Showing posts with label - UND Hockey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label - UND Hockey. Show all posts

Friday, May 29, 2015

Schmaltz Signs with St. Louis and Other Stuff

by Redwing77

Going into the offseason, I predicted two players leaving:  Zane McIntyre and Jordan Schmaltz.  Sadly, I did not predict Hakstol leaving.  More on that in a bit.

Schmaltz, a former first round draft pick of the Blues, officially signed per Brad Schlossman.  The signing itself, to me, comes as no surprise, though some of the comments on Brad's blog, for some reason, did.  Some "fans" seem to think poorly of Schmaltz and his readiness for the NHL.  The thing is, I don't think anyone, Schmaltz included (my opinion anyways), expects him to jump right to the NHL.  But Schmaltz did do very well for himself at North Dakota.  He showed improvement every year in Grand Forks and he decided to begin his trek to the NHL as a pro one year early.  I'd expect nothing less for a first round pick.

It's a loss, but not an unexpected one.

The same is true for Zane.  What else, other than a National Championship, could Zane accomplish?  Hobey Baker?  No.  In my opinion, Ryan Miller winning the Hobey Baker is more an exception to the rule rather than anything else.  True, Robb Stauber (87-88 for UMN) also won the award as a goaltender but in today's NCAA, it's not going to happen.  Good luck to Zane in the pros.  He's got a logjam ahead of him in net with Boston, but you never know.  After all, I thought Boston found an excellent backup in Svedberg but he bolted for the KHL instead.  Malcolm Subban is ahead of McIntyre and I'm sure there's at least one other vying for time in the NHL (no one is unseating Rask at the moment tho).

This leaves UND with Hrynkiw (sp?), Cam Johnson, and 2015 NHL Combine invite Martej Tomek in net.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

UND has incoming freshmen D that will be interesting to watch as well.  I've watched Wolanin and Hayden Shaw play in the USHL last season and I'm no evaluator of talent, luckily for UND.  Shaw split the year in the USHL between Waterloo and Dubuque.  Stats aside, I didn't notice much of him during the year.  That's not good for a puck moving defenseman (which in the USHL means offensive-defenseman).

As for Wolanin, he was Captain this year of the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL.  This speaks to his role in the lockerroom, even though my experience with watching him was highlighted mostly by him spending an awful lot of time after the whistle and after each period arguing with the officials.  He was solid defensively, but not dynamic in my opinion.

How will this pair out with the returnees (and I'm assuming Keaton Thompson is returning as well).  Who knows?

As for Hakstol...

I'm interested to see what Hakstol does in the NHL.  It will definitely be an adjustment.  Player attitudes are different.  The game is a bit different as well.  But most notably, Hakstol's "power" is different too.  In Grand Forks, Hakstol is the coach, GM, Director of Player Personnel, Head of Player Development, Head Scout (even if recruiting is split between him and his assistants), and all that.  In the pros, he's just the coach.  He has input on the other aspects but no real power.  It's like a higher profile, higher paying, demotion in a way.

I hope he does well and that his experience isn't as (apparently) unpleasant as Blais' was with the Blue Jackets.  The Flyers aren't exactly playoff ready but they're close.  They're lacking scoring, a 2nd line center, depth at all positions except defense, and goaltending.  The NHL Radio on Sirius suggests that the Flyers only need a backup goaltender.  Uh...  Chris Mason is their backup goaltender.  Emery was a has been that could've been and Zepp is a neverwas who is living the dream.  As far as I'm concerned, they're desperate for a #1 after giving up on Bobrovsky (Columbus) only to see him turn around and get the Vezina 2 years later.

Heh.  Chicago has to practically disband after this year due to salary cap.  Corey Crawford is a name that has been popping up as someone Chicago will have to trade.  Philly is stacked to overflowing with defensive prospects.  Perhaps Crawford for a prospect and cash?  It's not like Chicago can't find another goaltender.  I mean, they signed an overage UDFA named Antti Niemi and won their first Cup in 60+ years.  Crawford was at the point of becoming a bust when he finally stuck and won their second.  Chicago remains a hot place for undrafted players to sign.

