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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Successful Season Spoiled (Redwing77)

The title got ya, I hope.

This marks the second season UND has played well and real life robbed me of the ride.  Graduate School and full time employment means you get what you can get and you don't throw a fit, so to speak.  Well, I accepted it... until Thursday night.

I watched the game and I thought bad for doing it.  Why?  Because, to me, I felt I've already done a grave disservice to UND and UND Fandom by being unable to watch the entire season for the second straight year.  It felt, to me, like I was watching a blockbuster movie but instead of watching all 2.5 hours or so, I skip right to the last fight scene or final 20 minutes or so of the movie.

What I saw, however, was amazing.  Brad Schlossman's comment section has a fan commenting that the arena was very silent, seeming uninspired or uninvolved.  I argue the opposite.  I think the entire arena was hyperinvolved.  The problem is, there was no scoring.  Both teams played emotionally stoic gameplans.  The refs looked almost bored (despite they missed one crosscheck on Minnesota and something like 2 Too Many Men penalties on UND).

Dillon Simpson was playing his final game, it turns out, for UND.  And he played like it was the final game of his life.  He was outstanding.  He failed to make the All American team (most likely the D-man from Alaska Fairbanks beat him out).  That's the only "downside" for Simpson as an individual hockey player you could say of him.  I already believe he goes down as one of the best players to wear a letter in UND history.  I do think he inspired his assistants as well (to the point where I believe next year's Captain will be Stephane Pattyn and Grimaldi will take an 'A' on his sweater).

The Game?  Minnesota needed to play run and gun, fast, possession style hockey.  North Dakota couldn't afford it to become that kind of game.  So North Dakota employed what I believe is the most boring style of game imaginable:  The Badger Gameplan... The trap.  Only, I guess my homer is showing when I thought it wasn't as boring as it could've been.  It certainly wasn't good for my heart or my stress levels.

I've never seen UND employ that gameplan so perfectly in the past.  NEVER.  Minnesota was the more talented team top to bottom.   They were the more complete team talent wise.  I knew it.  Brad Schlossman knew it.  Brad predicted a 4-1 Minnesota win, no less.  I thought it might've been a bit worse.  But it wasn't.  In fact, it very nearly was a nightmare for Minnesota.

In the end, Minnesota got Gothberg down on the first goal and did what ANY hockey player would have done in the closing second for the other: get the puck on net.  Our goal, let's face it, was a great follow through by Gaarder but really was a fluke.  Wilcox had a slight lapse in concentration and loosened up at the post and Gaarder slipped it in.  99.9% of the time Wilcox (nor Gothberg) wouldn't've let that puck by him. 

So what of the season?  As I sit here on Saturday, April 12th, I'm amazed at the lack of Gopher trolling going on both here and on Brad's blog.  I've long ago abandoned USCHO and formerly known as Siouxsports message boards so I have no idea what is going on there.  I expected Gopher fans to gloat and call us losers while I expected UND "fans" aka haters to dance about excitedly and start calling for Hakstol's head (somehow delusionally thinking that perhaps Blais would come back if we fired Hakstol and because of that, suddenly UND would go undefeated for the season...or whatever delusional garbage the UND haters who call themselves fans latch their parasitic mandibles to).  I guess the Hakstol bashing was relegated to Twitter.  That's ok, I've used Twitter in the past and I find that 90% of it is just people who are bored off their rockers telling the world how they feel they're important despite it not being true.  When I was little, I called that playing pretend or makebelieve.  Thank you Twitter for allowing people to visit their own Mr. Rogers' neighborhood.

Anyways, I can't say I was surprised or anything about the results of the season.  I missed most of it (outside of reading Brad's blog or Goon's World).  I resent Graduate School (but I won't resent the substantial pay raise I get when I graduate in one month) for losing track of my alma mater.

But we acquitted ourselves VERY well in Philly and I will NEVER belittle what these boys accomplished this year.  I just wish I could've called myself a bigger part of the fandom picture than reality dictated.

Go UND.  This fan has PRIDE for your accomplishments this year.  Next year cannot come soon enough. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

UND Hockey: The 2013-14 Season is Over.

