Yep, it's time. Time to recap the 2009-2010 season. I figure it's September, baseball is winding down, football is starting, so it's getting close to hockey time.
Last year was interesting. The Sioux went into the season without a target on their back. They clearly were not the favorite of the WCHA. That distinction went to DU. Instead, the Sioux were looking at a top 5 finish, but nothing spectacular. They would probably make the NCAA's, but weren't locks. It would almost be a rebuilding season, being that they lost 7 seniors the year before and were relying on Brad Eidsness, a decent goaltender, but not a catalyst.
The season got off to a good start with a sweep of a scrappy Merrimack team up in Grand Forks, followed by taking 3 of 4 points from the Sioux's hated rival, Minnesota. The Sioux then split against UAA, then rattled off 3 more wins, sweeping Michigan Tech and winning against St. Cloud. That win against St. Cloud came with a ridiculous cost, however, as Chay Genoway was knocked out with a ridiculously blatant hit from St. Cloud goon Aaron Marvin.
At the time, we all thought it was just a concussion and that he would be back soon. Little did we know...
Without their star defenseman and captain, the Sioux were in a bad spot, as they lost the next night to St. Cloud and got swept by the Pioneers in Denver. The Sioux were in position to win both games, but some horrible officiating made sure that Denver would earn a sweep of the Sioux.
The Sioux were able to beat Ohio State in the Subway Holiday Classic and were beating the Redhawks from Miami of Ohio, but the Sioux had some costly lapses in the third period that allowed the runners-up tie the game. The game ended in a 5-5 tie. The Sioux then split with Duluth at the DECC, again jobbed by some questionable officiating (puck hit the netting but no stoppage). But the trend was already setting in of the Sioux not being able to hold a lead.
The Sioux then struggled against Wisconsin, only gaining one point in the standings. They beat Niagara in the Shillelagh Tournament, but failed yet again to hold a lead against Notre Dame, eventually tying and losing in a shootout.
They proceeded home to sweep a terrible Mankato team, but played a terrible series in Minnesota, only taking one point, and again, giving up a late goal to give up the lead. They split with a good Cornell team, but proceeded to get swept by Denver at the Ralph. The Sioux were clearly not playing great hockey at this point and needed to start winning some games, and needed to win convincingly.
The Sioux went to St. Cloud, with much anticipation of the series. The Sioux fell on Friday night 3-4 but Saturday night, returned with a fury of goals, beating St. Cloud 8-1. You could feel the Sioux's energy just watching the game. It was a sign of good things to come. The Sioux rattled off 6 wins to close the regular season, including sweeping Minnesota Duluth, CC, and Michigan Tech. The CC games were tough, scrappy games that I had the pleasure of attending. You can actually see me jump into the glass when Frattin scores the game winner.
The Sioux took 4th place in the WCHA, and were greeted with the prospect of facing the falling-apart Golden Gophers, a team that seemed content to mail in the season and try again the following year. Most Sioux fans were very excited at the prospect of the game. I, on the other hand, was very worried. I have heard the WCHA Commissioner say that they prefer Minnesota in the Final Five, so there was always the possibility of the game being called in a certain fashion. However, the Sioux quieted any doubt that I had, destroying the Gophers 6-0 in the first night. The Gophers took care of business the 2nd night, but the Sioux put them away for good the last night, winning 4-1 and prevented the Gophers from reaching the Final Five for the first time since it was held at the X.
This F5 promised to be special. There were going to be out of towners in attendance, including our friend Lindsey, who is a Wildcat fan but chooses to date a Techie (yeah, I dunno why either) and Joe Yerdon, a RPI fan who has always wondered about the Final Five. Combine that with our usual fans, and you have a recipe for a good time.
The Sioux were forced to play Friday night and drew Minnesota Duluth. Behind a great goaltending effort from Eidsness, the Sioux beat Duluth 2-0 and moved on to face their new #1 rival, Denver. Again, the Sioux got a great goaltending effort from Eidsness, plus a huge spark from Evan Trupp, who had caught fire in the 2nd half of the season. The Sioux were 4-3 winners over DU.
Check out the 2nd Trupp goal. You will see me in the Zamboni tunnel celebrating. I'm in the white Sioux jersey and hat.
The Sioux were due to face St. Cloud in the championship game. Again, the hype surrounding this game was epic. Clearly, the Gophers were no longer the Sioux's biggest rival. DU and St. Cloud were both vying for that spot. St. Cloud scored two goals less then a minute into the game, but the Sioux never panicked, tying the game up by the end of the 1st period. In the 2nd period, the Sioux controlled the game and took a 4-3 lead. They sealed the deal with an ENG, earning their first Broadmoor trophy since 2006. The ceremony was special, as when the trophy was presented, the Sioux insisted their captain and friend, Chay Genoway, who had never returned from the blatant cheapshot that was delivered by goon Aaron Marvin, went to get the trophy. It was a humbling moment and one that made me very proud to be a Sioux hockey fan.
Naturally, the Sioux made the NCAA tournament. They were sent to Worester, where they would face Yale, a team that had last won in the NCAA's in 1952. However, Yale came prepared and quite frankly, took it to the Sioux. Instead of sitting on their heels and waiting for opportunities, Yale skated hard, aggressive, and frustrated the Sioux, who were clearly thrown off by Yale's style of play. Factor in a missed penalty shot by Darcy Zajac, and it just wasn't in the cards for the Sioux. They fell 3-2 to Yale and were sent packing again.
I don't think last season was a disappointment though. The Sioux were relying on a lot of freshman and lost their captain and rock early in the season. Yet to finish the way they did and win the Broadmoor was quite impressive.