What do I know though?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Thoughts on Possible New Nickname

With the list scaled down to 63 potential nicknames, I'd also like to give my thoughts on each potential one, much like Eric did.

Aeronauts - I say not. 
Aeros - This is ok. Makes sense with the aviation program, but still could do better. 
Arctic Blaze - I find this as to poke fun of the harsh Grand Forks Winters
Arctic Force - See previous name
Aurora - An aurora is a gases reacting in the atmosphere to put colors dancing across the sky. Are they implying that UND is gassy?
Aviators - Again, appropriate, but could be better. 
Badlanders -Lets just skip this one shal we?
Big Green - I dont know what to think about this one
Bison Slayers - Won't happen, but this was the first one that made me laugh out loud
Blackhawks - It's a good name, but we cant use the native american logo and the team would probably take alot of heat for taking it from the NHL team, even though two of UND's most successful alums were successful with Chicago. 
BLAZE - Moving on.....
BLAZING STARS - ok, again, moving on.... 
BLIZZARD - it's alright, but doesn't work with the Kelly green color scheme
Blizzard Dogs - Whoever submitted this, I'm sorry, but no 
Bombardiers -- I like it. Name it after a former UND captain, Brad Bombardier  
Bombers - meh. maybe. 
Cavalry - da da da da da da CHARGE!
Charging Nokota- could be worse, like Flickertails 
Drillers - no  
ENERGY - Will our logo be a power plant, or the Sun?
Explorers - lets not and never say we did 
Fighting Green - 
Fighting Greens - 
 Fighting Hawks - 
Fighting Sundogs -  
Fire - NO
Flame - this is a team and a university with more than one person. new name shouldn't be singular
Flames - I'll let you just think about this one for a bit. I know what they are going for here, but it wont end up meaning that to rival fan bases 
Flickertails - Yes, because I want the school to be represented as an animal that mistakenly gets identified as a gopher.  
Fliers - meh. 
Force - Didnt realize we were in Fargo now. 
Force of North - too close to the Pride of the North marching band. Let's not.
Global Hawks - Not the worst name on here
Green Bombers- 
'Grey Hawks' - 
Nighthawks -  
Nodak - Let's just delete these next two.
Nodaks - 
North Dakota - My first, second and third choice. ******Im 100% with Eric on this one
North Force - Say this one out loud. Just do it. Sounds terrible doesn't it? 
North Stars -  Yes, lets piss off Minnesota even more with the use of the name of the state's former NHL team that moved to Dallas.
Northern Lights - Too blahhhh 
Prarie Hawks - no 
Pride -  What does this have to do with anything? 
Riders -  
roughriders - Already High School in Grand Forks. This is out.  
SNOW DOGS - Anybody see this movie? 
Snow Leopards - HA! 
Spirit - See explanation for 'Pride' 
STORM - could be worse. logo could be a lightning bolt with tornado shoulder patches.  
Sundog -  
Sundogs  - UHHH NO! 
Thunder Hawks- This is Grand Forks, ND, not Grand Rapids, MN 
Warhawks - ehhhh
Warriors  - I'm surprised this made it this far.  
Warriors of the North - Cool tribute, but it's too much to say
Wings - I hate the Detroit Red Wings, so I obviously don't like this one. 
 Wooly Mammoth - no

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

From Warroad, Minnesota, Number 29 Brock Nelson

As if UND fans needed an introduction to Brock Nelson, the rest of the NHL world is getting a taste, finally, of what UND fans saw in his two seasons representing, the then Fighting Sioux, colors and that is the ability to score goals and help produce them. Tonight was no different, scoring his fourth goal of the season for the Islanders, and the game winning goal in tonight's contest against the Rangers as well.

