NCAA Tournament-Quick Regional Picks

The NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey tournament gets underway in a few hours. Here are some quick picks. One thing to keep in mind, half or more of these will end up wrong sense this tournament is known for low seeds winning and favorites falling.

On to the picks.

Midwest Regional 

Denver vs Michigan Tech

The Huskies have had a great season but will come up short against the all-world Pioneers.

Denver wins 5-2

Penn State vs. Union 

Mike Vechione and Spencer Foo are two of the most dynamic players in this tournament. They can singlehandedly change the course of a game and will have an upstart Penn State team on its heels.

Union wins 3-1

Regional Final 

Union has strong scoring and forward depth, but Denver is more battle-tested and plays a more physical brand of hockey. The Pioneers will win this game in a physical, dominating fashion.

Denver wins 5-2

Northeast Regional

Minnesota vs. Notre Dame

Irish goalie Cal Petersen is a game-changer for the Irish. The Sabres prospect has a 92.8 save percentage this season for Notre Dame. I expect Petersen to have a stellar day for the Irish.

Notre Dame wins 4-1

Cornell-Umass Lowell

Both teams have had a strong season, this game is a toss up, however based on Lowell’s regular season, and the fact that they play in the second best conference in the NCAA, I think Lowell will win.

Lowell wins 2-1

Regional Final

Notre Dame will be lead by Petersen on to Chicago.

Irish Win 4-2

East Regional 

Harvard-Providence

Harvard is one of the few teams that will challenge Denver for the title this season. Providence will benefit from playing in its home city. Harvard has the better team, lead by Bruins prospect Ryan Donato.

Harvard wins 5-4

Air Force-Western Michigan

Air Force is a fast team, the Broncos are a more physical team that will knock the Falcons off the puck.

Broncos win 2-1

Final

Harvard wins 4-2

West Regional

Duluth-Ohio State

This will be a high scoring game if NCHC-like officiating doles out the power plays. Duluth’s physical and penalty kill prowess will propel them to the final over the power play reliant Buckeyes.

Duluth wins 3-1

North Dakota-Boston

North Dakota has been plagued by inconsistency throughout the year just as they look to roll off a long streak. Boston has had similar issues, however, the Terriers have more offensive weapons than the Fighting Hawks, and better goal tending.

Boston wins 4-1

Regional Final 

Duluth will overpower the Terriers thanks to their strong physical play, and key contributions from players like Riley Tufte.

Duluth wins 4-1

 

 

 

 

Quick NCHC Semis Preview

The University of North Dakota Men’s Hockey Team faces its first taste of single-elimination hockey this weekend in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff.

The Fighting Hawks contend against the Denver University Pioneers. UND has not won against Denver in four attempts this season. This team is full of skilled players up and down the lineup. Troy Terry, a winger, plays a speedy brand of hockey and has a knack for finding the net. Whenever he plays UND he seems to find his way into the action. The Anaheim Ducks prospect also is a skilled stick handler as shown by his strong moves in the 2017 World Junior Championships. Terry has a strong cast along side him, including Henrik Bjorgstrom, Will Butcher, and others.

For UND to win it needs to play like it did Friday against St. Cloud. This means three things.

  1. Play a strong, physical 60 minute game.
  2. Get consistent goaltending from Cam Johnson in all three periods.
  3. Fire the puck at the net a lot. Denver is good at blocking shots and UND needs to out chance Denver in order to win.

Olson flies into post season!

 

Trevor Olson is not who you think of when looking at this year’s University of North Dakota Men’s hockey team, big names like: Brock Boeser, Tyson Jost and Cam Johnson have taken up the spot light. March third that all changed when he scored not only a shorthanded goal but ended up being the go-ahead.  At this point, Olson season is flying high. 35 games played, Olson has 5 goals, 4 being game winners and 7 assists, near producing twice as many points this season than during the last two seasons, which he played 55 games. Olson will be returning to UND for his senior year in the fall and looking forward to the more mature version of the team. Olson said that “I think we got away from who we are as kids, we got a little frustrated,” this pretty much sums up what the season has been like.

Olson is a pretty laid back communications major and has been spending the spring semester as an intern with the UND hockey team. He has been writing a blog when the team is on the road called “Olson’s Eleven.” Every time you talk to him, he is smiling and laughing, I got a chance to sit down and have him reflect on his hockey career so far. Olson comes from a family of athletes. His brother played junior hockey for three years, sister plays college soccer and mom is a record holding basketball player and his dad played fast pitch softball. Coming from a family that has so many athletes, he would try and compete with them. When he went to juniors, he started to put less pressure on himself and just started to have fun.

Olson has always wanted to be a forward “I wanted to score goals!” The last two seasons, he has taken a back seat when it comes to putting points on the sheet but that doesn’t mean that he is not helping his line mates. Like most hockey players, Olson is humble. I asked him about being so “hot” right now and his response was “My line mates and teammates have made some great plays to help me find a little bit of scoring touch.”

