NO. 14 UMD AND WISCONSIN SET TO COLLIDE THIS WEEKEND IN WCHA OPENERS AT AMSOIL ARENA
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
The University of Minnesota Duluth will embark on its 48th, and final, season of Western Collegiate Hockey Association warfare this Friday and Saturday (Oct. 26-27) when the Bulldogs play host to the University of Wisconsin in a two-game series. The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. both nights at the 6,737-seat AMSOIL Arena in downtown Duluth.
THE RECORDS: The Bulldogs, who are off to an even 2-2-0 start this year, closed out the 2011-12 season with a 25-10-6 overall record, placed second in the WCHA standings at 16-7-5, and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA tournament, bowing out to eventual national champion Boston College in the Northeast Regional finals. Wisconsin (0-2-0 overall in 2012-13) was 17-18-2 in all games one year ago and posted a 11-15-2 mark in WCHA play (10th place).
HOW THEY RANK: Here is how UMD and Wisconsin stacked up in the latest USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls:
USCHO.com USA Today
UMD 14th 14th
UW RV NR
ON THE AIR: The two UMD-Wisconsin clashes will be carried locally on 94X (94.1/104.3 FM) with Bruce Ciskie handling the play-by-play. The broadcast can also be heard on KQ 105.5 in Grand Rapids/Hibbing and KQ 106.7 in Ely/Virginia as part of the Bulldog Radio Network and is available on the internet at: www.fan1490.com.
In addition, My9 (KBJR DT 6.2/KRII DT 11.9) will televise both ends of this weekend’s series. Veteran sports anchor Tom Hansen and former Bulldog puck standout Judd Medak will serve as the on-air talent. My9, which is scheduled to carry at least 19 games during the 2012-13 regular season, is also available locally on Charter and Mediacom cable. The telecast will be videostreammed as well and can be viewed for a fee through America ONE at www.b2tv.com/
THE COACH: The runnerup for the 2010-11 Spencer Penrose Award (American Hockey Coaches Association NCAA Division I Coach of the Year) and recipient of that honor in 2003-04, Scott Sandelin is in his 13th season behind the UMD bench where he has compiled a 219-212-58 overall record -- including a 97-52-21 mark (a .632 winning percentage) since the 2008-09 opener. Besides capturing the school’s first NCAA championship two years ago and rolling up the team’s best overall record in 19 years (26-10-6), the Bulldogs have posted four consecutive 22-win seasons, and advanced to four NCAA tournaments (2004, 2009, 2011 and 2012), two Frozen Fours (2004 and 2011) and seven of the past 10 WCHA Final Five playoff events. During the course of the 2011-12 season, his troops set a club record by going unbeaten in 17 straight games and were ranked first in both major weekly polls (USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine for a program-best nine consecutive weeks. In March 2009, UMD became the first play-in game participant to ever claim the Final Five title and, later that spring, strung together a school-record six-game postseason winning streak before it fell to Miami University 2-1 in the NCAA West Regional final. Nine years ago, Sandelin, 48, turned UMD into a NCAA Frozen Four participant for the first time in nearly a generation, marshaling his troops to their most victories (they were 28-13-4 overall) and highest WCHA finish (second place on a 19-7-2 mark) since 1992-93. For his efforts, the Hibbing, Minn., native was chosen the WCHA Coach of the Year as well as the national coach of the year by both insidecollegehockey.com and uscho.com. In 2002-03, Sandelin’s Bulldogs went 22-15-5 overall and captured fifth place in the WCHA with a 14-10-4 mark while experiencing the greatest one-season turnaround of any league club that winter. One year earlier, he guided UMD to a 13-24-1 record in all games -- nearly doubling the number of victories from the previous season (7-28-4). Sandelin officially signed on as a member of the Bulldog staff on March 31, 2000 following six years of assistant coaching deployment at North Dakota. Prior to joining the Fighting Sioux (who won two NCAA titles during his tenure), Sandelin spent the 1993-94 season as the head coach of the Fargo-Moorhead Junior Kings of the Junior Elite Hockey League after working in that same capacity (and doubling as general manager) the previous winter with the American Hockey Association’s Fargo-Moorhead Express. He capped off his four-year playing career at North Dakota in 1985-86 by being named one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. An All-WCHA first team pick and an All-American second team selection as a senior, Sandelin went on to play seven years of professional hockey, which included National Hockey League stints with the Montreal Canadiens (1986-88), Philadelphia Flyers (1990-91) and Minnesota North Stars (1991-92). Sandelin, one of just two current WCHA coaches to do time in the NHL, was the Montreal Canadiens’ second-round pick in the 1982 NHL draft (40th choice overall). He served as Team USA’s head coach at the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships, directing that club to a fourth-place finish, and was an assistant coach for the U.S. at that same event last winter.
