Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dogs Take 1st Place After Boring 1-1 Tie

Well, seven points in four games ain't too bad. We take sole possession of first place in the WCHA, stay undefeated, and possibly move up in the rankings due to Boston College falling to Merrimack last night. Some thoughts:

  • Was it just me or was that game booorrring? Neither team's PP was clicking - we couldn't even score on a 5-3 - and the action seemed sluggish. I guess the two (non-goal) highlights of the game were Lamb blowing a guy up halfway through the first period (and subsequently getting booked for elbowing) and Dylan Olsen breaking two sticks on one shift. Man, he has a hard shot.
  • The Gophers look back on track after sweeping Colorado College this weekend, including a 9-4 blowout on Saturday. Bummer.
  • I appreciate the fact that PBS aired Saturday's game and all, but it felt like I was watching the game through a foggy window. After a year of hockey in HD I've been spoiled for life.
  • Both nights the Bulldogs got outplayed by Bemidji during 3rd period crunch time. Crandall was good enough to save us on Friday, but the Beaver's late pressure Saturday allowed them to take a point from us. It's a trend worth monitoring.
  • Brad Malone destroyed Jesse Martin on Saturday, garnering him a game misconduct. Say what you want about the legality of the hit, but there's a good possibility he might face a one or two-game suspension. That would be a big loss for the Sioux with our showdown at the Ralph looming this weekend.
  • I meant to link this yesterday, but I really enjoyed RWD's rant against Tom Serratore yesterday. I heard Serratore on the radio with Bruce Ciskie this week and he was a huge sandbagger. His 'oh we're the new guys in town and I just hope we can keep up' shtick would wear thin real quick if I were a Beaver fan.
Huge series this weekend. Let's go get it. Weekly Links tomorrow.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

We Got the Mojo This Year! Dogs Win with 7.9 Seconds Left in OT

Travis Oleksuk just wins games.

Another great win for UMD. Travis Oleksuk tips in a Dylan Olsen shot with a couple of ticks left in OT and the nation's longest unbeaten streak continues. The puck is bouncing our way, guys are making plays when they need to, our backup goalie is leading the nation in goals against and save percentage! It's ridiculous. We can only hope that the good times keep rolling. A couple of notes:
  • As I mentioned above, Aaron Crandall is leading all goaltenders with a .958 save percentage and 0.98 goals against average. He came within 13 minutes of breaking Stalock's scoreless streak. Unbelievable. The guy doesn't see the ice last year and this year he's Stalock reincarnated. Granted it's early and he's only played three games, but with goaltending being our biggest question coming into the year it's very encouraging to see Crandall doing so well.
  • North Dakota beat Denver 4-3 last night, leaving them tied with us atop the WCHA standings. Next weekend's series in Grand Forks is will be a huge. I can't wait.
  • With Oleksuk scoring his 4th game-winning goal and JT Brown getting another goal and assist last night, not enough can be said about the emergence of the second line. There's almost no drop-off when the vaunted Connolly-Fontaine line comes off the ice. It feels like we have twice the offensive firepower this year.
  • We've scored the most and allowed the least (except for Bemidji, who has played 3 games to our 7) amount of goals in the WCHA. Throw out that wacky 6-6 season opener against Lake Superior State and we're outscoring opponents 27-10 on the year.
There's a good vibe around the team right now. Everyone know our first line would be solid, but contributions from the second line and blue line is making the difference on the bottom line: 6-0-1. Let's go get the sweep.

    The Maroon Loon Show - Episode 3

    In this week's episode we talk sweep, (again) quickly rundown the happenings around the WCHA, and look ahead to this weekend's matchup at Bemidji's new rink. Later we bring on Timo Rahkola, DT for the UMD football team and UMD women's hockey superfan. He talks about how the Bulldogs are doing after Odim going down and previews the huge UMD-U of M matchup at the DECC this weekend.

    Catch the Maroon Loon Show every Thursday at nine on 103.3 KUMD.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Weekly Links

    I love the internet. I also spend way too much time wading through all of its filth trying to find nuggets of gold. Here's what I found this week:

    • Picture of the Week - Brett Hull chillin' by the Lift Bridge

    YouTube Video of the Week - Madden Greg Jennings puts his team on his back. I spent all weekend mimicking this guy's voice. "Darren Shawpah, one of da hadest hittin safeties in da league."

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    UMD Sweeps Another Doormat, Bring on the Beavers

    No updates this weekend because my laptop was on the fritz. Now it is off the fritz, so let's all hope it stays that way...

    UMD was locked in a close one on Friday, but I never felt like we were going to lose it. In fact, with about 7-8 minutes left in regulation my buddies and I all bet on which Bulldog would score the game-winner . I took Oleksuk, who ended up assisting JT Brown to get the win about 30 seconds into OT.

    Brown looked amazing again last weekend. His style of play is somewhat similar to Jack Connolly, only he's not as good as good with the puck and hits harder and more often. He's fast, exciting and always looking to make a play. He's our 4th or 5th best guy already as freshman, and will be a fan favorite by the time we move into Amsoil Arena.

    Saturday's game against Alaska-Anchorage was similar to the Saturday game against Providence: UMD dismantling a sub-par squad in business-like fashion. Bemidji will be much tougher than anyone we've faced this year, especially after spending last week idle, licking their wounds from North Dakota's sweep of them in the ever first series in the Sanford Center.

