I mean, UMD, by my admittedly biased but hopefully not totally inaccurate estimation, played four good to very good/great games against a great North Dakota team. UMD controlled the majority of the four games, including dictating pace this past weekend in a tough place to play.
Two goals on 139 shots, one power-play goal in 16 chances, and more importantly, zero NCHC standings points.
Zero. As in "none," "not any," or maybe "not even one damn point."
Looks so bad, no matter what the product looked like.
UMD played strong defensively (the Brock Boeser winning goal late Saturday was really the only significant mistake UMD made in its own zone all weekend) and had the puck a lot, especially Friday.
Nothing to show for it.
Plainly, it (bleeping) sucks.
Two things from the Twitter crowd.
--> Lots of frustration, which is understandable. I'm not going to directly address the "fire the coach" mob, despite them being convinced they have a good case built around what the Wild have done since Mike Yeo was let go. This coach shouldn't be fired. No one has quit on Scott Sandelin, and changing coaches isn't going to magically cure the run of terrible luck this team has endured.
(Find me a team that's hit more goalposts and broken more sticks to ruin offensive zone possessions than UMD has this season. It's uncanny. You see a defenseman find a soft spot in the circle, someone passes it to his wheelhouse, he winds, and his stick explodes.)
--> People want to know what UMD (25th in the PWR) has to do to get back in at-large consideration. I don't pretend to be a math expert, but I'd say at this point it starts with sweeping St. Cloud, which would also give UMD the season series against a really good team. That can't hurt, though I admit to being clueless about how much it would actually help.
--> Lastly, people want to know if this team can get hot. I believe in this team until there are no more games to call. I'm not giving up and I know the team isn't. There are games to play, so hell yes this team can get hot. I freely admit they're running out of time, but it can happen, and the talent is there. Just ask, well, any coach or scout involved in this league.
The not-terribly-smart hit by UND defenseman Troy Stecher on UMD senior Tony Cameranesi at 20:00 of the third period Saturday night drew him a one-game suspension from the league.
Troy Stecher's hit on Tony Cameranesi - no replay from UND broadcast, made my own https://t.co/6LL7dGicFL— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 21, 2016
I hated the hit, and I'm glad the league acted. It was pretty cheap, in my estimation, and it came when the game was basically over. There was no "within the context of the game" moment. It was a hit Stecher didn't need to throw, and I'm sure he knows this without some radio hack in Duluth scolding him in a blog.
Stecher's a good player and a trusted leader on his team. He's a better player than he showed on that hit. UND will miss him in Omaha Friday night, and it will welcome him back with open arms on Saturday.
From the frying pan to the fire.
UMD heads to St. Cloud State this weekend with one more chance to play spoiler in the league title race. SCSU and UND are tied at 47 points, six points up on Denver, which closes with Western Michigan and Omaha. SCSU finishes with us and then Colorado College, while UND gets Omaha and Western Michigan.
In case you still care about who wins the league.
UMD is tied for fourth with Omaha and Miami. Omaha has the tiebreaker at the moment. Here are the remaining schedules.
Omaha: vs North Dakota, at Denver
UMD: at St. Cloud State, vs Miami
Miami: vs Colorado College, at UMD
And that's it for a brief update. Enjoy the high school hockey section finals this week, and hey the Wild are playing hockey again, so there's that, too. Talk from St. Cloud.