Saturday night rewind

What would a hockey season be without some wild travel adventures?

After a strange day that involved multiple trips to Denver International Airport, multiple trips to Dollar Rent a Car and another trip to the Cherry Cricket for a Cricket burger, we are finally back in North Dakota.

We were originally booked for Tuesday night but found a way to grab the last two standby seats on a flight to Fargo tonight. Despite the awful weather and the whole not-able-to-use-your-heat thing, it’s good to be back.

On Saturday night, UND played a pretty strong all-around game, but only had a 3-0 loss to show for it. UND outshot the Pioneers badly — by 18 — but couldn’t come away with any points.

One strange note is that UND’s three biggest shot advantages this season came at BU, at BSU and at Denver. UND didn’t win any of them (0-1-2).

Biggest shot advantages this season

+28 tie at BSU, 1-1
+27 tie at BU, 3-3
+18 loss at DU, 3-0
+17 win vs. NMU, 3-1
+16 win vs. BSU, 4-2

One sign that I think is encouraging: Four of the team’s top five shot advantages this season have come in the last seven games.

That means UND is starting to dictate play and not relying on its goaltender to win a game each night, as UND often did early in the season (see: Clarke Saunders vs. Omaha and Duluth; Zane Gothberg vs. Western Michigan twice).

Yes, they’ve lacked the finishing part, but playing like this gives UND a much better chance at winning games night in and night out. The 10-game unbeaten streak shows that.

Right now, one line seems to be setting the tone night in and night out and the rest of the players follow — the Derek Rodwell, Stephane Pattyn, Connor Gaarder line.

They have consistently played in the offensive zone and done a lot of things well. When you have those guys going, it becomes contagious and the rest of the team follows. No surprise that the coaching staff started that unit this weekend.

A few topics that I know will be discussed:

1. Officiating. It was not a good night for the stripes. Overall, the NCHC officials have done a nice job this season, but Saturday was not one of those nights. Nobody had a clue what was a penalty.

2. The power play. UND’s has really been up-and-down this season. Despite some good chances early, it went 0-for-6 on the night. When you are having one of those evenings where nothing seems to be going in, you have to hope you can cash in with the extra man and open the floodgates a little bit.

3. The shutout. One UND player mentioned that he didn’t think UND got to the blue paint enough to take away the eyes of Sam Brittain and to pounce on rebounds. Hakstol liked the team’s effort, but hoped they could find a way to get one to go.

I’ll have a bit more on a travel blog later on, but it’s time to retire for this evening.

16 thoughts on “Saturday night rewind

  1. So we need to take less shots to score more? Was a well played game by our guys…..just couldnt solve Brittain. 1 loss in 11 games, I’ll take that anytime…..keep up the hard work.

    • Mike chambers and adrian dater are the two biggest dbags of all the hockey writers in the country. Interesting that they work for the same paper.

  2. Everyone around us Friday evening, Sioux fans/Pioneer fans/Neutral fans, all agreed the officiating was not up to par on Saturday. After a pretty darn good night of officiating on Friday, it’s like it was a completely different crew on Saturday.

  3. One behind the scenes stat I would love to see is the number of calls each official has made for/against certain teams. I’m not trying to start a conspiracy theory but just stating an observation. I was at The Ralph a few years back and made the statement to my wife during the 1st period Saturday night that Anderson had not called a penalty on the opposing team all weekend. Throughout the rest of the game we watched closely as four or five pentalites were called against the other team, none of which were called by Anderson even when he was the closest official to the play on several occasions. He did however call penalties in the game against UND. Again it could have been the ebb and flow of that particular game but looking at the numbers over a set period of time could be interesting. Another great stat would be looking at the number of times the “back” official makes a call when the other official is in the proper position.

  4. About 5 years ago somebody broke down the officiating numbers in the wcha and concluded that john campion was absolutely in love with the gophers and if i recall correctly, mankato was sleeping with his daughter. Other than that, most officials were pretty fair. Anybody know whatever happened to campion?

  5. Brad, Couldn’t agree more on the officiating observation. That game was all over the place. Ticky Tack called then a blatant more obvious calls let go, it was crazy. Still a fun game to watch with how the Sioux are playing. Going to be an exciting finish to the season if they keep this style throughout the next couple months.

  6. Brad,
    I apologize if this was already covered, but does the NCHC receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for its conference tournament winner? I know there was some talk when the new league was forming that the creation of the new conference would require a probation period before the league would be granted a NCAA bid.
    Just wondering?

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