Thursday, January 10, 2008

Welcome To Stearns County

The Gopher hockey team returns to WCHA action with a series vs St. Cloud State this weekend. Friday nights game will be played at Mariucci Arena and Saturday nights game will be played at the National Hockey Center in lovely St. Cloud, MN. This is a huge weekend for the Gopher hockey team. If the Gophers have any hope of gaining home ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs they need to get a minimum of a split vs St. Cloud. The Gophers Travel to UMD next weekend and follow that with a trip to Wisconsin. Points over the next three weekends will be important to say the least. Anything less than .500 play over the next three weeks will spell disaster for the Gophers.

St. Cloud State comes into this weekend tied with Michigan Tech for 5th place in the WCHA (St.Cloud has played two more games then both Tech and MN) and are coming off a weekend split with UND. St. Cloud State is led by Sophomores Ryan Lasch and Andreas Nodl and Frosh Garrett Roe. Lasch has been at or near the top of the country in scoring all season long. Both Lasch and Roe are smaller players who have a ton of individual skill. Basically they are the type of players the Gophers are lacking in their lineup. Andreas Nodl was the National Freshman of the year in 2007 and is having another good year for St. Cloud. People expected a bit more from Nodl this season but he has been picking up his play lately which has led to his point total jumping up into the upper tier of the WCHA.

St. Cloud States Defense has been it's biggest issue this season. St. Cloud gives up 3 goals per game which means only Alaska Anchorage is worse in terms of scoring defense in the WCHA. I was able to watch St. Cloud vs UND last friday night and the biggest issue in the game for the Huskies was their inability to break out of their own zone. Although St. Cloud was unable to get the puck out of their own zone Friday UND was still so incompetent that the Huskies some how managed to win 3-2. The days of Bobby Goepfert stealing games in goal for St. Cloud State are also over. Jase Wesloskys is considered St. Clouds #1 goalie, but sat out last Friday night and only played the 2nd half of the saturday night game because of some academic issues. I caught an interview with Jase between periods of Friday nights game. After listening to him try and talk and watching him breath through his mouth it was no surprise to hear he was struggling with the books. Not that is matters but Jase also has the worst frohawk I have ever seen.

The MN lineup will get a boost this weekend with the return of Flynn, Carman and Fairchild from the World Jr. Tournament. This will be Carman's first game of the year for the gophers after sitting out the first half of the season with a case of the Jase Wesloskys. Carman will be a huge boost to the team as he is a true center and plays with a ton of skill and grit. Skill and grit are two things this Gopher team is really lacking this season.

The #1 key for the Gophers this weekend will be staying out of the penalty box. St. Clouds power play is one of the top units in the nation and the majority of their scoring comes from the power play. The Gophers penalty kill has been better the past couple of weeks but I personally feel that has a lot to do with the level of competition they have been playing (that includes NoDak). The Gophers penalty kill will get a big boost from Carmans return as he is one of the best penalty killers in all of college hockey. The Gophers power play is still brutal as far as Gopher Hockey is concerned. Fairchild will give them a nice boost at the point and Carman/Flynn will give a little more balance to the two units, but don't expect a huge turn around this year. St. Cloud State also takes the fewest penalties in all of college hockey so the gophers will need to capitalize on the few chances they get.

Defensively a couple of Gophers are starting to show signs of life. RJ Anderson is finally starting to look like a WCHA defender. Anderson has even learned to take a slap shot from the point which has led to some good scoring chances off rebounds and even a couple Anderson goals! David Fischer is starting to attack a bit more and last weekend was oftern leading the attack. This kid has all the potential in the world to be an All-American if he sticks around two more years. Solei (3rd string goalie) got his little Rudy moment last weekend vs Wayne State. I am guessing (hoping) that will be the end of Solei. Yes, it was a cute story and he is some how my wife's favorite player now, but Kangas needs to play the majority of the minutes the rest of the season. I am hoping Frazee has finally drank himself out of the lineup for good and moves on after this season. I have a feeling he is going to be a cancer the rest of the season.

Hoeffel update for Dawger from Freshman forward Mike Hoeffel has made significant strides in the last five games. Including a two-goal game at North Dakota, Hoeffel has scored three goals and attempted 20 shots during the recent span after scoring one goal in 21 shot attempts over the teams first 17 games. Hoeffel is also plus-three with no penalties in the last five games after being minus-eight with six penalties prior to the stretch.

If you are attending the Saturday night game in St. Cloud and have a Jewish sounding name or a big nose (Boggart????) I would recommend a fake ID and ski mask. Jews are not welcome in St. Cloud, especially on campus. You can read more about the Jew haters here if you would like, and I am confused why SCSU hates jews but are disgusted and protests the hostile and abusive name/logo of UND every time North Dakota comes to St. Cloud. It's very confusing why they choose to look differently on two groups of people but it is Stearns County.

I am predicting a split this weekend. I think the Gophers will win 4-3 at home on Friday and get their doors blown off 6-2 on Saturday in Little Berlin. I am also predicting the over/under on the percentage of students wearing Polaris/Arctic Cat jackets in the Huskies student section will be 77%.

Okposo Update- The New York Islanders assigned Kyle Okposo to their American Hockey League affiliate on Sunday. Okposo will practice with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Thursday before making his pro debut against the Binghamton Senators on Friday. Live that dream Kyle!


Rabid Husky said...

Nice blog idiots. I am sure all SCSU students hate Jews and wear snow cat jackets. I can tell You what all SCSU students do hate, The Gophers! I am guessing they also all hate this blog! GO HUSKIES! Gophers Suck!

jew hater said...

yeah, I like this guy. SCSU and UND do have something in common.

Bernstein said...

SCSU and UND do have something in common. That would be dumb fans, lots of racists and pleny of fat girls to go around!

Betty E said...

2 of the last 3 America's next top models were from GF douche. And no I did not run this post through spell check.

Got A Life said...

What is america's next top model and what does that have to do with dumb fans, lots of racists and plenty of fat girls?