UND ties Alaska Anchorage 1-1: Quick Thoughts

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

Last night, the University of North Dakota at times looked dominant over the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves. The Fighting Hawks generated plenty of chances throughout the evening.

However, the Seawolves defense, lead by Olivier Mantha was up to the task. The senior goalie made 32 saves on 33 shots faced. The UAA defense blocked 25 shots on the evening.

UND did a lot of things right last night. They used their speed and depth to generate a lot of chances, especially as the game wore on. They kept the Seawolves playing defense most of the evening. They staved off a five-on-three powerplay in overtime. Shane Gersich showed his skill and speed all night, generating chances, and getting his linemates involved.

Yet, UND has to improve some things tonight. Here are a few areas to keep an eye on tonight.

Passing to create lanes

One thing the Fighting Hawks did exceptionally well last week against Manitoba was getting a lot of quality chances. Yes, UND had some quality chances last night they should have converted. However, part of the reason why UAA blocked so many shots is because UND did not utilize the full Olympic sheet of ice at times.

The Fighting Hawks’ only goal came on a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play where Trevor Olson found Christian Wolanin who quickly got the puck to a wide open Johnny Simonson. This team scored all but one of its goals last weekend on transitions and quick plays.

If the Fighting Hawks have a few less shots, but can utilize their ability to create time and space, then they could make life harder for Mantha.

Get One or More Special Teams Goals

The Fighting Hawks have to get one goal on special teams. Last night, they once again generated chances and had good zone time. If the Fighting Hawks can catch the Seawolves in transition that may open up their defense a bit.

Control the Dot Once More 

UND went 35-18 in the faceoff dot last night. That started a lot of their possesions, and lead to generating the amount of chances they did. If that continues look for UND to get a lot more chances tonight.

If UND can limit chances, and improve on its speed game from last night, then tonight could produce a lot different outcome for the Fighting Hawks.

 

 

 

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UND Heads North: Previewing the Alaska Anchorage Series

Photo Credit: (Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

Fresh off a 6-2 exhibition win over Manitoba, UND heads north this weekend to take on an Alaska Anchorage side that finished last in the WCHA last season. The Seawolves won seven total games in 34 contests last season.

This season, the Seawolves look to improve on their record lead in net by senior goaltender Olivier Mantha. He finished last season with a 2.82 goals against average and .913 save percentage.

The Seawolves play a physical style of hockey that will force UND to utilize the wider sheet of Olympic ice to make more skilled plays.

Giving fast players like Shane Gersich and Ludvig Hoff more ice to skate on will benefit the Fighting Hawks.

To have a chance against the Fighting Hawks, Head Coach Matt Thomas noted the importance of taking away time and space from the Fighting Hawks. The Seawolves’ returning leading scorer and captain, Matt Anholt, had 22 points (5 goals, 17 assists) in 34 games. Alaska Anchorage has done better when it plays physical and limits scoring chances.

For the Fighting Hawks to have success against the Seawolves this weekend here are few things to look for.

Utilize your Speed Game 

North Dakota is a faster team than the Seawolves. Because of this, it will  be able to generate chances if they can maintain puck possession. As the game wears on, like during the Manitoba game, the Fighting Hawks will show their speed. Look for players like Ludvig Hoff to build on their exhibition performance against Manitoba.

Build on the Blue Line 

One of the things Head Coach Brad Berry thought needed improvement was play in UND’s own defensive zone. Manitoba had some long cycles in the first period, and one of those cycles contributed to the Bisons second goal on a deflection.

Start Fast 

The Seawolves will be incredibly motivated. They have experience playing the top teams in the country to start a season. The Fighting Hawks have to come out fast, and force the Seawolves to score multiple times just to keep pace.

Now that the games count, UND has to not give the Seawolves any chance to stick around with their motivated crowd cheering them on.

Prediction 

UND will face some challenges this weekend from the Seawolves but should come out on top with a sweep.

