How You Start
last month, Commissioner Bruce McLeod told Jess Myers that
the WCHA wasn’t taking its success for granted after
producing the NCAA’s Frozen Four just six months prior.
league can certainly start a downward trend pretty fast,
and it takes even more effort to get it going back in the
right direction again,” he said.
no one is calling the WCHA’s current 5-10-1 non-conference
record a downward trend – yet – it still proved
to be the talk of college hockey in the season’s opening
coaches were blaming the malaise on a combination of factors
that could generally be summarized as a lack of preparation
and determination. Minnesota’s Don Lucia was among
the most irritated after his team’s flameout at Mariucci
Arena against Alaska-Fairbanks.
got some guys who are wind-burned because (the Nanooks)
skated by so many guys,” Lucia told the St. Paul Pioneer
Press. “We have to go back to work. We can throw
the press clippings away and put the work boots on because
that’s when you have success.
obviously have done a poor job of getting this team ready
the first two weeks of the season. So we’ll see who
wants to earn it this week in practice, which 12 forwards
and which six defenseman.”
Nanooks claimed three of a possible four points from the
Golden Gophers on the weekend. It was the first time Minnesota
failed to achieve at least a split at Mariucci Arena since
February, when Alaska’s other team – the Seawolves
– took three of four.
Duluth and Minnesota State are also stinging from non-conference
losses after being swept by Bemidji State. The Mavericks
were BSU’s most recent victim, suffering 4-3 and 7-3
defeats last Friday and Saturday, respectively. Preparation
was, once again, in question.
like to think you’d come out ready to go,” senior
forward Jeff Marler told the Mankato Free Press.
defending national champions from Denver also struggled,
dropping a pair of games at Maine.
is a good example of, if you’re not ready to play,
you’re going to struggle,” Pioneers head coach
George Gwozdecky told the Denver Post.
it’s still early.
AND HEARD IN THE WCHA
Great Weekend Getaway
at St. Cloud State
The Badgers, ranked No. 11 in the most recent
INCH Power Rankings, will get their first taste of
WCHA action in the Granite City this weekend against
St. Cloud State, which extracted a split from Northern
Michigan’s Berry Events Center last week. Wisconsin
is also 1-1 after splitting a series with St. Lawrence
on Oct. 7-8.
Badgers have a nice collection of talent and boast
a sophomore class that ranks among the nation’s
best with Joe Pavelski, Matthew Ford and Kyle Klubertanz
leading the way. Pavelski, a former USHL Rookie of
the Year, posted 45 points (16G, 29A) as a Badger
freshman and didn’t waste any time denting the
twine this season with a shorthanded goal against
the Saints on Oct. 8. His game is more function than
flash but when something good happens for Wisconsin,
he’s usually involved.
Cloud State will counter with a squad picked to struggle.
Playing with nothing to lose and the always-raucous
Husky partisans behind them, expect a spirited effort.
You’re There: Don’t miss one of the most
ridiculous sights in college hockey, found in the
National Hockey Center’s inner concourse. It’s
an image portraying two-time Vezina Trophy-winning
goaltender Frank Brimsek, a St. Cloud State alumnus,
in a Chicago Blackhawks jersey – of sorts. The
SCSU administration found Chicago’s logo to
be so insulting that it superimposed a Husky logo
on Brimsek’s jersey crest.
the game, search for the intersection of Highways
15 and 23 where you will find Granite City Grill and
Brewery. The pasta is peppery but excellent. If your
skates are dull, wander toward Waite Park’s
Industrial Park until you find Hockey Zone Minnesota.
It’s quite possibly the best hockey pro shop
in the state.
of where you stand on the North Dakota nickname issue,
you had to like the Fighting Sioux’s
choice of attire during Friday’s win
over Northeastern. UND debuted its 1955 throwback
sweaters, three of which will be auctioned later in
the year with proceeds benefiting the Make-A-Wish
Foundation. For some, the sweaters brought back memories
of former Fighting Sioux forward Billy Reichart, who
starred with North Dakota in the mid-1950s before
embarking on a solid minor pro career.
were talking sweaters, we would be remiss if we didn’t
mention Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth, both
of which debuted new threads this season. The
Golden Gophers’ new look isn’t great. In
fact, it’s really bad. Even in the 1990s, when
diagonal lines were trendy, they didn’t look good.
