Saturday night rewind

Five highlights from around the country:

1. Notre Dame went to Christmas break 14-4. Since opening up the second half with two three-game weeks (Tuesday, Friday, Saturday), the Irish are 1-5. They lost 2-1 to Fairbanks on Saturday, their fourth loss in a row.

2. Boston College, apparently upset by recent struggles, took out its frustration on Northeastern in a 9-3 victory. Steven Whitney with the hat trick and four points.

3. St. Cloud State, UND’s next opponent, will come in red hot after becoming the first WCHA team to sweep Denver in 60 league series — a span that dates back to 2008. The Huskies are tied with Minnesota for first place.

4. Nic Kerdiles finally knows what it feels like to lose a college hockey game. Wisconsin, which had been 8-0-3 since Kerdiles became eligible, lost 2-1 to Miami despite a strong performance in goal by Joel Rumpel.

5. Behind two goals by Derek Army, Providence upset New Hampshire 6-5. The Wildcats yanked starting goalie Casey DeSmith after allowing four goals on 15 shots.

Top WCHA performers

3 points — Drew LeBlanc, SCSU, 1 goal, 2 assists
3 points — Ben Hanowski, SCSU, 1 goal, 2 assists
3 points — Alexander Krushelnyski, CC, 1 goal, 2 assists
3 points — Rylan Schwartz, CC, 3 assists
2 points — David Morley, SCSU, 2 goals
2 points — Zach Palmquist, MSU, 2 goals

UND 4, Minnesota 4

In a highly entertaining game that left everyone buzzing in Mariucci Arena, the Gophers rallied for a 4-4 tie thanks to a goal by Nate Condon with 2:58 left in regulation. Rocco Grimaldi and Danny Kristo both rang shots off the post in overtime and the game ended in a tie. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald

Grand Forks Herald column on the rivalry

Star Tribune

Pioneer Press

USCHO

College Hockey News

UNDsports.com

Other notes:

  • Everyone leaving the rink last night talked about what a great college hockey game that was to watch. The atmosphere was outstanding. UND fans loudly chanting “Let’s Go Sioux” countered by Minnesota fans with their own “Let’s Go Gophers” chants. The arena was buzzing for almost the entire third period and overtime. It’s a shame if they don’t find a way to play this every year starting in 2016-17.
  • The game felt a little like Saturday night’s last year in Mariucci Arena to me. UND had the lead, Minnesota was pushing hard and you just felt like at some point they were going to break through. UND didn’t lose this one, but Rocco Grimaldi said it felt a little like that after the game.
  • Speaking of Grimaldi, he was really dynamic during the game and nearly won it in overtime. His shot hit the post, though. His goal was a big-time shot.
  • Minnesota always seems to be known as a high flying offensive team, but what stood out to me was their defense. They have more big, strong players than they have recently and they make it difficult to get to the net. They also win more battles in the corners than they used to.
  • The Gopher defensemen also were very active in holding the blue line and pinching. It led to them sustaining offensive possession sometimes, but freshmen Brady Skjei and Mike Reilly also got caught on two of UND’s goals.
  • Minnesota had the better of the first period, outshooting UND 13-5. After that, shots were 8-8 in the second and 13-13 in the third. I thought UND had the best of play in the overtime.
  • Zane Gothberg allowed four goals, but is perhaps starting to make a run at the No. 1 job. He played pretty well. And he got a piece of two of the four goals he allowed. I have a feeling there’s going to be a good battle for that No. 1 job here.
  • Colten St. Clair came back into the lineup and did a fantastic job. I thought he provided a ton of energy throughout the night for UND.
  • UND only had 1:04 of power play time in the game, so there wasn’t much of a chance to establish special teams.
  • A lot of people have been ragging on UND’s defensive corps. I think a lot of what we saw this weekend had to do with Minnesota’s big forwards. Zach Budish is a big guy who won two puck battles and made two really good feeds for two Minnesota goals on Saturday.
  • Minnesota coach Don Lucia didn’t seem to think Adam Wilcox was very sharp — pointing to the two posts in overtime as evidence.
  • UND doesn’t have much of a chance to come down off of this big rivalry series. Next up: the team that’s tied with Minnesota for first place, St. Cloud State. Coach Dave Hakstol didn’t think it would be any problem refocusing for another big series at home.

20 thoughts on “Saturday night rewind

  1. Brad,
    In your review of the weekend you pointed out some telling things about the Gophers this year. Their defensive play is better. They appear to be playing more gritty in the corners and winning battles (example: goals two and four on Saturday). And they are resilient. We always knew they had top-end talent, but there was a question about their compete level in the tough areas of the ice, especially against teams like UND. They are now doing that consistently, and that is why they are the top team in the country. From what I saw, they gave UND all they could handle. You have to credit a lot of that to the return of assistant coach Mike Guentzel. This is not the same Gopher team from years past.

  2. Almost seemed like Mac might be hurt. He seemed off his game. I also wonder if the guys are having challenges adapting to whatever changes Berry has made. The reality is that defensive breakdowns and one or two goals I’m sure Gothberg would like to have back cost us the game last night and it was pretty much the same the night before except we didn’t have the offensive production either. Overall, Minnesota just proved to be the better team. I’m confident, though, the guys will just get better between now and the Final five and I can’t wait to watch them win #4 in a row.

