Most years, UAA is an interesting team. They seem ready to break out, only to falter by the end of the year and finish in the basement or near the basement of the WCHA. This year, at this time, UAA is sitting in a tie for 6th place and seems to be playing some good hockey. I saw them play a couple weekends ago against Denver, and though they were swept by the Pioneers, they played some good hockey on Friday night, keeping the game close and if not for a few untimely penalties, could have stolen the Friday night game.
This UAA team is not fast by any means; in fact, I compare watching them to watching a team out of Atlantic Hockey, such as Mercyhurst or Niagara. However, they are gritty. They are able to force turnovers in the neutral zone and capitalize on odd man rushes. Combine that with goalies that can face 35+ shots a game and keep the team in it. UAA makes up for what they lack in talent with good overall hockey skills.
The Sioux will have their hands full this weekend. With both Kristo and Genoway out, the Sioux are down two of their best players. With Hextall playing too inconsistent for my taste, and Dell coming back down to earth in recent weeks, UAA can take advantage of the Sioux. Not only that, but they are scrapping for every point they can get. UND, it's safe to say, is going to be home in the 1st round of the WCHA playoffs, and will most likely lock up a 1,2, or 3 seed. The big question is, can the finish the season on a strong note or will they limp to the finish line?