Olson said that he must look at it like it is his job when he goes to the rink every day it’s not “I am going to try to be the best, it’s I will be the best.” Coming to UND was not a hard decision for him. During his visit, he met with Head Coach at the time Dave Hakstol, who told him he was going to have to work for his spot but they wanted to give him a chance. “Hak is my best friend. I love that guy!” but with Hakstol leaving at the end of the 2014-2015 season Olson had to overcome a new challenge impressing incoming head coach Brad Berry. Hakstol and Berry have very different coaching styles. The biggest difference is that Hakstol is intimidating and if you screwed up in practice you would know it. Berry is more comforting Olson said “He’ll give you crap but he is not going to lay it on you” Now as the team tries to make history again by bring home two national championships in back to back seasons, Berry says “We have more boxes to check and every weekend we get one more box checked off.” The Hawks are far from being out of the run and are looking forward to taking on rivalry Denver on Friday (3/17) at the Target Center.

I could not end this any better than with Olson’s own words:

“There is a reason why we are all here, just be yourself, play the game how you know how to play. That’s how to make dreams happen!”

First Podcast

Here is a link to our first ever podcast… leave a comment good bad or otherwise! I talk about UND’s wins this weekend, mention Denver for a minute, and preview some different things future podcasts will discuss. Let me know your thoughts and we will work to improve things! It is an honor to write for our audience and we are always looking for new ways to talk puck in all forms with you!

Hawks Fly to Minneapolis in 6-5 OT Thriller

GRAND FORKS, ND

In front of a raucous crowd of 10,540 fans at Ralph Englestad Arena, UND pulled out a series win over the St. Cloud State Huskies 6-5 in overtime. the game was a back and forth affair throughout as neither side had a lead of more than one goal. Trevor Olson got the game winner in overtime on a shot that went in and out so fast it had to be reviewed.  He now has three game winning goals in the past four games.

St Cloud State opened the scoring with a deflection goal from Nick Poehling 15:11 into the first period. 18:06 into the first period , Robby Jackson put the puck past Cam Johnson however, after a lengthy review, the goal was overturned due to St Cloud having too many men on the ice .During the play, Blake Winiecki took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to give UND a power play.

The Hawks would  capitalize on the ensuing power play thanks to a strong wrist shot from St. Louis Blues prospect Austin Poganski 19:16 into the first period to tie the game.

53 seconds into the second period, Poganski whipped a perfect pass from the goal line to  a wide open Tyson Jost on a shorthanded chance who did not miss his chance to stake UND to its first lead of the evening.

A bit later in the period, Blake Winiecki won a puck battle with multiple UND skaters below the UND goal line, got the puck to Robby Jackson, who then fired the puck to Patrick Newell. He made no mistake with his wide open chance and tied the game with 8:46 left in the second period.

Soon after the Newell tally, Brock Boeser would find a loose puck at the side of the net and tap it home to return UND to the lead 10:37 into the second period. The Hawks would take a 3-2 lead into the locker room after two periods.

The Huskies would battle back as 7:11 into the third period, John Lizotte fired a puck past a slip-sliding Cam Johnson to tie the game. Then shortly afterwords, Shane Gersich would capitalize on a three on zero breakaway to put UND up 4-3.

That lead did not last long, as John Lizotte would pot an unassisted tally to tie the game 1:02 after the Gersich Tally. Not much later, Nick Poehling would give St. Cloud its second lead of the night after numerous UND attempts to clear the puck. As the seesaw game continued, Christian Wolanin fired home a point shot to tie it up 15:58 into the third period.  The score would remain this way till Olson ended it 07:38 into overtime.

UND will take on either Denver or Minnesota Duluth in Minneapolis next week in the Frozen Faceoff. Their opponent is contingent on the winner of the Western Michigan- Omaha series. Should Omaha win, the Hawks will take on Minnesota Duluth. Should Western Michigan win, UND will take on Denver.

 

 

 

 

Hawks Fly Past the Huskies 5-2

GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA

In front of a crowd of 10,143 loud fans, the University of North Dakota vanquished the St Cloud State Huskies by a three goal margin. Rhett Gardner opened the scoring at 13:39 of the first period with a shot fired off a Husky stick to give the Fighting Hawks an early lead.

Less than a minute later, Shane Gersich got the puck at the blue line and raced in to score a breakaway goal. The Capitals prospect is the first UND sophomore to put up 20 goals in a season since Brock Nelson in the 2011-2012 season.

UND remained in control until 9:43 remaining in the second period. Jacob Benson buried a power play marker on a nice cross-ice feed from Mikey Eyssimont into a wide open net.

With 3:33 remaining in the second, Brock Boeser buried a power play tally to put the Hawks back up two.

On the Boeser goal in the second, defenseman Tucker Poolman notched point number 30. The Winnipeg Jets prospect is the first UND blue-liner to hit that mark since Chay Genoway back in the 2010-2011 season.

After the Huskies answered back with a Jimmy Schuldt goal 10:48 into the third UND was on their heels for a bit, until Austin Poganski scored another key goal on a superb breakaway  less than two minutes later to put the Hawks back ahead by two.

