Random updates

Yale won its first national title Saturday night, defeating Quinnipiac 4-0 in the championship.

The Bulldogs had the ingredients needed to win it all — they had a good team, they played their best in the NCAAs and they caught a lot of breaks along the way.

Yale wouldn’t have even been in the tournament had Boston University beat UMass-Lowell in the Hockey East finals or had Michigan beat Notre Dame in the CCHA finals.

Once in the tournament, the Bulldogs were close to being knocked out in each of their first three games. Against Minnesota, Nick Bjugstad had a Grade A chance with about 10 seconds to go, but fired wide. Against UND, it was the three pipes and disallowed goal. And against Lowell, the River Hawks had a 2-on-1 in overtime but couldn’t convert.

With the great depth in the sport these days and the closeness of games in the NCAAs, I’m not sure anything can be classified as a big upset anymore. This year, the No. 15 overall seed won it all. Two No. 4 seeds reached the Frozen Four.

Watching the way Yale played in the tournament, it’s very hard to figure out how this team got shutout twice by the combined score of 8-0 the week before the NCAAs, because they definitely looked the part of a title team in the NCAAs, beating the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 overall seeds en route to the trophy.

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Dubuque Fighting Saints coach Jim Montgomery will be introduced as the new head coach of the University of Denver at noon today in a presser.

Montgomery made an interesting decision to go to Denver, being he’s a Maine alum and was reportedly their top choice.

Nonetheless, there will be a press conference this afternoon and it will be interesting if the media will finally be able to ask questions to athletic director Peg Bradley-Doppes about the firing of George Gwozdecky. Bradley-Doppes has not yet done a single interview on the firing or given an explanation.

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UND’s Carter Rowney and Derek Forbort both scored their first professional goals over the weekend.

Forbort scored on a point shot for the Manchester Monarchs in the AHL. Rowney converted a two-on-one for the Abbotsford Heat in the AHL.

Who would have predicted that both Rowney and Forbort would have AHL goals before Danny Kristo (he has three assists)?

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Jonathan Toews is the first former Sioux player to punch a ticket to the NHL playoffs. Toews and the Blackhawks will be chasing their second Cup in four years.

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I attended the Fargo-Sioux City game Saturday night. A few observations:

Defenseman Charlie Pelnik was a scratch, so I didn’t see him play. Pelnik has been hurt most of this season.

Forward Trevor Olson, who committed this week, was pretty good. He created some offense and made a huge, clean hit. Fans who went to Friday’s game probably got to see more of an offensive show from Olson. He had four points that night. Olson got a fighting major (wasn’t much of a fight), so that kept him off the ice for over 10 minutes. I noticed he didn’t kill penalties, probably something he will do next season for Sioux City.

Defenseman Ryan Mantha has an NHL body. He’s huge and has an advantage with his long reach. He has work to do on his skating, but that’s probably to be expected for such a young player in the league. One USHL coach told me that Mantha could be first-round material in the 2014 NHL Draft. I randomly ended up sitting next to his parents, who were wearing Fighting Sioux gear.

Uncommitted forward Avery Peterson of Grand Rapids was very good. Whoever gets him is getting a very nice offensive player.

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Lastly, the folks who work in the front office for the Force are doing something right, as attendance is still fantastic in Season No. 5.

We got general admission tickets and figured we would be able to go find a random empty seat and sit there, but we were unable to because it was so full.

Fargo had its best season attendance ever, drawing an average of 3,902 per game.

People don’t sell Fargo as a hockey town, but this is the fourth consecutive season that the Force have outdrawn the Bison men’s basketball team in average attendance. In fact, this year, the Force’s average attendance was more than that of the Bison men’s and women’s basketball programs combined.

32 thoughts on “Random updates

  1. Brad, I was at the Force game as well on Saturday and was curious what your opinion was of Sioux City’s goalie? He is uncommitted, his season stats aren’t amazing, but I thought his performance on Saturday showed great potential.

