Saturday Night Rewind

As much as some people said that the British Columbia trip was a bad idea, it sure looks like it was a good idea after UND swept Colorado College over the weekend.

UND did not play well in Burnaby coming out of Christmas break, and you have to wonder whether it would have looked like that this weekend against the Tigers had it not worked out the rust in Bill Copeland Sports Arena.

As it is, UND is on a seven-game winning streak, and it appears the team has started to learn how to walk that narrow line to victory.

Take a look at the seven-game winning streak. Six of those games were one-goal games in the third period. UND trailed in the third period in two of the last three. UND has done a great job holding on to leads, too. It is 9-0-1 in the last 10 games that it has led at any point.

Right now, UND is finding different ways to win games.

This weekend’s opponent, Colorado College, is finding ways to lose games.

Against UND, the Tigers took a five-minute major penalty with 4:58 to go on Friday night, ending any chance of them tying up a one-goal game. On Saturday, a defenseman coughed up the puck to Rocco Grimaldi on top of the crease during a tie game in the third period.

Here’s my game story that details the different paths of UND and CC.

One big difference in UND this weekend is the play of Mark MacMillan. He clearly was not close to 100 percent in the first half — he couldn’t skate effectively at all — but has returned to old form.

MacMillan torched a couple of D-men and scored goals driving the net this weekend, and Tom Miller wrote a story about the difference in his game.

A few other observations about this weekend:

**** Michael Parks had a very good weekend. And late in Saturday’s game, he had the puck in the slot area and he actually shot high. The shot hit the crossbar. I thought it was, for sure, going to be a goal and that he was going to turn and point at the press box.

**** UND’s faceoff percentage from the start of the season to Nov. 29 was .499. During the seven-game winning streak, it is at .521.

**** Derek Rodwell had his best weekend of the year. He was terrific in this game. There was a play in the second period where he carried the puck in the neutral zone through heavy traffic and was able to keep his balance. I don’t think he would have made that play earlier in the season. With a minute left in the game, Rodwell’s line got the call to protect the lead. They were playing as well as any unit.

**** Keaton Thompson leads the team in plus-minus with a plus-8 rating. He has not been on the ice for a goal against yet in his college career. Thompson obviously scored a big, game-tying goal in the third.

**** In case you didn’t see, Omaha outshot Duluth 53-13 and lost 3-1. Omaha is winless in six straight now, but it obviously helped getting Jaycob Megna back on Saturday.

**** Western Michigan finished off a sweep of Miami and is now 5-1 since getting swept by UND.

Hopefully, I’ll have some more stats for you later today.

21 Responses

  1. Sparky

    I’m a homer, but Thompson is going to be a very special player. He is smart with the puck and you can’t teach this….the way he moves the puck reminds me of a young Phil Housley. Needs experience, about 7 lbs muscle and he will be off to the races. Actually, I think our defense played much, much better and I may have to eat a little crow here….:) Brad, is this UND team one of the smallest of all time? Am I the only one who thinks we need a little more size?

  2. Trickey7

    Nice Weekend Boys! They really looked good on Friday night. Only listened on the radio Saturday, but the younger players are looking more comfortable and the veterans are starting to play well. There’s one or two potential all stars in there (sorry this post got away and turned into a Major League quote)

  3. Bob

    “On Saturday, a defenseman coughed up the puck to Rocco Grimaldi…” You were gracious in not identifying him as one of the two freshmen defensemen CBS sports announcers raved about all Friday night, as well they should, since Slavin and Olaffason are promising players with great potential. But look at the tape and you will see they were on the ice or made bonehead plays like this one for most if not all of UND’s weekend goals.

  4. willythekid

    I’m not so sure about the exhibitions in Canada being a good thing Brad… It was the final straw for the Tambellini camp and was a disaster for it’s main cause, northwest Canadian recruiting. I know this team doesn’t have the talent that we are accustomed to seeing but why would we need two exhibitions to “knock the rust off” when many other D1 teams just went right back to business with no problem?

    1. A. Tambellini had decided to go before the Vancouver trip. B. We have no idea whether it impacted northwest Canadian recruiting in any way. C. When you have 27 days between games, you’re not going to just pick up where you left off. Look at some of the results of the top-ranked teams when they came back: No. 1 Minnesota tied Colgate. No. 2 Ferris State lost to Colgate. No. 4 Providence lost to Air Force and tied Merrimack. Wisconsin lost to Anchorage. Brown got a win and a tie against CC and DU… not many teams seemed to go back to business no problem.

      1. willythekid

        I hadn’t heard that Adam knew his intentions before that series… makes his move all that more bush-league. There may be no way to prove it but I think UND’s trip could not have helped recruiting in that part of Canada one bit. I understand that some top teams were rusty as well but it seemed more like effort issues in Canada and not just being rusty.

  5. David

    Does the Herald have an ongoing inside joke at the expense of the team? O’Donnell comes back from an injury, we get a sweep, and the next day’s sports section has a front page picture of him getting hit hard and going down. Now MacMillan comes back from an injury, we get a sweep, and there he is on the front page going down on the ice.

    Please put the stick salute on this coming Saturday’s front page. Also, please continue predicting splits, as the prediction has boded well for our sweeps!

    Thanks for the coverage!

  6. paul T

    The boys definately looked in sink this weekend. Have to say both second periods from friday and saturday looked good. Saturday night especially CC Goaltending kept them in the game for sure. UND definately had 3 or 4 good chances that were capped by great CC saves to keep the game from getting out of control.

  7. CC

    Willy, “seemed” like effort? Why so reluctant to believe a team can be a little out of sync and rusty after a long layoff? It can happen in only Seven days in a sport like football. Twenty+ days was a long and very needed break for this young team. I think it was the definition “coming back rusty”. Why can’t it be rust, why do you have to be a hater?

    1. willythekid

      I love UND hockey… not a hater at all. I think that some wear the green glasses a bit too much sometimes, and can’t believe that sometimes the boys aren’t giving it their all. Brad said that Tambellini had made his decision before the Vancouver series… do you think he was giving it his all those last games? Did you happen to see the Friday night game against St. Lawrence?

      1. Intensity always is an issue in mid-season exhibition games. It has been for years in the U-18 game, but since they’ve won all of those, nobody has really brought that up. UND wasn’t playing the same way in Canada as it was before. Was that strictly because it was an exhibition game? Or did this team forget how it needed to play in order to win during the long layoff? Probably a bit of both. I do agree that the team wasn’t playing all out in B.C., until the third period vs. SFU. But it appears that they got their edge back in time for CC.

  8. Siouxnami

    Olaffason is going to want to burn that tape. He will be a great player or I hope so because I think he was the Wild’s 2nd round pick. Not only did he cough up the puck to Grimaldi, but he is also the player that MacMillan torched for a goal.

  9. Seattle51

    As a Sioux fan living in Seattle, I thought it was Great that the team played in Vancouver. I certainly wouldnt call it a disaster, if anything it provided the team with more focus and determiniation. They found out that they arnt good enough to just show up and win, they need to show up, and work to ge the W.

    1. Viking1

      Its a simple fact that the Canadian Universities are FAR more experienced (and much older) than US DI teams. How that fact is escaping everyone on this blog is beyond me…..

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