    A couple of quick thoughts before I go:

    • Drew Olson logged some minutes at wing on Saturday. With how deep our blue line is and four freshman fighting for minutes (Brown, Faulk, Tardy, Basaraba) it will be interesting to see who makes the trip to Bemidji and who is left home.
    • One guy who helped his cause was Dan DeLisle, who banged home his first career goal in Saturday's romp. His size makes him hard to keep off the ice, especially with our relatively undersized squad, but he still has a ways to go.
    • Aaron Crandall got a shutout in his second career start on Saturday and looks to be a competent backup for Reiter. We'll see if Sandelin trusts him enough to play him at Bemidji or North Dakota next week.
    • I won't be making the trip to Bemidji this weekend, but Kriz and I are planning on making our annual trek to Grand Forks next weekend for a weekend of mayhem in Sioux Country. 
    • If we can get through the next two weekends with a .500 record, I'll be plenty satisfied. That being said, it really feels like the Bulldogs got some good mojo going right now, and Bemidji is 0-4-2 in their last six games dating back to last season. We'll know a lot more about our squad after this weekend. Weekly Links tomorrow, barring any unforeseen computer breakdowns.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Maroon Loon Show - Episode 2

    In this episode we talk about last weekend's series against Providence College, with soundbites from Providence Head Coach Tim Army, JT Brown, Travis Oleksuk, Jack Connolly and Aaron Crandall.  We break down all the latest happenings from around the WCHA and talk about the wild weekend that the UMD Football squad had.

    Later we look ahead to this weekend's series against the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, which mostly consists of us trying to figure out what a Seawolf is.

    Check out the Maroon Loon Show every Thursday at 9 pm on 103.3 KUMD.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Weekly Links

    I love the internet. I also spend way too much time wading through all of its filth trying to find nuggets of gold. Here's what I found this week:

      Sunday, October 17, 2010

      SWEEP! UMD Sends Providence Packing with 7-1 Victory

      Too easy. Providence College sucks and we dispatched of them with ease. Good to see the boys take of business. I think we're more than ready for the WCHA. Some random notes from last night:

      • Dylan Olsen got in two (minor) fights this weekend. Good to see him mix it up. That feistyness combined with his hard slapshot from the point make him one of my favorites.
      • I wish they kept stats for time on attack. The Bulldogs were pretty much on a perpetual powerplay for the entire game.  Especially the Connolly-Fontaine line, they absolutely dominated play all weekend.
      • Speaking of our first line, Providence head coach Tim Army compared them to the Atkinson-Gibbons-Whitney line on Boston College. Pretty lofty comparison when you consider those three combined for 148 points on their way to a national championship last year. Connolly-Fontaine line has 25 points through four games this year.
      • Dan DeLisle doesn't do anything for me. I was excited to see him last year, considering his size, (6-4, 225) the fact that he came to UMD right out of HS, and that he was deemed talented enough to be drafted in the third round by the Blackhawks, but he literally contributes nothing while he's out there. Such a waste of size.
      • Jack Connolly told me after the game that the ice was terrible this weekend. I couldn't really tell, but Kevin Pates apparently noticed. I guess it was due to the unseasonably warm October weather.
      • I called the blowout. Not a terribly difficult thing to foresee, but I'm bragging anyway.
      That's about it. After facing two inferior squads I'm ready for some WCHA action. Unfortunately UMD has Alaska-Anchorage at home this weekend, and won't face a true test until they travel to Bemidji's new arena 10/29-30.

      Make sure to check out the Maroon Loon Thursday at nine pm on 103.3 KUMD. We're gonna have a great show this week, packed with plenty of soundbites and shenanigans. Also follow me on Twitter. Please? I'm an incredibly entertaining tweeter. One of the best.

      Saturday, October 16, 2010

      UMD 5, Providence College 3

      Well, that was fun.  UMD took care of business in their home opener, getting contributions from a number of guys. Lemme open my notebook pour some knowledge on yall:
      • Travis Oleksuk scored on a penalty shot at the end of the second period. This was the first penalty shot I've ever seen in person and it was EXCITING.  After the game Oleksuk sported a wide smile when he rehashed his goal, we'll have the audio of the goal and his post-game interview for you guys on Thursday at nine pm, on 103.3 KUMD.
      • Two guys that had really good games: JT Brown and Brady Lamb.  JT Brown got his first collegiate goal at the beginning of the second period, and could've had a few more.  He was flying around making nifty plays and jacking people up.  But the biggest hitter on the ice Friday night was Brady Lamb.  He added two assists to his impressive physical play.
      • I still think Kenny Reiter is a little shaky.  He got better as the game went along, but he's still a ways from looking confident in net.
      • The Bulldogs' special teams look good.  They notched two powerplay goals and displayed a little creativity, as evidence by the Mike-Jack-Fontaine tic-tac-toe goal in the first period. Although they allowed a goal on the penalty kill, the Dogs were solid when they were a man down.
      • There were a TON of freshman fans in the student section, which was both annoying and encouraging. It's cool that the incoming class is into hockey, but goddamn, freshman are stupid. I wish I had a video camera last night... Also heard that all student tickets are sold out until we move into Amsoil Arena, which is crazy. 
      • Dick Stewart looked especially spry after the 'We Love Dick' chant during the third period.  He stood for an extended time, alternating waving his windsock and his cap.  The fact that this year's squad is good enough to excite even the oldest, most iconic of Bulldog fans is a good sign.

      Friday, October 15, 2010

      The Maroon Loon Show - Episode 1

      In the inaugural episode of the Maroon Loon Show Ben and Kriz talk about last weekend’s games versus Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan University, talk about crashing in Ben’s sister’s dorm room at Northern Michigan, and offer their thoughts on what they saw from the Bulldogs Saturday night.

      Later they break down the WCHA by talking shit about pretty much every other school in the WCHA and give shoutouts to the myriad of successful teams at UMD.

      Catch the Maroon Loon every Thursday at 9 pm on 103.3 KUMD.