We knew that Thursday or Saturday would be the last game of the season. Nonetheless, the last game always seems to sting, unless you finish with a title. This one doesn't hurt as bad as others. It took me a week to get over the 2011 Frozen Four.

I don’t think anyone expected UND’s season to end the way it did. UND finishes the season with a (25-14-3, .630) record. They had a 14-7-1 record at home and a 8-5-2 record on the road. They were 3-2-0 on neutral ice.

I don’t know if you could’ve drawn it up this way. Less than a second left in regulation, on a shorthanded goal, by a player that hadn’t scored a goal all season long. But that’s hockey. Sometimes you have to tip your hat and congratulate the other team. It pains me to say that.

Think about this, there was six-tenths of a second remaining in regulation. It was interesting to wake up this morning and see fans calling for Hakstol’s head on twitter. Bulldog radio play-by-play man Bruce Ciskie was re-tweeting some of them. It was even more interesting to see fans and writers telling these fans to get a grip. I actually found it interesting that fans of other teams were defending the UND head coach.

Those who read here on a regular basis know that I think Dave Hakstol is a good hockey coach. I think an extension would be in order, especially after this season. I think this is one of Dave Hakstol’s best coaching jobs so far. Hakstol took a team that wasn’t as talented as the previous ones and went to the Frozen Four. That’s not an easy task. That’s also not an accident. His team was six-tenths of a second from going to overtime with the number one ranked team in the nation. I think this team deserved a better fate. Tough way to lose.  

Hak’s teams are 14-4 in regional play. On the flip side, his teams are 1-6 in the Frozen Four. Okay, one area that Hakstol needs to improve on, I am sure that he would agree. Last night, Hakstol’s team played the game to perfection. I thought the coaching staff had a great team game plan. They kept the Gophers bottled in their own zone and were the better team for most of the game. I don't know what else you can say about that. The boys in green were well prepared and they played very disciplined hockey. It was the best game that I witnessed all season long.

Sometimes you have to tip your hats to both teams for putting on a good show.

Let’s also give credit where credit is due. When you’re in the Frozen Four, you’re playing the best teams in the nation. Minnesota is a pretty good hockey team, there’s no shame in losing to them. Again, it pains me to see them win the game, but they earned it. It's not a fluke that the Gophers are in the championship game of the Frozen Four. Congrats to the Gophers.

I have to tip my hat to Gothberg who played out of his mind during the NCAA playoffs. UND has a big-time stopper in net. For the season, Gothberg finishes with a 20-10-3 record, a NCHC-leading 1.99 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. It’s not how you start, but how you finish, right? After starting the season 2-5-2, from November 30, 2013, his record was 18-5-1 and he had a 1.75 goals against average.

There are better days ahead for this team… I am not giving up.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

UND second most wins the last four years

Here's a great statistic from ESPN'S John Buccigross. UND has the second most wins the last four years.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Connor Gaarder game winning goal - GIF

s/t to @cjzero What a night of hockey eh?

Gothberg and Gaarder lead team to Frozen Four

Like most UND hockey fans, I am still trying process what happened this past weekend. I don’t think that many saw this coming. Especially after they started the season 4-7-2. Since December 1, 2013, UND has been on a tear and gone 21-6-1 (.768). That's one of the best records in college hockey during that time span.

Before leaving the Wednesday press conference, Jayson Hajdu told me that UND would be playing in two weeks. "There will be a press conference next week." Maybe we should re-name him Carnac the Magnificent.

No one in the blogosphere really gave UND much of a chance to win the Midwest Regional. When I saw that UND was playing Wisconsin in the Midwest Regional semifinal game, I felt there was a “good chance” UND could advance to the Midwest Regional final. Ironically, there are a lot of similarities between last year’s Yale team and this year’s UND team. UND was the last team in the NCAA tournament, so was Yale. The Bulldogs beat a one-seed and a two-seed. Ditto for UND.

The winning goalie after the game...

“Growing up, you hear about North Dakota hockey and it is just tradition,” UND sophomore goalie Zane Gothberg said. “It’s something we take pride in practice or in games. A lot of it starts with the coaching staff instilling that level of competition and pride. It feels great and all of our hard work has gone for a good cause.”

