Image via Wikipedia1.) I predict that UND is going to be in the mix when it’s all said and done. The hockey experts and hockey pundits that think UND mediocre and not very good are off base; this team is buying into the coaching staff’s systems and are getting better which each game. I don’t think anyone wants to have UND has their draw during the WCHA playoffs.
I think this weekend the Fighting Sioux proved that they can skate with the “elite teams” like Duluth. The Bulldogs has no answer for UND tenacity in Friday’s game. The Fighting Sioux shut the Bulldogs down.
2.) Some undisciplined play by some key upper classmen in the first period of last nigh’t game derailed the Fighting Sioux’s chances of getting a sweep. The Blood major penalty proved to be very costly for UND. I did not see the hit, and I have not seen the video of the hit either, so I will not give my thoughts on the hit. My seat on Saturday night was in the second row next to the UMD player’s bench and It was hard to see that end of the ice without the aid of the scoreboard video.
3.) Coach Hakstol said at the beginning of the year that other players besides the line of Kristo, Knight and Nelson would have to step up and contribute offensively.
Another line has started to show up on the score sheet and was smoking hot this weekend. The Rowney line has emerged as a pretty good threat, on the weekend Mark MacMillan 0-2-2, Carter Rowney 4-1-5 and Michael Parks 1-1-2. That’s (5g-4a—9pts) for that line on the weekend.
I would give that line all three stars for the weekend.
4.) Goaltending, this season Aaron Dell (2.80 GAA, .890 Save Percentage) has been very good when he is on and when he isn’t he has been lit up.
Last night, Dell wasn’t very good at all and I know it’s easy to second guess the coaching staff from the stands but I think that after the fourth goal, the coaching staff should have pulled Dell to breath some life into the Fighting Sioux.
I mentioned this to my friend today, that I think Brad Eidsnes (2.08 GAA, .924 Save Percentage) has been very good as of late and he was on last night. Eids made some big saves and positioning was very good. It also appears that Eidsness has fixed some parts of his game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him more down the stretch.
Over his four seasons with UND Eidsness has had a tendency to be streaky and when he is on his game he is a very hard goaltender to beat and I wonder if that goalie has emerged again? Personally, I hope the coaching staff rides him until he proves them wrong.
5.) Don Adam! What can I say about him? I thought the officiating combo of Don Adam and Tim Walsh was absolutely brutal this weekend for both teams. How these two guys continue to be employed by the WCHA is a mystery to many of us. You know it’s bad when you hear a fan say, “hey it’s Don Adam, what do you expect?”
I think the fans ask for some consistency from the on ice officials and I guess being consistently poor is consistency. Right? I think with Adam the amount of dangerous hits that he lets go is a concern for me and for other fans as well. The fact that these two on ice officials took such a long time to discuss the Joe Basaraba hit on Nick Mattson is a joke. That is a hit that we do not need in hockey.
I hope that when the NCHC begins play that they think long and hard before they get the idea that they need to employ the on ice officials from the WCHA.
I don’t buy the argument that the NCHC needs to use officials from the WCHA because there aren’t enough qualified officials out there. I think that argument is balderdash. The NCHC could recruit/pluck officials form the USHL to officiate the NCHC’s games.
I am tired of watching Don Adam skate around the ice with a scowl on his face blowing games with his horrible officiating. Let the WCHA or B1G have him as one of their officials.
6.) One guy that impresses me is junior utility player Joe Gleason. This season Gleason has played wing, center and defense. I think I would describe Gleason as player that will do what-ever-it-takes to win and help the team out.
I sometimes think that Gleason’s efforts go unnoticed and if you don’t look for him regularly you won’t notice all of the little things that he does in all three zones of the ice. Gleason is a role player that’s value is measured more in the things that don’t show up on score sheets.
This is what head coach Dave Hakstol had to say when he was asked about Joe Gleason after the Wisconsin series.
“Joe Gleason the epitome of a great teammate.”
“Joe is a proud guy and he obviously wants to play, he was recruited here as a defenseman, and both nights this weekend he played defense, he played center and he played right wing. I guess I would describe it as invaluable in a team setting. He is doing whatever the team’s needs, he not just going out and doing it, but going out and doing it well.”
7.) My thoughts on Amsoil Arena. I thought it was a nice venue and I like the layout of the arena. It’s a very comfortable building and I like the way it’s set up. The only thing that I don’t like is the width of the halls around the buildings. They could be bigger and they get real crowded during the intermission.
Amsoil arena is very accessible from the highway and I like the way they do their parking. Unlike Ralph Englestad Arena, Amsoil Arena has a parking garage right next to the arena anyone can pay five dollars and park in it. You don’t have make a huge donation to the athletic department to park close to the arena. Another positive is that you walk straight into the arena from the parking garage.
Would I trade Ralph Englestad Arena for Amsoil Arena, not in your life but it’s a pretty nice place to attend a hockey game.
8.) Is UMD a rival game? Last week a fan from UMD post a comment on Sioux Sports about UMD not considering UND a rival. I think that comment is so far off of the mark, it’s silly.
This weekend’s series was very entertaining, and both games were very fun to watch. I think that this weekend’s series was some of the best hockey that I have watched all season.
There was also a lot of extra stuff going on during the games, there was a lot of the chirping and shenanigans on the ice. I would have to say that this was a nasty series where players from both teams needed to keep their head on a swivel. That’s the kind of hockey that I like to watch.
I don’t think it would be an understatement to say that these two teams hate each other and the games were highly contested.
9.) I like the player that Dillon Simpson is becoming. I think he has grown up a lot as a player this season. If you think about it, Simpson is a 19 year old sophomore and he is younger than most of the players that came in as freshman this season.
What I have noticed about Simpson; he has been very smart with the puck and has done a good job getting puck out of the defensive zone and on to the sticks of the forwards. Dillon is a plus nine on the season, meaning he’s not a defensive liability.
I hope with his age that UND can keep him for two more seasons.
10.) As we all know, UND fans travel well and true to form there were a lot of green and white jerseys in the stands at Amsoil Arena this weekend.
The Let’s Go Sioux cheer was pretty loud as well. It was a fun trip and worth the time to go to Duluth to watch the series between UND and UMD this weekend. I am glad that both teams are going to be in the NCHC.