Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nino Niederreiter's Game-Winning Goal Against the Predators

Check out this is a sweet goal by Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter. That's the 20th goal of the season for Niederreiter. Nino would score his 21st of the year to ice the game for the Wild. Finally, 21 goals is a career high for Niederreiter.

Amsley-Benzie Patty Kaz Top 10 Finalist

Goalie Shelby Amsley-Benzie is currently on a shutout streak of
roughly 268 consecutive minutes
As announced earlier today, the top 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, women's hockey version of the Hobey Baker, and UND goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie was on the finalist list, making her the third player in UND history to make it. Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux are the other two.

Amsley-Benzie has had a season to remember for North Dakota as she is making history in the UND record books. She now holds the UND goaltending records in wins with 49, career and single season shutouts (14 career and 9 this season), and needs just three more victories to tie her previous single season wins record of 19.

With a 1.15 goals against average, and a .955 save percentage, Amsley-Benzie has been the constant since the turn of the calender to 2015. She is also currently on a school record shutout streak of just under 268 consecutive minutes dating back to the second game of the Minnesota series in early February.

However, much like the Hobey Baker, the voters also look at their off ice activities to take into account on how they vote. With Shelby Amsley-Benzie in her fourth year in the UND Engineering program and started to work for her Masters Degree, her 4.0 GPA is something that the committee will take into great consideration come voting time.

Here is the list of the top 10 finalists and where they go to school:

1. Shelby Amsley-Benzie      University of North Dakota
2. Hannah Brandt                   University of Minnesota
3. Dani Cameranesi                University of Minnesota
4. Rachel Ramsey                   University of Minnesota
5. Alex Carpenter                   Boston College
6. Emily Pfalzer                      Boston College
7. Haley Skarupa                    Boston College
8. Marie-Philip Poulin            Boston University
9. Brianne Jenner                    Cornell
10. Kendall Coyne                  Northeastern

This is a pretty big name list with a few Olympians, and probably future Olympians on the list. However, one thing Amsley-Benzie does have going for her is that she is the only goaltender to make the list, so one could say that she is the best goalie in the NCAA. I'd say her numbers are able to back that statement up as well. The award will be announced Frozen Four weekend, just like the Hobey Baker is.

UND Takes on OSU in WCHA First Round

The regular season is now over in NCAA Women's Hockey as conference playoff first rounds begin to fire up this weekend. For North Dakota, the stars seemingly are starting to get together and making the NCAA tournament a near reality this season.

With UND being the third seed, they get the advantage of home ice yet again this season in the first round with their opponent being Ohio State this weekend. Last time against OSU, goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie pitched back to back shutouts and now has eight since the turn to 2015, one of which was a 3-0 shutout against the "mighty" Minnesota Gophers.

One added bonus for UND this season is the WCHA Final Faceoff is at Ralph Engelstad Arena this season. The UND ladies need to take advantage of this bonus home ice if they wish to sneak into the NCAA tournament.

Along with the stout goaltending of Shelby Amsley-Benzie, the depth of scoring on the roster is quite remarkable. Every player who has suited up for one game this season has recorded at least one point, and this includes goalie Amsley-Benzie who has one assist on the season. There are also five players above the 20 point mark on the season. Both senior forwards, Captain Andrea Dalen, and Josefine Jakobsen are among the top five in scoring. Jakobsen does hold the team lead in goals with 15.

In order for UND to advance to the Final Faceoff next weekend, North Dakota needs to continue to have great goaltending, and they also need their seniors to lead the way and keep the sense of urgency alive, although still showing some composure by staying out of the penalty box.

UND wins this series 2 games to 0, but both wins are one goal games, two if an empty net goal is scored.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

UND Leads Nation in Attendance

Enough said...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Diver Down: Jannik Hansen embellishes slash by Milan Lucic (Video)

Players that dive disgust me and Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen is one of those players that embellishes to draw calls.

While some will claim that David Pastrnak's stick hit Hansen in the face. It didn't. I took a screen shot of the video. Neither players' stick hit Hansen in the face. The stick of Pastranak tapped Hansen in the chest, nowhere near Hansen's face.

NCHC Suspends Denver’s Larraza One Game

Another week, another Denver Pioneer that has been suspended.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has issued a one-game suspension to Denver senior forward Zac Larraza, in accordance with the conference’s supplemental discipline policy, the NCHC announced Tuesday, Feb. 24. The suspension stems from an illegal hit during the Pioneers game against Colorado College on Saturday, Feb. 21.

