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UMD AT ARCH RIVAL MINNESOTA THIS WEEKEND FOR FINAL REGULAR SEASON ROAD ASSIGNMENTS
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The University of Minnesota Duluth will put the wraps on the road portion of its 2012-13 regular season schedule this Friday and Saturday (Feb. 22-23) when the Bulldogs pay a visit to Minneapolis, Minn., for a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series with the University of Minnesota. The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. both nights at Mariucci Arena (10,000) on the Minnesota campus.
The Bulldogs are 10-16-4 overall and occupy eighth place (along with Colorado College) in the WCHA standings at 8-12-4 while Minnesota sports a 20-6-4 record in all games and a 12-6-4 league mark (tied for fourth place with the University of North Dakota).
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HOW THEY RANK: Here is how the UMD and Minnesota stacked up in the latest USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls as well as the PairWise rankings:
USCHO.com USA Today PairWise
UMD NR NR NR
UM 2nd 2nd 2nd
ON THE AIR: UMD’s two bouts against the Gophers will be carried locally on 94X (94.1/104.3 FM) with Bruce Ciskie handling the play-by-play. The broadcast can also be heard on KQ 105.5 in Grand Rapids/Hibbing and KQ 106.7 in Ely/Virginia as part of the Bulldog Sports Radio Network and is available on the internet at: 94xrocks.com.
Fox Sports North is televising Friday’s game while the Big Ten Network will do likewise the following night.
THE COACHES: The runnerup for the 2010-11 Spencer Penrose Award (American Hockey Coaches Association NCAA Division I Coach of the Year) and recipient of that honor in 2003-04, Scott Sandelin is in his 13th season behind the UMD bench where he has compiled a 227-226-62 overall record -- including a 105-66-25 mark (for a .599 winning percentage). Besides capturing the school’s first NCAA championship two years ago, his Bulldogs have won 22 or more games in each of the past four seasons while advancing to four NCAA tournaments (2004, 2009, 2011 and 2012), two Frozen Fours (2004 and 2011) and seven of the past 10 WCHA Final Five playoff events. During the course of the 2011-12 season, the Bulldogs set a club record by going unbeaten in 17 straight games and were ranked first in both major weekly polls (USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine for a program-best nine consecutive weeks. In March 2009, UMD became the first play-in game participant to ever claim the Final Five title and, later that spring, strung together a school-record six-game postseason winning streak before it fell to Miami University 2-1 in the NCAA West Regional final. Nine years ago, Sandelin, 48, turned UMD into a NCAA Frozen Four participant for the first time in nearly a generation, marshaling his troops to their most victories (they were 28-13-4 overall) and highest WCHA finish (second place on a 19-7-2 mark) since 1992-93. For his efforts, the Hibbing, Minn., native was chosen the WCHA Coach of the Year as well as the national coach of the year by both insidecollegehockey.com and uscho.com. In 2002-03, Sandelin’s charges went 22-15-5 overall and captured fifth place in the WCHA with a 14-10-4 mark while experiencing the greatest one-season turnaround of any league member that winter. One year earlier, he guided UMD to a 13-24-1 record in all games -- nearly doubling the number of victories from the previous season (7-28-4). Sandelin officially signed on with the Bulldogs on March 31, 2000 following six years of assistant coaching deployment at North Dakota (which won two NCAA titles during his tenure). Prior to that, Sandelin spent the 1993-94 season as the head coach of the Fargo-Moorhead Junior Kings of the Junior Elite Hockey League after working in that same capacity (and doubling as general manager) the previous winter with the American Hockey Association’s Fargo-Moorhead Express. He capped off his four-year playing career at North Dakota in 1985-86 by being named one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. An All-WCHA first team pick and an All-American second team selection as a senior, Sandelin went on to play seven years of professional hockey, which included National Hockey League stints with the Montreal Canadiens (1986-88), Philadelphia Flyers (1990-91) and Minnesota North Stars (1991-92). Sandelin, one of just two active WCHA coaches to do time in the NHL, was the Montreal Canadiens’ second-round pick in the 1982 NHL draft (40th choice overall). He served as Team USA’s head coach at the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships, directing that club to a fourth-place finish, and was an assistant coach for the U.S. entry at that same event last winter.
