It’s like deja vu all over again. Yet another conference series, yet another split.
Minnesota outplayed North Dakota throughout the first 55 minutes of the contest, and led 4-1 before two Sioux goals in the final four minutes woke up the crowd and had the Gophers on their heels. Minnesota survived the late rally and prevailed, 4-3.
I wonder if I can even use the phrase “final four” without paying some sort of penalty to the NCAA. Hmmm….
I have two rants before I get to the game action:
Rant Number One: I will NEVER understand why fans leave a game early. Especially this series. Cold outside? Stay ’til the end. Sick? Stay ’til the end. Tired? Stay ’til the end. Team not playing well? Cheer louder and stay ’til the end. Growing up, we learned that the post-game show on the radio was what we listened to as we were stuck in post-game traffic.
Rant Number Two: I also don’t understand why fans throw objects on the ice. Ok, I can look past the gopher (moderately funny), but pompoms and pop? Come on, are we six years old? The only thing that I think is unfortunate about the “any more objects will result in a Sioux penalty” proclamation is this: what’s to stop any of the hundreds of Gopher fans in the arena from chucking almonds on the ice and creating an instant power play for their squad? I think it’s a tough spot for the refs to be in, and we as fans shouldn’t put them there.
Now to the game action:
It was much the same story as Friday night, with Minnesota outshooting and outchancing UND through the first two periods. The difference in Saturday’s game was that the Gophers were up 4-1 after two, with back-breaking goals at the end of each period proving too much for the Fighting Sioux to overcome.
The only area UND excelled at for the game (and the weekend) was in the face-off circle. VandeVelde is much improved on draws, and Zajac continues to win almost 60%.
It’s worth mentioning that Jean-Philippe Lamoureux tied the school record for consecutive starts by a goaltender with his 40th game in a row. I would imagine that he will break the record by starting Friday’s tilt against New Hampshire after the Christmas break, and then get a much-
deserved break on Saturday.
Minnesota outplayed North Dakota for much of this series, and could easily have swept the two games. The Gophers were better in most areas, particularily in the first forty minutes of each game.
Remarkably, in three WCHA home series, UND is 3-0 on Friday and 0-3 on Saturday. On the road in the WCHA, it’s the opposite: 0-3 on Friday and 3-0 on Saturday. Coincidence or trend?
UND falls to 6-6-0 in the WCHA, while Minnesota improves to 5-7-0. The way the conference race looks right now, there are a number of teams bunched up with five to seven losses, and after Colorado College and Denver, the race is still wide open.
Thank you for reading. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.