Friday Morning Reading

Wisconsin hasn’t had a sellout in any of its first four home games, but athletic department officials are expecting that to change this weekend.

UND will be in Madison during a busy sports weekend in the college town. The hockey games are at 7:07 on Friday and Saturday, and the football team is hosting Indiana on Saturday afternoon.

Believe it or not, over half of UND’s roster has never experienced the Kohl Center. UND didn’t go there last year. Some of the younger players said they heard about it from the older players and are excited to experience it for themselves.

One of those who has never played at Kohl Center is sophomore Danny Kristo, who enters the series without a goal in the first 10 games. Kristo buzzed his hair this week, so maybe that will help change his fortunes. Jayson Hajdu had an interesting note in his release this week that Kristo had only 1 goal in 11 games to start last season. Kristo finished with 15 tallies and 41 points and won rookie of the year.

In Thursday’s paper, I wrote a feature about freshman Derek Rodwell. He didn’t get much talk coming in, but he has made it impossible for the coaches to take him out of the lineup. His coaches and teammates had some interesting comments about Rodwell in the story here.

Today’s notebook talks about the early departures in college hockey. UND coach Dave Hakstol doesn’t seem quite as alarmed as other coaches, noting the pride the coaching staff takes in seeing guys move on to the NHL. He also said players have to make smart business decisions when it comes time to leave. Read that story here.

There are also some notes in that story, including one about Derrick LaPoint, who will have lots of family on hand this weekend. Believe it or not, but LaPoint has not played in Madison since the first month of his college career. He has been injured on UND’s last two trips to Kohl Center.

This week’s Q&A is with Chay Genoway, who talks about his first 10 games back and gives us his list of favorites.

Like UND, the Badgers are in the middle of a tough stretch of games. After the Sioux, they get Duluth, Michigan and Michigan State. Wisconsin is coming off of a three-point weekend at Minnesota.

One of the key players in the weekend at Mariucci was freshman Michael Mersch, who is the first player under Mike Eaves to accelerate high school and come to college early. I can think of three players off hand at UND who have recently done it: Jonathan Toews, Joe Finley and Dillon Simpson. I know Drew Stafford came in at 17, but I’m not sure if he accelerated.

Elsewhere around the league…

Nebraska-Omaha at St. Cloud State: Omaha coach Dean Blais is sticking to his prediction that Mike Lee will lead the Huskies to their first national championship. Blais coached Lee, of Roseau, with the Fargo Force. Blais also warns the Mavs about how good the Huskies are.

Michigan Tech at Minnesota-Duluth: Duluth has been getting big production from freshman J.T. Brown, who is the son of a former Vikings running back. Also of note, a year after Ralph Engelstad Arena’s Denny Gunderson retired, Duluth’s Zamboni driver also is going to call it quits after 37 years.

MSU-Mankato at Denver: The Mavs will get a big lift with the return of Rylan Galiardi this weekend. On the other side, Denver also figures to get some players back in the lineup.

Alaska-Anchorage at Bemidji State: The Anchorage Daily News has a good story about Brookings, S.D., product Justin Kirchhevel, who UAA says is the first South Dakota native to play in the WCHA. He also played junior hockey with the Fargo-Moorhead Jets. Kirchhevel has three points in two games for the Seawolves. Bemidji State, meanwhile, is getting solid minutes from Grand Rapids product Sam Rendle.

Colorado College at Air Force, vs. Yale: Both Colorado Springs teams are looking to take a step forward, while Yale will be looking to knock off a WCHA team to help its Pairwise cause at the end of the season.

…and that should do it. Catch you all from Madison.

11 Responses

  1. B.E fan

    Mike Lee has been beat in almost every big game that he has played in. Lee is one of the most over rated goalies in college hockey…

  2. iceicebaby

    As a player for UNO, I would be upset if my coach was predicting another team to win a national championship. I mean, who goes on the record betting against their own team? Disappointed in Dean on that one. Go Sioux!!!

  3. Mike Lee

    Season GP Minutes GA GAAvg Saves Save% W L T Sho
    2009-10…………. 26 1477:03 69 2.80 758 .917 12 9 3 2.0
    2010-11…………. 6 326:15 18 3.31 142 .887 3 2 0 0.0
    TOTAL…………… 32 1803:18 87 2.89 900 .912 15 11 3 2.0

    I don’t think I would EVER call him one of ‘the most over rated goalies in college hockey’ with those stats, especially considering that was his freshman year in the WCHA splitting time with D.Dunn. Not to mention the gold medal me won being the top goaltender in the WJ tournament, posting a 4-0 record, 1.75 goals against average, and .933 save percentage.
    Here are Eidsness’s numbers, assuming you think HE is not an overrated goalie:
    GP-GS Minutes GA Avg Saves Pct W L T Sho PP SH EN Pen SOG
    41-40 2440:31 105 2.58 1001 .905 24 12 4 1 32 6 0 0 0
    41-38 2391:23 84 2.11 891 .914 24 10 4 3 27 2 0 0 0

    I will just let the facts speak for themselves, maybe try and do your homework before you plague this blog with your ignoramus statements again.

  4. Doug

    The Kohl Center is a fun place to watch WCHA hockey. But sometimes the ice is a little slow after the basketball floor’s been on. If you get a chance to see the Sioux on the road at the Kohl Center, go for it.

  5. nwminn

    brad – although hakstol says that he is not alarmed, is it a concern that he (and the league) are losing players early and before being nhl-ready or fully developed? can he say anything about recruiting tactics to entice players to stay at und longer. i know it is important to bring in top talent, but do you suppose college football coaches bring in quarterbacks (knowing that the college game is different than the nfl – imagine that) hoping to get them to the nfl or hoping to win games and play for the national championship? from what you know, has und changed the way they offer scholarships to student athletes to get them to stay in college until they are fully developed/nhl-ready? i have heard that another school in the wcha has gone to offering full scholarships for the final two years, no scholarships for the first two years. i don’t know how popular that will become.

    1. You are correct that it is a concern about players going before they are ready. He believes it’s all about making good decisions. When guys like Toews and Oshie leave, the coaches are happy to see them achieve their NHL dreams.

      I have not heard of UND doing anything like that with scholarships.

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