THE SERIES: This weekend’s series will mark the 164th and 165th meetings ever between UMD and Wisconsin. The Badgers hold an 88-61-14 lead in the rivalry, which began on Jan. 6, 1968 in Madison, Wis., and are 37-35-8 all-time in Duluth (1-1-0 at AMSOIL Arena). The two clubs squared off twice one year ago -- on Dec. 9-10 on the Badgers’ home ice, where with the visiting Bulldog skating away with three of a possible four points on the strength of a 3-3 tie and 4-2 victory.
LAST WEEKEND: UMD engaged its in first two road assignments of 2012-13 and wound up trading wins with the University of Notre Dame. The Bulldogs got goals from three different players, including rookie center Cal Decowski, who also assisted on another score, and a 29-save performance from freshman goaltender Matt McNeely in a 3-1 victory Thursday. In the rematch, the Irish struck three times within a span of eight minutes to take a 3-0 lead early in the second period and went on to bounce the Bulldogs 4-1. First-year center Tony Cameranesi accounted for the lone UMD goal (on the power play).
Wisconsin has been idle since being downed twice by CCHA foe Northern Michigan University (2-1 and 4-2) on Oct. 12-13 in Green Bay, Wis.
WCHA FORECAST: In their annual preseason poll, the WCHA head coaches collectively forecasted a sixth-place league finish for UMD in 2012-13. The University of Minnesota (11 first-place votes and 121 points) was tabbed as the team to beat followed by North Dakota (one first-place vote and 110 pts.), the University of Denver (91 pts.), St. Cloud State University (90 pts.) and the University of Wisconsin (70 pts.). UMD, which garnered 69 points, checked in at No. 5 for the second year in a row in the 94X WCHA Media Poll.
AYE, AYE CAPTAIN: Left winger Cody Danberg has been entrusted with the team captaincy duties for the 69th edition of UMD hockey while a pair of fellow seniors -- right winger Keegan Flaherty and defenseman Drew Olson are serving as assistant team captains.
ONE LAST FLING: UMD, which has been a member of the WCHA since the 1965-66 season will join forces with the new eight-team National Collegiate Hockey Conference next fall while Wisconsin will relocate to the upstart six-school Big Ten Conference for hockey. This weekend marks the only two times the Bulldogs and Badgers will meet during the 2012-13 regular season.
WELCOME BACK, BOYS: On Saturday night, the 1992-93 Bulldogs, the last UMD team to capture a WCHA regular season championship, will be honored during a first-intermission ceremony. Current UMD assistant coach Derek Plante captained the Bulldogs that winter and averaged a program-record 2.48 points per game (92 points in 37 outings) en route to earning All-American, WCHA Player of the Year and USA Hockey Male Athlete of the Year acclaim. That club still holds program single-season records for best home winning percentage (.944 off a sizzling 17-1-0 mark) and shorthanded goals (12).
THE PUCK STOPS HERE: Last Thursday night in South Bend, Ind., rookie Matt McNeely became the ninth Bulldog goaltender to make his debut during the 13-year coaching reign of Scott Sandelin. The Burnsville, Minn., native stopped 29 of 30 shots in a 3-1 triumph. Of the other eight puckstoppers, only Kenny Reiter (32 saves in a 3-1 loss at Northern Michigan on Oct. 11, 2009) and Adam Coole (30 stops in a 3-1 setback at Minnesota on Oct. 20, 2000 -- Sandelin’s UMD coaching debut) had more saves in their first collegiate start.
THE PUCK STOPS HERE: Aaron Crandall, who has started in goal in three of UMD’s four engagements thus far, established a career-high for saves by turning aside 36 shot in last Friday’s 4-1 setback at Notre Dame. The fourth-year junior and two-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award recipient has posted a 7-3-1 record, a 2.42 goals against average, a .906 saves percentage and one shutout in his 13 lifetime road appearances. That’s a marked difference the numbers he has produced at home with the Bulldogs (6-3-0, a 3.29 goals against average, an .864 saves percentage and one shutout in 10 outings).
POWER SURGE: UMD currently leads the country in man advantage goals with seven and ranks eighth in power play efficiency with a 25.9 percent mark (seven of 27). The Bulldogs have managed to strike at least once with the extra man in each of its four games thus far.
