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Western Michigan and Omaha split a pair of games in Omaha in February (photo: Michelle Bishop).

Western Michigan coach Andy Murray knows Omaha counterpart Dean Blais as well as anyone in hockey. So, too, does Murray’s son, Brady.

Brady Murray played for North Dakota from 2003 to 2005 before signing with a professional hockey team in Switzerland. His first season at UND, a 30-win one, was Blais’ 10th and final campaign as the Fighting Sioux’s bench boss.

On Friday in Kalamazoo, Mich., Blais and Andy Murray will find themselves on opposing benches as third-seeded WMU and No. 6 seed UNO open their best-of-three NCHC playoff first-round series. They went through something similar recently, with the teams splitting a two-game regular season set in Omaha last month.

Even if they hadn’t played that series that saw WMU outscored by a combined 12-10, Andy Murray still would have a vivid mental picture of how Blais’ teams operate.

“Dean Blais-coached teams always score,” he said. “My son was a forward for him at North Dakota, and when you’re a player playing for him, you know you’re going to get offensive chances.

“He’s a coach that plays his top-end players a lot and certainly accentuates the offensive part of their game. He’s a guy that wants his defense up with the play all the time, and his teams have been known as hard-working, determined teams that come at you.”

In one way, playing away from home to start the postseason actually suits Omaha. The Mavericks went 6-10-2 at their Baxter Arena home this season, including two losses last weekend against Denver. On its travels, however, UNO is 10-5-3, including one neutral-site victory at the start of the season.

Western will have its hands full trying to contain a potent UNO offense that features three key upperclassmen. Forwards Austin Ortega and Tyler Vesel and defenseman Luc Snuggerud combined in the regular season for 42 goals and 109 points.

WMU will also have to try to silence the sixth-best power-play units in the country. To WMU’s credit, the Broncos are only one spot behind, scoring on 22.75 percent of their power-play opportunities.

UNO is more efficient still when playing a man up — 42-for-178, or 23.6 percent — while WMU’s penalty killers (81.4 percent) sit near the middle of the national table, tied for 38th.

Andy Murray addressed that at his news conference earlier this week.

“How do we keep our team out of the penalty box?” he asked, rhetorically. “I think one thing is to respect the opponent’s power play. We’re talking about the best power play in the NCHC, so that in itself should send a clear message to our team: that we’re a lot better when we’re playing even-strength.

“We’ve obviously got a solid power play, as well, but we just have to know you’re rolling the dice when you’re taking too many penalties, and we need to be assertive physically. We are a heavy team and we play hard, and I think, of late, we’ve taken some penalties that we need to avoid.”

He doesn’t have to reach back far to find times when taking penalties has posed problems for the Broncos. Western conceded two power-play goals in the Broncos’ 6-3 home loss last Saturday against Minnesota Duluth.

When WMU visited Omaha Feb. 10-11, the Broncos gave up three power-play goals in a 7-6 series-opening win and two more in the rematch, a 6-3 loss to UNO.

Western will be keen to turn that around this weekend with a spot in the NCHC semifinals on the line. A detailed blueprint for getting that far has been laid out.

“First and foremost, you have to have the puck because when Omaha’s got, I believe, three players with over 30 points on their roster and seven players with over 20, including two defensemen, they generate a lot of offense,” Andy Murray said.

“We felt, in that series, that we played a little bit too much of an open game and it was some river hockey, and obviously we’ve got a much-improved attacking team, as well, but it was back and forth and certainly not from the coaches’ perspective a real solid type of tactical game, something we’ll have to play this weekend against them to be successful.”

Blasi eager for clean playoff slate

In the college hockey postseason, teams that hadn’t previously cut the mustard play away from home in the first round of playoff action. This year, Miami is one of those teams.

Winning only five league games and finishing seventh in the NCHC standings prompted the RedHawks into packing their bags for an opening-round playoff series at No. 2 seed Minnesota Duluth.

Miami remembers UMD well. The teams only met twice in the regular season, but the memories are very fresh.