Minnesota, steeped in tradition, should consider wearing
their alternate jersey from last season instead.
redesigned its entire wardrobe as well. The team’s
standard home-and-road look is sharp, and a return
to tradition, as the bulldog head stands alone on
the crest once again. The yellow laces in the neck
are a unique touch. UMD also went yellow on a set
of third jerseys. It’s bright. Really bright.
Unfortunately, instead of sewing a diagonal “U.M.D.”
across the crest similar to the Huffer Christiansen-era
sweaters, they fastened “BULLDOGS” on
there in a font that looks a bit similar to the Colorado
Avalanche third jersey.
the 'D' in Dakota: North Dakota was among the few
WCHA teams that didn’t sputter last week, sweeping
Northeastern rather comfortably. The Fighting Sioux surrendered
just a single goal on the weekend, riding the terrific play
of goaltenders Jordan Parise and Phillippe Lamoureux. Parise
posted a shutout on Friday, his second straight after blanking
Miami one week earlier.
North Dakota’s coaching staff expected solid play
between the pipes, the immediately outstanding performance
of their youthful defense corps came as a pleasant surprise.
four games, having only allowed four goals and getting two
shutouts, we’re pretty excited, especially considering
we’ve only been playing one returning defenseman –
Matt Smaby,” said Fighting Sioux assistant coach Cary
no question that a learning curve exists when it comes to
playing defense in the WCHA and our freshmen have been forced
to learn quickly with the substantial minutes they’ve
been playing. They’ve done well and our goaltending
has been great. That’s a big part of it. When goaltenders
don’t play well and pucks end up in the net, it hurts
the defense’s confidence, which leads to tentative
play. Our goalies have made the big save when we’ve
needed them to so far, which has helped our defense.”
surprising play of North Dakota’s rearguards is a
bit less surprising when you consider that two-thirds of
them were selected in the first or second round of the NHL
Tech forward Chris Conner, who led all WCHA players with
three goals over the weekend at the Nye Frontier Classic
in Anchorage, Alaska, and also added an assist for four
points, was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week. Colorado
College goaltender Matt Zaba claimed top defensive accolades
after posting his fourth career shutout and allowing just
two even-strength goals in a two-game non-conference series
split with Ohio State. North Dakota forward T.J. Oshie and
Alaska-Anchorage defenseman Mat Robinson shared weekly top
rookie honors. Oshie, currently the WCHA’s top-scoring
freshman, had four assists against Northeastern. Robinson
recorded four assists to help the Seawolves to a 6-3 victory
over Rensselaer on Friday. His four assists – of which
three came in the third period – tied a UAA mark for
most assists in a game by a defenseman.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Minnesota lost more than points against
Alaska-Fairbanks. The Golden Gophers also lost standout
forward Danny Irmen who broke the index finger
on his left hand while blocking a shot on Friday, according
to a St. Cloud Times report. Minnesota’s co-MVP from
last season will be out from four to six weeks.
The next victory for Minnesota will be
the program’s 1,500th in 84-plus seasons.
Kerry Rodd, UMD’s longtime radio play-by-play
voice, resigned after 21 years at KDAL-AM, a Midwest
Communications station that recently signed a new general
manager. He worked the Bulldogs’ season-opening series
against BSU but left the station last Thursday.
UMD’s series at Vermont this weekend will be the
Bulldogs’ first-ever visit to Burlington
where Bob Corran serves as director of athletics. Prior
to joining the Vermont athletic department, Corran was UMD’s
Colorado College junior Brett Sterling assumed 37th
place on the Tigers’ all-time scoring chart
over the weekend with 137 career points (80G, 57A). His
teammate, senior Marty Sertich, ranks 38th with 135 points
(48G, 87A). Sterling, by the way, will take your questions
when he guests on INCH's weekly chat on ESPN.com's "The
Show" at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday. | Join
INCH at ESPN.com's "The Show"
St. Cloud State goaltender Bobby Goepfert earned
a win in his first start as a Husky, downing Northern
Michigan on Saturday. Goepfert transferred to SCSU from
Conference play in the WCHA opens this weekend
for St. Cloud State, which hosts Wisconsin, and Minnesota,
which hosts Minnesota State.
Wisconsin, which will travel to St. Cloud State this weekend,
has outscored the Huskies 14-3 in the teams’
last four meetings.
Alaska-Anchorage hosts intrastate rival Alaska-Fairbanks
this weekend. An early advantage in the Governor’s
Cup battle will be on the line.