TOP ‘DOG: Senior right winger Mike Seidel, who assisted on UMD’s first goal at Notre Dame on Thursday and its lone score in the rematch, is the lone Bulldog to pick up as least one point in all four outings this season. Seidel is currently tied for sixth in the nation and for first in the WCHA in scoring with six points on three goals and three assists. All three of those goals have come on the power play, a figure unsurpassed by any NCAA I skater at the moment. Seidel’s four-game scoring streak is two outings shy of his personal best, which he established one year ago between Nov. 18-Dec. 10, 2011.
CONSISTENTLY CONSISTENT: Since Feb. 26, 2010, the Bulldogs have lost two or more games in a row only twice -- when they fell to Notre Dame on Oct. 8, 2011 and to Minnesota (twice) the following weekend and to Alaska-Anchorage and North Dakota (Feb. 4 and Feb. 10, 2012)
MONEY IN THE BANK: Going back 2010-11 opener, UMD is 37-1-3 (15-0-2 last winter and 2-0-0 this year) when taking a lead into the third period with the lone loss coming to Bemidji State (3-2 in overtime) at the 2011 WCHA Final Five. During that same stretch, they are a mere 1-17-2 (0-9-1 in 2011-12 and 0-1-0 this season) when trailing at the second intermission.
BULLDOG BITS: The Bulldogs are unbeaten in six of their last seven confrontations with the Badgers, going 5-1-1 since dropping a 5-2 decision on Jan. 29, 2010 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center .... Left winger Austin Farley, who was a healthy scratch in Friday’s 4-1 loss to Notre Dame, is tied for the scoring lead among NCAA rookies with four points. He picked up his one goal (which came on his first collegiate shift) and three assists in UMD’s season-opening series with Ohio State University en route to being named the WCHA Rookie of the Week ... UMD scored the fewest shorthanded goals (one -- by right winger Keegan Flaherty at Michigan Tech University on Dec. 2) of any WCHA club in 2011-12, but also ceded a league-low two of its own (the fewest since it became a member of the NCAA I ranks in 1961-62). Flaherty has now skated in 85 consecutive games, the longest ironman streak of any current Bulldog while two other seniors -- defenseman Wade Bergman and center Jake Hendrickson -- have both made 69 consecutive appearances since Dec. 30, 2010 ... UMD is now 20-10-3 in its 33 lifetime engagements at AMSOIL Arena (1-1-0 versus Wisconsin). That includes a 14-5-1 mark in 2011-12, its first full season of occupancy at that $80-million facility ... More current Bulldogs (six) have birthdays in October than any other month. Those include senior center Jake Hendrickson (Oct. 2), freshman goaltender Alex Fons (Oct. 10), sophomore center Caleb Herbert (Oct. 12), rookie left winger Austyn Young (Oct. 16), junior center Max Tardy (he turns 22 this Saturday) and freshman center Charlie Sampair (Oct. 31) ... The 2012-13 UMD roster is comprised of seven seniors, four juniors, six sophomores and nine freshmen ... The Bulldogs are unbeaten in 36 of their last 40 overtime games (15-4-21; 2-2-6 in 2011-12) stretching back to the start of the 2008-09 season. Among the 2012-13 Bulldogs, only two have an overtime goal to their collegiate credit -- seniors Cody Danberg and Mike Seidel with one each ... The 2011-12 Bulldogs reached the 22-victory plateau for the fourth consecutive winter (only the second time that has happened in school history, with the run from 1982-86 being the other) while their second-place WCHA finish was the program’s highest in eight years ... Senior team captain Cody Danberg, who, because of injuries had played just in one game over the previous two seasons (the 2011-12 opener with Notre Dame at AMSOIL Arena), is the first sixth-year senior to ever play for the Bulldogs ... Freshman left winger Austyn Young made his UMD debut last Saturday night against Notre Dame, which leaves freshman center Charlie Sampair and rookie goaltender Alex Fons as the lone two Bulldogs yet to see ice time this season ... UMD’s Scott Sandelin (Montreal, Philadephia and Minnesota North Stars) and Mike Eaves of Wisconsin (Minnesota North Stars and Calgary) are the only two current WCHA coaches to do time in the NHL. Sandelin spent 39 games during the 1990-91 season with the Hershey Bears, where he played under Eaves, that American Hockey Leagues franchise’s head coach.
ON TAP: The Bulldogs will be off next weekend before resuming play with a two-game WCHA set at the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Nov. 10-11 and won’t return to AMSOIL Arena until Nov. 23-24 (St. Cloud State University).
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