Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Hockey Notes and Thoughts: Enjoying the Holiday

This has been fun, I have to admit. I haven't even logged into the computer since early Thursday, and that was to look at Black Friday ads.

It's always good to get away, even if it's only for a couple days, and even if you don't necessarily go anywhere. We're hockey fans here, and I have a greater appreciation for the sport virtually every day I cover it.

But down time is a must, even if you don't do much to begin with.

Anyway, I don't have much for you this week. Didn't watch much of the televised games on Friday, which included Minnesota falling 4-3 at Michigan State, Denver shutting out Princeton 3-0, and North Dakota winning a goaltenders' duel over Colorado College, 7-6.

(All of a sudden, UMD is ahead of the mighty Gophers in the Pairwise. Hmm ... )

I will say that North Dakota looked rock-solid Friday in the third period. I thought they got away with some stick fouls while trying to hold off the Tigers late, but Brad Eidsness did a great job in relief of Aaron Dell, and UND found a way to get two points it really, really needed against a very good team.

There are concerns with this Fighting Sioux team. For starters, the team save percentage is .880, which is beyond bad and bordering on garish. Starter Dell has a save percentage of .875, which is 30 points below his career total, and 49 under his number (.924) from last season.

Defensively, this team is nowhere near where it needs to be. I know you know about Dave Hakstol's reputation as coach, so I won't bore you with it again. We know it's expected to improve. And it probably will improve. But it hasn't yet.

Seven goals against CC, though, is nothing to sneeze at. Perhaps the start of UND's annual surge to the top.


Friday's other WCHA game saw Alaska-Anchorage beat Minnesota State 5-4. In non-conference play, St. Lawrence beat Michigan Tech 3-2, and Wisconsin eased past Mercyhurst, 7-2. St. Cloud State and Nebraska-Omaha are playing a Saturday/Sunday series in Omaha.

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