March 30, 2011

What a Ride it Has Been!

It's been a great season for our team. The achievements they have pulled off thus far have been nothing short of amazing. Capturing the MacNaughton outright for the 2nd time in 3 years. Winning the Broadmoor in back-to-back years. Frattin winning league MVP. Storming through the Midwest Regional, beating a scrappy RPI team and a DU team that was good enough to make the Frozen Four. This Sioux team, led by a deep senior class, has been downright scary.

There was no "2nd half surge" this year. There was no fighting to just stay above .500 for the 1st half of the season. Aside from a sweep at the hand of the Maine Black Bears, this team was never swept. Brad Malone overcame the emotion of an unfortunate hit that disabled DU player Jesse Martin. This team swept Wisconsin at the Kohl Center. Took 3 points against a surging St. Cloud State team. Drubbed Michigan Tech in convincing fashion. Went into the X facing both CC and DU, dispatching both. Kristo, injured for most of the year, scored in his first game back and immediately made his presence felt. Trupp carried the puck on his stick for a good 120 feet down the ice! This team is special. In a year where the WCHA seemed to be down, this Sioux team demonstrated the dominance that we are all used to showing the other conferences.

I've had the pleasure of watching a lot of good Sioux teams in my day, and I can safely say that this is the best team I have seen. Trupp has blossomed into the player we always expected he would be. Chay has returned with a furor, and Frattin has put himself in prime position to win the Hobey Baker Award.

All the gushing aside of this wonderful team, we Sioux fans know that this team isn't going to the Frozen Four just happy to be there. This team is on a mission. This team has goals. The focus of this team has been unreal. Scary. They didn't touch the MacNaughton or Broadmoor when they were presented with these. They didn't put on championship hats for winning the Final Five or winning the Midwest Regional. Hell, they didn't even celebrate winning the Midwest Regional. Aside from patting Dell on the head and lining up for the handshake, it was business as usual for this team.

They have two more games to win. Two more games.

March 28, 2011


Ok, the Sioux are off to the Frozen Four. Yay!

I'm going to do a nice blog about the season later today. I just still need to assemble my thoughts.

March 27, 2011

Who do you cheer for?

Yesterday was interesting in following people on Facebook. A lot of hockey fans, especially WCHA fans, were cheering against the Sioux against RPI. When asked why they wouldn't want to support the conference, they said they'd rather the WCHA not have anyone then North Dakota.


Why would you not want your conference to represent?

Unless it's the Gophers, Wisconsin, or DU, you always cheer for your conference. And you cheer for those teams if they are playing Michigan, BC, Yale...basically, you cheer for your conference.

The Michigan Goal that wasn't

I'm tired of this. Tired tired tired.

This controversial goal sent Michigan onto Saturday night, where they beat CC 2-1 to advance to the Frozen Four. This was not a goal. The call on the ice was no goal. Yet about 4 minutes after this play happened, they went upstairs to review it and of course, Michigan got the benefit of the doubt. You know if it was UNO scoring a goal like this, it wouldn't have even been reviewed.

What a joke.

Sioux drub RPI, face DU

For a period yesterday, it looked like RPI was going to make this tough on the Sioux.

Then the Sioux got rolling.

Behind 2 goals from Malone, a nifty toe-drag from Kristo, and goals from Gregoire, Knight, and Frattin, the Sioux blanked RPI 6-0, earning the right to play Denver again, who beat Western Michigan 3-2 in double overtime later that night.

The Sioux were evenly matched in the first period. RPI came out fast and physical, which is what you have to do to beat this North Dakota team. It was only a 1 goal game at the end of 1, and RPI had to feel pretty good. But they started taking undisciplined penalties in a tightly called game, and UND's powerplay was suddenly pretty potent.

Ultimately, the boys were able to put the last two frustrating years behind them and did exactly what they were supposed to do. While number 1 seeds were falling left and right, the Sioux look like the only number 1 seed that deserves to be there.

Puck drop today at 4:30 cst.