Playing on the Islander's top line with John Tavares, Nelson has found his niche to find the net in this young season. He has tallied a four point night, and is tied for top scoring in the NHL with 7 points with the likes of Rick Nash and John Tavares. Now I do understand that the season is very young, but I see him playing as well, if not even better than, when he played with Danny Kristo and Corban Knight in his 30 goal sophomore campaign at UND.

Brock has put the NHL on notice that he is one to keep a sharp eye on in the near, and probably the distant future. Look for Nelson to impress on the ice for many seasons to come. UND fans knew what the Islanders were getting, now everyone knows what they have, a future superstar.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Schmaltz Brothers: Making of Something Special

With the regular season right around the corner, one thing to take notice of is how well the Schmaltz brothers, Jordan(Junior) and Nick(Freshman) played in the exhibition opener against Manitoba this past Sunday.

Both these brothers have more in common than people might think. Both were drafted in the first round in their respective draft years to different teams in the Central Division. Jordan went 25th overall to the St. Louis Blues in 2012, and likely would be in their system if it wasn't for brother Nick coming to UND this season. Nick went 20th overall in this years draft to the Chicago Blackhawks, making the brothers the only first round draft picks on UND's current roster. Both also played for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL before coming to UND as well.

Jordan is a puck moving defenseman who likes to shoot from the high slot when he has the opportunity to, especially when quarterbacking the power play. In his two years at UND, the St. Louis draft pick has totaled 36 points, 24 of those coming last season, doubling his freshman year total. He is an every day player and has continued to get better and better in each game. Jordan recorded a team leading three points (Goal, 2 assists) in the exhibition opener Sunday afternoon with two of them coming on the power play.

As for younger brother Nick, in the one game I was able to see him skate, he seems to have a Zach Parise like mentality to drive to the net, which will find him on the score sheet more often than not. Although he did not score Sunday, it was not due to the lack of trying. It seemed as if he couldn't buy a bounce to put one in, including hitting the post on an open net. If this net front presence continues for Nick, look for him to be a potential NCHC rookie of the year and putting the NCAA on notice.

The combination of the brothers will continue to grow chemistry as the season moves along and will make the power play that much stronger. Look for these two to be a factor in every single game this year and will be noticeable whenever they are not on the ice.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Early Preseason NCAA Men's Hockey Favorite

Ok, I know that the season is still two months away, but I just can't get over how this one ended, and not just for North Dakota either. In general, this past season saw a lot of  parody and I expect this season to be just the same. We saw a team with just one NHL draft pick win it all, a team beat another in .6 seconds to go to the national title game, but lose and lose badly. The end of an era in NCAA Men's Hockey with the end of one conference, and the addition to two new ones. Surprising blow-outs and spectacular overtime thrillers. Most of this could be seen within the North Dakota club alone.

Looking ahead to the season upon us, one must look at who left early, and from where, and who has the best incoming freshman. You have your usual suspects as one might imagine, with Boston College, Minnesota, and North Dakota probably being in the top 10 all season long, barring the typical first half North Dakota funk they always seem to have. Union, the defending national champs, is a team that I don't know what to think about. They proved that if you have a good core of players, and believe in your coach/team, great things can happen.

Michigan looks like they are back on the upswing once again, but their usual Big 10 football rival,
Ohio State, they too look as if they could become a team to look at when it comes to tourney time. The Buckeyes are off of a Big 10 tournament runner-up finish, losing an overtime heartbreaker to Wisconsin.

One also has to wonder about Boston University and if they will crawl back up the rankings again, or if they will stay out of the tournament picture like last season. Only time will tell.

Once again, the NCHC looks to be the powerhouse conference, with the possibility of sending at least five teams to the tournament once again. Miami has their top players returning this season, and are once again among the favorites to win the conference in preseason polls. However, they said that last season too and you saw how that ended up.

Minnesota, the College Hockey News number one team coming into this coming season in their very preseason poll release, looks to gain revenge after their national title game flop against Union. The always tough Golden Gophers
should be in the top five of the rankings for much of, if not the entire season. Being lead by goalie Adam Wilcox, and Kyle Rau, Minnesota is looking for banner number six to hang up in their barn once the season is over.

