Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Gameday: Turkey Trash Talk

The No. 11 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks have been known in recent years as long on offense and short defense.
The 2014-15 Mavericks looked to have flipped that script.
Former UND head coach Dean Blais and Nebraska-Omaha head to the Ralph tonight and Saturday for a two-game National Collegiate Hockey Conference turkey day weekend tussle boasting the conference's best defense and a goaltender in Ryan Massa that is playing lights out.
The senior netminder is 6-1-1 on the year with the nation's fourth best goals against average at 1.49 and second best save percentage at .951. The Mavericks also boast the seventh-best penalty kill, going 40-for-44 on the year, 90.4 percent.

Not Only Defense?

This past weekend, Omaha (7-2-1) earned a home split with Minnesota-Duluth falling 3-2 on Friday night and coming back and netting some big goals en route to a 4-1 win on Saturday.
Omaha sophomore forward Austin Ortega, the team's leading scorer coming into this weekend (5g, 8a -- 13 pts), felt that this result may indicate a pattern against UND.
“Tonight we were able to get up on the board; we really showed we’re a scoring team,” Ortega said after the 4-1 win. “Kind of sending a message to North Dakota that we can score on any goalie out there.”

Something To Say?

UND junior goaltender Zane McIntyre and No. 2 North Dakota may have something to say about that.
Massa carries the better numbers into this weekend, but McIntyre carries the pedigree and some pretty solid numbers himself. The junior boasts at 9-3-1, a 2.04 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
The Green and White will look to best Massa with a top-line that features the nation's third leading scorer in Drake Caggiula, senior centerman Mark McMillan and senior winger Mike Parks. The trio has combined for 18 goals and 24 points, with Caggiula leading the way with 17.

The Pick

DDC is back in the north country visiting the family with Mrs. DDC and baby and is looking forward to stuffing his face, chasing the little one from family member to family member and watching a great series. Call DDC maybe a bit biased, but, in his time watching Nebraska-Omaha play, he's never been impressed by them defensively. Evidently this year's squad has righted the defensive ship, so to say. DDC is a little more skeptical. As pointed out in Puck Daddy's college hockey blog posted this week, an unbelievably hot goaltender, a huge shooting percentage and lack of puck possession all are signals for the ride to slow for Omaha. DDC thinks a series at UND in Grand Forks may just be the reason.

UND SWEEPS, 4-2, 5-1

Monday, November 24, 2014

Roses and Thorns: A Birthday, a Barn and Some Bounces

NCHC Standings:
1) Miami, 20 points; 2) UMD, 15 pts; 3) UND, 12 pts;
4) DU, 9 pts; 5) UNO, 9 pts; 6) St. Cloud State, 7 pts;
7) Western Michigan, 5 pts; 8) Colorado College, 0 pts
Welcome back to DDC for your second installment of Roses and Thorns.

Another week in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference brought yet another split for UND as they took on No. 16 St. Cloud State at the Herb Brooks Center in St. Cloud.

The Huskies rode the stellar play of their star, Jonny Brodzinski, who netted two goals en route to a 3-1 win on Friday night. UND battled back with an energetic performance on Saturday night and earned the split with a 3-2 win behind two Trevor Olson goals, the first two of the freshman’s career.

Here’s what stood out to DDC this weekend:


No. 1 – Troy Stecher

Another solid defensive weekend for this budding star. DDC wishes this kid would find the score sheet more often so people could know more about him. He was everywhere this weekend again playing shutdown defense with his partner Gage Ausmus. Stetcher has been nothing but astounding
this year and this weekend was no different.

No. 2 – Trevor Olson

Happy birthday Mr. Olson. The Freshman winger sat out Friday night’s loss and his addition back into the lineup with Bryn Chyzyk going down with an injury sparked a UND win. Olson netted his first two career goals on his 21st birthday and added a physical presence that the Green and White have lacked for much of the year.

No. 3 – Jonny Brodzinski

This kid is a stud. He showed it on Friday night. UND kept him quiet on Saturday and that ultimately got North Dakota the split. A unique blend of size, speed and scoring makes this forward really fun to watch.

No. 4 – Herb Brooks National Hockey Center

DDC had the opportunity to watch UND’s win on Saturday with Mrs. DDC and two friends, and the barn was rocking. There was lots of green in the stands and the small, intimate rink provided an amazing college hockey atmosphere. It doesn’t have Bavarian almonds and the seats aren’t padded, but despite this, DDC will definitely be making this trip again next year.


No. 1 – Faceoffs

Yuck. UND got slaughtered in the dots on Friday 22-34, losing key faceoff after key faceoff in the defensive zone. Saturday was much better as senior Mark McMillan was slotted as the top centerman, going 19-14 for the top line. This needs to be a point of focus for North Dakota going forward. The teams in the NCHC are too good to be given opportunities in the offensive zone because of lost faceoffs.

No. 2 – Bad bounces

No excuses for UND on Friday night, but it is of DDC’s opinion that North Dakota was the better team 5-on-5 and a couple of awful bounces off defenders and offensive players a like ended up in the back of the net for the Huskies. These happen and Saturday night provided better bounces for UND, but again, these happen and the Huskies took advantage on Friday.

No. 3 – Missing the net

Too many times this weekend, UND came down on a rush and whistled shots wide that ended up being transition offense for St. Cloud. Hit the net. St. Cloud shot from all over the ice all weekend and created big rebounds that led to offensive chances. UND gets a few of these misses on net on Friday, especially early in the game while they carried the play, and we could be talking sweep for the Green and White.

So, that’s it. Up next, it’s Turkey Day weekend as the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks head to the Ralph for another important NCHC tussle. Come back later this week and DDC will bring you the breakdown.