The RedHawks erased two deficits in the teams’ series opener Feb. 23 in Duluth before UMD eked out a 4-3 win on a late Avery Peterson power-play goal. The following night, Miami escaped Amsoil Arena with two league points after netting a 3-on-3 overtime goal in what officially ended as a 3-3 tie.

Miami’s regular season generally could’ve gone better. The 46th-best offense in the country (2.47 goals per game) often struggled along the way, reflected in the RedHawks’ 9-18-7 overall record.

Miami has lost seven of its last eight games, including two home defeats last weekend against North Dakota, and hasn’t won in regulation since beating Western Michigan 4-3 at home Jan. 28.

That matters less now, however, with the postseason beginning. Prior victories won’t keep teams’ seasons alive now.

“This is playoff time,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “Everybody starts with having to win two games to move on, and we’re looking forward to that.

“Over the last couple of months, I feel like we’ve gotten better in certain areas. I feel like we’ve played some good hockey in stretches and some hockey that was not so good, so it is what it is. Hopefully we’ve learned from that and we get ready to play this weekend.”

Moreover, while what happened between Miami and UMD recently provides a reference point, it won’t be relied upon too much by either team.

“This is a new time now, so whatever you probably saw two weeks ago will be thrown out the window,” Blasi said. “When you play at this time of year, everything is a little bit more intense and a little bit more magnified, so we have to be ready to play our best.

“We know Duluth is going to play their best. They’re a really good hockey team. They’ve been No. 1 or 2 in the country all year long, they’re well-coached, they’ve got a great D corps, great group of forwards and their goaltender’s been really, really good.

“We’ve got to go and play our game and make sure that we do the things that will allow us to stay in the game,” Blasi continued, “and make sure we’re not making decisions that are going to cost us. You’ve got to play a certain way at playoff time and you’ve got to make sure that you’re doing that to the best of your ability.”

As much as anything else, however, Miami will need to be ready for what UMD will throw at the RedHawks. No team is immune to starting games flat, but teams can ill afford to sleepwalk against a UMD squad in position to grab a No. 1 regional seed at the upcoming NCAA tournament.

“I’m a big believer that you make your own breaks by how you compete and how you’re ready to go and your preparation leading up to the weekend, so that’s going to be our focus,” Blasi said. “We’re going to prepare hard, we’re going to pay attention to detail and we’re going to compete, and we’ll see what happens.”

Acknowledgements

This is my final NCHC column of the season. Candace Horgan, my esteemed league writing partner, will guide you through next week before we begin our NCAA tournament coverage.

Before all that, however, I’d like to take a moment to thank a handful of colleagues, friends and family for their unbelievable support. First off, I cannot thank enough USCHO managing editor Matt Mackinder and executive editor Todd Milewski, whose guidance and patience go beyond what I could possibly ask from either of them.

Thank you to Candace Horgan, who has been fun to work with going back to our days covering the WCHA together. I trust to find her well the traditional undisclosed amount of beer money heading her way for winning our season-long picks contest.

Thank you to all the coaches, players and school and NCHC officials I’ve had the pleasure of working with this season, all of whom help keep my role here fun to have.

Thank you to Lynn Evenson, my unendingly wonderful boss at the Bottineau Courant, for allowing me to indulge in this passion project I began long before I moved to North Dakota three years ago.

Thank you to my parents, Doug and Karen, and brothers Ben and Tim, all of whom I love more than they’ll ever know.

Last but not least, thank you to everyone that visits this website. Without you, we wouldn’t be here.

Players of the week

Offensive player of the week — Griffen Molino, Western Michigan: Offensively, nobody in the NCHC fared better last weekend than Molino. The sophomore forward posted a goal and five assists during Western’s home split against UND.

Defensive player of the week — Tucker Poolman, North Dakota: Poolman showed his offensive prowess last weekend with five points in a road sweep against Miami while also limiting MU to 27 shots on goal for the series. Two goals and three assists against the RedHawks saw Poolman finish the regular season with 28 points.

Rookie of the week — Henrik Borgström, Denver: The Finnish freshman forward scored the game-winning goals in both games of DU’s road sweep last weekend at Omaha. Borgström leads all NCHC rookies this season with 36 points and 21 goals.

