November 30, 2008

Woes continue

Last night the Sioux fell to Cornell 2-1 to earn a split on the weekend.

After taking it to Cornell 7-3 on Friday night, the offense was pretty flat Saturday night. An apparent goal by Ryan Duncan was disallowed because forward Chris VandeVelde was called for goaltender interference. Cornell scored later in the 2nd period and took a 1-0 lead into the 3rd period. Hextall tied it up 1-1 late in the 3rd, but Cornell responded with a PP goal and finished off the Sioux.

Again, scratching my head. I wish I had answers. I really do. I think the team has the talent to make a run, and the goaltender to make a run, but right now the inconsistencies the Sioux are having are unreal. And sitting right now at 5-8-1 doesn't look too good.

November 28, 2008

Not just a win. A Blowout

The Sioux took care of business on Friday night, upending Cornell 7-3 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Big contributions came from Evan Trupp, Chay Genoway, and Matt Frattin. Frattin netted a hat trick and also got the Sioux on the board in the first period. Trupp assisted on three goals and scored one of his own, and Genoway got his first goal of the season and also got four assists. Duncan contribued as well, scoring a goal.

The Sioux pretty much did everything right, including responding quickly after Cornell got on the board. They stayed out of the box tonight, only having four penalties on the evening. Probably most significant is the fact they had 3 powerplay goals.

Very impressed with the effort tonight. Nothing to get too excited about, yet. Sweep and we'll talk.

November 25, 2008

Musings about the Sioux

I'm blogging from Minneapolis, where I'm at home visiting my family for Thanksgiving. I'll be heading back to Colorado tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving out there. It's always good to come home; but I miss girlfriend...

Anyway...I've been thinking about the Sioux. A lot. Where they are at and where they need to be. 4-7-1. It's tough to swallow. Losses to Anchorage, Duluth, and Wisconsin. The Sioux are in a familiar position; yet for some reason it's not exactly feeling like a position they can crawl out of. Every casual Sioux fan I've talked to says not to worry about it, they are a 2nd half team, etc. While I do agree that you don't want to peak too early, I'm looking at this from beyond the causal fan perspective, because I am not a casual fan. I am a fan who has played the game nearly my whole life.

I wouldn't call the goaltending situation a mess. Why? Because it's pretty clear to me who the starter is. Would I say our starting goaltender is not playing his best? For sure. Would I say that he's a better option than the alternative? Of course. I certainly think Eidsness is the answer, and that in the long run, he will be a fantastic goaltender. But people need to remember that he's a freshman. And that he will have growing pains. That being said, keep him as your starter, give him rest every now and then, but keep him as your starter. You need to build towards the future here.

Finley missing on defense is more devestating than I thought it would be. A true leader and grinder, he could certainly be useful right now. With no timetable on his return, the Sioux are left scratching their heads and in the meantime, playing with a rag-tag defense that is including a bunch of freshman.

The offense is in a drought. And they need to pick it up. VV, Duncan, these guys need to get it going. We need these guys both to step up and be leaders, especially now.

Mostly though, I am concerned with the coaching staff. I was chatting with the WCHA Writer on Sunday about the Sioux. She was explaining to me that Gwozdecky, the coach of the Pioneers, basically chewed his team out after a 5-2 defeat against Minnesota. He called out some guys without mentioning names, saying that people need to put their egos behind them and start playing as a team. Hakstol and Eades need to do the same thing. I don't know about the rest of you Sioux fans, but I am a little tired of hearing how "we are so close" or "the bounces aren't going our way". Good teams make the bounces go their way. Leadership comes into play and the team doesn't have to rely on "lucky bounces." If Hakstol was showing a sense of urgency, I would probably be less worried. But let's face it. The season is a 1/3 of the way over. And Hak is doing nothing to show he is concerned. Should he be? I'll leave that up to you, the fan.

On a lighter note, Thanksgiving is two days away. It's one of my favorite holidays and a time where I actually take note of what I am thankful for.

- My family who continues their support of me
- My friends who are always there for me (not you, Dirty :-p)
- The fact that I have a job in this rough economy
- My wonderful girlfriend who has helped me struggle throughout a pretty rough year for me and gives me unconditional love

Enjoy your holiday. The Sioux have Cornell coming up.

November 23, 2008

Looking for answers? Yeah, me too

The Sioux took home 1 point against the hapless UMD Bulldogs this weekend, making Stalock, a goalie that has struggled mightily this year, look like an all-star.

