Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Amsoil Arena Ready for Show

This was taken Dec. 17, during a special UMD alumni game that was staged at Amsoil Arena. The purpose of the event was to allow arena staff to go through a "dry run" of sorts, along with showing appreciation to the people who worked so hard to make the building happen.

Some 3,000 people showed up, and while the alumni treated them to a fun game, the real star was the new building. It seemed that everything that needs to work was in good working order. People seemed to take to the video board, which is a tremendous upgrade over what we had at the DECC. The lighting was also a big hit. The DECC was, um, a bit dark, especially compared to the new facility.

UMD gets their first real test of the place Thursday, as North Dakota visits for the opening game. If you haven't gotten tickets yet, you might be out of luck, though there are some out there selling extra tickets they were smart enough to get when they had the chance.

Both teams are hampered by players being at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo, and North Dakota is also dealing with some injuries.

The only significant first-half injury for UMD (besides Cody Danberg, who is likely redshirting) was sophomore defenseman Wade Bergman, who suffered an upper-body injury during the Denver series. Bergman missed the Minnesota games, and UMD missed him to an extent. He's a solid player who is rarely caught out of position. Add to that his puck-moving skills, and you have a valuable piece to the blue line.

For UMD, defensemen Dylan Olsen and Justin Faulk are in Buffalo for the WJC. North Dakota's Derek Forbort and Brock Nelson are on the U.S. team. To add to UND's issues, forwards Jason Gregoire and Brett Hextall are injured and won't play.

The winner wins the regular-season series, barring any meetings in the WCHA playoffs, so it's a vitally important game. For UMD, a team that missed the NCAAs by a hair last season, anything that could help them in the Pairwise is a big deal.

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