On scoring the game winning goal.

“We were scrumming in the corner and it just came to a point out there,’ junior forward Connor Gaarder said. “I knew I had to get to the net. The rebound came right to me and kind of just slid it in there.”

Friday, March 28, 2014

UND Hockey: A few Things on game day

Series history: There’s definitely a history between the two teams. Coming into this weekend, the University of North Dakota has never lost to Wisconsin during the NCAA playoffs. Historically, UND is 2-0 against the Badgers in the NCAA tournament.

First meeting: UND beat Wisconsin 5-2 during the 1982 NCAA Championship game. Second meeting: UND beat Wisconsin 3-2 in overtime in the 2008 Midwest Regional Championship game.  Andrew Kozek scored the game winning goal at the 1:47 mark of the first overtime to give UND the regional Championship.
All-time: The Badgers have an 86-65-12 record against UND. UND is 5-3-2 in the last 10 games against the Badgers. 
Here’s the video clip of the last time UND played against Wisconsin in the NCAA playoffs.
Breaking down the numbers
As most of you know, numbers mean nothing this time of year. You can throw records out the window. All of the teams that are in the NCAA tournament have a chance of winning. We found that out last season when Yale made their run through the NCAA playoffs. Yale was the last at-large bid to make the NCAA tournament. We also saw that when fourth seeded RIT knocked off number one seeded Denver 2-1 in the 2010 East regional. 
North Dakota (23-13-3) vs. Wisconsin (24-10-2)
UND didn’t play against Wisconsin this season. The two teams will resume the rivalry next season in Madison.
Common opponents (3)
Wisconsin split with the Miami RedHawks (0-2 L, 3-2W)
UND was 3-2 against the Miami RedHawks (4-2 W, 2-6 L, 3-2 W, 9-2 W, and 0-3 L)

Wisconsin swept the Colorado College Tigers (4-1 W, 4-3 W O.T.)

UND was 4-1-0 against the Colorado College Tigers (5-3 W, 3-2 W, 4-2 W, 2-3 L O.T. and 4-3 W)

Wisconsin was 2-0 against Northern Michigan (5-2 W, 2-1 W)

UND was 2-0 against Northern Michigan (3-2 W, 3-1 W)
Breaking down the Records
Wisconsin was 17-2-1 at home and 5-8-1 on the road. Neutral site 2-0. 

North Dakota was 14-7-1 at home and 8-5-2 on the road. Neutral site 1-1.
Badgers record when…
14-1-1 when they lead after one period

2-6-1 when they trail after one period

8-3-1 when tied after one period
18-0-1 when leading after two periods
2-8-1 when trailing after two periods
North Dakota’s record when…
13-1-1 when they lead after one period

5-9-0 when they trail after one period
5-3-2 when tied after one period
19-1-0 when leading after two periods
1-10-1 when trailing after two periods

Monday, March 24, 2014

Post-Frozen Faceoff A few things

What a weekend… While this past weekend, was a good time. The Frozen Faceoff will never come close to comparing to the 13 previous WCHA Final Fives that I attended. That being said, this was a really good experience. This year was actually the first time in 15 years that I took my wife with me. In the past, this has been a guy’s only weekend. Hopefully Sioux7 goes next year.

The downtown Minneapolis area has “more” options and amenities for you, than the area surrounding the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota. There’s also a Starbucks or Caribou Coffee on every corner. This is a definite plus for someone that’s a caffeine addict.

The Marriott Hotel City Center was second to none. You can take the Sky Walk all the way from your hotel to the Target Center. Even bigger plus, the Marriott actually has a  Starbucks inside the hotel complex and one next to the entrance to the parking garage of the Marriott. So you're covered at the hotel complex. I am staying there next year, for sure. They had DirecTV in the hotel rooms and all of the right channels to include the NHL Network and the Golf Channel. Major plus for a sports geek like me.
Campus Pizza was excellent again, and a very short drive from downtown Minneapolis. I was the only one wearing a UND hoodie and a Bemidji State Beavers t-shirt in Campus Pizza. Upon entering the building, I felt like I was going to burst into flames. If you’ve never ate at Campus Pizza, you’re missing out. I suggest giving their pizza a try. Only negative, the restaurant is located on the campus of the University of Minnesota and is full of Minnesota Golden Gophers garbage.

