Good Morning Student Section! First, it's been a tough winter for the home teams. The Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are struggling.
The Minnesota Wild (18-17-5) have lost 10-of-12 games. That's been covered extensively already, so I am going to stick with college hockey.
Coming into the season, the Gophers (10-7-1) were the preseason favorites in the Big Ten Hockey conference. The Gophers were expected to be one of the top teams in the nation. So far, they haven't met expectations. Honestly, I don't understand it either.
Rough stretch aside, I still think the Gophers are the best team in the Big Ten. Don Lucia is a good coach and he will right the ship. I just hope that the Gophers will make the West Regional in Fargo, ND.
More on that later in the season.
There's no reason the Gophers shouldn't be one of the top teams in the country based on the personnel they have in their lineup. The Gophers returned most of their team that went to the Frozen Four and finished second overall last season. However, things haven't gone as planned. During the past 10 games, the Gophers have gone 3-6-1.
Breaking it down further, during the New Year, the Gophers have have gone 1-3-0.
What's even more puzzling was the play of the Gophers this past weekend. The Maroon and Gold traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and came home empty handed. The Gophers were swept (3-4 L O.T., 5-7 L) by a mediocre Michigan Wolverines (12-7-0) team.
With the loss, the Gophers also drop to number 16 in the all-important Pairwise Rankings.
If the NCAA playoffs started today, they Gophers might be sitting at home. Lucky for the Gophers the NCAA playoffs don't start today.
From the meaningless state department, the Gophers have a 1-2-1 record in the state of Michigan this season. The reason I mention that, the B1G Conference Tournament is in Detroit, MI, this season.
After watching the Gophers play Michigan yesterday, I feel that the Gophers compete level is very poor right now. The Wolverines won most of the battles for the puck against the Gophers. Finally, the Gophers looked as if they were skating in cement. This past weekend, their play lacked emotion.
There are a couple of things that caught my eye. To date, junior goalie Adam Wilcox’s numbers are puzzling (10-6-1, 2.51 GAA and .910 SV%). Wilcox is an All-American goalie and his numbers are very average. For those that have forgotten, Wilcox was the Big Ten Player of the Year last season.
Sophomore forward Hudson Fasching needs to pick it up (5g-4a—9pts). I would expect more out of a player of his caliber.
College Hockey Links
The St. Cloud State Huskies completed their first sweep of the season against the Miami RedHawks. (Mick Hatten, St. Cloud Times)
In one of the better matchups of the weekend, UMD and UND split their weekend series at the Ralph.
Top-ranked North Dakota drops Minnesota Duluth from top of NCHC standings (Duluth News Tribune)
UND bounces back with win over Duluth (Grand Forks Herald)
College Hockey makes Dead Spin: College Hockey Fight Finished With One Punch
The Bemidji State Beavers complete the sweep of the University of Alabama Huntsville Chargers: Bemidji sweeps Alabama Huntsville (Bemidji Pioneer)
Michigan completes sweep of Gophers hockey (Star Tribune)