For regular fans of the DDC, you may have noticed the weekly Roses and Thorns was missing from your week. For that, DDC must apologize, but he could not bring himself past the frustration that surrounded UND’s four-point weekend against Denver.
For the second week in a row, DDC was forced to do something he hates to do, as it shows his fanboy side: blame the officials for a loss.
It’s time for a rant.
After a 4-2 UND win on Friday that saw an interesting no-goal call, another questionable review kept UND off the board on what looked like a go ahead goal off the stick of Brenden O’Donnell on Saturday night that saw the officials change their explanation on two separate occasions. Did the officials not see the puck in the net on a review as first told to UND coach? Evidently not. Did the referee intend to blow his whistle on the play as was expressed after the game? DDC doesn’t know. If so, why would there be a review? Sigh.
Then, as time ticked down in the final seconds of a 2-2 game, Denver fired a shot towards the UND net. The puck clearly ripped the water bottle on top the goal and caromed into the netting behind the North Dakota net. Wait? A goal? Officials called a goal without seeing the puck go in the net. It was overturned and UND lost in a shootout, but c’mon. How can an official call a goal in an important situation as that WITHOUT seeing the puck in the net?
Shame on you, NCHC officials.
Moving OnNow, back to your regular scheduled DDC programming.
Six games remain in the regular season and UND is back on top of the national ranking. Following the Denver series, the Green and White are locked in a three-way, 35-point tie for the NCHC lead and head to Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on the Western Michigan Broncos.
The last time these two teams faced off was in last season’s NCHC tournament. After a disappointing 3-0 loss to Miami, UND rallied for a convincing 5-0 win over the Broncos in the third-place game, that allowed for Wisconsin’s heroics to get North Dakota into the NCAA tournament. The rest, as they say, is history, on that one.
Here’s what to watch for in this weekend’s pivotal NCHC series in DDC’s weekly “Who? What? How?” weekly preview.
Players to watch
WMU:Jr. F, Colton Hargrove, 12 goals, 10 assists – 22 points
So. F, Sheldon Dries, 11g, 11a – 22 pts
Sr. F, Justin Kovacs, 4g, 17a – 21 pts
Jr. G, Lukas Hafner, 10-8-4, .919 save percentage, 2.28 goals against average
Sr. G, Frank Slubowski, 2-4-0, .895 SV PCT, 3.18 GAA, started both games in split vs. Omaha, 4 goals allowed, 61 saves
UND:Jr. F, Drake Caggiula, 13 goals, 16 assists – 29 points
Sr. F, Michael Parks, 11g, 18a – 29 pts
Sr. F, Mark MacMillan, 15g, 8a – 23 pts
Jr. G, Zane McInyre, 20-6-3, 2.00 goals against average, .930 save percentage. 20 wins are good for No. 2 in the NCAA.
WMU:2.75 goals per game, 2.64 goals allowed per game, 23.1% power play (5th in NCAA), 80.9% penalty kill (36th in NCAA), 14.79 blocks per game (8th in NCAA)
3-9-3 when giving up first goal, 9-3-1 when scoring first, -17 in second period, +15 in third, zero short-handed goals
UND:3.45 GPG (7th in NCAA), 2.17 GAG (9th in NCAA), 21.8% PP (10th in NCAA), 84.7% PK
13-0-3 when scoring first, +13 in second, 9 short-handed goals, leads NCAA
|Sr. F. Mark MacMillan|
is just three points shy
of 100 for his career.
Can Mac Hit the Milestone?
After a scoreless weekend against Denver, senior forward Mark MacMillan still sits three points shy of 100 for his career.
How’d they get here?
WMU:No. 23 PWR, NR USCHO, 12-12-4 overall, 5-9-4, 3 shootout wins, 22 points, 7th in NCHC.
Last weekend: 2-1 W, 3-1 L @ Omaha
UND:No. 2 PWR, No. 1 USCHO, 20-6-3 overall, 11-5-2, 35 pts, T-1st in NCHC
Last weekend: 4-2 W, 3-3 tie (SO loss) vs. Denver
Last meeting: NCHC tournament third place game, 5-0 UND win.
Western Michigan, despite their current seventh-place standing in the NCHC, has been playing very well of late. The Broncos are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games, including wins over Top 10 teams UMD, Miami and Omaha.
UND will need to bring it this weekend against a physical WMU squad that boasts the nation’s fifth-ranked power play (23.1%) and eighth-best blocks per game (14.8 per game).
North Dakota will need to play fast and break through the Bronco defense to earn these big Penrose points and DDC believes UND will do just that.
The key may be to score early. Western Michigan is just 3-9-3 this season when giving up the first goal of the game. UND? Undefeated at 13-0-1 when scoring first.
Look for the speedy playmakers in Green and White to try and find space. Calling Nick Schmaltz, Mark MacMillan, Drake Caggiula and Bryn Chyzyk. If this group can wheel into the zone and get to the net, UND should be successful this weekend.