I don't like the tournament name any more than the rest of you, but I digress.
Now on to hockey...
The tournament got started off the way a good tournament should, with two teams that met up in the Frozen Four last year playing each other, Miami of Ohio and Bemidji. I watched the game last year in DC and it seemed to me that Bemidji was not only overwhelmed by being on the national stage and all the hype that followed them, but they were also overwhelmed by a Miami team that was and is very very good. Enrico Blasi has done some great things with that program and I'm excited to see some other names in college hockey. At the Frozen Four, Miami beat Bemidji 4-1, sending the Beavers packing. However, a lot of Bemidji fans stuck around Washington, and for that, I was very happy.
Yesterday afternoon, Bemidji carried a 2-0 lead into the 3rd period, but Miami evened the score at 2 with both their goals coming from junior forward Carter Camper. This kid had 41 points and 42 points respectively in his first two seasons with the Redhawks. He's a damn good player, in my opinion. However, Miami was unable to protect the lead and Bemidji went on to win 3-2, vaulting their record to 11-1-1. I gotta be honest, if this team does not get some first place consideration, I will be shocked.
Then came the game we were all waiting for. The Sioux took on the other team from Ohio, the Ohio State Buckeyes. I was curious to see how the Sioux would respond after a very tough weekend in Denver. As I said, while there was no reason for the players to hang their heads, getting swept is getting swept. And with the news that Genoway is still out, and there is really no timetable for his return, I'm sure the players are frustrated, to say the least.
The first period was interesting. I thought the Sioux dominated except for the last couple minutes. I thought it seemed like Sioux hockey as well. Physical, hard fought, etc. They took it to the Ohio players and ground it out. It came at a price though as David Toews took a crushing hit at center ice. He left the bench for a few minutes, but came back later in the game. No scoring in the 1st period.
I had to leave in the 2nd, but from the outset, the Sioux were looking to dominate and they got on the scoreboard with a goal from Darcy Zajac (seriously, this kid is going to have a huge year). Again, they were taking to Ohio and in my eyes, overwhelming them. However, they were unable to get any more goals in the frame.
In the 3rd, from what I have been told, UND decided to quit monkeying around and basically smacked the Buckeyes around. They took the game over and refused to yield even after the Buckeyes scored to bring it to 2-1. Goals from Kristo and Hextall later in the game ensured a victory. 4-1 Sioux.
Some things I noticed. It's great to see Hextall back on the board. He was definitely in a slump. I also am glad to see Kristo continuing to progress. He was flying all over the ice last night. I think the line with him, Cichy, and Knight is going to work out real well. It gives UND 4 balanced lines, which is rare in college hockey. Hell, it's rare at any level. I also like how the Sioux were able to rebound after what was certainly a very tough week last week.
I look for them to keep it up tonight as they take on Miami.