I listened to last night's game on the radio, and there were maybe two times where I thought the Sioux had good scoring chances. That's pathetic, in my eyes. The top line of Duncan, VandeVelde, and Hextall struggled bigtime last night to find the open lanes and get shots on net. These are your top guys. They need to be producing, especially in what was a must win game in my eyes.

Now I know people are going to say "but Brandon. It's early still. The Sioux are a 2nd half team!" You know what? I'm tired of people saying it's early. Because it's not early anymore. You're 2 months into a 5 month season. The playoffs start in March. The season started in October. That's not a lot of time to get your shit together. Let's face it: The Sioux are a mess right now. They cannot capitalize on power-plays to save their lives, their defense is still prone to giving up the odd man rush that Eidsness cannot stop, and their forwards are not finding the open shooting lanes. All that adds up to is a team that cannot score goals when they need to be.

I want to believe this team can turn it around. Yes, they are young, but the talent is there, IMO. We've seen flashes of it all season. And a team that can go into CC and split should be a top half team in the WCHA. But this Sioux team right now has a lot of problems. And like I said, there are more questions than answers right now.

November 22, 2008

A 2-2 Tie

So the team skated to a 2-2 tie last night. As far as I'm concerned, that's fine, as long as they win tonight. They win tonight, and 3/4 points on the weekend looks pretty good. Losing or another tie is not that good.

From what I understand, Eidsness looked very sharp in net, and the freshman Hextall and Gregoire continue to impress Sioux fans. Baby Toews looked good as well. I can only hope it continues.

November 21, 2008

Big series this weekend

The Sioux hockey team travels to Duluth this weekend for a matchup with the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs are basically meeting expectations this year that they are not playing very good hockey. The are coming off of a loss and a tie to the Badgers last weekend, whereas the Sioux are coming off a split this last weekend at home against UAA.

Finley is still out of the lineup for the Sioux, and his return is indefinite. This is not good news. Genoway and Jones appear to be fine, however. No injuries on offense, as far as I can tell.

I would like to believe the Sioux can sweep the Bulldogs...but until they show me they are capable of playing a full weekend, I'm calling a split on this one.

November 17, 2008

Sioux drop to 20th in the poll

The Sioux somehow hung on to the poll, being ranked 20th this week in the poll

November 16, 2008

A split salvaged and a message sent

Last night the Sioux earned a 3-1 victory over UAA, garnering their 4th split in a row and vaulting them to a 4-6-0 record (4-4-0) WCHA record. There's some good things to take away from this game, and from the series.

It's obvious Brad Eidsness is the starter for the Sioux. To say otherwise would be foolish. He has at times looked lost; other times, brilliant. But it's obvious to this Sioux fan that the Walski experiment is done. I'm not blaming Walski for every goal let in, but I'm also not blaming Eidsness for every goal he has let in. Aaron Walski needs to ride the pine. Give Graeme Harrington a start sometime here! You have two freshman goaltenders on the roster; both will be needed down the road, why not give the other kid some playing time as well?

Hextall is coming together nicely. After a slow start he has played well, scoring two goals on the weekend and is now 4th on the team in points, with 4 goals and 1 assist. This kid is a fun player to watch and deserves to be on the top line.

Genoway back in the lineup was huge for the Sioux. He did well both nights, on Friday getting two assists. He's clearly a playmaker and when Finley returns, those two will be giving the Sioux a much needed boost on defense.

The special teams were clicking last night as the Sioux scored all 3 goals on special teams, two on the powerplay and one shorthanded. They still need some work though, as the Sioux couldn't convert on a 5 minute major at a critical time on Friday night.

So again, don't panic Sioux fans. There are positives to look at with this team.

Also, Hakstol I believe sent an important message to some of the players on Saturday night. Kozek, Trupp, and Fienhage all were out of the lineup, and as far as I know, none were due to injury. I think what Coach Hakstol is saying is if you aren't willing to give 100% while you're getting playing time, you'll be watching Sioux hockey, not playing it. It goes to show that no one is safe on this team. That you better work 100% all the time, or you will not play. Great move by Hakstol, even if you are taking out a good playmaker in both Kozek and Trupp and not allowing Fienhage to develop.

Next week: UMD Bulldogs, who got one point off of the Badgers.

