a Bulldog win and tie.