Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NHL Quarter Awards

With the season already a quarter over, lets take a look at who should win the Hart, Vezina, Norris, Calder, and Jack Adams trophies if the season were to end right now.

Hart: Sidney Crosby
Well no surprise here as Crosby is tops in the NHL in Points and second in assists. The Pittsburgh Penguins captain is leading the charge in the NHL and showing off the superstar like player we have all come to know very well, like him or hate him. Crosby is on pace for 119 points this season, scoring at 1.45 points per game. Scoring at this rate, Crosby, and Pittsburgh will be very tough to beat.

Norris: Ryan Suter
The league's top work horse is proving once again on why he is one of the elite NHL defenders. Suter leads all defenders in plus/minus at +13, which is also third in the NHL, and is a +6 in his last five games. Even though Mark Giordano leads all NHL defenders in points, Suter's 11 is still nothing to sneeze at for a defenseman at the quarter point. Give it time and the points will come for Ryan Suter.

Vezina: Pekka Rinne
Probably on one of the biggest surprise teams this season, Rinne is putting up the best numbers between the pipes in the NHL this season. He tops the
league with 14 wins. His 1.97 goals against average and .927 save percent also find him in the top five in the NHL among his fellow goalies. In 18 games played, Rinne is 14-3-1 and looks to remain among the NHL elite goaltenders for the remainder of the season.

Calder: Filip Forsberg
The 2012 first rounder for Nashville has turned heads in the early season and has become a big part to the Preds success so far. His +18 rating is tops in the NHL and his 22 points find him leading all NHL rookies as well, this is also good enough for 12th in the NHL too. Forsberg is in the top 20 in all major statistical categories in the NHL and leads all rookies in them as well.

Jack Adams: Jack Capuano
The Islanders coach has had one of the toughest coaching jobs since taking over a sinking New York Islanders in 2010 and last season was no different. Making the playoffs just one time since taking over, 2012-2013 first round loss to Pittsburgh, the Islanders have established their young talent and have found themselves sixth in the NHL in total points right now. Capuano has done a wonderful job turning this team around this season, and if the
success continues, look for a nice playoff run for the boys on Long Island.

What to Make of Big 10

In an article posted on USCHO, they were quoted with saying that the Big 10 Conference isn't all that bad, and that they are one of the stronger conferences in all of college hockey. Let us just take a look at the numbers to see if we can back-up the USCHO article shall we.

First off, there is only one, yes ONE Big 10 team in the USCHO top 20 and that is Minnesota at number three, which is just a bit too generous. Even though their last game was an exhibition against the USA development team, they still lost, which would mark three losses in a row for the Golden Gophers. If they are able to stay at three after three losses in a row, why did Michigan Tech, from the WCHA, drop big time after getting swept by Mankato last weekend?

Now we have the struggling Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin has yet to win a game this season, and has looked terrible in a majority of their contests this season. Last season's Big 10 tournament champions have lost nine in a row, dating back to last seasons NCAA tournament loss to North Dakota, where again they were extremely outplayed.

Just two teams in the conference have winning records this season, Penn State (7-3-2) and Minnesota (7-3-0). Lets see how many ranked opponents each team has beat, starting with Penn State. Penn State holds one of their seven victories over a top 10 opponent, and that is number four UMass Lowell where they won 4-1. Yes they did split with Michigan too, but is Michigan just known and talked about because of their historic name and coach this year? Penn State's last contest was an 8-1 loss to Michigan, making me wonder if they can compete with the big boys for real. Minnesota has had some struggles against other ranked opponents this season as well. In three games against number eight Minnesota-Duluth, they are 1-2-0 and have been outscored 8-5 in the series. They also hold a split against number 16 St. Cloud State and barely pulled off the overtime victory on home ice in the weekend series.

Conference play finally started this past weekend, with four of the six teams in action. Each team won one and lost one game, not showing any powerhouses throughout the conference. If you look inside the conference, Minnesota will probably be the only team with any chance at the NCAA tournament, but with their sloppy play as of late makes me wonder if they will have to win their conference to do it.