November 15, 2008


Yes, the Sioux team lost last night to a decent UAA team. A UAA team that is shattering expectations and predictions all over the land, including mine. And yes, the Sioux are underperforming. There is no doubt about that. And yes, they only played hockey last night for 3 minutes. And yes, Hak started Walski. And yes, the Sioux did not convert on a 5 minute man advantage. And yes, the Sioux couldn't get a lot of shots. But CALM DOWN! My God, I'm reading the comments on Brad Schlossman's
blog and you would think the Sioux team has shown no promise or won any games yet this season. Let me remind you this is a banged up team. Genoway suited up, but anyone who thinks he is out there playing 100% is a moron. They miss Joe Finley at defense. There is no doubt. But everyone relax. Jesus Christ, relax.

You can still take some positives from last night. Hextall scored again. He's looking better and better every time out there. Eventually he will command respect from opposing defenses and will free up VV and Duncan. Gregoire was getting good chances last night. He's a strong freshman playing well. Miller playing D is doing a fine job. Genoway was back in the lineup. Eidsness, once put in, didn't let a goal by him. Take the positives people! We can still get a split out of the weekend.

Seriously, do not be bandwagon jumpers.

November 13, 2008

WCHA Columnist hits it on the head

This week the WCHA Correspondent for USCHO talked about the Sioux in her weekly column. It can be found here.

Basically she said what I have been saying all along. NOT TIME TO HIT THE PANIC BUTTON!!!!!! She got a few quotes from Coach Hakstol who stated that the Sioux have played one bad period in their last 15. He said they just need to finish.

Preview of things to come

Tomorrow the Sioux take on the Seawolves of Alaska Anchorage at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Sioux are looking for a win to get the ship rightened, while the Seawolves are looking for a win to keep their surprising start going.

As Schloss reported, both Finley and Genoway will be doubtful for this weekend, leaving yet again big holes at defense. Miller played very well at D in the Springs last weekend, and I look for him to do the same this weekend.

The Sioux's offense came alive last weekend, lighting up the darling goalie of the league Richard Bachman 7 times. The Sioux got contributions all around, including goals from Zajac, Gregoire, Hextall, and Hobey Baker winner Ryan Duncan.

Keys to a Sioux Sweep this weekend:

- Limit the rebounds. Eidsness has to do a better job of controlling the rebounds, and in turn, his defense has to clear them out
- Convert on the power play. Again, UND's power play suffered last weekend, going just 2-14. If the Sioux can convert on their power play opportunities, Anchorage could be in for a long weekend
- Contributions from the freshmen class. It was good to see Hextall and Gregoire getting involved, and Hextall was on the starting line last weekend with VandeVelde and Duncan.
- Strong goaltending. Eidsness is playing better each game, and he needs to continue to make the saves he is not supposed to make..
- Stay out of the box. A 5x3 two weeks ago killed a 2-0 lead the Sioux had against Wisconsin . A 5 minute major on Hextall Saturday night (albeit a questionable call) gave CC two goals and the lead. Have to stay penalty free
- Limit the mistakes. Yes, this is a young team that is still coming together, and they will make mistakes, but turning the puck over in the defensive zone will cost you every time in this league

That all being said, I think we will come out of this weekend the victor in both games and carry a .500 record into Duluth.

November 12, 2008

Jess Myers on KFAN

Goon brought to my attention the Jess Myers interview on KFAN. It can be found here.

To sum it up, he swings from Richard Bachman's junk, calling him the best goaltender in the conference. Kind of funny when he lets North Dakota score 7 goals on him in a weekend. Jess thinks the Gophers are the suprise of the NCAA. Um, AIR FORCE undeated???? And he says St. Cloud is in a must win situation this weekend, even though it's NOVEMBER!!!! But the biggest thing Jess talked about that bugged me is the Sioux. He couldn't even name Eidsness as the starter and said that ND is just "ok". I agreed with the producer that you do have to come up in the Frozen Four and beat Boston College, but still. For Jess to say for Wisconsin, Mankato, and St. Cloud "oh it's early in the season" and to say to North Dakota "I don't say I told you so...but I told you so" in his defending of the Sioux's 7th place prediction is pretty poor journalism at best.

My question to you readers is...what do you think Jess has against the Sioux, if anything? Or is he just trying to keep the pot stirred?


The Sioux cracked back into the poll this week, reaching 18th. Normally I don't care, but it shows that the writers of USCHO think the split in the Springs is significant.

