Penalties killed UND in losses at Maine

Few members of the college hockey world’s west side saw this one coming.

Maine’s quick start, North Dakota goaltender Brad Eidsness’ quicker exit, and by Monday morning, UND’s fall from the No. 2 spot in the polls make up a hot topic coming out of Week 3. UND’s undisciplined play was a major factor in making all of the above happen.

The Fighting Sioux, which fell six spots to No. 8 in the USCHO.com Poll, went to the penalty box 24 times for 63 penalty minutes on the weekend, giving the Black Bears 19 total power plays. The result was five total PP goals in Maine’s 7-3 and 4-2 wins.

Just as costly as UND’s 74-percent penalty kill was the timing of the Black Bears’ power play goals.

On Friday, Maine scored 43 seconds into the game and 30 seconds later and Jason Gregoire took a hitting-from-behind penalty. The Black Bears capitalized when Brian Flynn scored with 13 seconds on the PP. Flynn scored again, 3:58 after Andrew MacWlliam received a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for contact to the head.

Maine scored a few minutes later after Derek Rodwell went off for elbowing. The Fighting Sioux gave the Black Bears four power play opportunites in the first period, Maine scored on three of them and with a 5-1 lead after one period, the game was over with 40 minutes to play (Highlights from siouxsportsfan. Notice the cozy confines of an Eastern-style arena).

UND had a one-goal lead halfway through the second period but Brad Malone took a hooking penalty and Maine scored eight seconds later. The lone Sioux lead of the series lasted 2:39.

The Sioux made any chance of a comeback, down two in the third period, difficult when they took three penalties in two minutes and gave up a 5-on-3 goal that iced the game.

Some of the penalties the Sioux took like diving, too many men, elbowing, contact to the head, etc., were plain undisciplined.

Gregoire told Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald that UND spent “way too many minutes killing penalties.” He added, “That’s unacceptable. You can’t win games if you take that many penalties.”

The Sioux are currently ranked seventh in Division I with 20 penalty minutes per game and are a perennial lock for the national top 20 in penalty minutes and that’s mostly the product of UND’s highly physical, smashmouth approach.

Though it can’t erase the five goals the Sioux PK allowed, UND did net a shorthanded goal in each game. That’ll happen when you spend more than half the weekend with a man in the box.

Diaper Dandies, so far

Wisconsin’s Mark Zengerle, Minnesota-Duluth’s J.T. Brown and Nebraska-Omaha’s Matt White all were absent from the WCHA’s Preseason Coaches Poll Rookie of the Year voting but all three are in the top four in Division I for scoring by freshman. Zengerle leads the country in rookie scoring with two goals and eight assists, Brown (who did receive a vote for rookie of the year in the media poll) has three goals and six assists and White is tied for fourth with five goals and three assists.

Just because Colorado College’s Jaden Schwartz isn’t at the top of the list, the WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year still averages a point per game and was a very entertaining player to watch last weekend in Mankato.

16 COMMENTS

  1. If number 24 Blood from North Dakota keeps playing the game that he played in Orono the competition is going to cash in. He’s a real dirty player that loves the penalty box.

    • As much as it seems like Blood is dirty to east coast observers, the physical type of play that he typifies is common if not expected in the WCHA. Frequent and jarring physical contact is an integral component to how the game is played. This difference between the eastern and western game type was evident in last years Yale vs. ND matchup in the regionals. It is patently obvious that eastern teams shy away from the physical aspect of the sport.

  2. To my friends in the WHCA and the CCHA: Anchorage and Fairbanks, the respective homes, of course, of UA and UA –Anchorage are appx. 360 miles apart. UA being closer to the lower 48, I measured its distance from the closest NCAA Division1 school, North Dakota in Grand Forks. The distance is 2,140 miles.
    To answer the question before it is asked, there are 10 Hockey East Schools and 12 ECAC schools, an imbalance that seems to bother nobody. My question is a simple one: why are the two Alaska schools in 2 different leagues? I can’t imagine how tough the away schedule is for both teams but was it a practical joke to have them play each other only twice a year instead of the four games in all intraleague games. BU and BC play each 4 times. The two rinks are 2.5 miles apart on the same road. BU also plays Northeastern 4 times. The rinks are 1.6 miles apart.
    Anyone out there know the history of this? And remember, it’s OK to have 10 teams in one league and 12 in another.

    • Yes, they’re in different leagues, but the CCHA currently has 11 teams and the WCHA 12. I’m not quite sure what your point is.

    • The last time I looked, hockey was a contact sport. It’s a fast and physical game, and if those from Hockey East and the ECAC don’t know how to play it, or are confused as to how this game is to really be played, then watch a different sport that may be more appealing and alluring for you…like…volleyball, or underwater basket weaving. But just because the WCHA plays a physical game, we will take penalties. But it is a physical game.

  3. Who were the clowns in stripes and where did they come from? At least they were consistent, but very little flow to the game and I don’t think either team’s 4th line ever saw the ice!

  4. I’m thinking the Michigan goal was a bad call. The puck could have been in but with an original no goal call. The puck has to be 100% over the line with evidence. Does it not?

    • Definitely agree, it was called no goal on the ice and there is no angle that shows that puck crossing the goal line… bad call.

  5. An impressive performance by Air Force which shows that physical stamina and puck discipline can keep any game close. There is a very thin margin between the #1 and #16 seed in the tournament as Minnesota recalls from their loss to Holy Cross a few years back.

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