I thought the NCHC did a good job running their conference tournament. There were a few minor things that will probably be changed, but overall I was impressed. The NCHC coaches seemed very happy with the way the tourney was run.

Surprisingly, there were decent sized crowds, both days of the two-day event. Even with UMD and SCSU sitting home and not attending the tournament, the league still was able to attract 17,252 fans.

One ticket for both games is an awesome idea. Fans can leave the arena and come back.  

Press Box had candy and tons of free popcorn. Kudos to them for that.

Let’s face facts, The Target Center is an old run down building and is going to get a serious overhauled soon.  It’s not the Xcel Energy Center, but it's still a decent arena to house the event. According to the Target Center time line, the construction starts this spring or summer.

No Diet Coke at the Target Center. Saturday, I had to smuggle in my Diet Coke. The Target Center has an exclusivity contract with Pepsi. I hate Pepsi products, so that was a major bummer for me. I also didn’t find an acceptable coffee vender in the Target Center.

The Target Center was freezing. I almost had to wear my winter coat to stay warm in the press box and literally had to leave the building to warm up. I kid you not. I talked to many fans that thought the building was cold. Just for the record, the Ralph has been cold this season, and Target Center was definitely colder than the Ralph. I didn't think that was possible.
On Friday, the ice was a little soft, and the ice had only had been in for two days before the tournament started. So, the ice really didn't have much time to set. Word was that ice was really soft for the Thursday practice. The ice seemed to improve as the weekend progressed. Just for the record, the Target Center actually has new ice making equipment. That will be something to look for as the years progress.  I still think the ice was better this weekend than during the Final Fives that were held at the Target Center.

The Boards and glass were pretty lively and had some weird bounces one of them cost DU a goal.
All in all, it was a good weekend… Something to build on. The NCHC did a good job running this tourney.

Funny story… After Saturday’s UND game and before the post-game press conference, I made the comment about there’s going to be overtime tonight, I can feel it. Herald writer Brad Schlossman and the other media guys/gals in the media room looked at me as if I had committed a major crime.  Wouldn’t you know it, Wisconsin needed overtime to beat Ohio State.
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

NCAA Tourney Bid on the Line for UND

After their loss in overtime last night, UND would fall to 15th in the pairwise putting their NCAA tournament bid in jeopardy. However, depending on how some of the other conference tournaments end up next weekend, they quite possibly could be out already for the first time in 12 seasons.

Much like Friday night, UND would find themselves in a hole and having to make their way out of it once again. With an early second period goal for Colorado College, they looked to put North Dakota away and extend this to a third game Sunday night. However, about two and a half minutes after CC would go up 2-0, UND sophomore Drake Caggiula would find the twine and put North Dakota on the board.

As the clock would become the enemy of North Dakota in the third, coach Dave Hakstol would look for a late spark in his team, and who better to look to then your top line, the "Funky Bunch" line as I like to call them, of Drake Caggiula, Mark MacMillian, and Michael Parks. The line would combine for five points in the series opener, and with Caggiula already on the board in this one, why not?

With just under four minutes remaining in the third, MacMillian and Caggiula would factor in on Jordan Schmaltz's game tying goal and the Ralph would erupt. With the late goal, the fans, and the guys sitting on the bench would hope that momentum would shift in their favor heading into the overtime period.

Exactly seven minutes into the first overtime, the game would be over when CC freshman Alex Roos would find a hole and fire the puck past Zane Gothberg. This game would be just the second time in Gothberg's last 18 starts that he would allow three or more goals.

Tonight is a must win for UND if they look to make the tournament for a 12th straight season, and want to fight for the inaugural NCHC Frozen Face-Off championship.
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Colorado College beats North Dakota in O.T.