Anyway, to the upcoming series against the Seawolves of Alaska-Anchorage. Alaska is coming off of a loss and a tie at home to the Mavericks of MSU-Mankato. Their record so far is 2-2-2, which is somewhat surprising, given that pretty much every person in the country picked them to finish last in the WCHA, including me. I was torn between Tech and Anchorage, but ultimately settled on Alaska.

Should hear more from Schloss today about the Sioux's injuries on the D-line. They have taken quite the pounding there this year, so we need them to get healthy.

November 9, 2008

A Split...nothing to sneeze at

The Sioux came into Colorado Springs hurting, and needing at least a split. A sweep would have been huge, but unfortunately it was not meant to be, as CC beat up the Sioux 7-4.

CC got on the board first, scoring in the first period, but the Sioux answered right back with young Hextall slapping a one time in from just above the crease. Duncan put the Sioux up 2-1 with a nice shot over Bachman's right shoulder, but it came at a price, as Hextall was given a 5 minute major for checking from behind. Questionable call to say the least. CC then tied it up late in the first.

In the 2nd, CC still took advantage of the PP and scored again. UND answered with VandeVelde, then took the lead again with Gregoire firing a snipe into the net, making it 4-3 Sioux. CC answered again though twice, making it 5-4 going into the third.

The 3rd continued to see action, but the Sioux faltered and ended up losing 7-4.

I was at this game, which was up and down, exciting, and filled with action. A few observations from the weekend:

- The Sioux had a patchwork defense in for the weekend. Friday it worked. Saturday, with Genoway out and Jones with a broken hand, not so much
- Hextall got screwed on that 5 minute major call Saturday
- CC fans are pretty classy actually. Other than good natured ribbing, they were respectful of the Sioux and the fans. Thank you CC fans
- Gregoire is going to be a special player, as is Hextall
- Eidsness is coming into his own and had a strong showing Friday night. Saturday I would say only 2 goals he should have flat out saved. The rest he was screened by his own guys or the defense didn't clear out the rebounds
- The players played hungry. They were fired up. Good to see
- CC is a great defensive team. They make you pay for mistakes
- UND travels very well. Thanks to all the alumni who showed up this weekend, many of whom do not live in the Denver area

Back home against Anchorage next weekend. A chance for their first sweep of the season. Good weekend Sioux.

November 8, 2008

A Huge Win

Yes, it is huge. Don't sugarcoat beating the number one team in the nation on their home ice. It's a big deal. Especially the way the Sioux got it done last night. Stingy defense that rarely let CC get any good opportunities, good goaltending in Brad Eidsness, and contribution from the freshman allowed UND to take down top ranked CC 3-1.

I was at the game last night. Things started off pretty well for the Sioux. UND was applying pressure and CC didn't register their first shot of the game until 5 minutes in. Then almost 10 minutes in, the Sioux were cycling the puck down low and Darcy Zajac wrapped it around, freezing Richard Bachman on the near post and put it in far side, giving the Sioux a 1-0 lead.

In the 2nd period, the freshman contributed. Brent Davidson was in position to poke a rebound in 8:14 of the period. 14 seconds later Brett Hextall backhanded a Ryan Duncan rebound to give the Sioux a 3-0 lead.

The 3rd period started off not good. The Sioux took some stupid penalties and were in a 5x3 situation for 1:25. But they did a great job killing it off and coasted to a victory. CC got a meaningless goal with 1:27 left in the game, ruining Eidsness's chance for a shutout, what would have been the first shutout of his young career.

Interesting line combinations last night for sure. Hak had Hextall playing with Duncan and VV. Zajac, Watkins, and Kozek all were cycling the puck very well. Brent Davidson, Mario Lamoureux, and Ryan Martens looked to be on the same page, and
Jason Gregoire, Evan Trupp, and baby Toews saw good ice time as well. It was great to see that Hak can run 4 lines confidently. Matt Frattin was scratched and Brad Miller was moved to D.

We'll see if they can get it done again tonight. Bachman is not a wall. He can be beaten.

November 6, 2008

A lot of Sioux fans that I know are a little upset that the Sioux are not even ranked this week, especially when teams that haven’t played yet are in the top 20. Again, it’s important to remember that rankings DO NOT matter, especially this early in the season. But since people are upset, I talked to the WCHA writer, who ranked the Sioux 19th in her polling, to get some insight into how the polling works and how they decide to rank the teams.

