The puck drops on Gopher Sioux weekend tomorrow night at 7 PM. By the end of this weekend the Gophers will either have a prayer of home ice in the WCHA Playoffs or be dead and buried. This weekend could also determine Don Lucia's future behind the bench. With a solid weekend against our #1 rival Lucia could remove some of the heat he is taking from fans. If the Gophers get run off the ice the fans will be chasing Lucia out the door.
Since WWWWW steals all his ideas from other people, sources and sites, I have decided to do the same. I am stealing WWWWWW's “five things about the game" idea. Here are my top five things to watch for this weekend.
1) Gophers attack or lack of attack- If the Gophers are going to win a game or two this weekend they have to score 3 to 4 goals each night. That won't be an easy task because they struggle to score 3 goals vs. crap teams like Tech, Harvard and Bowling Green. To make matters worse, North Dakota is one of the top defensive units in the country. UND goalie, Brad Eidsness, is a good goalie but not great. If the Gophers settle on shots from the blue line all weekend Eidsness can sleep his way through the series. The top line for MN (Schroeder, Cepis and hopefully not white) need to chip in some even strength goals this weekend. Schroeder needs to start producing instead of counting the days until he turns pro. If he gets shut down like he did back in October the Gophers are in big trouble. I am just hoping here, but consistent production from one of the bottom three lines would also be nice. This all equals bad news for the Gophers.
Did you know the telephone pole is North Dakota's state tree?
2) Power Play- The Gophers power play has been brutal all season. Its like watching the gophers basketball team in a half court set. Part of the issue is the talent level placed on the top unit. There is no reason why MN's top unit isn't made up of Hoeffel, Schroeder, Cepis, Ness and Fairchild. They can do what ever they want with the 2nd unit, but I will cut myself if I see Tony Lucia or Jake Hansen logging major power play minutes this weekend. The Gophers should get plenty of PP chances this weekend, especially on Friday. North Dakota will try and knock the Gophers around early on Friday to set the tempo. As long as players like Flynn don't draw stupid retaliation penalties the Gophers should get some early chances. They need a minimum of three PP goals this weekend.
What has 24 teeth and breathes with it's mouth open? The front row of a UND hockey game!
3) Tony Lucia- Before you fall off your chair laughing, hear me out on this one. Lucia is the one player who seems to get under the skin of North Dakota. His game is suited for this series because he will throw his weight around, can play shut down hockey and he likes to run his mouth. He also has some history with North Dakota. Tony piss pounded Kaip (I think that was who he fought) after a Saturday game two years ago. Last year he baited Green into jumping him in the face off circle. Lucia skated away and left Green looking like a complete retard as the refs pulled him to the penalty box. although nothing really happened up in North Dakota earlier this year, the hot rumor was the Sioux wanted a piece of Lucia. If Tony can be a pest all weekend he could draw lots of attention and plenty of penalties.
Why does the wind blow so hard in North Dakota? Because it also can't wait to leave the state.
4) Goaltending- Alex Kangas needs to be a savior this weekend. If he gives up a goal it needs to be a good goal. Enough of the fluff goals. Kangas also needs to make a couple saves he has no business making. I can’t remember the last highlight reel save he has made. Eidsness is not known for gift wrapping goals so the Gophers can’t be giving away any free ones. I would give Wonder Baby to a band of North Dakota gypsies to see the Kangas of 2008 return this weekend. -Side note- You can add goalie handling and lack of goalie development to my list of MN coaching complaints.
Fact- In North Dakota it is still legal to shoot an Indian on horseback, provided you are in a covered wagon. "That explains the logo."
5) Heart- Just play 120 minutes of solid hockey this weekend and I will not be completely miserable. Honestly, our #1 rival is coming to town. People are openly questioning the players heart. The coach is getting hammered by fans and media. This is the perfect storm to rally the troops and play inspired hockey. If they can’t do it this weekend lets board up the arena for the rest of the season because it is over. God Damn this team pisses me off!
Why are date rape numbers so low in North Dakota? Livestock can't talk!
My Predictions- Sioux win 5-2 on Friday and Gophers win 3-2 on Saturday. Also, Chicks with guns are hot!