Grand Forks, ND – A look at the calendar told us that March 15, 2014, wasn’t Ground Hog Day. Funny, it sure felt like it.  After giving the Colorado College Tigers a two-goal lead the night before, UND coughed up another two-goal lead again, a night later. Through two periods of play, UND looked like the team that had lost 23 games, not the Tigers.

The Tigers would get goals from Peter Stoykewich and Scott Wamsganz to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. UND would answer with a goal from Drake Caggiula. UND would go into the third period down 2-1.

In the third period, UND would finally get the game-tying goal from Jordan Schmaltz with just under four minutes left in regulation. Tigers forward Alex Roos ended UND’s hope of a series sweep with the game-winning goal at 7:00 mark of overtime, sending UND fans to the exits with an empty feeling.

They say it’s very hard to end another team’s season, even a team that’s lost 23-of-35 games.  Tonight, the Tigers proved that theory. For a second night in a row, the Tigers came out the gates hungrier than UND.

“We were a team that played like a team that wanted to continue the season, as long as they could,” Colorado College head coach Scott Owens said.  “I give them credit, when they get a couple of their lines up and going and get into a rhythm, they’re very hard to contain. I am very proud of our guys. On any given Sunday anything can happen. It happened for us last year. We’re aiming to stay out and head to Minneapolis.”

UND knew the Tigers would be gunning for them. After Friday night’s game sophomore forward Bryn Chyzyk alluded to this, “I know they’re going to be really hungry tomorrow because it’s tough to end a team’s season.”

For a second night in a row, UND started slow and then took the momentum, but couldn’t break through against senior goalie Josh Thorimbert who stopped 44-of-46 shots and improved to 7-22-6 with the win. UND goalie Zane Gothberg stopped 26-of-29 stops and dropped to 16-8-3 with the loss.

"I thought we built our game through the 60 minutes, head coach Dave Hakstol said. “We probably wanted a little bit better start. We didn’t give up a whole lot, but we didn’t generate a whole lot in the first 10 minutes of the hockey game.”

UND has been to the NCAA tourney 11 seasons in a row and with the loss to the Tigers sit at 15th in the Pairwise Rankings. If UND doesn’t win this series, they would be hard pressed to make the NCAA tournament for a 12th consecutive season in a row.

“Its do-or-die,” UND defenseman Jordan Schmaltz said. “If we win, we put ourselves in a good chance to get in the national tournament. If we don’t, we could see our season ending early.”
UND forward Stephane Pattyn also echoed those sentiments, “I think that should be our mentality. That’s the way they played tonight. I think we’re going to have to match that and maybe play harder.”

Tonight, there’s a lot at stake as UND (21-12-3) takes on Tigers (7-23-6) in a crucial game three match-up at 7:08 p.m. at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Interesting Stats

UND has lost the last three Saturday games and is 3-3-0 in their last six games.

Coming into tonight’s game, UND had a (1-8-1, .150) record when the opposition lead after two periods of play. The record took another hit, and dropped to (1-9-1, .136) with the 3-2 loss to the Tigers.

For just the second time in three months, UND goalie Zane Gothberg allowed more than two goals. Both times was against the C.C. Tigers

Friday, March 14, 2014

NCHC Playoffs: Friday Morning Links

Good morning… The NCHC Playoffs Started last night between Omaha and Denver. The Mavericks went 3-for-4 on the power-play and beat the University of Denver 4-3. The Mavericks wore down Denver with their speed. I am not much of a prediction person, never have been, but I predict that this series will be over tonight. Denver found out that it was costly to take penalties against Omaha.
I did watch the NCHC's free video from the game last night's game between Nebraska-Omaha and Denver and the quality was excellent. You can click on this link to view the game you want to see.
Tonight, UND begins their playoff series against the Colorado College Tigers. Last season, the Tigers ended UND’s string of Final Five championships at three by winning in overtime of the quarterfinals.
You can vote for Drake Caggiula’s goals on the NCHC web page. Click on this link to vote.
Apparently, there was some travel issues for the NCHC to deal with after the match-ups were set last Saturday.  
Tonight’s game between Miami and Saint Cloud State is on FSN+ (652-1 DirecTV). It doesn’t violate the NCHC's exclusivity agreement  with CBSSN because the game is on a regional network. Fox College Sports was on a national network.

