As I mentioned last night/this morning: In the first three seasons of the NCHC’s Frozen Faceoff, the University of North Dakota has been unable to win a semi-final game. Even during last season’s NCAA Championship run, UND was only able to muster a tie. That all changed last night.
Through seven games, UND is 2-4-1 in the Frozen Faceoff. They’ve never had a chance to play on Saturday night in the championship game. On Friday, the Fighting Hawks needed a win over the Denver Pioneers to secure an at-large bid in the NCAA playoffs. Currently, they sit in ninth of the Pairwise Rankings.
With the Fighting Hawks 1-0 victory over the Pioneers, they improve to 2-4-1 all-time at the Frozen Faceoff.
During the 2016-17 season, UND was 12-4 against the teams that are below them in the standings. Entering the Frozen Faceoff, UND was 1-8-1 against the teams that were above them in the standings.
With the win, the Fighting Hawks will play the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs for the Frozen Faceoff championship. So far this season, the Hawks are 0-4-0 against the Bulldogs. They were shutout twice by freshman goalie Hunter Miska (23-4-5, 2.21 GAA, .918 save percentage).
I’ve watched the highlights a few times and this was the best game that UND played this season. They did a good job of boxing out and taking away second and third chances. When they didn’t junior All-American goalie Cam Johnson was there to shut the door.
I know that Johnson has taken some heat this year, but he hasn’t been the problem. I’ve talked to him a few times, sure he’d like to have a few of those goals back, but for the most part, he’s been pretty good between the pipes. Last night, he was kind of vindicated by his play in net.
Think of who UND lost during the offseason. Two defensemen from last season’s d-core are playing in the NHL. At times, I have pondered how they would look if Keaton Thompson, LaDue, and Stecher had returned for another season.
I think we all expected a second half surge like we did during the Dave Hakstol days That might have happened, but it took a little longer to happen. Finally, things are starting to click.
UND has now won six-of-seven games. Last night, I thought the Johnson that won All-American honors made an appearance. In the last seven games, Johnson is 6-1-0, 2.39 GAA, .902 save percentage.
Goon’s Food Suggestions
I know not everyone is enamored with the Target Center or the city of Minneapolis. First, I think the ice, for the most part, has been pretty good. The boards have to be some of the hardest ones I’ve seen in hockey. The new scoreboard is fabulous. I loved the video quality.
Ah yes, the actual building is still a grungy building stuck in the 1990’s. The outside of the Target Center is going through the upgrade as we speak. TBH, this location is starting to grow on me. I don’t think the NCHC is going to move to the Xcel Energy Center.
Now for the more important items. I’ve found some fabulous places to dine that I would like to recommend, you won’t be disappointed, they were really good. Rock Bottom Brewery and Ike’s Food and Cocktails.
When you’re on vacation and maybe you left the kids at home, why not have an adult beverage to start your morning? When Rome, do as the Romans do, especially the day after St. Patricks Day. Check out my beverage selection that I had for breakfast. Yes, it was fabulous. Here’s a link to the breakfast menu. May I suggest the omelet. You won’t be disappointed.
Rock Bottom Brewery brews their own beer and they have a great selection. They also have very good dining selection. Their steaks are fabulous. Yesterday, I had a shrimp and lobster taco and they were fabulous as well. My buddy Donn had their appetizer sampler that could probably feed two or three people. I had a bite or two from that and it was fabulous. Here’s a link to their menu. I suppose you’re thirsty and hungry.
Links of Interest
From one of my favorites, Jess Myers: UMD, North Dakota reach title game in NCHC tournament
From the Enemy Territory: North Dakota snaps Denver’s 13-game winning streak, advances to NCHC final
If you haven’t read this one, this one is worth a read: Denver Pioneers relish opportunity against North Dakota in NCHC semifinals, be careful what you wish for.
They got their wish… Yeah.
Following a series sweep over Colorado College to begin the National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoffs last weekend, coach Jim Montgomery of the top-seeded University of Denver said he would prefer to play North Dakota in the conference semifinals. Nebraska-Omaha was the other option at the time, but despite having won their past 10 games against the Mavericks, Montgomery wanted to play the defending NCAA champions here at the Frozen Faceoff.
And finally, from my buddies over at LetsGoDU: Denver Drops Close Defensive Battle To North Dakota in Frozen Faceoff Semifinal