Chambers Strikes Again

If you haven't seen this article written by Sioux hater Mike Chambers in the Denver Post yet, check it out. Basically, Chambers has done everything in his power to drag the Sioux, Brad Malone, and Dave Hakstol through the mud using Jesse Martin as a martyr. I am quite frankly disgusted by this and have already sent an email to the Denver Post demanding an apology from Chambers. He's not an opinion writer; he's a reporter. He has a responsibility to report the news. Not inject his opinion. Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald does a great job of simply reporting the facts. Chambers is not Tom Powers or Jay Mariotti. He has no right to do this.

Before you all jump on me as a DU hater, I've been nothing but respectful to that program this year. I watched the game where Martin got hit and immediately said a prayer for his safety and well being. I know what it's like to lose a player to an injury like that, and no team deserves to have that happen to them. That being said, Chambers has brought this frustration on himself.


March 24, 2011

Final Five notes and a preview of this weekend

It's been a week since the Final Five opened with the new format, two teams that no one expected to see, and no Minnesota or Wisconsin to bolster attendance. I think it's safe to say this Final Five was going to be different, exciting, and bring many opinions to the table.

After the dust has settled, I can safely say that DU/UND game was intense, exciting, and showcased two VERY good hockey teams.

Now, onto this upcoming weekend.

The Sioux are in an interesting position, IMO. They face an RPI team that has had 3 weeks off from any type of game situation. They have practiced from what I understand, but 3 weeks ago, most RPI fans had written their team off and were just waiting for the other teams that still were playing hockey to propel them into the NCAA tourney. Sure enough, RPI made it. Under normal circumstances, I would be really happy for them. I like RPI; they are a proud program that has very loyal fans. A couple of NCAA Championships decorate the trophy room. My friend Joe Yerdon is a huge RPI fan, as well as Tom Reale. But right now, I'm not an RPI fan. In the other game, Denver will face a Western Michigan team that has overachieved and quite frankly, has nothing to lose.

So the ultimate question is, can the Sioux beat RPI?


No words on injuries yet. Hakstol is in lockdown mode on those according to Schloss. The team leaves for Green Bay today. I sure hope they got some rest after their two overtime game against DU.

March 16, 2011

Final Five Notes

Yesterday in the WCHA Conference Call Hak told the people listening that Kristo was practicing. I guess I didn't realize the extent until Schloss reported today that he's practicing in full and has the potential to return to the lineup. That's some very good news for the Sioux. Combine that with the fact they are only playing two games this weekend. That's really really good news.

I'll be at both games tomorrow and will blog about them.

March 14, 2011

The Final Five is Set

I attended last nights CC/UW game and didn't come away disappointed. The game was lousy for the first two periods, but the last was exciting and some fine hockey. CC won 2-1 and advanced to the Final Five; Wisconsin's season ended.

Could this be a bigger nightmare for Bruce McLeod and co.? I mean, let's look at the games.

Thursday Afternoon: Bemidji vs. Minnesota Duluth
Thursday Night: UAA vs. CC

Friday Afternoon: Bemidji/UMD vs. Denver
Friday Night: UAA/CC vs. North Dakota

Saturday Night: Winner of Friday afternoons game and Friday nights game

This is, in my opinion, a nightmare for the money counters of the WCHA. For those of us that are fans of the WCHA and fans of the game of college hockey, this is quite frankly the best case scenario I could envision. You have a first time team, two Colorado teams, a team that hasn't been there since 2004, and the two previous Broadmoor champions. Talk about a unique field! I look forward especially to Bemidji and UAA getting to play on a big stage. And I'm counting on big hockey fans to still turn out for the games.

It's going to be a fun Final Five. Stay tuned

March 13, 2011

An Irish Wake for Minnesota

Most of the series are done, surprisingly.

North Dakota took care of business last night. So did Denver, coming back (again) and beating Mankato in overtime. Duluth won in triple overtime, ending St. Cloud's season.

But there were some upsets.

Bemidji, a team that is used to the big stage in college hockey, will get to be the first new team of the WCHA to head to St. Paul as they knocked off UNO in a sweep at the Qwest Center. I can safely say with confidence that the #10 seed has never advanced to St. Paul.