Joel Janatuinen would add an empty-net tally with 44.4 seconds left to secure the three goal victory.

Winnipeg Jets prospect Tucker Poolman was named the game’s first star for his two assists. Both of his assists helped set up UND goals that pushed momentum in their direction.

Tomorrow night UND looks to complete the sweep at Ralph Englestad Arena. The puck drops at 7:07 PM.

 

 

 

 

A Hockey Love Story: Aaron and Kelly Dell

Aaron and Kelly Dell have a love story. that has made it through ten teams, eight cities and roughly 10,000 miles of traveling. Aaron has had the dream of being a National Hockey League goalie. This requires a lot of travel and time spent away from loved ones. They have been together for six and half years and all but 26 months has been spent in hockey seasons.

After meeting though a mutual friend, they had their first date in Fergus falls in the summer of 2010. Kelly had just graduated from high school and Aaron had just finished his freshman year at the University of North Dakota. They went to Perkins and had breakfast food then when to the movie theater that had two movie choices, Twilight was the best option, which they laughed though out the whole thing.

Kelly and Aaron dated for two years before they were walking around the mall one day. They went into a jewelry store and had been browsing for a ring, when Aaron picked out the perfect ring. They looked at one another, “Should we do this?”. A month later they were married in Aaron’s parents back yard in Airdrie, Alberta. Kelly only cared about two things when it came time to walk down the aisle. She wanted a white wedding dress and real flowers. Aaron wanted was to pick the cake which was marble with a custard center, topped with bride and groom rubber ducks, which Kelly collects. After the ceremony, in a perfect homage of Canada and Minnesota style, a bonfire was lite and beers were had.

When talking to Aaron about Kelly, you could hear his love for her in his voice. Even though Kelly and Aaron both said the other one said “I love you” first, one thing is for sure, they love each other to live nearly 2,000 miles apart. The distance has not been easy though. Aaron said that Kelly has always been supportive of my goal of making it to the NHL and besides my parents, she is my biggest supporter. He said “she (Kelly) is my teammate and it’s great that she understands and supports me, so we don’t have to fight between hockey and her.” Even though this year has been easier for them due to Kelly’s slower school schedule and Aaron being able to fly to games instead of riding a bus. Kelly has been able to visit roughly once a month and most recently attended the NHL All Star game in Las Angeles. They are both looking forward to being a “normal” married couple at the end of this school year when Kelly can finish her dietetics program internships in San Jose.

One things that they share, besides a love for hockey, is the drive that each have. Aaron said it is one of the things he loves most about her. They connected on that from the get go.  “I have to have a lot of drive to do what I do and I couldn’t imagen being with someone who didn’t understand that.” The biggest thing Aaron has learned over the years of being in long distance marriage is how to communicate, which Kelly joked about “sometimes it’s painful to get him to talk, but it means a lot when he does because he doesn’t open up to very many people, even teammates!”

The things Kelly loves most about Aaron are that he is brutally honest and hilarious. If you read Kelly’s blog, Crazy Pucking World: Life of a hockey wife, she posts about the funny things that Aaron has said over the years. Kelly had people tell her that “I would have slapped him, if he said that to me.” She just laughed stating that “just how Aaron is”, I always know what is going on with him because of that. Sometimes though he can be almost too honest, but he always makes sure you are laughing by the end.

Kelly watches all of Aaron’s games, whether it be in person or on the television. Aaron said that when they first started dating, he was mildly nervous for her to watch him play. Kelly laughed and said that she gets nervous enough for the both of them. She is looking forward to March when they play two games in Minnesota against the Wild. They have a lot of friends and family that are attending those games. She equated it to when Aaron played against the Minnesota Gophers during his time at UND, they have always had such a rivalry and she would also get nervous for him. Kelly said that one of the great things about Aaron is that nothing offends him, which is a great quality when it comes to being a goaltender, because no matter how well he played in the net the loss would get blamed on him.

Kelly and Aaron relationship has been built on trust and mutual respect. Not many couples could have made it through the struggle of going from an undrafted University of North Dakota goaltender, preserving throughout the minor leagues and now is the backup for the San Jose Sharks.

The amount of love that they share is memorable and reminded me of what is extraordinary about life.

Love. Respect. Friendship.

Column-CRPS by Kelsey

Here is a little more about me and my condition. This is a big reason why i am now in communications and starting writing this blog

David Snape and Friends - The place to show off your hidden talents

Another sleepless night, that’s what is on the agenda. Flames consume my right arm pulling me deep into hell. I want to scream but my brain losses the ability to form words. Lost to the darkness that consumes me turning off all conscious thought, questioning every move, wondering if this is the day that I will let the it win. My body screams in pain; “Just lay in bed, don’t move, don’t think, don’t even take a breath,” it says. A conscious voice yells though the void, “just roll out of bed, shower you’ll feel better.” One foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other….Just get to the counter. Six bottles line the kitchen countertop, orange and white staring back at me, filling me with hope, maybe today will be the day I can live a normal life…maybe today. Sadly, this day will never come…

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