Dodge Holiday Classic
Arena • Minneapolis, Minn.
Ferris State vs. UMass, 5:07 p.m.
Alabama-Huntsville at Minnesota, 8:07 p.m.
Saturday, December 30
Alabama-Huntsville vs. Ferris State/UMass, 5:07 p.m.
Ferris State/UMass at Minnesota, 8:07 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Net North will carry
Minnesota's Saturday night game live.
was all about offense, but the RiverHawks' defense
must have missed the plane to Minneapolis. Blaise
McDonald's club scored nine and surrendered nine,
getting to the title game with a 5-4 win over Canisus
in the opener, and falling to Minnesota one night
later by an identical score. The host Golden Gophers
had no trouble with Union in an 8-0 first round win,
but the Dutchmen rebounded for a 2-0 blanking of Canisus
in the third place game. Union goalie Kris Mayotte
needed to stop just 12 Golden Griffin shots for the
fourth of his five shutouts last season. UMass-Lowell
forward Bobby Robins was the only non-Gopher named
to the all-tournament team.
If you're a Ferris State fan, there's
a noteworthy pattern of wins and losses as the Bulldogs
make their third appearance in this tournament. In
1992 they scored a dozen goals to win the Classic,
beating Minnesota 6-4 in the opener and getting past
St. Lawrence by the same score in the title game.
In 2001 the Bulldogs went 0-2 in Minneapolis, falling
to the Gophers 3-2 in the opener and finishing fourth
with a 6-3 loss to Western Michigan. And in March
2003, the Bulldogs went 1-1 in Mariucci Arena, beating
North Dakota 5-2 and falling to Minnesota 7-4 in the
school's first and only NCAA tournament appearance.
Tyler Hirsch has had a hot and cold
senior season thus far, putting up an impressive 22
points in 14 games, while missing significant ice
time due to coach-mandated suspensions. But with some
hard work this weekend, he could enter the Dodge Classic
history books. Hirsch has three goals and five assists
in his previous Classic games, and needs five points
to become the tournament's all-time leading scorer.
That mark is held by former Gopher and current Toronto
Maple Leaf John Pohl, who had a dozen points in four
seasons of the Classic.
The tournament opener features a pair
of teams desperate for a win, as the Minutemen have
cooled off considerably since a 6-1-1 start, while
the Bulldogs have just one win since Oct. 20. And
if you like to see goals and hear repeated renditions
of “Minnesota Rouser” you might want to
be in attendance on Friday. Minnesota's offense is
still scary (even without the three forwards who are
wearing red, white and blue in Sweden) and with Alabama-Huntsville's
less-than-stellar defense (the Chargers have surrendered
seven or more goals in five games this season) there's
potential for lopsidedness in game two.
HOW WE SEE IT
UMass looks like the more-talented team
in the opener and should become the second consecutive
team from the Bay State to advance to this tournament's
title game. The Friday evening game shouldn't be close,
and we expect Minnesota to improve to 15-0 in this
tournament under Don Lucia. We'll pick Ferris to rebound
and claim third place on Saturday, while the host
Golden Gophers will do what they do seemingly every
year at about this time, and win their eighth Dodge
Classic title in a row. Although don't be surprised
to see Minutemen goalie Jon Quick make a strong bid
for a stop on the all-tourney team with a valiant,
albeit unsuccessful, effort.
— Jess Myers