Don Lucia (University of Notre Dame, 1981) is 338-179-58 in his 14 seasons at the Minnesota helm and directed the Gophers to a pair of of NCAA championships (2002 and 2003, three WCHA regular season championships and three WCHA playoff titles. Prior to his appointment with the Gophers, Lucia served a six-year head coaching stint at Colorado College where his Tigers laid claim to three WCHA regular season crowns (1993-96) and posted a 166-68-18 mark. The Grand Rapids, Minn., native also was employed for six additional seasons (1987-93) as head coach at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. He fashions a 617-337-86 collegiate coaching record and is 34-22-5 all-time against UMD (24-16-5 at Minnesota, 10-4-0 at Colorado College and 0-2-0 while with the Alaska-Fairbanks program).
THE RIVALRY: This weekend’s series will mark the 219th and 220th meetings ever between UMD and Minnesota -- but first in almost 16 months (Oct. 14-15, 2011 at AMSOIL Arena). The Gophers hold a 131-72-15 lead in the , which began back on Dec. 1, 1952 at the Hippodrome in Eveleth, Minn.
LAST WEEK: The Bulldogs skated away with one league point in its two-game set at Bemidji State University, dropping a 4-2 decision on Friday before rallying with a late third-period goal to salvage a 1-1 tie in the rematch. Seven different Bulldogs picked up points over the weekend, including senior left winger and team captain Cody Danberg, who scored the equalizer with 6:47 left in regulation Saturday and assisted on UMD’s first goal the previous night.
Minnesota traded WCHA wins with the University of Wisconsin as it fell 3-2 to the Badgers Sunday on the outdoor ice sheet at Chicago’s Soldier Field after prevailing by that same score two nights earlier in Madison, Wis.
THAT’S ALL FOLKS: UMD, along with current WCHA colleagues Colorado College, the University of Denver, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota and St. Cloud State University, will join forces with Miami University and Western Michigan University of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in the new eight-team National Collegiate Hockey Conference next fall. The Bulldogs have been members of the WCHA since the 1965-66 season.
CLOSE SHAVES: Since March 8, 2008, 11 of the 14 confrontations between the UMD and Minnesota have been decided by one goal or less and five have required overtime. The only game during that stretch that had a margin of victory of more than two goals for either club came on Feb. 27, 2010 – a 3-0 UMD triumph at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.
LIKE AN OLD SHOE: UMD has butted heads with Minnesota on more occasions (218) than all but two opponents -- Michigan Tech University (224) and North Dakota (220) -- during its 69-year history. In addition, the Bulldogs have also met both the Gophers and Michigan Tech at least once on an annual basis since the 1961-62 season, making each UMD’s longest continuous rivalry.
BULLISH ON THE BULLPUPS: UMD’s rookie class is the 11th highest-scoring group in the country at the moment amassing 64 points on 27 goals and 37 assists. Center Tony Cameranesi is tied for eighth nationally in freshmen scoring with 25 points and is third among WCHA newcomers in that department (three points back of Michigan Tech’s Alex Petan and two behind St. Cloud State’s Kalle Kossila). Cameranesi’s seven power play goals this season are tops among all NCAA freshmen (and fifth overall) while his 15 power play points (seven goals and eight assists) take a backseat no WCHA newcomer. Left winger Austin Farley is the WCHA’s seventh-highest rookie point producer (21) and Andy Welinski holds down a share of the No. 2 slot (with Minnesota’s Mike Reilly) in the WCHA first-year defensemen scoring race with three goals and 10 assists.