The biggest story of the night though, was the Seawolves ending Minnesota's season. Behind a stunning goaltending effort from Chris Kamal, UAA blanked Minnesota 2-0. The Minnesota fanbase seemed stunned and not surprised at the same time, and almost immediately after the game, the speculation of where the coaching staff would be began. Meanwhile, UAA is off to its first Final Five since 2004, and is on a 5 game winning streak. The possibility of UAA making the NCAA's is exciting and shows the true grit of the WCHA.

I, for one, was not going to mock the Gophers. While I don't like a lot of their fans, they do have passion and care a lot about the game. My own dad is a huge Gopher fan and donates his money to the University. This is a proud program who is unfortunately in a bad position right now. Many Gopher fans are not used to failure. This is a program that will be back. I believe that. A change at the top? It's gotta happen, and sooner rather then later. For now though, it's just time to mourn the end of the Gophers season.

Most Exciting Time in College Hockey

I was driving home from the airport last night and was on the phone with my friend and frequent commenter on this blog, Steve. We were talking, nonstop, about this time of year. How we all become scoreboard watchers and suddenly what all 58 teams in college hockey are doing is important. How we all calculate the PWR rankings and the what-if scenarios. I realized that this time of year, this playoff hunt, is the most exciting time in college hockey.

October could be. Start of the new season. New life. New blood. Every team is 0-0. But then a team like Michigan Tech makes a little noise and everyone in their fanbase is screaming for a huge season, which ultimately doesn't happen.

The Frozen Four could be. But by that point, the majority of hockey fans have gone home and are "waiting until next year".

This is the time of year where everyone is on their computers, digging into the games. Finding out who is winning. This is the best time in college hockey.

WCHA Champions

I've seen some poignant moments in Sioux hockey over my years. The team not touching the MacNaughton might be the most poignant of all.

March 12, 2011

Frattin's Hattrick

Upsets Galore

The Sioux's drubbing of Michigan Tech last night was certainly impressive, given how Tech has played in the playoffs in the past. Behind a great team effort and a hattrick by both Frattin and Gregoire, the Sioux won handily, 8-0.

The biggest story of the night though was UAA upsetting the Gophers in Minnesota. All we've heard all week is how the Gophers unbeaten streak was at 7 games, how they never lose in the playoffs at the Mooch, how UAA is overrated, etc. Well last night, the Seawolves humbled the Gophers on home ice, winning 4-3 after being spotted a 3-0 lead. After the game, an interview with coach Don Lucia proved how arrogant and cocky that program is. Don said something to the effect of "they probably deserved to win tonight." Probably? Your team was completely inept in the first period, had to fight and claw its way back, and after tying it up, took a ridiculously stupid penalty that allowed UAA to win the game. I'd say that UAA certainly deserved to win the game.

Aside from UAA upsetting, Wisconsin beat CC 3-1 down in the Springs and Bemidji beat UNO 4-2 in Omaha. While Wisconsin's win isn't all that surprising, Bemidji's certainly is. UNO is very solid at home and is a very pleasant surprise in the WCHA, while Bemidji struggled this year. Yet they had a good record against Omaha and got the job done last night.

In other WCHA scores, DU overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat Mankato 4-2, and Duluth upended St. Cloud 4-2. Ironically, Minnesota isn't in that bad of shape pairwise, since Western Michigan and Dartmouth both lost last night. UND moved up to number 2 in the pairwise. I don't think they can catch Yale for the number 1 spot, but I believe they have secured a number 1 spot, regardless of what happens here on out.

March 11, 2011

The Playoffs Begin

Tonight, we watch the Sioux take the first step towards the NCAA's as they take on Michigan Tech at the Engelstad.

First, I'd like to congratulate Matt Frattin on earning the WCHA Player of the Year. His troubles a year ago have been well documented and his comeback from those troubles are nothing more then spectacular. Putting his team first, Matt was able to climb back on the horse and prove how valuable of a player he can be. A player that will most likely be a Hobey Baker finalist, he's a truly dynamic player and will help the Sioux go deep, in my opinion.

Now, onto this weekend. I'm a believer in the fact that the playoffs give teams chances to start over. Chances to prove the doubters wrong. Every team is 0-0 at this point. Every team can, in theory make the WCHA Final Five.

Yes, even Tech.

How can Tech, the team that got dismantled by the Sioux last weekend, rise up?

I don't know.