Score Prediction: UND 4-2 UND 5-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenton Miller Post Game 9-29

Iowa Wild Center Kenton Miller had a chance to chat with us after the Wild took on the Manitoba Moose at the Ralph Englestad Arena.

He talked about how the game went, some of his goals for the season, what he learned from Elmira Jackals’ Interim Head Coach Mike Duco, and more.

Kenton is a goal-scoring center who was one of the key contributors to the Jackals’ offense last season with 45 points (30 goals, 15 assists) in 63 games. He finished the year strong with 19 goals in his final 25 games as a Jackal.

In the offseason, Kenton signed an ECHL pact with the Rapid City Rush, the new affiliate of the Minnesota and Iowa Wild.

Small Goalies: “Be like an Amish Guy” Advice from JP Lamoureux

Jean-Philipe (JP) Lamoureux is a University of North Dakota Men’s Hockey Team alumnus. He spent four years in net for UND. During that time, he established himself as a premier goaltender in college hockey despite his five-foot-ten size.

However, height and goaltending success are usually linked. According to TSN’s Jamie McLennan, In the National Hockey League, as of 2014, only four of the sixty goalies in the NHL were under the six-foot threshold.

The league is getting taller every year.

How does this impact players like Lamoureux?

Well, Lamoureux has found great success overseas despite his build. This season, he recently broke the record for most career wins by an Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (EBEL) goalie with 183 wins. The EBEL is the top league in Austria, and JP has done well to prove himself there.

He has used his success to mentor goalies here through the founding of JPL Goaltending.

Eventually, JP wants to be a coach, and that was one of the original reasons for founding JPL Goaltending. He has been operating his business for five years.

Recently, he offered some sound advice for small goalies.

“You have to accept that your whole career is an uphill battle. You’re basically like an Amish guy, you have to perform everything the big guys do plus a half…It’s just a reality, because NHL teams will always take a bigger guy over smaller guy who are close in ability.”

Look for much more from JP over the next few weeks.

Expansion Draft Three Thoughts

The NHL Expansion Draft is now complete. The Vegas Golden Knights have their initial roster. They selected 30 players and traded for a few more. By the end of the night Vegas ended up with 12 picks in the 2017 draft. Five of those picks are in the first two rounds. Here are some quick thoughts on what took place tonight.

  • Why on earth did Florida give up Reily Smith just to lose a 30 goal scorer in Jonathan Marchessault? I get that Florida is not a cap team, but in my mind you cannot justify giving up a player who is just a year removed from a 50 point season in a third line role. Smith will bring some needed depth scoring to Vegas right away. To me this was the worse trade of the night for a team losing a player to the Golden Knights. While yes, the Panthers gained five million dollars in cap room, they lost two promising players who can score with some regularity. The Panthers still have a bright outlook next year, but they now need a bit more out of their up and comers and have to hope Jaromir Jagr comes back for another season. Florida just gave up 88 points between the two from last season to rid themselves of five million dollars in cap room.
  • Look for Vegas to pick up another goalie or more shortly. Tonight they selected Calvin Pickard, Marc-Andre Fleury, and J.F Berube. Berube was selected as part of a deal with the Islanders where Vegas also took on the contract of injured forward Mikhail Grabovski, and Jake Bischoff. The former Isles goalie has an expiring contract, and Vegas needs multiple goalies for its AHL and ECHL teams. Pickard is a serviceable backup that can start when called upon. Look for the Golden Knights to draft multiple goalies as well. Jake Oettinger out of Boston University would be one possible choice for them. He could move through their system quickly and start for them in three years.
  • Vegas has a lot of options with some of the players it picked up. Teams are willing to pay a premium for quality defenseman like Marc Methot, and Vegas wants more picks and assets to help them build for the future. Dallas has let teams know they are looking at moving their third pick and need help on their blue line. The Golden Knights have plenty of options and could put together a package to get that pick.