First she said that a 2-4-0 record is not going to help the Sioux get ranked. If anything, 2-4-0 is damaging to the Sioux. I mean, a loss against UMass and handing Wisconsin their first win is not exactly something to be proud of. Secondly, the Ivy League teams like Harvard and Princeton have a rule that prohibits them from starting the season this early. It’s not fair to penalize those teams in the polls that haven’t had a chance to prove themselves yet.

As for my take on everything, I don’t think fans should care right now if the team is ranked or not. Does it suck given the position they are in? Of course. We’re facing an uphill battle. I’m not going to lie. And that is depressing, to say the least. I think about how the Sioux can probably lose or tie 10 more games this season and their hopes of making the NCAA tourney go bye-bye real quick. But I also think of the positives surrounding this team. Schloss reported that Duncan put the loss on his shoulders; something that you look for from a captain and to me shows a lot of leadership. Eidsness, while at times is giving up a goal he should save, is also making saves he shouldn’t. That is significant to me. He will make progress as the season goes on. Anyone that thought he or Walski would just come in and make an impact right away either doesn’t know hockey or is delusional.

And the Sioux play CC this weekend. A team that is playing well enough to win, but not exactly looking like a powerhouse team ready to repeat as WCHA champions. Denver only lost last Friday night against them because they missed 7623478641 open nets. Like I said in my earlier blog, CC is beatable, but they will make you pay for your mistakes. Let’s hope the Sioux keep their mistakes to a minimum in Colorado Springs this weekend.

November 2, 2008

Sioux split the weekend

Friday night the Sioux showed a lot of promise and played well in a 3-2 victory over the Badgers. Saturday night, they outplayed the Badgers the whole game, sans 3 minutes. Unfortunately, it was enough to lose 5-2 and split the series.

On Friday, the Sioux outplayed the Badgers for most of the game by being physical and outshooting the 'Sconni team 45-22. Wisconsin scored first, but the Sioux responded. Wisconsin scored again and again the Sioux responded. And in the third, Jason Gregoire netted his first of the season and gave the Sioux the lead for good.

Saturday night, the Sioux outplayed the Badgers immensely in the first period, but again the score was 0-0 after one. The Sioux jumped up 1-0 on a shorthanded goal by Ryan Duncan late in the 2nd, and Gregoire added his second goal of the season a few minutes later on a shot that Goon has up in his blog. One of the best shots I have seen in a long time.

Unfortunately, in the third period, the Sioux started off two men down and the Badgers wasted no time capitalizing on this, just 56 seconds in. Within a minute and a half, it was 3-2 and the Sioux and their fans were scratching their heads, hoping that this is just early season woes.

Look, as I said in an earlier post, a split really doesn't mean much for the Sioux. Sure, they are 2-4-0. That's not hard to ignore, and no, it's not going to go away. But let me remind all of you that the Boston College Eagles started off their season last year winning 3 of their first 12 games. Yes, the same BC Eagles that crushed our Sioux 6-1 in the Frozen Four. I really think that the press and the college hockey writers are just overreacting right now. Oh no, the Sioux are off to a slow start!!! Time to panic already!!!

No. Not time yet. We're seeing flashes of Gregoire's scoring ability, great saves by Eidsness, etc. As Goon said in his blog, it's going to take some time to get everyone on the same page. And as Wilbur, the most reliable Sioux fan I know has told me, IT'S EARLY!

Now, on to a lighter note. Dirty, of Dirty's Diatribe won Tony Grieco's mask in an auction at the Ralph. Dirty paid $425 for this. Pictures to follow soon.

November 1, 2008

A great hockey game...

...that ended melodramatically.

I was at the DU/CC game last night. One of the greatest games I have ever seen in the WCHA, falling in with the UMD/UND game in February 2004 and the UMN/MSU playoff game last year. Both teams were fast, both goalies played well, and the student section of DU was awesome, quite frankly.

My observations include the following:

- DU missed about 43723910374632 open net opportunities. Seriously.
- CC will make you pay for mistakes
- They are also weak offensively
- Neither team is exactly a physical team; both rely on skill and speed
- Cheverie is shaky and can be beat
- Bachman can be beat as well

It was a great game and I'm glad I got to see it. Too bad it had to end with a mediocre overtime.