  2. After the Sioux loss to Yale a few weeks ago, we were deluged here with irrational commentary like “fire Hak”, or “we need better goalies”. Crickets are now chirping, as they marched convincingly (and deservedly) to become national champs. Were it not for their goaltender’s injury in February, its likely they would have been the reguar season champs in the ECAC too. With the most unheralded player in the country (Agostino) returning next year (and only 3 main contributors graduating), they will be a force to reckon with next year as well. Lets hope the fairweather Siux fans that were braying so loudly (and stupidly) gain much-needed perspective before next season begins…

    • Yup, we’re 0-2 against Yale in the NCAA’s so we should be happy now that they won the NC. Yeah Yale. But I have gained no perspective. Hak said during the postgame show that game needed to be won 1-0 and it looked like that’s exactly what we were trying to do. Hang on. And that switch up of every single line from the day before still has me bewildered. Had we kept the lines together might we have looked a little more organized out there? Two teams that don’t offer scholly’s win out against the rest of the country where the blue chippas all go….I know there are lots of excuses out there for why we lost….what I’m looking for is what we have to do to win? Outplayed-obviously…but why? 2 hobey backer finalists and we can’t beat them? 6 drafted Dmen and we can’t beat them. A kid that was labeled pre-season rookie of the year two years running, etc. Obviously we have the players. C’mon! No more excuses. Hak needs to bring one home or the outcry will just keep getting louder. Hey, I’m all for him winning ten…I would have no issue with it, but first I’d like to see him win the first one and sometime before I die. Go Sioux!

      • Worth noting that the lines were going to be switched up from what they practiced with all week because of the game day injury to Mitch MacMillan. There was no way for them to use the lines that they went with during the week. The lines they used on Saturday actually were more frequently used this season than what they used on Friday.

        Also worth pointing out that as much as everyone likes to use the line that Yale doesn’t offer scholarships, their players are still getting “financial aid” – it’s just not called a “scholarship.”

        • No, they are just not called athletic scholarships. I’m aware they get aid, but it has to be academically related, so they are academic scholarships. Of course that shouldn’t surprise us as Yale’s entrance requirements are quite high. As to the lines on Saturday, I remember the General centering the 3rd line once of twice…I would need some more detail to buy that those lines were used more frequently. Not in my memory, but I’ll admit it’s far from photographic ;-) I could be wrong.

          • Ive League schools do not give out either academic or athletic scholarships. The scholarships they provide are solely need-based. I suppose that makes it difficult to attract intelligent students as well?

          • Just because it is need based, does not mean it isn’t a scholarship. This from an Ivy League Q&A:

            “The first thing you need to know is that all scholarships awarded by the Ivy League are need based. That means that the only students who receive Ivy League financial aid are those whose families cannot afford to pay full freight. However, even many students from middle-class homes receive some sort of scholarship assistance due to the high price tag attached to these schools.”

            Still a scholly in my mind. You can call it what you wish though.

      • i am really getting sick of playing not to lose under hakstol. look at yale. they played to win in that championship game when it was in the 3rd and they were up 1-0. hak needs to change the way he coaches, because its not getting it done. getting sick of him.

      • I have absolutely NO doubt you will NEVER gain perspective (nor even a semblance of common hockey sense), as here you are again running your gums about “Yale”. Yale’s top two lines were as good as any in the country, and that why they drastically outplayed everyone in the playoffs (averaging close to 40 shots per game). Were it not for heroic performances by Mr Saunders and the Lowell goalie, I’m sure the margins of victory in those contests would have been pretty obscene.

        I’d argue with you if I thought you had enough hockey experience/knowledge to carry on a decent discussion, but sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case here….:-)

        • Viking1…are you really Hak under a pseudonym? It seems you’re on a one man bent to defend him. I don’t hate him. I don’t think he’s a good bench boss, sorry I disagree with you. I believe he does a real good job of recruiting and developing players (you can insert your sarcastic remark here _____). I’ve had season tickets over 25 years and have probably missed a half dozen home games in that time. I’m no expert, but I see a pattern and I have to say something about it. Don’t take it personally, unless of course, you are Hak ;-)

          • LOL!! I’ve never even SEEN a live game Mr Hakstol has coached, and have no personal axe to grind here. In fact, the last live Sioux game I was at was when I played AGAINST the National Championship 81-82 team (Zombo, Patrick, Murray, Jensen, Casey, Ludwig, Eads, et al, and yes I’m old :-) ). The game of hockey has evolved SO much since then in both the size & speed of the players (as well as the number of extremely-skilled players being developed), yet expectations haven’t evolved at the same pace. All this change has brought about parity in college hockey, and that’s something the average fan probably cant understand. I really dont want to have an internet argument about it; I’ve just seen the same critcal remarks about the goaltenders & coaching over the years from people who arent qualified to render said judgements on this blog and the live chat, and frankly its mind-numbingly boring….