My point is, while Tech can IN THEORY go to the Final Five, I don't see it happening. UND should take care of business pretty easily this weekend.

Now, onto the other series that are happening.

Denver vs. Minnesota State
Denver hasn't been playing very good hockey lately, while Mankato might be playing fantastic hockey without the wins to show for it. These two teams meet in Denver, and while it'll go to 3 games, Denver will be in St. Paul next weekend. Denver in 3

Nebraska-Omaha vs. Bemidji State
One of the WCHA newcomers will be at the Final Five. That's pretty cool. One of these newcomers had a great season, while the other team was humbled. Bemidji learned pretty quick how tough a full season can be in the WCHA, while Nebraska-Omaha proved us all wrong with a great year. The question is, can Bemidji repeat its success it had this year against the Red Mavs? I don't think so. Nebraska-Omaha in 2

Minnesota-Duluth vs. St. Cloud State
Some coach earlier in the season mentioned that St. Cloud is the best 11th place team he had ever seen. Seems pretty accurate. Last weekend St. Cloud was in the fight for home ice. This team has suddenly decided to show up. Duluth on the other hand is in free-fall mode. Again. A team that was challenging the Sioux for first place has suddenly found itself down in the pairwise. I think that while St. Cloud has enough firepower to get the job done, Duluth will be making a trip to St. Paul. Duluth in 3

Minnesota vs. Alaska-Anchorage
The Gophers have been on fire lately as well, currently on an unbeaten streak of 7. Gopher fans are ready to declare their team the NCAA champions. Yet if they don't sweep UAA this weekend, they are probably going to have to run the table at the Final Five to make the NCAA's. And that's assuming UAA doesn't pull a massive upset. And that is what I'm calling. No, it's not because I'm a huge hater of the Gophers. It's simple factors. UAA is overachieving this season. Doing well with what they have. The Gophers, they are the ones with the target on their backs. All the pressure in the world. UAA will be loose, limber, and stun the Gophers on Sunday, ending the Gophers season. UAA in 3

Colorado College vs. Wisconsin
In another rematch from last weekend, CC and Wisconsin simply swap venues and continue. Neither team is bad, neither team is good. They split last weekend, and while Wisconsin seemed to be carrying the play (I watched both games) I put a lot of that on being in the Kohl Center. CC should be able to beat 'Sconni and end their season. CC in 3

There you have it folks. On Sunday, we can see how wrong I was.

March 8, 2011

Inaugral Blogger Poll Standings

Earlier this year I was asked to participate in the first WCHA Blogger poll. 15 of us came together and put our thoughts down on how we thought the season would turn out. Needless to say, don't gamble based on our picks.

Here's what we said for final standings:

1. North Dakota (12)
2. St. Cloud (2)
3. Minnesota-Duluth (1)
4. Denver
5. Minnesota
6. Wisconsin
7. Nebraska-Omaha
8. Colorado College
9. Bemidji State
10. Minnesota State
11. Michigan Tech
12. Alaska-Anchorage

Needless to say, we nailed two teams - North Dakota and Minnesota.

For player of the year, here's what we picked:

Jack Connolly - Duluth (6)
Garrett Roe - St. Cloud (5)
Jacob Cepis - Minnesota - (1)
Chay Genoway - North Dakota (1)
Jason Gregoire - North Dakota (1)
Matt Read - Bemidji (1)

My guess is none of those players will get it. Rather, it will go to Matt Frattin of North Dakota.

Here's who we picked for Rookie of the Year

Jaden Schwartz-Colorado College (6)
Beau Bennett-Denver (2)
Derek Forbort-North Dakota (2)
Nick Bjugstad-Minnesota (1)
Erik Haula-Minnesota (1)
Matt White-Nebraska Omaha (1)
Mark Zengerle-Wisconsin (1)
Sam Rendle-Bemidji (1)

Again, we royally whiffed on this one, as it will most likely go to Jason Zucker of Denver.

March 6, 2011

Some stats to boggle your minds...and one to be concerned about

Schloss had a ton of stats about this Sioux team to end the regular season on his blog. While I won't recap them all, I'll run down a few of them. For the complete list, head over to his blog. Goon also recapped them as well.