Taking a look at Michigan State, they seem to have what it takes to be competitive with their opponents, but doesn't quite have what it takes to finish games on a consistent basis. They most recently played number 12 Boston College and lost the decision 3-2. They could play upset once it comes conference tournament time, but that could be about it.

Finally, Ohio State has had one early season win worthy of note, and that is against Providence, who probably was a tad overrated at the time. Other than that, the Buckeyes have not looked anything but average at best making me wonder how they made it to the Big 10 championship last season.

The Big 10 is a conference that created a lot of drama once it entered college hockey last season, and ruined many great college hockey rivalries that fans have grown to love over the past four decades. With a sub 500 non conference record in almost a year and a half in existence, does the Big 10 deserve to be called one of college hockey's top conferences like some think it should be?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hakstol Has His Game Face on Already


Did Austin Ortega Give UND Some Bulletin Board Material?

Reading Matthew Semisch's Column this week, it would appear that Austin Ortega offered UND Some bulletin board material. Just for the record, UND went 2-2-0 against the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks and has a 5-3-0 record over the last eight games against the Mavericks.
Ortega, Mavericks send a message to North Dakota

Speaking of UNO, it appears the Mavericks were trying to make a statement on Saturday during their 4-1 win over Minnesota-Duluth.

They had a point to prove to themselves, too, though. On Friday, UNO found itself up 2-0 in the second period of the Mavericks’ first home game in a month and a half, but the Bulldogs rattled off three unanswered tallies in the third period to nab a 3-2 win.

UMD gained the upper hand early in the rematch when a shot from Kyle Osterberg found the back of the net 4:40 into the game. After that, however, UNO took over and even picked up its game-winning goal through Austin Ortega – his first of two tallies on Saturday – before the opening frame was over.

The Mavericks (7-2-1, 3-1-0) are heading up I-29 later this week to meet up with second-ranked North Dakota. The two-game set in Grand Forks could end up being a defensive struggle between the top and third-best defenses in the NCHC.

Speaking after Saturday’s win over Duluth, though, Ortega took what he felt was an opportunity to send a shot across the bow.

“Tonight we were able to get up on the board; we really showed we’re a scoring team,” Ortega said. “Kind of sending a message to North Dakota that we can score on any goalie out there.”

Monday, November 24, 2014

UND Second in USCHO Poll


November 24, 2014

Team
(First Place Votes)
Record
Points
Last Poll
1
Boston University
(42)
8- 1-1
988
3
2
North Dakota
( 3)
9- 3-1
889
2
3
Minnesota
( 1)
7- 3-0
825
4
4
Massachusetts-Lowell
8- 2-3
806
5
5
Miami
10- 4-0
764
7
6
Michigan Tech
10- 2-0
748
1
7
Minnesota State
( 3)
9- 3-0
746
9
8
Minnesota-Duluth
( 1)
9- 5-0
615
8
9
Colgate
9- 4-1
575
6
10
Denver
8- 3-0
572
10
11
Nebraska-Omaha
7- 2-1
435
13
12
Boston College
7- 5-0
425
12
13
Vermont
8- 3-1
423
11
14
Quinnipiac
8- 3-1
319
14
15
Bowling Green
10- 3-1
292
18
16
St. Cloud State
5- 6-1
249
16
17
Union
6- 5-1
214
15
18
Harvard
5- 1-2
147
NR
19
Northern Michigan
7- 2-1
141
17
20
Providence
5- 5-1
115
19
Others receiving votes: Robert Morris 96, St. Lawrence 48, Merrimack 30, Yale 17, Penn State 15, Ferris State 4, Notre Dame 2.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

(Video) Milan Lucic Comments on the Prout Incident



Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic is a great fighter and a pretty good hockey player. Lucic is also one of my favorite Boston Bruins, but I think it's time for him to sack up and get over it. There's going to be days when someone gets the best of you, that's life. This is one of these instances.

UND Second in Buccigross Top 10


Not that it really matters all that much, but UND is second in the Buccigross Top 10.