As of last night, there were a good number of tickets left for this weekend's series.



Monday, March 10, 2014

UND Hockey: Zane Gothberg NCHC Goaltender of the Week

UND goalie Zane Gothberg was again the NCHC's awarded the goaltender of the week, for a second time in a three-week period.

Zane Gothberg, North Dakota
Sophomore Goaltender
Thief River Falls, Minn.

Gothberg was strong in net all weekend against Western Michigan, allowing just two goals in a split with the Broncos. He posted a 1.01 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage in the series, while making 40 saves on 42 shots. On Friday, Gothberg pitched his second career shutout, both coming in his last six games, as he stopped all 18 shots in a 2-0 win, while helping kill all four WMU power plays. He was named the game’s third star for his efforts. On Saturday, the Boston Bruins prospect totaled 22 saves in a 2-1 loss while not allowing an even strength goal.  Gothberg helped UND end the weekend 7-for-8 on the penalty kill and also finished the NCHC regular season with a 2.26 GAA in conference play, which led all goaltenders. He has now claimed NCHC Goaltender of the Week three times this season.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

UND Hockey: Finding the silver lining in a Penrose-less day

Obviously, the UND hockey team is known for its second half surges. This season’s second half surge was the fifth best of Dave Hakstol’s coaching tenure at UND. Looking at the schedule and the results, I think it’s safe to say that on November 30, 2013, this season’s second half surge commenced.
While many of us are disappointed that UND didn’t win last night. There are many things to be excited about as well. This loss didn’t sit well with the players either.

I don’t know if anyone thought this team would own an  20-11-3 record after starting the season 4-7-2. I think this team might have actually exceeded expectations.
Since November 30, 2013, UND is averaging 3.25 goals per game and giving up 2.06 goals against per game.

After the rough start, I didn’t think that they would end up in second place of the NCHC standings. Nonetheless, the loss last night is kind of disappointing. The focus of the team now turns to getting a green banner.  
I think it’s safe to say that this team transformed from a hockey team finding its way, to a team that’s a threat to win a league playoff title and an NCAA title. What happens to them, will determined in the next few weeks.  

During that time, sophomore goalie Zane Gothberg is 13-2-1 with a .935 save percentage and a 1.63 goals against average. It’s hard to believe that Gothberg started the season off with a 2-5-2 record.
Speaking of Gotberg, he won the NCHC GAA title (2.26).  He beat out he beat out Ryan Massa (2.27). He was also tied for second with Lukas Hafner from Western Michigan in save percentage (.924).

Breaking down the numbers: After Saturday night’s game, UND is now 1-9-2 (.167) in games when they score two or fewer goals.
UND is 11-0-0 when they score four or more goals.

UND is 8-10-3 when they scored three or more goals.
UND is 6-7-1 when the opponent scores first.

When UND leads after the first period, they have a 11-1-1 record.

When UND leads after the second period, they have a 15-1-0 record.
When UND is behind after two periods, they have 1-8-0 record

When the opposition leads after the first period, UND has a 6-7-1 record.
UND is 6-6-0 against Nationally Ranked Opponents.

I don’t know what to make of this stat… UND is 6-0-0 on CBSSN.
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Playoff Hockey is here

NCHC first round

No. 8 Miami (12-19-3) – PWR 40 at No. 1 St. Cloud State (21-8-5) – PWR 5

No. 7 Colorado College (6-22-6) – PWR 51 at No. 2 North Dakota (20-11-3) – PWR 10

No. 6 Denver (16-14-6) – PWR 26 at No. 3 Nebraska Omaha (16-16-2) – PWR 34

No. 5 Western Michigan (17-14-5) – PWR 21 at No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth (16-14-4) – PWR  19

The NCHC Playoff bracket is set. predictions and thoughts.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Saturday Morning Pontifications: Is there a Penrose Trophy in the Future?