- Frattin won the league scoring title. He is tied for the NCAA lead with 29
- Aaron Dell won the WCHA goalie title with a 1.97 GAA
- The Sioux were the top scoring team with 4.00 GPG
- 1st in offense, defense, special teams, and PP

Pretty impressive stats for this team. There's one fact thought that troubles me. No team has won the WCHA title and the National Championship since Northern Michigan did in 1991. There's been some real good teams that have won the MacNaughton cup during that timespan, and not one of them won the NCAA Championship. Definitely something this team can hopefully reverse, but man, it's not a good sign.

March 5, 2011


11-2. The Sioux were the delivers of an 11-2 drubbing today to Michigan Tech. With Eidsness letting Aaron Dell rest, the Sioux's offense was potent, scoring 6 goals in the 1st period.

A Tech fan commented to me that this Sioux team is insane in how talented it is, and should have no problem running the table. To me, it's not worth even talking about yet. They have to get to the Final Five first, which means taking care of business next weekend.

One step at a time...

March 4, 2011

Count it!

Your 2011 MacNaughton Cup champions!

Great game by the Sioux tonight, dominating the Huskies and winning 6-1. I'm so proud of this team, it's unreal.

March 1, 2011

Fighting in college it a good idea?

Goon has been raging debate over the past week about the issue of no fighting in college hockey. For those of you who follow him, you know his stance on this issue. For those of you who don't, let me bring you up to speed on what our resident homer Sioux fan thinks about the subject.

Goon is a fan of old time hockey. Old time meaning guys squaring off and throwing down, sometimes multiple times a game. Goon likes fighting in hockey. He's not alone. A lot of hockey fans enjoy the fighting aspect of the game. Then there are others, like myself, who think fighting, while it has a place in hockey, should not be a the forefront of it. To me, fighting is more of a gimmick. A way to draw causal fans to the arena. My argument is supported by the many minor league hockey teams who promise things like "a fight or your money back". I mean, really? Hockey is a skill game, a game of finesse. To dumb it down for the masses is ridiculous. I don't care if less fighting draws less fans. To me, I'd rather watch a battle of skill then a battle of fists. And I'm a huge boxing fan.

Now, Goon, in fairness, has some points to back up his argument. His thought regarding the ban on fighting in college hockey is causing more injuries. To beat a dead horse and make it deader, let's bring up the Marvin hit on Genoway (maybe the last time, maybe not). Marvin put a vicious, deliberate hit on Genoway that nearly ended his college hockey career. Marvin showed a history of bad hits, and was able to continue to do so thanks to the inability to teach him a lesson. If fighting was allowed in college hockey, one of the Sioux's enforcers (they really don't have any right now...maybe Forbort?) could go and beat him down, thus ensuring he would pay for his actions. This is an interesting point, but the question is, would a beatdown deter him from making this type of hit?

Joe, my friend and blogger, is also a fan of old time hockey. He can go toe-to-toe with anyone on fighting trivia in hockey. His stance on fighting is that it has a place in the game, but in college hockey, guys aren't mature enough to understand what a fight is all about. They are too hot-headed. They'd see a hit on one of their players and immediately want to drop the gloves. This would lead to many ejections and really, amount to nothing.

My personal stance is I do not want to see fighting in college hockey. It's a unique level where you see incredible talent; yet the game is not tainted by stoppages in play every 9 minutes with someone dropping their gloves. There's pushing and shoving, sure, but that's at every level. Hell, in high school, that was a common occurrence. It's not a big deal. But Goon does have a point that there are goons in the leagues that can make hits and hide. How can you deal with these players? Simple. Increase the penalties for vicious acts.

When Marvin hit Genoway, I don't care that it was a St. Cloud player. He should have been suspended for at least 1/2 the season. A hit like that is inexcusable and there's no question in my mind Marvin should have paid dearly for it. A St. Cloud fan will tell you he did his time. Sure...long enough to knock out the Badger captain late in the season. I'm not saying ban these guys from playing immediately, but some sort of severe punishment system would deter these guys from making hits that are dangerous. Knowing they could potentially lose a season of eligibility should be enough of a scare tactic.

But hey, what do I know? I'm just a fan of the game.