Goaltender of the week — Evan Cowley, Denver: In his first start since Jan. 7, Cowley made 28 saves Saturday in the Pioneers’ 3-0 shutout victory. UNO went 0-for-4 on the power play that night.

  • DU_Fan

    Good luck on your free time the next couple of weeks, Matthew. May the wind always be at your back, and your beers stay ice cold.

    P S – With your emphasis on the relevance of power plays, and staying out of short-handed situations, I pity the teams that get Todd Anderson for their playoff series.

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Aaaahhhhhhhh Anderson. I wish I could see the refs for this weeks match ups so I could prepare myself, if needed. Should Anderson be in Grand Forks….I’m not sure I have enough beer to make it through….

      • DU_Fan

        If he is there, I have a feeling you will be a permanent resident of Dekker and Junkyard Brewing.

        • UofMGoldenChokers

          Ha. If only I lived close enough. Although I was thinking about driving the almost 5 hours to Grand Forks for the series….really have nothing better to do this weekend.

          • DU_Fan

            With everything on the line, it would be worth the drive. Do you have an “in” for tickets, sure they will be scarce.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            I do..which is very nice.

          • DU_Fan

            Go for it !!!!!! I know I would if I was sure I could get in.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            It’s all a matter of talking the wife into letting me head up there……maybe if I take one of the kids with we’d have a better shot.

          • DU_Fan

            Sounds like you have been through the drill before. :-) I know I have.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            She’d say lets all go…but I know our friend wont have 4 tickets, but I know 2 would be available. We are definitely making a plan for next season when UND plays in Denver again. A nice kid free, extended weekend.

          • DU_Fan

            As you know, a lot to do here between games. Hope we play 4 against each other, not just 2.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            I don’t think DU came to the Ralph last year, so I can only imagine that they will get 4 games each season for the next few years before the rotation goes through again. NCHC should just make sure they play 4 times a year.

          • DU_Fan

            I have been thinking about your predicament and have a solution. Tell your wife that all 4 of you will go, but if there are only two tickets available she can take one of your kids to a show or movie. Your treat. :-) :-)

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Ha ha ha. Not sure that would fly since she love going to games just as much as I do. I took our daughter to a Friday night game last season while she stayed at the hotel with our son…..I could tell she wasn’t real thrilled to not go….but at least we had a babysitter for the next night so we could both go.

          • DU_Fan

            Maybe that is the final solution. Get a babysitter for both nights, at your home, and you and your wife enjoy both games.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Could have grandma and grandpa watch them….but I don’t like doing that too much so it frees up other times when I’d really like them to watch the kids. I’ll see what kind of magic I can work this weekend, though.

          • Denver_hockey

            They played 4 last year in the regular season. DU swept at Magness and North Dakota swept at the Ralph.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Ah, thats right. Next year should be back to 4 games….but they should just make sure each year has 4 games.

    • Denver_hockey

      Anderson is not only a terrible official, but a total a** also.

  • DU_Fan

    Good luck on your free time the next couple of weeks, Matthew. May the wind always be at your back, and your beers stay ice cold.

    P S – With your emphasis on the relevance of power plays, and staying out of short-handed situations, I pity the teams that get Todd Anderson for their playoff series.

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Aaaahhhhhhhh Anderson. I wish I could see the refs for this weeks match ups so I could prepare myself, if needed. Should Anderson be in Grand Forks….I’m not sure I have enough beer to make it through….

      • DU_Fan

        If he is there, I have a feeling you will be a permanent resident of Dekker and Junkyard Brewing.

        • UofMGoldenChokers

          Ha. If only I lived close enough. Although I was thinking about driving the almost 5 hours to Grand Forks for the series….really have nothing better to do this weekend.

          • DU_Fan

            With everything on the line, it would be worth the drive. Do you have an “in” for tickets, sure they will be scarce.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            I do..which is very nice.

          • DU_Fan

            Go for it !!!!!! I know I would if I was sure I could get in.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            It’s all a matter of talking the wife into letting me head up there……maybe if I take one of the kids with we’d have a better shot.