Since November 30, 2013, UND goalie Zane Gothberg is 13-1-1 with a .936 save percentage and 1.59 goals against average. During that same time, UND is 16-3-2. Also, senior goalie time Clarke Saunders has a 3-2-0 record during the same time. UND started the season 4-7-2, they were going nowhere fast and they were sitting in the bottom of the NCHC Standings. In looking at the turnaround,  we might be able to credit the player's only meeting in late November. When asked about the turnaround, Gothberg was quick to give credit to the coaches.

“Obviously it starts with our coaching staff,” Gothberg said. “They’ve been through the ropes. They’ve been through everything, throughout the years. And I think it just kind of came down from them.”

Gothberg continued, “Once we figured out how to play our game, each guy bought in. It was a simple mentality change. Just a little bit before Christmas break. It was kind of cool to see what happened. You know what, we’re going out and proving ourselves every night, still. Proving to ourselves, and to our team that we can be even better.”

With the win last night, UND is either going to be playing Colorado College or Miami University. It’s just a matter of with team finishes number one, and which team finishes number two. UND is 2-0-0 against C.C. and 3-1-0 against Miami. Neither team is an easy out. So, we now have the four home teams for the NCHC playoffs, UND, SCSU, UMD and UNO. We'll know exact seeding at about 10:30 p.m.

It’s hard to believe that WMU is the sixth place team in the NCHC. Based on what I have seen, they’re a pretty good hockey team. It was fun to listen to former NHL coach Andy Murray after the game.

Here’s a few statistics to chew on. After finding it hard to score goals earlier in the season, UND is the third in the NCHC for goals for with 75. First is SCSU with 83 and second is Nebraska-Omaha with 78. Defensively, UND is second with 61 goals against, Denver is first with 56.

As I mentioned earlier in the season, I thought UND was a good hockey team that was trying to find their way. Some wanted to abandon the team. Early in the season, I went to a few practices and saw some of the goings on when the team was down. It was not all fun and games around the UND locker room, I can tell you that. You could feel the tension around the UND hockey team. I asked someone if it was stretch run was on already… Their response was, oh yeah. It's on.

That being said, there’s a lot of skill on this team. There’s also a lot of team speed. This is one of the fastest UND hockey teams that I have seen in a very long time. The play starts with the “D” and they lead the breakout, out of the defensive zone, in a lot of cases. If you can, focus on players like Jordan Schmaltz, Dillon Simpson or Paul LaDue, they’re very good with the puck. I think this team gets out of the defensive zone better than last year’s team, and that team had a lot of high-end offensive talent.

The UND hockey team is transforming from being a bruising team that checks you out of the building and takes a lot of penalties, to a team that can skate with the Boston Colleges. This is no accident. UND is changing like the NHL game has.

Tonight, UND will honor four very classy seniors, defenseman Dillon Simpson, forward Mitch MacMillan, forward Derek Rodwell and goaltender Clarke Saunders. If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch this week’s “Through These Doors”. There’s some very good stuff.

On my way to work this morning, Simpson was on “Hockey on Campus” and I just can’t get over the fact that Simpson isn’t even 21 years old yet. The senior defenseman came to UND as a young age of 17. There’s freshmen on this team that are older than him. Age is just a number.

Surprising result of the night: After being named NCHC Goalie of the week, Ryan Massa gave up four goals on 27 shots to the UMD Bulldogs. UMD would win the game 8-2. Tony Cameranesi and Justin Crandall paced UMD with two goals each.

Monday, March 03, 2014

UND 9th in Latest USCHO Poll

NCAA Hockey: Where's everyone going?


1. Boston College vs. 4. Cornell
2. Quinnipiac vs. 3. Michigan


1. Union vs. 4. Vermont
2. Ferris State vs. 3. Providence


1. Minnesota vs. 4. Mercyhurst
2. UMass Lowell vs. 3. North Dakota


1. St. Cloud State vs. 4. Northeastern
2. Wisconsin vs. 3. Notre Dame

Mike McMahon of the Mack Report had these brackets up on his blog. They're are worth taking a looking at. There seems to be a common theme emerging. Taking a look at the Worchester regional, that would be a region of death, too. All of the recent projections that I have seen have UND playing in Minnesota’s regional. This would be a region of death as well. Last week, Jayson Moy of USCHO fame had these brackets.