Finally, a team I know much more about, North Dakota. With three of five incoming freshman being drafted at this years NHL Draft, they return a line-up that has a lot of options.
If you thought last year's freshman class was impressive, wait until you see this one. You have a stud goalie, a first round draft pick, and good core team guys leaving a game day spot hard to come by this year. Between Minnesota and North Dakota this year, you don't find much deeper line-ups in the entire country, and I know UND is looking for revenge after how their, dare I say Cinderella, season ended.

If you asked me to pick a national champion right now, I'd have to flip a coin between North Dakota and Minnesota, but the season is very long and a lot can happen. Ask me this question at the start of the second half and I might have a different answer for you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Years End and My UND Men's Awards

In a season that looked like we were going to be where Miami ended up this season, this group of guys showed the NCAA you don't need an explosive goal scorer to have success.

Even though the season ended in a heartbreaking fashion, this UND team has a solid base for the future ahead.

Now for my team awards. I will be giving out awards for my team MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and this years Unsung Hero.

So here we go. For my team MVP, I give it to a kid who has battled in every single game he has played this season. I consider him the backbone of this very hard working team. My MVP is goaltender Zane Gothberg. Gothberg ended his season with a 1.99 goals against average after going on one of the most impressive runs a UND goaltender has put on in quite some time. He always seemed to be there to answer the bell whenever he was called upon to do so. I have a feeling many people will be agreeing with me on this one that Zane Gothberg is the most deserving for team MVP this season.

My Offensive Player of the Year isn't going to be quite as easy to pick out. There are a couple of deserving players on this team to earn this title. However, I am giving this award to Michael Parks. Parks has proven himself in every single game and has very few flaws to his game. He always goes hard on the forecheck and battles hard in the corners. It is also very hard to knock Parks off of the puck and especially inside the offensive zone. The master of the wrap around tallied up 30 points this season, and looks to be a team leader next season. Michael Parks is my Offensive Player of the Year.

For my Defensive Player of the Year I go with the obvious choice in Dillon Simpson. He was the Ryan Suter comparison for UND this year playing the big minutes and in important situations for this team. Along with his ability to block shots better than almost anyone in the NCAA, Simpson is also one of the best puck movers on the blue line as well, which is why coach Hakstol had him running things there on the power play. Dillon Simpson is the easy choice, for me, for Defensive Player of the Year.

For my ROY I go to another defenseman, and Grand Forks native, Paul LaDue. LaDue's highlight game of the season probably came in their 9-2 victory over Miami when he was an outstanding +6 on the game. LaDue also would be one of the top freshman in +/- this season, and his opponents would find it hard to score whenever he was on the ice. LaDue is looking to be a leader on the blue line for UND for the years to come making it easy for me to pick him as ROY.

Finally for my Unsung Hero. I'm sure you all can guess where this one is going. This walk-on laid it out on the line for every shift he was able to play giving it 110%. He would always make a play that seemed to get the guys fired up at key times, and either set up, or score, goals at key times in games. I give this to Edina, Minnesota's Connor Gaarder. The junior was on fire down the stretch run and into the playoffs. Gaarder would score the game winner against Western Michigan in the NCHC third place game, which ultimately sent them to the NCAA tournament. Gaarder would also score the 2OT winner against Ferris State to send UND to their 20th Frozen Four and 6th in their last 10 seasons. Gaarder could have been the poster child for this team because his play is North Dakota Hockey to a tee.

Well another season gone and another season of a lot of success, but still no big one for coach Hakstol. I see nothing but bright things in the future for this program and next season should be a fun one that's for sure.

Monday, April 07, 2014

My In-House Rivalry

As we get closer and closer to the much anticipated game against the Gophers, I can't help but see all of the chirping going back and forth between the two fan bases over Twitter and other social media sites.

