Picking up the Pieces After UMD Sweeps UND

Picking up the Pieces After UMD Sweeps UND

North Dakota

Picking up the Pieces After UMD Sweeps UND

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The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team doesn’t get swept very often. Before last night’s game, UND hadn’t been swept since the 2015-16 season when they were swept by the Denver Pioneers (4-6 L, 1-4 L). Breaking it down further, UND has only been swept three times in the last five seasons.

Since that dreadful weekend in Denver, UND had gone 17-3-1 and won a NCAA title and a regular season National Collegiate Hockey Conference title. Seriously, UND has lost only three times in the last 21 games. There are not many teams that can make that claim.

So, let’s not panic yet. For comparison sake, last season, UND’s rival, the Denver Pioneers was swept on back-to-back weekends during the month of December by UND and SCSU. During that time, the Pioneers were outscored 20-5. Denver would go on to qualify for the Frozen Four and lose a close game in the semifinals to UND 3-2. Also, UMD was swept five times last season, (UND x2, BSU, UNO, and DU).

Basically, sweeps aren’t the end of the world. It’s what your team does after they’ve been swept. String together a few of these sweeps and your team could end up behind the eight ball and or on the outside looking in.

Rewind to this weekend and take a look at some historical stats. This was the first time that UND had been swept by UMD in 22 years.

On paper it doesn’t look good, the Fighting Hawks were swept by the Bulldogs (2-5 L, 0-3 L). That’s not a typo, UND was outscored 8-2 by UMD. Let’s grab some perspective, that’s the first time UMD has swept UND since January 27-28, 1995, when the Bulldogs swept the Fighting Sioux (4-6 L, 3-6L). If you want to dust off the history books, UMD hadn’t swept UND at home since November 15-16, 1992 (3-7 L, 2-4L).

So, I guess we should cut the Bulldog fans some slack. They’ve got a reason to celebrate. Moreover, dating back to last season’s Frozen Faceoff, UND has lost three games in a row to UMD. That’s not going to sit well with the players.

Before I move forward, I want to give credit where credit is due. The Bulldogs played a flawless home series. They’re a veteran team with high-end forwards. They’re also very good defensively. This past weekend, they gave the Hawks nothing, there were very little time and space on the ice. The Bulldogs kept the Hawks on their heels for large chunks of time.

Like I said on Friday night after game one, at times, I thought UND looked like deer in the headlights. UND’s top line of Tyson Jost, Brock Boeser, and Shane Gersich to (1g-1a—2pts). What’s even more remarkable, the Bulldogs held the Hawks to (2g-2a—4pts) on the weekend.

Special Teams Play not so Special

Looking at UND’s special team’s play the past two weeks, one can only conclude that UND’s specials teams aren’t very special. I would classify it as in need of some serious work . In the last four games, UND has given up three shorthanded goals. Last season, UND gave up two shorthanded goals all season long. This past weekend, UND went 1/14 on the man advantage. This includes two 5-on-3’s on Saturday night. Again, that’s not very good.

Over the past two weekends, UND has gone 3/21 on the power play for 14.3 percent. On the penalty kill, UND hasn’t been much better, they’ve killed (16-of-21) power play attempts. Keep in mind, that UND struggled early on the power play and penalty kills last season, too. They did improve dramatically by the end of the season. This is just a small snapshot of this particular time. It’s a long season, improvements will be made.

A couple of tweets of interest…

Ahem, and this zinger … From Everyone’s favorite Puck Daddy Blogger.

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