This week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 6 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Notre Dame vs. 3 Union
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Weekend Match-Ups (by Donn)

The race for the Penrose Cup is on.  We are down to the last two weekends of NCHC regular season play.  We know for sure Miami, CC, UMD, and DU are out of contention for the title.  The title could be decided this weekend in St. Cloud when the top two teams square off.


North Dakota……………..13-7-0-0…..…….….39
St. Cloud St……………….12-5-3-0…………...39
Western Michigan………...9-9-2-1…….………31
Colorado College……….. ..6-9-5-1…….….…..24

NCHC Games

#20 Minnesota-Duluth @ Miami
Last weekend the Bulldogs were swept by NoDak (3-0, 6-2) in Duluth and the RedHawks split with the Huskies (4-3W, 3-0L) in Oxford.

The Bulldogs have taken some lumps the last two weekends, but they have come at the hands of the top two teams in the conference.  Miami showed a sign of life on Friday with a win, but they are still not the team everyone predicted at the beginning of this year.  The Bulldogs still have a good chance to get home ice the first round of the playoffs, so hope is not lost in Duluth.  In Oxford, hope was lost a few months ago, now they can only hope to drag down others with them.  SPLIT


#10 North Dakota @ #5 SCSU
Last weekend NoDak swept the Bulldogs (3-0, 6-2) in Duluth and the Huskies split with the RedHawks (4-3L, 3-0W) in Oxford.

If this was a boxing match, it would be the main event, a battle of the heavy-weights.  This series could determine the first ever NCHC regular season title.  If one team gets a sweep they will have clinched at least a share of the Penrose Cup.  A split and it comes down to the last weekend of the regular season.  Way back, the first and second of November these teams played a series in Grand Forks with SCSU sweeping 3-2 and 3-1.  The Huskies are 6-3-5 at home and NoDak is 7-4-2 on the road this season.  I see the title being up for grabs next weekend, with nothing decided in the National Hockey Center this weekend.  SPLIT


Colorado College @ Nebraska-Omaha
Last weekend the Tigers swept the Pioneers (3-2, 3-1) in a home and home series and the Mavericks split with the Broncos (5-1W, 5-3L) in Kalamazoo.

The Tigers are seven points behind the Mavericks in the standings and UNO is sitting in a home spot.  The Mavericks are 7-9-0 at home and the Tigers are 1-11-2 on the road this season.  This weekend is the chance the Mavericks need to lock up a home ice spot.  The Tigers are not very good on the road, and their record reflects it, and I don’t see them getting a win in Omaha.  MAVERICKS SWEEP


Denver @ Western Michigan
Last weekend the Pioneers were swept by the Tigers (3-2, 3-1) in a home and home series and the Broncos split with the Mavericks (5-1L, 5-3W) in Kalamazoo.

The Pioneers have had a snag, dropping four of their last five games.  The Broncos too have been skidding, having only one regulation win in their last four games.  Back in mid-November these teams played a series in Denver with the Pioneers sweeping 5-3 and 1-0.  The teams are only two points apart in the standings and the Broncos are sitting in the last home ice spot.  This could be a playoff rematch in a couple of weeks… With that last home spot on the line, this should be a good series to watch, I think each team will get a win, in the “Omelet Series”.  SPLIT

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

UND Hockey: Where are they now? Aaron Dell

Former UND goalie Aaron Dell was signed by the Abbotsford Heat played two games this past weekend and then was released by the Heat. You would think that Dell is going to get a shot and stick with an AHL team, eventually.
ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat announced today that they have released goaltender Aaron Dell.

Dell, a native of Airdrie, Alberta appeared in two games over the weekend with the Heat registering a 0-1-0 record along with a 1.39 GAA and a .929 save percentage.

Monday, February 24, 2014

UND 10th in the USCHO Poll

After sweeping the UMD Bulldogs, UND moved up to 10th place in this week's USCHO Pol. I am surprised that DU, who was swept by C.C. stayed in the top 20 this week.