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The Game Itself
I hate to say it, but the game was entertaining. I hate to say it because my team lost. Dave Hakstol said that the team's effort wasn't good and that it was sloppy. I agree...for the most part. For the first part of the first period, the first part of the second period, and the last part of the third period, however, I thought they played very very well.
The trouble with hockey games is that momentum RARELY stays pegged to one side for the entire game. When the momentum shifted to DU's side, UND got really sloppy and some downright baffling things started to occur.
For example, Larazza's goal. It deflected SOMEWHERE right? It had to! It changed direction. Did it go off of a UND player? Off of Ostrow's stick? Who knows, but that hurt.
Zane Gothberg.... Oy. I think I may have cursed him back after the UNO series. He starts the game giving up 2 goals that weren't his fault and then suddenly he quits playing hockey. It was seriously a Jekyl/Hyde moment. How can someone who had been so solid positionally the last 4 games and so many minutes suddenly forget how to play the game? I STILL believe Gothberg is a stellar talent, but his mindset still may not be there yet.
Another Jekyl/Hyde example? Our Defense. In the offensive zone, they were STELLAR last night. In the defensive zone? At times so unbelievably sloppy it's not funny. DU's Powerplay looked like it should have been hitting at closer to 60% thanks to our inability to close off the center of the ice sheet. They were cross ice passing at will. They did a much better job for much of the game to force us to the outside. We struggled at it at times. On the 5th goal, Corbin Knight seemed to lose track of Nick Shore for a split second which allowed Shore to get a step on Knight so as to beat Knight to the rebound. Costly.
O'Donnell's waved off goal: McMillan was off sides by a good foot. There is even question as to whether or not O'Donnell himself may have put himself off sides as well. Imagine what would have happened though had O'Donnell had taken one more stride before winding up and shooting....
In the end, though, any team that gives up more than 3 goals in a victory can hardly be called dominant. I would not put Okinuora as a player of the game.
The officiating and stupid penalties
Yeah, I had to put this in here because it is expected. However, in all things considered, I don't think the officiating was that bad. It certainly didn't bring question to results of the game like some of our previous games. And the officials kept control of the game, which is VITAL in a heated rivalry series such as this.
Goon didn't like my text about this last night but I have to say it: Parks' penalty was one of the stupidest penalties in hockey. The other would be too many men on the ice. Why? Because it's downright avoidable. Sure, the goalie stick posed a tripping hazard and could clog up a small portion of the passing lane but that's how it is. Okinuora would have been stickless on the penalty kill. How advantageous for UND, right? It ends up being turned into DU's fourth goal. That's frustrating to the Nth degree. DU's powerplay is FAR FAR too good to say "No worries, our PK will take care of it." They are the highest penalized team in the WCHA. We should have allowed them to continue the
trend on their own.
The Media Coverage
I've already covered this but... could the NBC Sports commentators have been less prepared? So many of our names were wrong, but that's besides the point. It was 1 to 1 and they said there were 3 goals scored. WHAT? UND went up 2 to 1 and finally they were correct, but it didn't stop them in the first period. UND was out penalized at one point 4 to 3 but it was evened up according to the NBC Sports casters.
Look, we get it. UND and even DU is small fish compared to the horrible news coming out of the NHL: Evgeni Malkin left with an injury! To hell with college hockey! We got to set up our cameras outside the Penguin's training room!
Tonight, the local network (Root?) has the game and so at least they'll care about the game even if it is biased to DU.
Doom and Gloom?
This marked the fourth loss in the last 18 games for UND. There is now only 4 points separating first place and seventh place in the WCHA. UND remains at #6 in the Pairwise. So is it doom and gloom?
Losing to a rival is always doom-bringing, but it isn't as bad as it looks. Tonight's important for only, really, two reasons: 1. Home ice. We could drop as low as 6th place if we get swept. 2. Head to Head comparisons. DU would win the head to head comparison with a victory tonight. As it stands right now it is tied 1-1-1.
If we get swept tonight we'll still be in line for the NCAAs. We are STILL a dangerous team to play against. And the last time we snuck into the NCAAs we did quite well.
I hope we do get the Split tonight. I think we are capable of doing it.