FIRE AWAY: The Bulldogs, who have outshot the opposition in all but five of their 30 engagements to date, are averaging 33.17 shots on goal per night, which ranks 10th nationally. At the same time, they are giving up 26.53 shots a game, the 10th lowest figure in the country. UMD’s shot margin average (+6.63) is the fifth best in NCAA hockey at the moment.
SAVING SOME OF THEIR BEST HOCKEY FOR LAST: Senior right winger Mike Seidel, who has resided atop the UMD scoring charts since the opening weekend of the 2012-13 season, is tied for 11th in the WCHA in goals (13), 18th in points (27) and sixth in both power play points (14) and game-winners (3). He also has six power play goals to his 2012-13 credit (with his last coming at Michigan Tech University on Dec. 1), a number bettered by only three other WCHA combatants (Minnesota State’s Eriah Hayes with 10 and Tony Cameranesi and Nick Bjugstad with seven each). Back on the blue line, senior Wade Bergman has accumulated two goals (both game-winners, which is tops among all WCHA pointmen) and 13 assists for 15 points. That’s the 12th largest harvest of any WCHA defenseman in 2012-13 and three points shy of his career high, which he set last winter.
SOME TOUGH SLEDDING: Saturday night’s 1-1 deadlock with Bemidji State snapped UMD’s six-game losing skid -- its longest since it closed out the 2005-06 regular season with six consecutive setbacks. The Bulldogs are still winless, however, in their last seven outings (0-6-1). The last time they went longer without a victory was during an 0-7-0 stretch between Jan. 13-Feb. 3, 2006. Over its past seven outings, UMD has been outscored 26-10 and has connected on just three of 34 power play chances (8.8 percent) while the opposition has gone 10-for-33 (30.3 percent).
CREASE PATROL: Rookie goaltender Matt McNeely, who turned 20 this past Saturday, had reeled off 11 straight starts before giving way to Aaron Crandall on Feb. 9 against Minnesota State-Mankato. Crandall, a fourth-year junior, gave up five goals on 24 shots to the Mavericks that evening and was replaced by freshman Alex Fons, who turned aside all four Maverick shots he faced in 7:08 of work in his Bulldog debut. Fons, who spent the second half of the 2010-11 season with the Minnesota Gophers, made his first collegiate start last Friday at Bemidji State and finished with 23 saves while allowing no even-strength goals in a 4-2 setback to the Beavers. This marks just the second time since the 2000-01 season that three UMD different netminders have received crease time in the same year (2005-06 was the other).
AT THE HEAD OF THEIR CLASS: A school-record six Bulldogs -- senior center Jake Hendrickson, junior goaltender Aaron Crandall, junior defenseman Tim Smith, sophomore wingers Justin Crandall and Adam Krause and sophomore defenseman Luke McManus -- were among some 51 men who earned a 2012-13 WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award. Aaron Crandall has now attained this distinguished honor three times -- something only two Bulldogs (goaltender Kenny Reiter from 2008-12 and winger Kyle Schmidt from 2008-11) have ever done since the award’s inception in 2005-06 -- while McManus was a 2011-12 honoree.
IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER: UMD has posted just six wins in the 11 games which it has led heading into the third period this season, going 6-3-2. All three of those losses and both ties have come in WCHA play.
GET SHORTIE: UMD has given up three shorthanded goals this winter -- including one each in both of its Florida College Hockey Classic affairs in late December-- after ceding just two during all of 2011-12. On the flip side, the Bulldogs have collected only two shorties over the past two seasons -- by sophomore right winger Adam Krause (his first UMD tally) at Michigan Tech on Nov. 30 of this year and senior right winger and assistant team captain Keegan Flaherty (also at Michigan Tech on Dec. 2, 2011).
THE THIRD PERIOD IS (NOT) THE CHARM: The Bulldogs, who have been outscored 34-21 in the final 20 minutes of regulation this season, had gone six straight games without scoring a third-period goal before ending that drought Saturday night in Bemidji. In its last seven outings, UMD has tallied just once in the third period while surrendering 13 goals.
