The 2nd half of the season kicks off with UMD coming to Grand Forks to take on the Sioux in a pivotal NCHC series.
The 2nd half of my blog season starts with a video of dubstep cat. Why, you may ask? Well, first off dubstep cat is hilariously awesome and if you don’t like it you’re probably reading this from Soviet Russia. If that’s the case, get off my blog because communists are not welcome here. Secondly, a bulldog could not perform the necessary movements that dubstep cat is completing(or forced to complete depending on your view). So in summation, bulldogs are not as cool as dubstep cat so we should beat the Bulldogs in hockey this weekend.
North Dakota is coming off a rather impressive win, as far as exhibitions go, over the USA National Development team. A 7-2 beat down is just what the doctor ordered for the Sioux last weekend. Unfortunately, the doctor also ordered some Mononucleosis up for UND forward Trevor Olson. Must have been finishing those checks a little too well, if you know what I mean.
The game was much more physical than I expected and was initiated by the USA team, so of course UND had to answer in their own building. A lovely can-opener by Stephane Pattyn let the 18 and unders know they can’t hang with a full-grown college team of men. Cam Johnson played up to his potential in the 1st half of the game and the score was 2-1 heading into the 3rd period. Three goals in the first 3 minutes of the 3rd period by UND put the game out of reach, allowing UND to come away with the W.
#3 UMD @ #7 UND
The last time these 2 teams played was the back-end of a UND sweep in Duluth at Amsoil Arena. Mitch McMillan, started off the scoring followed by 2 UMD goals. This was followed by an onslaught by the visiting team of 5 unanswered tallies by Paul Ladue x2, Michael Parks, Dillon Simpson and Colten St. Clair. It was arguably the most satisfying sweep of the year for the green and white.
This year, the Bulldogs thus far seemed to have turned the page on last year’s struggles going 12-6 with notable wins over Minnesota x2, St. Cloud St. x2, Minnesota St, Miami, and Omaha. In other words, this is not the same neutered pack of Dogs we saw last February. The forwards have been producing, lead by Dominic Toninato with 15 goals and 3 assists, and the they’ve found a solid goalie in Freshman Kasimir Kaskisuo, who sports a .920 save percentage and 2.12 GAA.
However, Kasimir Kaskisuo has never played a game in Grand Forks in front of 12,000 fans. Kasimir Kaskisuo has never played against the University of North Dakota. Call me biased, but I believe the Sioux are good at bringing good goalies back down to earth (i.e. Providence’s John Gillies). Both sides are expected to have dynamic playmakers, UMD at forward and North Dakota on defense. Both teams are scoring at about 3.3 goals per game and allowing a little over 2. The difference, I have to think, is in between the pipes. If you refer back to the list of notable teams the Bulldogs have beat, none of them have a shutdown goalie like UND. The closest comparison is Adam Wilcox of the Minnesota Gophers, but even diehard Gopher fans will tell you he’s not quite at the level he was last year through their first half of games.
I believe Zane McIntyre will be the difference in this series and UND will start the 2nd half with a bang.
UND 3-1, UND 5-3
(Editor’s Note: If you’re curious, I stopped updating my record on predictions because I realized I was cheating. I was picking a split allowing one team to win the first night and a different team the 2nd, no matter which team. Going forward, I will specify which night a team will win on. I apologize for my misdeed and will feel shame.)
Around the NCHC:
#28 Notre Dame vs. #35 WMU(Home-and-home): I think each team is finding a little consistency after a rough first half.
Each team wins at home.
#14 Denver @ #6 UNO: UNO stayed plenty busy over the holiday break with a disappointing tie to UAH and big loss to UNH. The fever pitch of the UNO fans has waned a bit in the last month but I think home ice still gets them a win in this series.
UNO wins Friday, Denver Saturday
#4 Miami @ #25 SCSU: St. Cloud desperately needs to start getting wins to get back in the national picture. There’s no better place to start then against Miami, currently #4 in the Pairwise rankings.
SCSU wins Friday, Miami Saturday
Through These Doors episode 410: