Been a busy week as I’m in the process of buying a house after moving back to Grand Forks, so I’m going to make my recap and prediction short and sweet.
UMD v. UND recap
– I thought the refs were the story of Friday night, which is never good. It started early with the no-goal call after a UND player was pushed into the goalie. It ended with a phantom hook on a Bulldog player that The Ralph showed on the jumbotron.
– Also from Friday, Zane was the one guy that you can say played well. There was too much trouble getting out of our own zone with sloppy passes and drop passes that got broken up by UMD fore-checkers.
– Despite it feeling like we’d never score, Connor Gaarder looked as though he would re-spark the team with a wrister coming down the left boards that went off the post and in. The next 30 seconds felt like we would take the lead with some very good chances.
– All momentum and crowd energy was killed once the Duluth defender dangled around our player on the PP and made a good pass for a one-time goal.
– Saturday night felt like we may be up for a rough weekend after UMD opened the scoring as so many teams have at The Ralph this year. However, before and after this it was all North Dakota. Brendan O’Donnell scored the first of his trio of goals by wristing a puck through traffic to tie the game up in the 1st period.
– Despite “OD” having the first hat trick at The Ralph since Connor Gaarder did it against BU a couple years back, Mark MacMillan provided the play of the game. Driving down the right wing, he deked the puck inside a trailing defender and lifted it under the armpit of UMD’s goalie. I was on the opposite side of the rink but was astonished he got lift on that puck as he seemed to have no room to maneuver.
– OD capped the scoring with a rocket one-timer to send the Sioux fans hats all over the ice. I wanted to throw my newly acquired green beanie but I was in the last row of the 1st deck which would have required a ‘Henry Rowengartner’ sized arm.
UND v. Niagara predictions
– WEAR YOUR GREEN SIOUX ATTIRE TO BOTH GAMES THIS WEEKEND! The Ralph is having a “green out” which is really cool if enough fans participate. The white outs against the Gophers were always very fun to see. If you don’t have green Sioux attire, go buy the glow in the dark shirt The Ralph is selling especially for this series. If you don’t have money, paint yourself green and show up naked.
– Niagara is very bad numbers-wise. 3 wins, 1-8-1 away from home & that sole win coming against Bentley, 1.95 GPG, 4.00 GAPG, 7% Powerplay and 74% Penalty Kill. The only thing they are better at UND is being old, average age of 22yr 6 mo while UND is at 21yr 8 mo.
– If the NCAAs started today, Niagara would be the first team to never be considered because they’re #59 in the Pairwise rankings. There is 59 total NCAA hockey teams for those of you keeping score at home.
– However, UND also gave up an early 4-1 lead to LSSU(#54 in PWR) and was 30 seconds away from losing to Air Force(#53 in PWR) only to score a SHG in OT to win with 10 seconds left. So no win is guaranteed.
– Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Jim Dahl’s PWR outlook for this week yet but I’d venture a guess that losing or even tying one of these games would not bode well for UND. If I had to take an uneducated guess, I’d say it would drop us from #6 in pairwise to right around the bubble(#13-#16).
– Let’s hope that’s not what the green and white have at the top of their minds once the puck drops. Play Niagara the same as you would Duluth last Saturday and all will be fine. Finish checks, get in their face, and create havoc in front of the net.
Sioux Sweep 5-2, 4-0