Just a few notes I wanted to post from last night’s Frozen Faceoff I attended at the Target Center:
– UND seemed ready to play in the 1st period, especially after Miami scored the first goal the Sioux really turned it up and took it to Miami. The momentum seemed to wane after Mark McMillan took a beautiful pass from Caggiula and, staring at a wide open net, shot it off the crossbar. This is where things started going South.
– For how awful Miami’s defense has been scouted as, we could not get any pucks on our sticks in the scoring zone. It was a lot of passing around the point and shooting into a defender. If the puck did get through, UND was always a step to slow or our sticks were tied up.
– As much as I’ve touted Jordan Schmaltz lately, he seemed pretty “out-to-lunch” at times yesterday. Preceding the 2nd goal he had a wide open lane to about Miami’s blue line and casually dumped it in before hitting the red line, leading to an icing. Then our main faceoff guy got booted by the refs for absolutely no reason, we lost the faceoff, and they scored.
– This sounds weird to say, but Zane didn’t seem to get tested all that much besides the 3 goals. His rebound control was solid and I thought he played fine. Every goal was a guy being left alone in the slot and they buried it.
-The 1st goal was a misplay by Rodwell a mere 5-10 feet from the blue line which eventually led to a Blake Coleman turnaround slapper. It seemed like either Rodwell misplayed the puck or the ice was bad. I believe Zane was screened on the play or he would have saved it.
– The external activities at the Target Center were great. If you didn’t get a chance to go over to the NCHC Fan Fest in the Target Field concourse, make a point to do so today. There was a radar gun for how hard you can shoot, seeing how well you can dangle a puck, $3-4 beers, and free pizza samples. Oh and there is also a band playing there. It was fairly empty and I know the temperature doesn’t help but for what it’s worth you can drink the beer in a heated tent. This gives me good hope for what the NCHC Frozen Faceoff can evolve into with those types of activities set up by the league..
– However, the Target Center internal “hockey-related” activities left a bit to be desired. The boards seemed to be hollow on certain plays when hit directly and didn’t bounce. On a shot that went around the boards, I can’t count how many times I saw the puck inexplicably either kick off the boards or the glass out into the middle of the ice. Also, the ice was very choppy which had the puck bouncing or rolling much of the time it was being played. It’s all a very stark reminder that we are no longer at the Xcel Energy Center. That being said, UND didn’t play nearly well enough in a game that very well may end their season.
– From what I’ve read from the experts on the subject, UND needs to obviously win the 3rd place game against Western Michigan, Mass-Lowell to beat UNH(this is a must) at 6PM on NBCsports channel, and either Wisconsin to beat Ohio State or the combination of Canisius over Robert Morris, Miami over Denver, & Ferris State of Mankato. So it is not like UND needs major upsets to happen, just a few of the “better” teams to win. It’s just disappointing they didn’t control their own fate and put forth a better effort tonight.
– I hope this isn’t my last blog until October on UND’s upcoming games. However, whether we win, lose, or draw I’ll be behind the program and look forward to the future. There’s still a chance so LET’S GO SIOUX!