Baby DDC No. 1's recruitment for the (roughly) 2033-34 UND women's hockey team has been rampant since her March 2013 birth and baby DDC's No. 2 window for the 2037-38 UND men's hockey team is now open. Brad Berry, Dane Jackson, Matt Shaw... feel free to drop a comment. The roadmap to your team's success is traced to this blog.
In tandem with the personal news, DDC has been enjoying the No. 1 UND men's hockey team's start at defending their national title. While the first two weekends brought little resistance in Canisius and RPI, Bemidji State, who came into last weekend's series at the Ralph Engelstad Arena also undefeated on the season, came to play. However, the skill of the Green and White won the weekend as UND swept the Beavers 3-2, 5-4.
On Friday night, BSU came out and struck quickly, scoring the first two goals of the game, staking a 2-0 lead early. However, UND sophomore sensation Brock Boeser then entered the equation. Boeser ripped off a natural hat trick in a span of less than 20 minutes in the second and third, the last on a penalty shot with just over seven minutes left in the game, to get UND a 3-2 win. On Saturday, Boeser did it again, netting two goals as the Green and White held on late to earn the sweep, 5-4.
Here's what stood out to DDC in his first Roses and Thorns series review of the 2016-17 season.
No. 1 -- Brock Boeser
The Burnsville, Minn., native entered the series with BSU with seven points, leading the team, but just one of those were goals. While this development certainly wasn't a bad thing, REA crowds came accustomed to seeing Boeser score goals. Maybe he needed to see the Beavers, again? On the heels of his first-career hat trick last season against BSU, Boeser did it again on Friday and netted two more on Saturday. Boeser earned his second NCHC Offensive Player of the Week honor in three weeks, with the effort. The Alternate Captain now has 12 points on the season and his 2.40 points per game average is second in the country. Boeser scored from all over the ice on the weekend and it was just further evidence that UND absolutely has a NHL-type player on its team. Here's a video recap of Boeser's Friday night hatty, topped off by his game-winning penalty shot goal.
No. 2 -- Comeback Kids
It's been an odd trend for UND to not score the first goal this season as they have only done so in their season opener, but that hasn't prevented wins. The Green and White trailed 2-0 against BSU, but absolutely rolled in the second half of the game and came back to win. Again, they trailed the Beavers on Saturday, just 2:53 into the game, in fact. But again, UND roared back, potting five straight before holding on for a 5-4 win. While getting behind early isn't a great thing, the ability to fight off adversity and finding ways to win certainly is.
No. 3 -- Welcome Freshmen
|UND Fr. F, Zach Yon|
netted his first-career
goal on Saturday night.
Exactly half of UND's goals from its national championship team from last season came from players that are not on their 2016-17 roster. Through five games this season, the Green and White freshmen forwards are doing their part to replace some of those goals. Roseau's Zach Yon netted a goal, the first of his career, on Saturday night. With that goal, all five of UND's rookie forwards have found the back of the net. Tyson Jost (2 goals) looks to be the big-time player that his draft stock indicated coming into the year while Ludvig Hoff has cemented his spot in the lineup with three points (1 goal, 2 assists). Cole Smith and Dixon Bowen both have scored, as well. This is a huge development for the Green and White and it's certainly been a welcomed start for UND's freshie forwards.
No. 1 -- Defensive Lapses
As previously mentioned, UND lost a lot of production from its national title squad and it wasn't just offensively. Losing the likes of Paul LaDue and Troy Stecher on the blue line has forced some inexperience into the lineup for UND and it has shown, at times. While the Green and White are allowing just 17.8 shots on goal per game, by far the best in the NCAA, it has seen some questionable defensive lapses and blunders that have left netminder Cam Johnson out to dry and have Johnson below a 90% save percentage, thus far. The blame can be spread around as not even the veterans have been immune to hiccups so far, but UND needs to find a reliant pairing from its freshman D-men. Junior Tucker Poolman and senior Gage Ausmus logged upwards of 30 minutes of ice time each night (not an official stat in NCAA hockey) and keeping these two fresh is important. UND needs more help on the backend.
No. 2 -- Slow Starts
"Wait a second, DDC. Didn't you just say that UND's four comeback wins so far this season is a good thing?" Sure it is, but it's definitely not ideal. Having the ability to fight off a slow start and find a way to win will do nothing but help this team as the season progresses, but as the schedule turns to NCHC play and tougher non-conference opponents, playing from behind will be a much tougher task. As the defending national champion and a perennial NCAA power, UND gets its opponents' very best from the drop of the puck night in and night out. That being said, digging early holes cannot continue to be a trend for the Green and White.
Speaking of tough opponents and a rougher schedule, tune back in later this week as DDC previews a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2. UND travels to Duluth to take on the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, the newly dubbed No. 2 team in the country, in a huge NCHC schedule opening series. Come back and read post No. 101, please!