UND Splits with SCSU

The University of North Dakota hasn't had a series sweep against St. Cloud State Huskies at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center since the 1998-99 season. With Friday's 3-1 loss, UND will leave St. Cloud with that streak still intact.
On Friday night, junior forward Jonny Brodzinski was nothing short of amazing. UND had no answer for the Huskies power forward who scored (2g-1a—3pts).  With the game tied at 1-1 after two periods, Brodzinski’s scored two goals in the third period to ice the game for the Huskies. Brodzinski also broke a three-game goalless streak. For his career, Brodzinski has scored 50 goals in 92 games.
UND junior forward Drake Caggiula scored the lone goal for UND. Caggiula came into Friday's game as the NCAA point's leader, but fell to second place after RIT Tigers forward Matt Garbowsky scored (2g-2a—4pts) against the Sacred Heart Pioneers.
Over the last four seasons, UND hasn't had a lot of success against the Huskies, but they did manage to earn a series split with a 3-2 win on Saturday night.  Freshman forward Trevor Olson scored a pair of goals to pace UND.
With the win, UND improves to (9-3-1 and 4-2-0 NCHC). UND is 5-8-1 in their last 14 games against the Huskies. Next weekend, UND entertains the Nebrasak-Omaha Mavericks in an important two-game conference series.
With the loss, the Huskies drop to (5-6-1 and 2-3-1 NCHC). Next weekend, the Huskies travel to Bemidji to play the Beavers in a two-game non-conference series at the Sanford Center.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rocco Grimaldi Scores His First NHL Goal



Former Fighting Sioux forward Rocco Grimaldi scores his first NHL goal in his seventh NHL game.

UND vs. SCSU lines game two

North Dakota Forward Lines
9 Drake Caggiula–16 Mark MacMillan (A) –15 Michael Parks (A)
21 Brendan O’Donnell–27 Luke Johnson–17 Colten St. Clair
28 Stephane Pattyn (C)–13 Connor Gaarde (A) –3 Tucker Poolman
11 Trevor Olson–10 Johnny Simonson–14 Austin Poganski
North Dakota Dense Pairings
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher       
5 Nick Mattson–6 Paul LaDue
4 Keaton Thompson–24 Jordan Schmaltz

UND Goalies
31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson

Huskies Forward Lines
9 Joey Benik–22 Jonny Brodzinski–13 David Morley
16 Jimmy Murray–11 Kalle Kossila–63 Patrick Russell
18 Garrett Milan–17 Judd Peterson–2 Jarrod Rabey
27 Nick Oliver–37 Joe Rehkamp–21 Brooks Bertsch
Huskies Defense Pairings
28 Andrew Prochno–40 Tim Daly
5 Nathan Widman–12 Ethan Prow
7 Niklas Nevalainen–26 Mika Ilvonen

Huskies Goalies

35 Charlie Lindgren
45 Rasmus Reijola
33 Joseph Phillippi

Dalton Prout pops Milan Lucic



This one-punch was the subject of much discussion on Twitter. Give credit where credit is due, Dalton Prout got lucky, and I expect that Milan Lucic will extract his pound of flesh the next time the two teams play. In my opinion, Lucic's gloves weren't off and Prout used this as an opportunity to get the upper hand on Lucic.

Friday, November 21, 2014

UND vs. SCSU game one lines

UND Forward Lines
16 Mark MacMillan (A)–9 Drake Caggiula–15 Michael Parks (A)
28 Stephane Pattyn (C)–27 Luke Johnson–7 Wade Murphy
21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder (A)–17 Colten St. Clair
29 Bryn Chyzyk–10 Johnny Simonson–14 Austin Poganski
UND Defense Pairings
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
6 Paul LaDue–3 Tucker Poolman
4 Keaton Thompson–24 Jordan Schmaltz

UND Goalies
31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson

Huskies Forward Lines
9 Joey Benik–22 Jonny Brodzinski–13 David Morley
16 Jimmy Murray–11 Kalle Kossila–63 Patrick Russell
42 Blake Winiecki–17 Judd Peterson–2 Jarrod Rabey
27 Nick Oliver–37 Joe Rehkamp–21 Brooks Bertsch
Huskies Defense Pairings
28 Andrew Prochno–40 Tim Daly
5 Nathan Widman–12 Ethan Prow
4 Ben Storm–26 Mika Ilvonen

Huskies Goalies

35 Charlie Lindgren
45 Rasmus Reijola
33 Joseph Phillippi