          • DU_Fan

            Sounds like you have been through the drill before. :-) I know I have.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            She’d say lets all go…but I know our friend wont have 4 tickets, but I know 2 would be available. We are definitely making a plan for next season when UND plays in Denver again. A nice kid free, extended weekend.

          • DU_Fan

            As you know, a lot to do here between games. Hope we play 4 against each other, not just 2.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            I don’t think DU came to the Ralph last year, so I can only imagine that they will get 4 games each season for the next few years before the rotation goes through again. NCHC should just make sure they play 4 times a year.

          • DU_Fan

            I have been thinking about your predicament and have a solution. Tell your wife that all 4 of you will go, but if there are only two tickets available she can take one of your kids to a show or movie. Your treat. :-) :-)

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Ha ha ha. Not sure that would fly since she love going to games just as much as I do. I took our daughter to a Friday night game last season while she stayed at the hotel with our son…..I could tell she wasn’t real thrilled to not go….but at least we had a babysitter for the next night so we could both go.

          • DU_Fan

            Maybe that is the final solution. Get a babysitter for both nights, at your home, and you and your wife enjoy both games.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Could have grandma and grandpa watch them….but I don’t like doing that too much so it frees up other times when I’d really like them to watch the kids. I’ll see what kind of magic I can work this weekend, though.

          • Denver_hockey

            They played 4 last year in the regular season. DU swept at Magness and North Dakota swept at the Ralph.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Ah, thats right. Next year should be back to 4 games….but they should just make sure each year has 4 games.

    • Denver_hockey

      Anderson is not only a terrible official, but a total a** also.

  • MU_Redhawks

    Preparing for a sweep at the hands of UMD and another early golf season for Miami Hockey. Maybe in 5 years we will be relevant again.

    • Denver_hockey

      It’s a really tough conference. Don’t give up – Season isn’t over yet! Remember when Miami finished last and almost won the conference tourney? Even if they don’t they are in good hands with Blasi.

      • MU_Redhawks

        Good point. They just seem so inconsistent, even for a very young team. Thought they were turning a corner at beginning of January, but have only won about 2 games since. Not the improvement I was hoping for.

        • UofMGoldenChokers

          One of those wins pained me to watch…..

      • Sparky

        I think Blasi is an avg HC at best. With Blais likely retiring after this year, we might see two NCHC teams with new HC’s next year…??

        • Deep Throat

          The Dean Blais situation is interesting since he still has one year left on his contract.

        • Denver_hockey

          I disagree. I would say he’s above average in terms of every coach in the country. It’s not as easy to recruit players to Miami as it is for North Dakota and Denver so they will naturally have their ups and downs. There’s only a couple teams that are truly consistent year in and year out and Miami’s program just doesn’t have the name recognition, history, or outstanding coaching to be one.

          • Sparky

            I agree with some of the things you said. But, at some point the HC has to bring success to a program. Through 4 seasons in the NCHC, Blasi has a .437 (overall) win percentage. There are other reasons I think he is a mediocre coach, but I don’t think it is appropriate to get into here. Enrico signed a 10 year contract with Miami not long ago so I doubt he will be going anywhere. Unlike my comments on Montgomery last year (where I had to eat major crow), Blasi has an accumulation of work we can evaluate. Btw, Miami gets its fair share of talent….Czarnik, Kuraly, Belpidio, Louis…just to name a few.

          • Denver_hockey

            I would say he’s brought some pretty good success to Miami. He had to basically do a complete rebuild as opposed to Montgomery who obviously did not. After he made the NCAA tournament for the first time following his rebuild years, Miami made it 11/14 years. I’d say that’s some pretty good consistency.

          • gimruis

            And clearly the CCHA isn’t even remotely close to the competition that the NCHC has so that validates your point.

        • MU_Redhawks

          For better or for worse I don’t think Blasi will be going anywhere for at least several years. Miami seems very content to stick with him based on their past success and honestly not sure who they would bring in if they fired him.

          • Denver_hockey

            There’s also some minor league coach looking to switch to a major D1 college program it seems like.

