UAH-Bowling Green: Three things

Photo Credit-LSSU Athletics

This week, the Chargers take on Bowling Green in a home and home series on Wednesday and Sunday. The Falcons are a team on the edge of NCAA tournament consideration that plays with as much speed as Minnesota State, but does not control possession as much as the Mavericks. This week presents two opportunities for the Chargers, a chance to grow and show what they’ve learned, and a chance to maybe spoil at-large considerations for the Falcons.

Easier said than done, as the Falcons have five times the amount of players with double digit points than the Chargers do. Brendon Kruse leads this team, and has an impressive group of forwards with him, and two starting goaltenders behind him. In addition, the Falcons have the capability to score goals in bunches and make you defend for long stretches of time.

Here are three things to watch for from the Chargers tomorrow

Scoring first is only part of it

Multiple times over the past few series, UAH has gotten on the board first. Should that happen tomorrow, they have to figure out how to manage the waves of pressure the Falcons will send upon them. If not, well, this team will have to face 50 shots or more on net a night against David Fessenden. Despite the recent history of this program, all involved in it do not want that shot counter to get anywhere near 50.

Bronte the beauty

Tyrone Bronte is the best forward on this team right now in terms of chance generation, and speed. His line, which has featured Bauer Neudecker through most of the year will have to lead things for this team to have a chance. Bronte’s pace and Neudecker’s shot are the two best offensive traits this team has, and how they leverage them will go a long way to determining the final score tomorrow night. In addition to all of this, it is rather astonishing that Bronte had no Division One offers before UAH Head Coach Lance West reached out to him in June. He has become an instant leader for this team, and should earn a spot in an NHL Development Camp this summer if he wants to attend one (if they are held).

Protect big save Dave

The biggest factor in this series, above all else is how this team protects David Fessenden, their starting goaltender. If they keep the Falcons to the outside and force a lot of blocks and low velocity muffins, as they did for the first 45 or so minutes against Lake Superior State on Friday night, then a lot of options can open up. The other part of this equation is in transition. Can this team win some more puck battles to chip pucks out. What has happened the past few weeks shows that there are still elements for growth from Lance West’s group, and no matter what happens in these next two games, know that it is all part of a much longer journey. This is a team that firmly believes that luck is made through winning the process and repetition. Their systems have improved from last year to this year, as has their record. What needs to come next is replication. Can you earn your chances when the other team has momentum. If they can earn a few more clears on one or no shot attempts, more good things will come their way.

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Look Back and Ahead: UND Football

UND nearly upset Bowling Green this past weekend, falling short on a two point conversion with seconds left to take the lead. Here are my thoughts on the game and what UND needs to modify to win the Potato Bowl against South Dakota this weekend.

  1. The Fighting Hawks have to better react to adjustments on defense. Once Bowling Green adjusted for the exotic blitzes UND ran, the Hawks could not generate as much pressure. The defense played a great game for the most part. One concern for me is the big plays. Bowling Green scored the majority of its touchdowns on big plays like their long passes. If UND can adjust its blitzes and run one extra defender in the secondary it should be fine. The Fighting Hawks have a good enough run defense to not need extra blitzes in running situations. In addition, the defense does not need to stack the box to succeed. It is good enough to afford the luxury of having an extra defensive back more often.
  2. The offense improved from the Stony Brook game. One area it needs to improve on more is making simple throws in the first half. Keaton Studsrud has looked out of sorts these first two first halves this season. He needs to get off to a better start in the Potato Bowl. The offense cannot have too many three and outs in the first quarter. The poor play of the offense directly contributed to UND having to come from behind against Bowling Green.
  3. Fans need to show up and stay. If the Alerus is full and rocking all game UND has a better chance of winning. Students (writing this as an alum who missed less than five games in four years), please please please do not leave this game at half time! Show up, be loud, be respectful! UND needs its student section to be full all game. The best moment for me at UND games even during the Mussman era was the players coming over and thanking the students left for coming and staying. The atmosphere at the Alerus center is unique. Do not complain about how bad the football team is when the team is exciting.That excuse has not been valid since since the coaching change. Our team plays a strong physical game and has at least a top five running back in the FCS in John Santiago. In the past, our defense was the biggest issue. Now our defense is winning us games and keeping us in most of them. Show up, be loud, and have fun this weekend. Students get free tickets and transportation, UND needs you, the team needs you, and the town of Grand Forks needs you to show up this weekend. It should be a great game against South Dakota as UND looks to get back to winning on the way to a FCS playoff birth.