Larraza was suspended after a review of a play in which a hit was delivered to the head of a Colorado College player, who was not in possession of the puck, at 15:53 of the first period Saturday at Magness Arena.

Larraza will be required to serve the suspension during Denver’s next game on Friday, Feb. 27 against Miami. Larraza is eligible to return for the series finale against the RedHawks on Saturday, Feb. 28.

Jared Cowen Suspended Three Games

Here's the latest from the NHL's Department of Player Safety. Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen was given a three-game suspension for this this hit on Florida Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Marcy Di Michele Nails It

This article is in response to the Morgan Rielly comments earlier in the week. Rielly told a reporter Friday morning that when it comes to work ethic he and his teammates can't, "be a girl about it."

Needless to say, his comments created a firestorm. I am sure the young player will never make this mistake again. Of course, before Rielly could apologize for his comments, -- he has since apologized. Rielly was ceremoniously raked over the coals.

So, Marcy Di Michele wrote a piece in response to the firestorm.  I couldn't agree more.
Marcy Di Michele, The Hockey Writers -- This very website published an article in which a male writer expressed his thoughts on what Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly said, and the subsequent reaction to it. Now one thing I can admit that bothers me about social media, is that people seem to wait in the weeds for a small morsel to lunge at and create controversy over. If there’s something to get mad at, or be offended at, you can bet there will be keyboard warriors out there ready to pounce. I can understand the perspective of people trying to calm the masses, and trying to pour some water on the fire. Do we overreact to almost everything? Yes. Are we too easily offended? Absolutely. Do we take out our anger on people who may not deserve it? No question. But in this case, regarding Rielly’s comment, is the outrage justified? Division I Men's Poll

February 23, 2015

(First Place Votes)
Last Poll
North Dakota
22- 6-3
Minnesota State
( 3)
23- 6-2
Michigan Tech
( 2)
24- 7-1
Boston University
19- 6-5
Boston College
20- 8-4
Bowling Green
18- 9-5
16- 7-4
14- 9-3
St. Lawrence
Robert Morris
21- 6-5
Others receiving votes: St. Cloud State 76, Colgate 40, Northeastern 15, Penn State 11, Bemidji State 7, Notre Dame 6, Bentley 4, Merrimack 3, Canisius 1.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Michael Downing hit on Christian Lampasso

Michigan Wolverine defenseman Michael Downing was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for this hit on Ohio State forward Christian Lampasso. I think this is a blown call by the on-ice officials. In my opinion, this is a legal shoulder-to-shoulder hit. But do you expect from Tom Sterns, Brian Thul?

NCHC Hockey: A Look at the Pairwise Rankings

If the NCAA playoffs started today, six-of-eight NCHC teams would make the NCAA tournament. That's the best of any of the six leagues. Also, the more NCHC teams that are number one seeds will mean that they will have to go to separate regionals and can't be double up.  Currently, three-of-four are NCHC teams.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

UND vs. WMU - Game Two Lines

No changes from last night's lineup. From today's NCHC press release: With a 3-1 win at Western Michigan Friday night, top-ranked North Dakota moved into sole possession of first place in the NCHC after No. 6/6 Miami and No. 5/5 Omaha both fell as the three entered the weekend tied for first. UND also extended its unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1) and improved to 9-3-0 on the road this season with its .750 road win percentage fourth nationally and first in the NCHC. UND is now 8-6-1 on Fridays this year but an NCAA-best 13-0-2 on Saturdays (.933).

Friday, February 20, 2015

UND vs. WMU (UND goals, and scrum)

The University of North Dakota with another solid win tonight. UND looked pretty good on the road on Friday night. That's two wins in a row on Friday night. With the win, UND improves to 8-6-1 on Friday nights.

UND will go for the sweep tomorrow night. UND is 13-0-2 on Saturday nights. Junior forward Drake Caggiula scored an absolutely filthy goal tonight. That ended up being the game-winning goal tonight.

Finally, UND benefitted from a blown call on the third goal. Steph Pattyn tripped a Western player in the UND goalmouth and UND defenseman Troy Stecher went up the ice and scored a nice goal.

Western Michigan head coach Andy Murray really went off on the officials after the UND goal. Edit:  On second look, it looks like the trip might have directly caused the play that led to the goal.