      • gimruis

        Really tough? How about the toughest. The only one that can compare is maybe Hockey East and that is not as deep this season.

        • Denver_hockey

          I was talking about more than just this year….

  • MU_Redhawks

    Preparing for a sweep at the hands of UMD and another early golf season for Miami Hockey. Maybe in 5 years we will be relevant again.

    • Denver_hockey

      It’s a really tough conference. Don’t give up – Season isn’t over yet! Remember when Miami finished last and almost won the conference tourney? Even if they don’t they are in good hands with Blasi.

      • MU_Redhawks

        Good point. They just seem so inconsistent, even for a very young team. Thought they were turning a corner at beginning of January, but have only won about 2 games since. Not the improvement I was hoping for.

        • UofMGoldenChokers

          One of those wins pained me to watch…..

      • Sparky

        I think Blasi is an avg HC at best. With Blais likely retiring after this year, we might see two NCHC teams with new HC’s next year…??

        • Deep Throat

          The Dean Blais situation is interesting since he still has one year left on his contract.

        • Denver_hockey

          I disagree. I would say he’s above average in terms of every coach in the country. It’s not as easy to recruit players to Miami as it is for North Dakota and Denver so they will naturally have their ups and downs. There’s only a couple teams that are truly consistent year in and year out and Miami’s program just doesn’t have the name recognition, history, or outstanding coaching to be one.

          • Sparky

            I agree with some of the things you said. But, at some point the HC has to bring success to a program. Through 4 seasons in the NCHC, Blasi has a .437 (overall) win percentage. There are other reasons I think he is a mediocre coach, but I don’t think it is appropriate to get into here. Enrico signed a 10 year contract with Miami not long ago so I doubt he will be going anywhere. Unlike my comments on Montgomery last year (where I had to eat major crow), Blasi has an accumulation of work we can evaluate. Btw, Miami gets its fair share of talent….Czarnik, Kuraly, Belpidio, Louis…just to name a few.

          • Denver_hockey

            I would say he’s brought some pretty good success to Miami. He had to basically do a complete rebuild as opposed to Montgomery who obviously did not. After he made the NCAA tournament for the first time following his rebuild years, Miami made it 11/14 years. I’d say that’s some pretty good consistency.

          • gimruis

            And clearly the CCHA isn’t even remotely close to the competition that the NCHC has so that validates your point.

        • MU_Redhawks

          For better or for worse I don’t think Blasi will be going anywhere for at least several years. Miami seems very content to stick with him based on their past success and honestly not sure who they would bring in if they fired him.

          • Denver_hockey

            There’s also some minor league coach looking to switch to a major D1 college program it seems like.

      • gimruis

        Really tough? How about the toughest. The only one that can compare is maybe Hockey East and that is not as deep this season.

        • Denver_hockey

          I was talking about more than just this year….

  • Denver_hockey

    Don’t think this will happen, but if Omaha could sweep Western, I wonder how far that would shoot them up in the PWR. Maybe into contention for an at-large bid.

    • DU_Fan

      Not possible, would have to climb past at least seven teams.

      • Deep Throat

        Jim Dahl’s blog has Omaha anywhere from 12th to potentially as low as 21st, if they won two straight games this weekend (with 16 being the most statistically likely). And, obviously, if they actually won the WMU series, they’d have a further chance to improve their Pairwise lot in life, too.

        Unlikely? Probably. Impossible? No.

        He mentions, too, that the teams from 16-21, inclusive, all still have a shot, but two wins is a must for every one of them to open their conference tourney’s.

        • DU_Fan

          And where does the “expert” predict UVM, AF, OSU, SCSU, and BC will do this weekend? Predicting a team will finish within 9 slots is really sticking out on a limb.

          • Deep Throat

            I think Jim has to be using a computer to run the number of simulations he uses.

            To wit:

            “Each forecast is based on at least one million monte carlo simulations of the games in the described period. For each simulation, the PairWise Ranking (PWR) is calculated and the results tallied. The
            probabilities presented in the forecasts are the share of simulations in which a particular outcome occurred.