 

 

San Jose Sharks vs Edmonton Oilers: Round 1, Game 1

After taking time to process through the emotions from the Sharks overtime win over the Oilers.

1st: The game started and I was so excited for playoff season to be underway!! It started off really good, SJ recorded the first three shots on net. I was thinking Okay, they got this!  Then all hell broke loose!! Everything fell apart from two minutes in till Caggiula’s hooking penalty at 19:45. Things started to pick up in those 15 seconds. Sharks made it out of the first, down 2-0

2nd:  1:43 minutes in the second Joel Ward gets it started with a power play goal! Making it 2-1. I am always hard on Ward. I am defiantly not his biggest fan! I made a beat with Oliver that if SJ pulled out a win. I would not say anything bad about him in game 2…I am glad I am eating my words…This would be the only goal of the second period. The Sharks dominated! I was on the edge of my seat!!

3rd: Started off just as well as the second. Tomas Hertl working hard behind the net to kick it out to Paul Martin who crushes into the back of the net making it his first playoff goal as a San Jose Shark at 14:38, 2-2…Tied…in the 3rd… So, now my heart is pounding and I swear I was going to be going to the ER with how hard my heart was working. San Jose continued to keep control of the game and it would stay that way. Jones didn’t allow a single puck to get behind him. Now, into overtime!! I seriously think I am going to die…I am on my feet and I don’t think I sat down at all during the intermission.

Overtime: 3 and 22 seconds in Vlasic makes a pass that hits right on Karlsson’s tape beating Talbot glove side corner. Over time ends!! Rogers Place falls dead silent for the first time all game. The sea of orange slowly turns into a slow-moving stream up the stairs…

A few thoughts: Hertl was unstoppable last night. He took the spot of Thornton and didn’t look back. Having Hertl on the power play is a huge advantage and I think that he is going to be the future of the San Jose Sharks! To be honest I have only been a Sharks fan since last April, when I got back into watching hockey. Vlasic is so understated as a player. He is a play maker!

 

I am looking forward to biting my nails to watch game 2!!

 

An Interview with Taylor Flaherty on the impact of UND Women’s Hockey

How has participating in the women’s hockey team helped you grow as a person?

I’ve grown as a person because We all have dealt with adversity in hockey that wouldn’t normally occur in regular life. You learn how to manage your time better with school, work, social lives, and our busy hockey schedule. You learn to balance plenty of things that the average person wouldn’t have to worry about. Not to mention the mental and physical strength it takes to participate in a sport like hockey.

What was the most useful thing you learned about yourself while being a part of the UND Athletics program?

To never give up. Even if you make a mistake, bounce back and be better. If something isn’t going your way do not let up; work harder, put in the extra work, improve yourself, and always do your absolute best.

Do you think you would be the same person you are today if you would not have attended UND and played hockey?

No. I have met new people in never would have known if I hadn’t gone to UND. I have made lifelong friends here on this team. I have never been on a team that gets along so well with each other. There is no drama, we truly are a family.

How do you think you have inspired other young girls to play hockey?

Yes, we as female college athletes and hockey players are role models for young girls. As the Lamoureux sisters said,  “girls cannot become what they cannot see” and I absolutely believe that. I remember when I was a kid and how much I looked up to the older female athletes that would help run the camps I attended. I wanted to be just like them. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing those young girls come out to see us at Fan Fest or when they come down to our locker room after games and line up for our autographs.

What has been your favorite on ice memory at UND?

 

I would have to say our last game of this year this past season against Wisconsin. We played so well! I was so proud of this team and everything we accomplished. We battled so hard against the top team in the country and almost won. After seeing us play like that I was so excited for the upcoming seasons and our potential!

 

What are some lessons from hockey you’ve taken to your studies?

 

I would argue that everything you learn in hockey can be applied to life outside of athletics. I’ve learned to work hard in school and be consistent. Team work, listening to different opinions and communicating. Being responsible and following through with commitments.

