MINNEAPOLIS -- About the first ten seconds of this are all you need.
Sums it up.
Not sure what else needs to be put in this space after a 6-1 Minnesota win here Friday night.
UMD scored first, as its fourth line continued to be effective. Charlie Sampair buried a close-in rebound and gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
As well as UMD played the first 14 minutes of this game, little did we know it would be the highlight of the night for the visitors.
Minnesota buried a turnover that turned into a speed rush into the Bulldog zone to tie the score. And it was curtains from there. UMD forgot everything good that happened over 14 minutes, and the Bulldogs couldn't regain their poise at any point in the game before the score was out of hand.
We just were talking earlier this week on the radio about the Wild, after they lost 6-2 to Montreal on Tuesday. Games get away from even the best NHL teams over the course of a long season.
The college season is much shorter, but the same is true. Games get away from you every now and then, even if you're a good team.
That's all this was, ultimately. It wasn't a mandate about how good the Gophers are. We know how good the Gophers are. Instead, it was a mandate about what happens when you feed into the Gophers' strengths, which UMD did all night with bad turnovers and bad clearing attempts. The Bulldogs did a pretty decent job for a good chunk of this game at getting pucks to the net, but UMTC sophomore goalie Adam Wilcox was as good as I've ever seen him. That only made UMD's job even more difficult. It was bad enough when the goals started piling up for Minnesota, but Wilcox' play made any sort of attempt at a rally virtually impossible.
UMD will be back in Duluth by the time most of you read this. The Bulldogs will bus back down Sunday. It's a move that will draw plenty of questions if UMD doesn't play well. Of course, we all know that's unfair. Doesn't stop people from doing it.
Reality is that a day here to do nothing does nothing for the team. They can sleep in their own beds for two nights by going home, and they can practice at home Saturday before coming back down Sunday. Is it a "normal" game day? No. But no 4pm game on a Sunday after a Friday game and basically a day off is going to be a "normal" situation for people who as accustomed to their routines as Division I athletes tend to be.
If UMD doesn't rebound with a better effort Sunday, it won't have a damn thing to do with the travel schedule. Nothing.
I'll probably add to this either Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning, or post a separate blog. I have an early wake-up to get back to Duluth Saturday morning and run my PeeWee team's practice. And after what I've heard about their game Friday, that practice won't include many pucks.
Talk at you again later this weekend.