            The outcome of each game in each simulation is determined by random
            draw, with the probability of victory for each team set by their relative KRACH ratings. So, if the simulation set included a contest between team A with KRACH 300 and team B with KRACH 100, team A will win the game in very close to 75% of the simulations. I don’t simulate ties
            or home ice advantage.”

            This isn’t obfuscated by his personal feelings on the topic, so he isn’t really going out on a limb. This isn’t his “opinion”. It’s his computer program’s analysis of the topic just spitting out the numbers. I enjoy reading it since number crunching has always interested me.

          • DU_Fan

            Since he doesn’t know how PWR, not KRACH, extrapolates results, I wonder how your, assume it is really his you are quoting, first paragraph can be accurate. It is highly unlikely he knows the “formula” PWR uses, it is a highly kept secret. I am sure he uses his computer algorithms to tabulate his predictions. I don’t think there is enough manpower to equate all the possibilities manually.

          • tape

            literally what the hell are you talking about

      • Denver_hockey

        Hard to know for sure, but they look to all be fairly close in the pairwise so they would jump a few teams no matter what because a road sweep against #4 would certainly be a huge boost.

  • Denver_hockey

    Don’t think this will happen, but if Omaha could sweep Western, I wonder how far that would shoot them up in the PWR. Maybe into contention for an at-large bid.

    • DU_Fan

      Not possible, would have to climb past at least seven teams.

      • Deep Throat

        Jim Dahl’s blog has Omaha anywhere from 12th to potentially as low as 21st, if they won two straight games this weekend (with 16 being the most statistically likely). And, obviously, if they actually won the WMU series, they’d have a further chance to improve their Pairwise lot in life, too.

        Unlikely? Probably. Impossible? No.

        He mentions, too, that the teams from 16-21, inclusive, all still have a shot, but two wins is a must for every one of them to open their conference tourney’s.

        • DU_Fan

          And where does the “expert” predict UVM, AF, OSU, SCSU, and BC will do this weekend? Predicting a team will finish within 9 slots is really sticking out on a limb.

          • Deep Throat

            I think Jim has to be using a computer to run the number of simulations he uses.

            To wit:

            “Each forecast is based on at least one million monte carlo simulations of the games in the described period. For each simulation, the PairWise Ranking (PWR) is calculated and the results tallied. The
            probabilities presented in the forecasts are the share of simulations in which a particular outcome occurred.

            The outcome of each game in each simulation is determined by random
            draw, with the probability of victory for each team set by their relative KRACH ratings. So, if the simulation set included a contest between team A with KRACH 300 and team B with KRACH 100, team A will win the game in very close to 75% of the simulations. I don’t simulate ties
            or home ice advantage.”

            This isn’t obfuscated by his personal feelings on the topic, so he isn’t really going out on a limb. This isn’t his “opinion”. It’s his computer program’s analysis of the topic just spitting out the numbers. I enjoy reading it since number crunching has always interested me.

          • DU_Fan

            Since he doesn’t know how PWR, not KRACH, extrapolates results, I wonder how your, assume it is really his you are quoting, first paragraph can be accurate. It is highly unlikely he knows the “formula” PWR uses, it is a highly kept secret. I am sure he uses his computer algorithms to tabulate his predictions. I don’t think there is enough manpower to equate all the possibilities manually.

          • tape

            literally what the hell are you talking about

      • Denver_hockey

        Hard to know for sure, but they look to all be fairly close in the pairwise so they would jump a few teams no matter what because a road sweep against #4 would certainly be a huge boost.

  • Deep Throat

    I have an idea that the UNO/WMU as well as the SCSU/UND series will be the more interesting (competitive?) of the 4 upcoming NCHC conference tourney series.

    Omaha has an all time winning record against only two of it’s current conference foes. Western Michigan is one of those two teams. And, Dean Blais is 9-5-0 against WMU while at UNO, while outscoring them 51-40. That’s 3.64 goals per game. Blacker gave up 12 goals to Omaha a few weekends back and WMU got 10 of their own. This series is going to be a scorefest, methinks, with special teams probably deciding the series outcome. I think this goes 3 games and could go either way.