(Official Box Score)

Western Michigan no-goal

At the 16:13 mark of the second period, WMU thought they had scored the game-tying goal. They didn't. After a two-minute plus review, the refs ruled correctly, that the puck never crossed the goal line. Apparently, Western Michigan doesn't have the an overhead camera behind the goal.

UND vs. WMU game one Lines

WMU Injuries Nolan LaPorte (9g-11a—20pts) lower-body injury. Checking the Broncos lines he's in tonight. Must have made a speedy recovery. We'll have to watch that. Same lineup for UND as last week.

Officiating and what to do: A response to recent criticism and foul officiating

by Redwing77

Let me be clear on a few things:  First, I did not get to watch last weekend's series between UND and DU so I will not be specifically commenting on any plays or acts NOT embedded on this site.  Second, I know I'm a frequent commentor about the poor quality of officiating but hear me out.

Recently, Goon48 posted a story stating that NCHC Officiating has to be better.  He makes a few points, but he also states a few unrealistic solutions.  In a perfect world, is solutions would be right on and we'd not read my post, but here goes.

Clear the Bridge, DIVE DIVE DIVE!!!!

Diving has been a problem in hockey for quite some time.  It's also a problem in basketball (though in my opinion, that's because toughness is hard to come by in the NBA).  But the same issues in basketball officiating falls on hockey officials as well.  If the ref isn't going to call it, why not do it?

Your job is to provide your team with a competitive edge.  Diving becomes more enticing if you are the "little guy" as well.  If your team isn't playing so hot, or if your team, in this matchup is the "butter" and the opponent is the "hot knife," then you have to even the field somehow.  In the WCHA, Greg Shepherd quietly pushed for situational officiating to help even the field (The WCHA called it "parity").  If you flop a bit and the ref responds in your favor, then it's going to happen again until it is called or the game ends.  Whichever comes first.

And even then, it isn't black and white.  It's hard to determine the difference between being crushed in an illegal hit, or pulling an act similar to a Looney Tune character undergoing a cartoony death scene.  Some officials buffer this insecurity in the call by calling offsetting penalties.

So Goon sponsors post game punitive measures including suspensions and perhaps fines of coaches.  I'm not so sure fining coaches would be effective.  I remember how Mike Eaves (UW) had everyone convinced that Robbie Earl fell easier than most because he skates on his toes.  How would the NCHC (or B1G in the case of UW) prove that Eaves' assertion was incorrect?

Also, 1 game suspensions for something that normally would be a 2 minute minor is a bit over the top.  There are complicated solutions like banning the player for a period.  There isn't a good solution to this issue.

The best I could see would be an officiating directive issued after the game towards the following week's officials stating that X Player dove in the last contest and, should question arise as to whether diving is occurring, err on the side that diving did occur.  So, if the ref feels that it could have been diving, then it was and the penalty is called and the infraction that caused the dive is erased.  Like I said:  too complicated.

Video Review of Major Penalties

I like this, but I'd use the same rule as they do in targetting penalties in college football.  If a major penalty is called that could warrant ejection, then the replay is made and a decision is made via review.

What cannot happen is a missed call occurring and the ref going back "in time" to review the hit and making a call that way.  It makes things too messy.  Also, if that were the case, why have officials anyways.  Just have ARs to drop the puck and call icing or offsides and that's it.  Do the rest via video review.  Too much.

On-Ice Officials quality

I think that here's where I deviate the most.  I love the NHL situation room format with reviews, but the NCHC doesn't have that kind of money.  If they did, they'd have one.

I also believe that the league should be SEMI transparent.  I do not believe the league owes the fans anything in terms of explanations, but they DO owe the member institutions involved.  For the waved off goal, for example, I do not think we as fans or Goon or whomever is owed anything.  However, Hakstol does deserve an explanation.  The same goes with disciplinary action.  Hakstol could choose to divulge the results if he wants to (and so could the league) but there should not be an expectation to beyond that of "the league has taken discilinary action against those involved."

The truth is, though, on ice officials DO need to be better and with that comes paperwork.  I think evals should be filled out by coaching staffs after every weekend's matches evaluating the officials.  If complaints arise, then this is the time for them to be aired.  They can submit questionable calls (every game is recorded so they could state the circumstances and the approximate game time that the situation occurred for further review).  They can also request that the official officiate their games more often or less often.

Friday before the Storm Links

It's crunch time, the final push to the NCAA playoffs. Selection Sunday, the regionals... Some college hockey teams are fighting for their playoff lives. This is is the best time o the year.