Weekend Notes- ‘Plus Minus’

UND vs. WMU(UND sweep 3-1, 3-2 OT)

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Luke Johnson scoring on a rebound

–       Hard fought series, the Broncos threw their NCAA leading weight around and I’m sure the Sioux have some bumps and bruises to show for it. Thankfully, no one came away with any serious injuries that will keep them out of the games this week. I’d prefer not to play them in the 1st round of the playoffs purely for health reasons.

–       UND gained a 3 pt lead on the NCHC conference race. I did a few predictor scenarios and I believe with 2 splits the green and white could grab at least a share of the Penrose assuming all other teams split with each other and sweep CC and WMU.

–       It worries a little that UND has blown 2 goal leads in two straight Saturdays.  I hope this does not become a trend because we don’t want that in our heads when they take the ice in Fargo at the end of March.

–       Drake Caggiula continues to be masterful with his 2 backhand goals this weekend. Someone on twitter said Drake is college hockey’s equivelant of Pavel Datsyuk, I’d say that fits about perfectly.

–       For being name the Lawson Lunatics, the games in Kalamazoo had quite a few empty seats in them.  I wonder if the record of the team and their position in a tough NCHC conference has an effect on this because from what I saw the Broncos played a very entertaining style of hockey.

–       Zane got back to being his confident, relaxed self this weekend. He probably should have had a 1 goal weekend but some lapses at the end of each game bumped his GAA up lightly.

SCSU @ UND

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Photo Credit to Eric Classen of undsports.com

–       St. Cloud comes up to Grand Forks off a huge sweep of Nebraska Omaha.  The sweep vaulted them into NCAA tourney contention at #14 in the Pairwise Rankings, the Huskies will be playing for their tournament lives this weekend so expect some desperate play.

–       A lot of complaints about why St. Cloud State is in at just above .500 while teams like Harvard, Yale, and Vermont are out as of today with better overall records.  The pairwise is a mathematical formula people, it hasn’t changed this year so trying to see any bias in it is futile.  The NCHC has been flat out better than every other conference this year. This makes up for last year’s struggles where barely 3 teams made the tourney.

–       SCSU sports an average 2.87 GPG while UND sits at 3.42.  A big component of playing to those averages will be limiting Mr. Brodzinski for the Huskies. Friday night of the series earlier this season saw Johnny get a ton of chances and cash in, thus SCSU won.  Saturday, however, UND focused in on him and held him without a shot on goal and won the game. Are we sensing a theme?

–       Interesting stat that I came across is that only one UND player is in the – category of +/- and that is Steph Pattyn at -3. In comparison, St. Cloud has 10 players at a – including Brodzinski at a -6.  I believe this shows how well rounded UND’s scoring is. There is no 4th line that dumps pucks in and tries to wear down opponents, they’re trying to score on every shift.

–       North Dakota comes into the series slightly behind Mankato in Pairwise.  MSU goes up to Houghton to play Michigan Tech which would make me believe a split is coming.  If UND can somehow jump Mankato by the end of the season they could lock in the coveted 1st round matchup against the AHA tourney winner autobid which is almost always the weakest team in the tournament. To me, that’s goal #1 for this team.  The Penrose and NCHC playoffs take care of themselves if we accomplish the #1 Pairwise rankings.

–       Finally predictions, UND wins a couple very close games 4-2, 3-2. Some may call a sweep bold but I’ll be at the games in my newly stitched Naumenko jersey(favorite player growing up) so that should put us over the top both nights.

That’s all for today folks. Thanks for reading and Let’s Go Sioux!

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