September 23, 2008

GO SIOUX!

No that won't happen with every post I make, but really, I am just kind of excited for the season...and I tend to do things like that when I am excited. Seriously, I was watching a kids hockey tournament the past weekend and wanted to yell out SIOUX YEAH YEAH! in hopes that someone would respond, but held off. Obsessed. I told you.

Anyway, let's recap last season, shall we? *ahem*

The 2007-2008 season had a lot of optimism. Most of the big starters were returning, including a seasoned goaltender, the Hobey Baker winner, and his linemate, TJ Oshie. Losing Toews to the Blackhawks was a blow and the departure of a true leader, Chris Porter hurt, but the Sioux were still looking strong.

A convincing win to open the season against Michigan St. set the tone for the season. 6 different players scoring goals showed this team didn't have to rely on just 3 players up front. But as the season continued, it looked like this Hakstol coached team was similar to the ones in years prior. Series split after series split was beginning to wear on the fan base and the team as well. After losing a tough opening game at St. Cloud, however, the Sioux righted the ship, and as they have in years past, dominated the WCHA in the 2nd half.

Duncan scored two goals and got contribution from VandeVelde, Kaip, Oshie, and Watkins. They returned home against Michigan Tech and played, in my opinion, their best hockey of the season, cranking out a pair of 4-1 victories. They followed this up with sweeps of Mankato and Anchorage and took 3 points off of Minnesota at the Mooch, where a strong Sioux fan base outcheered the restless Gopher fans.

Continuing the strong play, they came back in the Friday night game against a tough Denver team and followed that up with a great dominating performance Saturday night, then swept Bemidji and Duluth. The Duluth series did come with a cost though, as Evan Trupp, a bright spot of the Sioux freshman class, went down with a leg injury and his returning for the season was in doubt.

To close out the season, the Sioux had two games at home against St. Cloud. They played both games to a tie. I was a little nervous about this. The Sioux certainly didn't play like a team that was poised and ready for the playoffs, and I had expressed this doubt to some friends, who dismissed it as something not to worry about. I was somewhat relieved when they drew Tech for the playoffs, a team in which got routed earlier in the season at the Engelstad. However, Tech played extremely tough. In game 2, they took the Sioux to overtime and beat them, and in game 3, Tech actually got on the scoreboard first. However, the Sioux persevered and won 2-1. I was excited for the Sioux to be in the Final Five, but still worried.

Denver simply outplayed the Sioux in their opening game and the Sioux fell 3-1. The Sioux bounced back in the next game and beat CC pretty handily 4-2. The Sioux still earned a #1 seed and earned the right to play in Madison alongside Princeton, Denver, and Wisconsin. The opening game against Princeton looks like the Sioux dominated on paper, winning 5-1, but were actually outshot 38-19.

The game against Wisconsin to a lot of Sioux fans showed how good this team is. To me, it showed that they were simply out of gas. Down 2-0 going into the third, Rylan Kaip halved the Wisconsin lead and 47 seconds later, Duncan tied it up. In OT, Watkins took a Bina rebound and put it in the net, sending the Sioux to Denver for their 4th consecutive Frozen Four appearance.

As nervous as I was about the upcoming game, I was also excited. Anything can happen at the Frozen Four. Unfortunately, that anything was a domination by Boston College. After the first period, the Sioux were looking at a 4-0 deficit and I was so angry the writer of Gross Misconduct was worried I was going to punch a University of New Hampshire family in the face. 2nd period = 6-0 deficit and a final score of 6-1 sent Sioux fans home sad, yet again.


Yet again, the Sioux could not get it done on a national stage. Already speculation was rampant about who would return for this team in 2008-2009. And already, Sioux fans were talking about a 5th consecutive trip to the Frozen Four. I was one of those. Still am.

This next season brings a lot of optimism. Look for my season preview in a few days. Until then...

1 comment:

Goon said...

I can link you up on the blog if you want... Looks pretty good.