 

What is your favorite thing about hockey as a whole?

My team. The camaraderie. I look around our locker room and see 25 girls that would do anything for me and I would do anything for them. Every day we go work together.

 

What is your favorite memory with teammates off the ice?

 

My favorite off ice memory… there are wayyy too many to just say one. Everyday is an adventure and an honor to be a part of such a great organization. We have something special here and I would hate to see that go.

 

Why did you choose to come to UND?

 

I decided to come to UND because I wanted to be a part of this legacy. UND is a hockey school and I wanted to be a part of the biggest show in town. The Ralph is amazing and immediately eye catching. There is not a better facility and opportunity for hockey then here at UND. This school and community was built for hockey with all of its support and enthusiasm.

 

An Interview with Margot Miller on the Impact of UND Women’s Hockey

We recently had the chance to talk to Margot Miller, an alumnus of the UND Women’s Hockey program. We started doing these interviews because we want to focus more on the impact of the program off the ice as Women’s Hockey is part of the recent round of athletics cuts at UND.

While we both understand the harsh reality of budgets and deficits, we feel it is important to know what the University is losing from its campus. The best way to show what this University is giving up on, from our vantage point, is by providing an outlet for everyone who has ever played for, or been associated with the program to have a place to speak out about how this severe cut will deny opportunities to not only on-ice stars, but to the next Scholar-Athlete who could use their education at UND to make the world a better place like Margot is doing on a daily basis.

Below are our questions and her answers.

What was the most useful thing you learned about yourself while being apart of the UND athletics program?

“Playing hockey at a high level has provided me with so many learning experiences and positives attributes. The most useful thing I learned about myself and now translating into my everyday life is how to handle pressure and being a good team player. I am an ER nurse, which requires me to work under extreme pressure and make quick decisions. Another huge aspect of nursing is being able to work in a team setting, being able to be a team player has helped me succeed in my life after UND athletics as a nurse.”

Do you think you would be the same person you are today if you would not have attended UND and played hockey?

“No, absolutely not. UND and Hockey has shaped me into the person I am today. I never thought I would have stayed in Grand Forks after graduation but I fell in love with the community and UND which is so supportive and tight knit. UND and Hockey have created so many opportunities for me professionally and I will forever be grateful for what UND has provided me along with the sport of hockey. Many others should have a chance at what I had.”

How do you think you have inspired other young girls to play hockey?

“Playing at the best facility in college hockey at the highest level was a dream for me and I hope that inspires young girls to dream big. Continuing to be active in the Grand Forks hockey community as well as outreach efforts to better girls hockey in our community.”

What was your favorite on ice memory at UND?

“I have several. Clinching our first WCHA final face-off birth against Bemidji in dramatic fashion in OT at Purpur arena. Sweeping the Gophers in Ridder. Making history when we made it to the NCAA tournament in 2012 my senior year.”

What do you try to teach the players you coach now?

To be a good person no matter the circumstances. At times I catch myself using the same phrases or teaching points my UND coaches taught me. To leave it all out on the ice and have no regrets. I try to prepare my players not only with hockey skills but the skills to succeed in life and in their professional careers.”

What is your favorite thing about hockey as a whole ?

“Being apart of something bigger than myself. ”

What has been your best memory with any of your teammates since you have graduated?

“I currently serve as the assistant coach for the Grand Forks KnightRiders Girls Varsity hockey team. Our team went into the state tournament in 6th place this season. The girls left it all out on the ice and we ended up finishing in 2nd place. The best part of it all was coaching alongside my former teammate Tori Williams.”

 

Thoughts on the New NHL Hawks

With UND’s season ending multiple players have signed NHL deals over the past week and a half. Here are some thoughts about what each player brings to their new squad.