  3. Been watching Sioux hocket for 60 plus years, outside of the Bjorkman years, Ive never seen so many opposing players alone in front of or alongside of the (our) net also so many clearing passes from the corners coming to the front of the net. check the videos start with Boston U this defensive corps seems to have the skills as shown by the draft choices got to be the system poorer this year. as per Sat night especially I remember Gino saying “win the foot races will win the game most times. after the score went 4-2 I thought the UNDs stood around and watched a good team play. maybe the new defensive system needs an overhaul its bad dont blame all on the goalies. JACK Sioux faqn Sartell MN

  4. Jack, you hit it on the nose. ND’s defensive scheme is not working and I cannot think of a time when our D played this poorly. Is it lack of talent? I don’t think so. There are 3 keys to playing defense, taking care of the front of the net, stopping forwards at the blue line and getting pucks in the corner and moving it up quickly to the forwards. Our D are not doing an effective job in any of these areas and it is painful to watch. Hak is the head coach, he needs to fix this quickly.

    • I thought bringing in the new Defensive coach would strengthen the back end, hasnt seemed to yet, so far. Hopefully they can pick it up. Its crunch time and we have the hardest schedule down the stretch.

  5. Great effort by the Sioux, and Mr Lucia should be ashamed for not keeping the rivalry going (certainly among the dumbest decisions I think I’ve ever seen in college hockey). Funny thing, but I remember all the live blog bozos thinking the sky was falling during the first series with SCSU, and here they come next week easily one of the best teams in the country. LOL……

  6. I’m not sure if Eades took the Big-Bad-Sioux image with him, but these guys seemed to be tippy-toeing around, trying not to hit people. Or maybe it’s just that they’re trying to stay out of the box. Either way, I was disappointed with our efforts in the corners and along the boards.

  7. Maybe it is Eades? Defense looked better on Saturday and Minnesota is probably the best team they have had since 02-03. Not to many weak spots and there guys aren’t such runts anymore.

    Glad Rau worries more about flapping his gums than playing hockey. Didn’t seem to be much of a noticeable player for having 13 goals on the season other than talking all game.

    Rocco probably had his best game as Sioux on Saturday night. Gopher fans were buzzing around where i was sitting about his play. Hopefully a good sign of finally feeling back to normal after the injury and getting some games under his belt. He was full throttle all game and fun to watch.

    Agree on the Gothberg take, he seems to have earned a shot. Someone needs to step up and be the guy going into the playoffs, but I don’t think either guy has earned anything yet.

    St. Clair did look also coming back into the lineup.

  8. Just makes you wonder if you ND Hockey fans watch the same game. Sure Rau was running his mouth, its what he does, but you have plenty of them types of guys on your squad as well. MacWilliam was bitter that Rau but him on his rear end earlier in the game, so he was in Rau’s grill, and typical ND move, words weren’t enough, he had to go B slap him. How both guys got 4 min there is beyond me.

    The most pathetic and class-less moves of the weekend is the way the ND hockey team hacked and 2 handed Haula multiple times in his wrist. That right there shows 0 class and 0 respect. Really? That’s how you want to prove you can play with the big boys? Year after year your team goes out of its way to try and injure people, its pathetic, and its just a reflection of your bush league coach.

    That being said, great series, tons of fun to watch. Great atmosphere at Mariucci. Props to the ND fans who for a couple periods had something to cheer about. And props to Rocco, man he is fun to watch and was a beast out there Saturday night. That is one guy that does it the right way and I enjoy watching him.

    • Not even sure why i am responding? Do you watch hockey ever? Do you know how many love taps guys take on the wrists, arms etc.? If you deem that classless, you are clueless.

      Watch the Wild game tonight and take one shot for every slash to the arm. You would be bombed 5 minutes into the game.

    • Gophers are hacks, especially cheap cross checks to the back after plays/whistles. The only difference is North Dakota players stay on their feet or get up right away while Gopher players act like a bomb went off and lay on the ice. Watch the beginning faceoff, Rau hooks a North Dakota player from the red line center ice to the blue line no call. Serratorre gets a clean rub out and near jumps out of his skates like a frog to the glass and then drops to the ice like a bomb went off and draws a nice acting penalty. Then he promptly interferes behind the play. Anytime anyone comes near a Gopher they turn their back to them because they are chicken to any physical play. Helgeson is a goon and instigates all the time (elbows, slashing) but is too chicken to engage anyone straight up. Budish did a cheap knee to knee that wasn’t called. The Gopher homers don’t see any of that stuff though.

  9. Grimaldi was the most talked about hockey player in the section I was sitting in. He was the best player on the ice, and Hak pulled him up on the top line at the end of the Game hoping he would get the game winning goal. AND he almost did, hitting the post in overtime.

    After the Sioux went up 2 goals, you could clearly see that UND was pulling back to 3 players on the blue line, and trying to trap the Gophers. It opened the door for the Gophers, and seemed to put the Sioux back on their heels. They would dump the puck in, and then skate in and out work the Sioux in the corners. Had Hakstol kept the floor check on, and keep attacking the puck, I think the Sioux win this game.

  10. Ryan, don’t let he door hit ya.

    That’s rich. A gopher fan whining about someone being classless. From the “I make more money than you” annals of college hockey.

  11. I missed Friday nights game but attended the Saturday evening game and made the mental note that the Sioux didn’t play like I have previously seen them play against the gophs! Minnesota was the aggressor and perhaps I missed something but they were also the much more physical team. Our defensive corps have obviously changed a’s something is not working. If the new coach was supposed to bring a positive change it wasn’t evident this weekend. I also thought that MN was trapping a lot more and that it took us way too long to adjust. Not saying we were out coached, but something was askew!

  12. On Condon’s goal it looked like Knight hesitated to pressure Budish down low and instead tried to block/deflect the pass to the front. I bet if he had it to do over he gets his stick on the puck and a body on Budish instead of playing passively.

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