  3. Viking1 just like I’ve said the last 4 yrs. & I will say the end of next year when he comes up short again FIRE HAK!!! You might as well have Mark Martin behind the bench will be consistent but never win a championship! By the way I take it your a Vikings fan as I am but maybe we should still be hanging on to Denny Green too!

    • Viking1 I guess we will have to wait another year and come up short and maybe then you will see after 10 yrs. his time was up long ago! I totally agree with ctrain with all the talent The Ralph has given him you think he would’ve closed the deal atleast one time!Viking1 could have coached the team!

  4. Viking1…us “fairweather” Sioux fans weren’t commenting b/c the Sioux season was over. I still think there should be more pressure put on Hak to see what he’s made of. Again, with the talent the Sioux have put up there these past 10 seasons it’s tough not to have at least one championship. This next season will be crucial for Hak with no clear blue-chip scorers coming back except for Rocco. The new NCHC will be wide open and very tough. Here’s to hoping for some serious underclassmen growth and to be very competitive next year…

    • You honestly dont think there is a lot of pressure already on Mr Hakstol? I’m quite certain he is probably hs own worst critic…

  5. I agree Fargo has some hockey blood running through its veins. It’s no surprise they have outdrawn the Bison basketball teams.

    I think the USHL has found a great home in Fargo and it helps strengthen the pipeline of hockey along I-29. Fargo to Grand Forks to Winnipeg. It’s a reality now!

  6. Viking1, there is no chance that Yale would have dethroned Quinnipiac as the ECAC regular season champion. Their goalie missed only 5 games and Quinnipiac may have already locked up the regular season championship right around the time that he was hurt. Good try though.

    • They only finshed 12 points behind Quinnipiac. You are assuming their goaltender came back from an injury immediately in tip-top playing condition (highly unlikely), but we are all speculating here anyway. What IS for certain is that Yale kicked the crap out of Quinnpiac when it mattered, because they were the best team in the nation. End of story…. :-)

  7. To All,
    There is no reason UND should not have won with Toews, Oshie, and Duncan. With the exception of Finley, talent alone almost brought home a national championship. Goalie recruiting needs to be a better priority in the Hakstol Administration. Zane Gothberg is a good start. Two years and he will be one of the best in the league, along with Minnesota’s Wilcox.

    • The Sioux have two very talented netminders in Gothberg and Saunders, but it WILL be interesting to see who they bring in next season as a third goalie. I imagine that is a high priority right now as injuries can certainly occur quickly, and you need someone who can step in and contribute….

  8. The Sioux recruits are always among the best in the nation, yet no title for Mr. Hakstol. Why isn’t that a coaching problem? The Sioux fans are not fair weather. We back the team no matter what and want only what’s best for the team. But sometimes that means hiring a new coach.

    • I’m sure Mr Hakstol will be replaced eventually (arent we all?), but the fact that every college team now usually has a class coming where a good number have already been drafted already has changed the game substantially. When the powers that be detect a coaching vacuum, I’m sure they will make a change for the benefit of the program. Mr Hakstol’s track record certainly exempts him from that distinction, like it or not…

  9. I can’t help but wonder how the Sioux would have done during the same 10 years under Scott Sandelin, the logical successor to DB.

      • Yep thats what I’m thinking! We all know it would have been nice if ol’ Deaner would have stuck around rather than going after the big paycheck in Columbus. No doubt he is probably still kicking himself after stops in Fargo and now Omaha. Bottom line is Hak is an outstanding coach and with all the parity in college hockey these days it is extremely tough to win it all with the format the NCAA is using…

        On another note or something to think of. I wonder if these smaller schools with smaller fan bases and attendance numbers during the regular season thrive come playoff time because they are used to playing in front of 1-2,000 fans a night wheres the Sioux play in front of 12,000 and maybe depend a little more on the environment of the building for motivation…. What do you think?

    • I heard Sandelin was actually offered the job before Hak and he wanted to take it but his wife didn’t want to move back to Grand Forks. The same person told Sandelin’s wife is a highly compensated Dr. Anyone know if there’s truth to any of that? I’ve heard this a number of times in the past 10 years but never been able to confirm. I don’t really care but its amusing if so, esp the part about Sandelin’s wife.

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