    SCSU has been owned by North Dakota for an eternity, who will be hosting the first round of their conference playoffs for the 15th consecutive season, extending the longest active streak in NCAA Division I men’s hockey and they have won the last 14 of them in a row. Not a vintage UND team by any means but I just can’t see them losing this series at the Ralph. SCSU wants to win, UND expects to. That said, what North Dakota team shows up this weekend? The one that throttled a pretty darn good Union team on the road back on New Year’s Eve or the one that got shut-out at home, on Senior Night no less, to an Omaha team that is absolutely woeful on defense, a game in which they went an entire 27 minutes of the game without a single shot on goal?

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      I wouldn’t say that UND throttled Union back on new years eve.

      • Deep Throat

        I dunno, a 3-1 win on the road against a team that finished 23-8-3 and is currently # 8 in Pariwise? Maybe throttled was a poor choice of words . UND WAS outshot. Perhaps it would have been better to say “played well on the road against a very good team and won on a late goal in the last minute of the game”.

        Simply tried to emphasize that it was a good win.

        • UofMGoldenChokers

          Yes, it was a very good win. 1 goal game as I never count in empty netters. But yeah, I’d definitely like to see that team show up again. Or the team that worked SCSU back in November.

          • Deep Throat

            My bad. They won on a goal early in the first period and the 3rd was an empty netter late in the game. I just took a look at the box score and see you are right. For some reason I seemed to remember that UND won on a late goal. They didn’t.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            One that comes to mind on a late goal was in New York against BC. Olson scored with like 2 or 3 mins left and it turned out to be the game winner as BC got one back with like 8 seconds remaining.

  • Deep Throat

    I have an idea that the UNO/WMU as well as the SCSU/UND series will be the more interesting (competitive?) of the 4 upcoming NCHC conference tourney series.

    Omaha has an all time winning record against only two of it’s current conference foes. Western Michigan is one of those two teams. And, Dean Blais is 9-5-0 against WMU while at UNO, while outscoring them 51-40. That’s 3.64 goals per game. Blacker gave up 12 goals to Omaha a few weekends back and WMU got 10 of their own. This series is going to be a scorefest, methinks, with special teams probably deciding the series outcome. I think this goes 3 games and could go either way.

    SCSU has been owned by North Dakota for an eternity, who will be hosting the first round of their conference playoffs for the 15th consecutive season, extending the longest active streak in NCAA Division I men’s hockey and they have won the last 14 of them in a row. Not a vintage UND team by any means but I just can’t see them losing this series at the Ralph. SCSU wants to win, UND expects to. That said, what North Dakota team shows up this weekend? The one that throttled a pretty darn good Union team on the road back on New Year’s Eve or the one that got shut-out at home, on Senior Night no less, to an Omaha team that is absolutely woeful on defense, a game in which they went an entire 27 minutes of the game without a single shot on goal?

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      I wouldn’t say that UND throttled Union back on new years eve.

      • Deep Throat

        I dunno, a 3-1 win on the road against a team that finished 23-8-3 and is currently # 8 in Pariwise? Maybe throttled was a poor choice of words . UND WAS outshot. Perhaps it would have been better to say “played well on the road against a very good team and won on a late goal in the last minute of the game”.

        Simply tried to emphasize that it was a good win.

        • UofMGoldenChokers

          Yes, it was a very good win. 1 goal game as I never count in empty netters. But yeah, I’d definitely like to see that team show up again. Or the team that worked SCSU back in November.

          • Deep Throat

            My bad. They won on a goal early in the first period and the 3rd was an empty netter late in the game. I just took a look at the box score and see you are right. For some reason I seemed to remember that UND won on a late goal. They didn’t.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            One that comes to mind on a late goal was in New York against BC. Olson scored with like 2 or 3 mins left and it turned out to be the game winner as BC got one back with like 8 seconds remaining.

  • PiGuy

    Where’s the picks this week?

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Were just posted.

  • PiGuy

    Where’s the picks this week?

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Were just posted.