TIME TO RALLY THE TROOPS: The last time the Bulldogs overcame a second-intermission deficit to win was on Nov. 10, 2010 when they erased a 2-1 Michigan Tech advantage by scoring four goals in the final 20 minutes of play on their way to a 5-3 triumph at the DECC. UMD is 0-24-3 (0-10-1 in 2012-13) in that situation since then.
BULLDOG BITS: Of UMD’s 73 total goals in 2012-13, 27 have come on the power play. That figures out to be 37.0 percent -- the fourth highest total in the nation (behind only Western Michigan University at 40.5, Union College at 39.8 and the University of Alabama-Huntsville at 38.2 percent) ... The Bulldogs are 3-6-2 when they’ve been held scoreless on the power play this season and 7-3-3 when the opposition has failed to convert with the man advantage. In its 10 victories to date, UMD has killed 39 of 42 power plays (92.9 percent) ... Sophomore center Caleb Herbert, UMD’s No. 4 scoring leader, has been sidelined the past three outings with an injury. The reigning UMD Rookie of the Year Award winner (he finished last season with 33 points -- the second most by a Bulldog newcomer in 16 years), Herbert hadn’t missed a game since the start of the 2011-12 season (68 straight) prior to that. Herbert and sophomore right winger Justin Crandall, who was scratched from the UMD lineup last Saturday night with an injury, both potted their first collegiate goals against Minnesota on Oct. 14, 2011 ... UMD is 2-8-1 against nationally-ranked opponents this winter, with wins coming at then-No. 10 Notre Dame (3-1 on Oct. 18) and against No. 12 St. Cloud State (2-1 on Nov. 23) ... Tim Smith (+7), who has scored each of his four points (all assists) at home this winter, and sophomore defenseman Chris Casto (+2) are the lone two UMD skaters sporting positive plus-minus numbers thus far. Casto is an impressive +23 for his career, while Wade Bergman is next at a +16 ... The Bulldogs have assembled nearly equal home (5-8-1) and away (5-8-3) records this season ... Cody Danberg’s goal last Saturday night at Bemidji State was his first since Jan. 2, 2010 (in a 6-0 thrashing of Mercyhurst College). Danberg, the first sixth-year senior to ever play for the Bulldogs, sat out all but one game of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons with injuries ... With an average of 16.4 minutes of infraction time per night, the Bulldogs are the nation’s third-most penalized team. Their opponents have fared worse in this department, though, accruing 201 penalties (four more than UMD) for a 17.3 minutes per game clip. Sophomore defenseman Derik Johnson paces the 2012-13 Bulldogs in both penalties (20) and minutes (81). His father, Jim Johnson, is currently serving as an assistant coach with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks and, as a UMD blueliner from 1981-85, accrued 402 minutes on 193 penalties (both program records) ... UMD is unbeaten in 39 of its last 44 overtime games (15-5-24; 0-1-4 in 2012-13) dating to the 2008-09 season opener, but hasn’t won an extra session outing since the 2012 WCHA playoffs against Minnesota State-Mankato (3-2 in double overtime on March 10 in Duluth) ... Senior center Jake Hendrickson owns the longest ironman streak among active Bulldogs, having made 95 successive appearances stretching back to Dec. 30, 2010 ... Adam Krause (2-2=4) and Tim Smith (0-4=4) are the only two UMD veterans who have established career highs for scoring this winter (both of their previous bests were three points) ... Senior defenseman and assistant team captain Drew Olson snapped an eight-game pointless skid with an assist last Friday night in Bemidji, Minn. One of Olson's three goals as a Bulldog came at the expense of Minnesota (Oct. 14, 2011).
ON TAP: The Bulldogs will take a brief hiatus from WCHA warfare to host the University of Alabama-Huntsville on March 1-2.
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