Coming from a split household myself, I get a first hand experience of the rivalry. My dad, who grew up in Minneapolis, and bleeds maroon, is probably the prime target to chirp with me whenever we end up playing Minnesota.

He is always quick to bring up the National Championship game with Neal Broten's game winner, but like the knowledgeable UND fan that I am, I'm usually quick to fire back with the obvious seven is greater than five, or just bring up the Chris Porter wrap around of 2007.

This in house rivalry for me just makes this series that much more special to me. Not only does it make me get into the games that much more, but it also brings my dad and I closer together, even though we wear opposing colors now.

This is just one of those rivalry's that the fan bases could chirp back and forth for days on and still there could be know true winner, especially from the most knowledgeable fans. That's what makes this fun, but always remember, stay classy everyone.
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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Porter Wraparound or Gaarder 2OT Winner?

Ok UND fans, I need your help on this one. Which game winning goal was bigger in your opinion?

First we have the 2007 West Regional championship goal scored by Chris Porter. Porter scored the goal at 11:43 of the first overtime against none other then the hated Minnesota Golden Gophers. This would send the Sioux to the Frozen Four to face Boston College.

Now we have the most recent Connor Gaarder 2OT winner against Ferris State last weekend. This goal sent UND to their 20th Frozen Four in school history and the sixth one for head coach Dave Hakstol. Gaarder took the loose puck out front and shoved it five hole on the Hobey Baker finalist Motte to win the game for the good guys.

Let me hear your vote UND fans. Either comment your response here or send them to my Twitter handle @siouxhockey33. I know you all will have an opinion on this.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Rivalry

Next Thursday, April 10th, 2014 is the day every NCAA hockey fan in the upper Midwest had hoped for since the addition of the NCHC and Big 10 this season, a MN vs. UND match-up. On the line is a trip to the national title game.

This is a rivalry that dates way back, but I am going to highlight some of the more exciting games in recent history, and a couple of older events between the two schools as well.

We will start back in 1979 in the national championship game. The then Fighting Sioux would match-up against the Gophers in a national title game for the first time in school history. The game, who many thought UND should have won, went into overtime and Minnesota native Neal Broten would score the game winner to earn Minnesota their third national championship.

Moving along to more recent times, one can't forget their many battles in the Final Five or even just in the regular season. We first go back to 2007 at Mariucci Arena. There is just over a minute left in the first period and the Sioux are down 3-2. Defenseman Robbie Bina clears the puck from the bottom of the circles, and 180 feet later, the puck is sitting behind Gopher goalie Jeff Frazee. I do believe that this is still the longest goal scored in NCAA history still, correct me if I am wrong.

Later in 2007 at the Final Five, Minnesota would counter this fluky Sioux goal with an overtime victory over the Sioux in the championship game. Trying to avoid an icing call, now Winnipeg Jets player, Blake Wheeler, would do a Superman like dive and chip the puck over the shoulder of JP Lamoureux to win the game. This was also the very first UND Gopher game that I ever attended. Unfortunately for me, I was young and influential so with how big of a Gopher fan my dad is, I was cheering for the dark side, however lets just not talk about that part of my life.

UND would get the last laugh in 2007. It would come in the West Regional championship game, once again in overtime. This goal was no fluke either. Sioux forward would gather up a lose puck, take it behind the net and have the wraparound of his life, putting the puck behind Frazee and sending the Sioux to the Frozen Four.

Among the many memories of scuffles, triumphs, and defeats, my personal favorite would have to be my very first Sioux Gopher game at the Ralph my freshman year at UND. It was a chilly January Friday, and our first weekend back from Winter break. Like the great UND students always do, I would wait in line for six hours that day, losing feeling in my feet, to get a seat on the glass for this epic battle. Little did I know it would be a game to remember. This game had everything. A lot of big hits, scrums, and great game speed. Oh yeah and a UND victory. What made this game memorable for me though is, then junior defenseman Andrew MacWilliam scoring his very first collegiate goal in his 102nd game played for the Sioux. Being right on the glass right next to where he shot the puck from made it just that much better.

