Sunday, November 16, 2014

Roses and Thorns: UND/Miami Split

Welcome back to the DDC and to your first installment of the weekly Roses and Thorns.

In a throwback to his fraternity days, each week, DDC will take a look back at what stood out, both good and bad, from the weekend's series.

How it went down

The split was a safe call as the No. 2 UND and No. 7 Miami faced off this past weekend in Grand Forks, at that's what the Ralph Engelstad Arena faithful saw.

The RedHawks jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in Friday night's tilt and while North Dakota battled back to even the game, Miami finished strong en route to a 3-2 win.

On Saturday, UND came back strong, paced by a three-goal second period, to earn a 4-1 win and a NCHC series split.

And now on to the Roses and Thorns:


Rose No. 1 -- Troy Stecher

DDC's No. 1 Rose goes to Troy Stetcher. The sophomore blue liner was held off the scoresheet this weekend, but was a key cog defensively for North Dakota against a juggernaut Miami Top 6 forward group. Stetcher brought physicality, speed, playmaking, penalty killing, an active stick and lock down defensive play for 120 minutes and helped to keep an extremely talented team at bay. Is there any doubt this kid wears a letter next year? DDC doesn't think so.

Rose No. 2 -- UND's Top Line

The line of Mark MacMillan, Michael Parks and Drake Caggiula gets DDC second rose. These three had themselves a weekend. MacMillan played his first series in three weeks and netted a goal and two assists, showing little rust from his time off. Caggiula potted three goals, two on Saturday, and added two assists for a five-point weekend. The junior, who scored a shorthanded goal on Friday and a highlight reel goal on Saturday that ended up being the game-winner, now leads the NCHC is scoring. Parks had three points on the weekend and made strong play after strong play on both ends of the ice. Kudos to this line with 11 points on the weekend.

Here's a clip of Caggiula's game-winner. Make sure you pick up your breezers from the ice, Mr. RedHawk defender.

Rose No. 3 -- Zane McIntyre

With the rose No. 3 of the weekend, DDC goes with Zane McIntyre. The junior netminder made some key saves in Saturday night's game before UND's big second period. This guy just flat out gets it done every weekend. Although he has a penchant for a softie here and there, North Dakota would be nothing without this guy between the pipes.


Thorn No. 1 -- The Power Play

Although UND netted a PPG for their last goal of the weekend, listless might be an understatement to describe this group on the weekend. Missing dynamic freshman Nick Schmaltz, the power play unit struggled to develop all weekend, going 1-for-8 on the weekend and a paltry 0-for-5 on Friday. Schmaltz has done a lot to command attention on the power play and makes some nifty passes to set plays up. Hopefully, another week of practice will get this unit going.

Thorn No. 2 -- Nick Mattson

The senior defenseman sat on Friday night and was inserted on Saturday night in the search for more offense. As far as DDC's concerned, he could have stayed in the stands. Mattson got destroyed with a hit for what turned about to be a disallowed goal, but nonetheless, a senior cannot let that play happen. He also made a couple of untimely pinches and got beat wide on more than one occasion. The offensive ability is there, but so far this year in DDC's opinion, Mattson has showed nothing that deserves to keep him out there on a nightly basis. Plays like this are unfortunately becoming the norm.

Thorn No. 3 -- Slow Starts

Getting down 2-0 early in the first period against a team as talented Miami simply cannot happen. Although UND battled back to tie it in the second, slow starts and late scrambles has become a slight trend. Saturday night saw a smaller slow start, this time at the beginning of the second period, and it lead to a Miami 1-0 lead. Getting into a routine of playing catch up is something to avoid for North Dakota.

So, that's it. Thanks again for reading and check back later this week as UND travels down I-94 to take on NCHC foe St. Cloud State at the Herb Brooks Center in St. Cloud.


  1. What the hell happened to Matson. When he first came in I thought he would be the next Genoway. Man was I wrong.

    1. I completely agree. Loads of offensive talent but he never improved defensively. Just not good.

  2. How about a Rose for the Penalty Kill Unit. They have 7 shorties if I remember right, and that I'd huge. Forces opponents to think a little more conservatively on the man advantage. It's been impressive this year and deserves the rose.

    1. Shorties were my No. 4 rose, but I wanted to keep the post length down :)

  3. I noticed on Friday night that the defensive pairings in the first period were not what was on the line sheet. Thought it was odd for changes so early. Then I noticed Stecher not on the bench, when he came back out on the ice, he seem to be checking the edge on his skate. Seems to me the chaos of this may had contributed to early goals by Miami, but I didn't stay at the Holiday Inn Express, so take it for what it is.

    1. I didn't notice that, I guess. However, I don't think mixing up lines because of a player being out can account for a slow start at home, in front of a big crowd, against a big time opponent. I think they were just flat.

  4. I said this 2 years ago about Matson. Then I was told I did not know what I was talking about.

    1. Seems to me that all of his offensive skills outweighed his defensive liabilities back then. Now that we have a heavy dose of offense on the blue line, he's becoming more exposed of what he lacks. Just my two cents.

    2. He was getting smoked all over the ice all the time.

    3. Well, I'd say I noticed it much less back then. Maybe now that his offensive abilities aren't so outstanding since everyone else can do the same, his defensive liabilities are becoming more evident?