The North Dakota Fighting Sioux hockey team will be in St. Cloud, Minnesota to play the Huskies at the newly renovated Herb Brooks National Hockey Center this Friday and Saturday night. I’m curious to find out if the renovations were composed primarily of polishing the aged concrete, as apparently this will be the new and improved Herb Brooks “concrete center”. Speaking of the miracle on ice and former St. Cloud State coach, Herb Brooks was once quoted saying:
“if you want to go into business, go to Harvard; if you want to be a hockey player, go to North Dakota…”
I couldn’t have said it better myself Herb, rest in peace.
#10 University of North Dakota vs. #5 St. Cloud State University (St. Cloud State, MN @ The Herb Brooks National Hockey Center)
North Dakota comes into this series playing as well as they have all year coming off consecutive, decisive sweeps of NCHC opponents. This has vaulted them into a tie for first place with St. Cloud who stumbled a bit last weekend in splitting with last place Miami. In other words, this is the most important series of the year for any team in the new NCHC and the result will most likely indicate which team will claim the inaugural Penrose Cup.
The first series in November between the two teams resulted in a dreadful sweep by the Doggies and at the Home of the Sioux, nonetheless. I happened to be there and I can tell you firsthand, it was a blood bath. The Huskies bottled up any sort of breakout UND could muster and looked the more confident team for the entire 120 minutes. In other words, they did to us what we are supposed to do, and have done, to them on so many previous occasions. No doubt this is on the top of all of the players’ minds when getting prepared for these games.
The difference, however, comes in what UND is bringing to the table in the match-up that was not present last November. UND brings arguably the top overall defensive core in the country, and the undisputed best blueliners in scoring statistics. They also bring a Sophomore netminder in Zane Gothberg that has been 12-0-1 in his last 13 starts and just recorded his first shutout of his career in Duluth last Friday. I’d say his confidence is at an all-time high at the moment and he feels like he can “beat the vorld”(if you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you).
But I digress, this series will be heated; this i can guarantee you. Given the talent on both of these teams I see a closely contested contest but to quote the immortal Teddy KGB “I…bet….it all” on the Sioux.
UND 3 SCSU 1, UND 5 SCSU 2
#3 Ferris State @ #28 Alaska- I predict the Nanooks will have a split with Ferris State. Partly due to the fact that Ferris State has to make the treacherous road trip to the north country and also because the Bulldogs have lost to some lesser teams this year. This combination could prove trouble and makes me believe Alaska can take 1 of 2 out of this series.
Other teams to root for to improve UND’s ranking:
#9 Northeastern @ #46 Boston University
#7 Quinnipiac @ #30 St. Lawrence
#6 Wisconsin @ BYE
#39 Harvard @ #13 Colgate
#45 Darmouth @ #11 Cornell
#22 Ohio State @ #14 Michigan