Brock Boeser-Vancouver Canucks

Canucks fans, do you like having a consistent sniper on the wing who can score more than 30 goals a season and out skate the other team? If so Brock Boeser could one day soon be the answer to the eternal, ‘who plays with the Sedins’ ?, conundrum. The Minnesota native had wrist surgery and missed the World Juniors. When he was out, UND’s scoring fell off as its more physical players instantly faced tougher match ups. When Brock is on he can score goals at a blistering pace. He also has the capacity to be a consistent defensively responsible forward depending on how he is used. If you have a tough goal-scoring winger that can back check,well, ask any Capitals fan about how rare it is to have a player like that on your team.

Tucker Poolman-Winnipeg Jets

The East Grand Forks native is recovering from multiple shoulder injuries. When healthy he will be the Jets’ fifth or sixth defenseman next season. Tucker Poolman has a booming point shot and knows how to not get caught trying to do too much. Pairing Poolman with an offensive minded left shot defenseman would give the Jets the best of both worlds. They would get a reliable defender who can score when needed, which would allow another one of their defenseman to take more chances. This could benefit someone like Josh Morrissey who , so far, has not come close to matching his WHL output.

Tyson Jost-Colorado Avalanche

Tyson Jost leaving is the biggest blow to UND. He is a complete player who has broken Connor McDavid’s scoring record in the U-18 World Championship. Tyson is a dominant two-way forward that will be at the core of Colorado’s rebuild. In his brief time at UND, Jost has routinely scored highlight-reel goals and made strong plays defensively. The new Avalanche forward can produce a point per game as well as be a future Selke trophy candidate if he continues to play his strong defensive game. Jost had an integral part getting Canada to the semifinals in the U18 World Championships in April, a key role in getting UND back to the NCAA tournament, and will be asked to do the same thing for the Avalanche as he develops.

Ideas to Improve College Hockey Replay: My Opinion

In the Fargo Regional in the first round of the NCAA tournament. UND came so close to beating the Terriers of Boston. It looked like UND won on a thrilling overtime goal by Dixon Bowen. After an overly lengthy review the goal was overturned.

Now, let’s set the basic premise of my opinion, getting the call right on the ice is always the first goal of any officiating crew. Sometimes calls are missed, which is why video review can be helpful. Was Bowen offsides? Perhaps, as UND head coach Brad Berry indicated that the call was right. That is not my main issue with hockey replay, especially in a winner-take-all scenario.

My issue is that overturn took almost as long if not longer than the 14 minute on ice delay to fix the broken pane of glass at Scheels Arena. UND was outworking the Terriers during that overtime period where the Terriers had zero shots on net. The Fighting Hawks had five shots on net that period. Boston had used its timeout.

Having an overly long review there served as another timeout for the Terriers and allowed them to regroup and hold UND off the board the rest of the way.

Do I know what the correct proper amount of time is to determine all calls?

Of course not.

Do I know that if you cannot get a clear look based on cameras available without using an off angle from the opposite end of the arena, it should be ok to go with the on ice call?

Of course I do.

Hockey replays in college hockey need to be standardized. There needs to be one review center somewhere looking at the games going on. All arenas must have blue line cameras for at least NCAA Tournament games. There also needs to be a much tighter standard than see if we can rewind the play enough times to give ourselves confirmation bias and call it the way we think we should because we have been in this box for so long. Reviews need to have a hard and fast time rule, if you cannot find clear and definitive evidence within a certain amount of time, the call on the ice stands.

Protections need to be put in place to insure that the officials do not end up reviewing their own calls. If the roles were flipped, Boston fans would have just as much to gripe about as UND fans.

Is there a perfect solution to shortening replay review times whilst getting calls right ?

No.

Is there at least a start through taking video review out of the officials hands and installing blue line cameras during the postseason ? Are there things that need to be ironed out to make this work?

Undoubtedly yes.

This article is some left over ideas that I have had for a while with Friday serving as a prime example of them.

Leave a comment if you have some other ideas or thoughts on my own ideas of how to prevent the lengthy postseason reviews to improve the flow of the game and benefit everyone with a stake in this great game of college hockey.