Finally, one can't talk this rivalry without talking the comeback of the decade at the 2012 Final Five. the first 30 minutes of their semi-final match-up was all Minnesota. Late in the second down 3-0, Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol calls the infamous timeout, and the floodgates opened. It would start with a quick goal off of a face-off from Derek Forbort and UND would go into the locker room down 3-1 with one period left. UND would strike quick when Michael Parks would find the twine to pull the Sioux within one goal. While the PA guy was announcing the goal, Brock Nelson would make it a tie game. Minnesota was now playing on their heels and half of the Xcel Energy Center was left stunned. The guy who scored the fourth goal, and game winner couldn't have been more fitting though. The captain, the Grand Forks native, a guy who bleeds green, Mario Lamoureux would make it 4-3 and the comeback would be officially complete. UND would score two more, including one more from Lamoureux to send UND to their third straight WCHA championship.

I will be sharing more of my favorite memories from this historic rivalry as we get closer to the game on April 10th. Feel free to share your favorite memories with me via Twitter @siouxhockey33.

Connor Gaarder

Lets just take a quick glance at Connor Gaarder at UND.......
2011: Came on as a freshman walk on from Edina, Minnesota fighting for a roster spot.
2012: Sophomore season records first Hat Trick in NCAA career against Boston University
2014: Junior season scores the GWG against Ferris State in double OT to send UND into the Frozen Four

I'd say for a walk on, this kid has scored some pretty impressive goals, and pretty big goals at that. Not only does he score big goals, but when Connor Gaarder scores, he seems to do so in bunches.
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Poll Monday, UND 9, 10 this week Division I Men’s Poll

Rk.      School (1st place)                      Record           Pts.         PR

1.         Minnesota (29)                                24-4-6            978            1
2.         Boston College (19)                       25-5-4            965            2
3.         Union (1)                                          24-6-4            899            3
4.         St. Cloud State (1)                           21-8-5            841            4
5.         Wisconsin                                        21-9-2            788            5
6.         Ferris State                                      25-9-3            719            7
            Quinnipiac                                        22-8-6            719            6
8.         Massachusetts-Lowell                    21-9-4            669            8
9.         Providence                                       19-9-6            569          10
10.      North Dakota                           20-11-3           554            9
11.       Notre Dame                                   21-12-2            481          11
12.       Cornell                                             15-8-5            428          13
13.       Michigan                                        17-11-4            365          12
14.       Northeastern                                 18-12-4            348          14
15.       Vermont                                         19-12-3            318          15
16.       Yale                                                  17-9-5            254          16
17.       Colgate                                          17-12-5            213          18
18.       Minnesota State                            22-13-1            205          17
19.       Maine                                             16-13-4              68          20
20.       Minnesota Duluth                          16-14-4              62          19               
Others receiving votes: New Hampshire 18, Clarkson 8, Western Michigan 8, Ohio State 7, Denver 6, Nebraska Omaha 5, Air Force 4, Alaska 1.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll
Rk.      School (1st place)                      Record           Pts.         PR
1.         Minnesota (30)                                24-4-6            506            1
2.         Boston College (4)                         25-5-4            480            2
3.         Union                                               24-6-4            439            3
4.         St. Cloud State                                21-8-5            401            4
5.         Wisconsin                                        21-9-2            371            5
6.         Ferris State                                      25-9-3            324            7
7.         Quinnipiac                                        22-8-6            319            6
8.         Massachusetts-Lowell                    21-9-4            268            8
9.         North Dakota                           20-11-3           219            9
10.       Providence                                       19-9-6            199          10
11.       Notre Dame                                   21-12-2            161          12
12.       Cornell                                             15-8-5            133          13
13.       Michigan                                        17-11-4              86          11
14.       Northeastern                                 18-12-4              67          14
15.       Vermont                                         19-12-3              47         NR
Others receiving votes: Yale 25, Colgate 22, Minnesota State 13.