TMQ: Tough opponents, injuries haven’t slowed No. 1 Minnesota

Jim: This week is pretty easy to start TMQ: Minnesota put a stake in the ground with three wins. The most important of those was a solid performance against Notre Dame that showed this team at least appears to be the real deal. Now, I am not falling off the Boston College bandwagon, but the Gophers look incredible right now.

Todd: It’s definitely a good point to tip your cap toward what the Gophers have done recently. I guess if you’re going to have any issue with the big wins they’ve put up (Boston College, Notre Dame), it’s that they’ve come at home. Minnesota is 11-1-1 at home and 5-2-2 on the road. That being said, its remaining schedule still has more home games (seven) than road games (six, with one neutral-site game).

What has really impressed me about the Gophers lately is that even after they lost top scorer Erik Haula to injury after the Boston College game, their offense just kept chugging along, scoring four against Notre Dame and 11 in two games against Alaska-Anchorage.

Jim: I really love the Gophers’ stats of late. The only thing I wonder is how you vote against Minnesota. Three first-place votes were cast against the Gophers in this week’s USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll. So I have to ask you how you reason this.

Todd: I guess you could use the theory that if Minnesota isn’t the top team in either the PairWise Rankings or the RPI (it’s fourth in both), there could be a better team out there. Quinnipiac, for instance, has a better record and a higher strength of schedule, which I absolutely take into consideration when I’m voting. But taking everything into account, I think Minnesota is the top team out there right now.

Could that change after the Gophers host North Dakota this weekend? Absolutely. Things are very fluid in the rankings, and not just the PairWise.

Jim: I agree. To me, Minnesota was an easy vote but I can see a case for other teams. Two of those teams squared off in an impressive home-and-home last week: Boston College and New Hampshire. I would say that was the most interesting 120 minutes of hockey I saw all season.

Both teams had solid spurts but BC’s top two lines did such a great job all weekend. Its points came on Friday, not on Saturday and that translated into a weekend split. One thing is sure in my mind: These are the two best teams in Hockey East. Whether they are there come season’s end is a tough call, as I highlighted in my blog Monday.

Todd: It’s more than a month until the last of three regular season games between the teams this season (Feb. 17 at BC), but I’m guessing that game will still have a lot to do with the top spot in the final standings.

Earlier this season, we talked about Wisconsin’s slow start but that seems like a long time ago now. After beating then-No. 11 Minnesota State twice last weekend on the road, the Badgers are back above .500 overall and just three points out of first place in the WCHA.

Their unbeaten streak is at 10 games, which coincides with the length of time that freshman forward Nic Kerdiles has played with the team after a 10-game NCAA suspension. So I’m curious to see which Badgers team will show up for the next 10 games. It’s pretty clear that Wisconsin can be a dangerous team when it has everything in order.

Jim: It is so incredibly impressive how Kerdiles being in the lineup coincides with the play of the Badgers. Obviously, one player can’t make a lineup but I do believe that Wisconsin needed a jump start. Is Kerdiles the guy? That is still to be seen but he has certainly energized things.

Todd: It could be that him entering the mix finally put the pieces of the forward lineup in the right places to work. It’s tough to have that thin of a margin, though, going through the second half of the season. The Badgers have a good home test with No. 8 Miami at the Kohl Center for a non-conference series this weekend and need to start building strength at home. They’re just 2-4-2 at the Kohl Center and have 11 of their 16 remaining regular season games there.

Jim: That’s a pretty incredible stat for a team that at least seems to be above average.

Now, if you want a team that has defined itself as above average, let’s again look at Quinnipiac. A 16-game unbeaten streak has the Bobcats tied for the top spot in the PairWise with BC and UNH. A tie against Rensselaer may have been a hiccup in the road, but Saturday’s victory over nationally ranked Union was just what that team needed.

I am at a point where I think of QU as a top-five team that is pretty much guaranteed its first at-large NCAA tournament bid.

Todd: And Quinnipiac showed some mettle in coming back from a 2-0 deficit after two periods against Union for a 3-2 victory. That gave the Bobcats a 10-point advantage in the ECAC Hockey standings with 10 games to play. It’s not time to hand over the Cleary Cup to Quinnipiac just yet, but it would be a real shock to me if that’s not the way it plays out.

Let’s look at this week’s schedule, which shows eight games between ranked teams. No. 1 Minnesota hosts No. 6 North Dakota and No. 7 Denver is at No. 19 St. Cloud State in WCHA series. No. 17 Union hosts No. 16 Cornell on Friday and No. 20 Colgate on Saturday. Also Saturday, No. 9 Boston University hosts No. 19 Massachusetts-Lowell and No. 11 Dartmouth is at No. 12 Yale. That all should make for a pretty solid weekend.

142 COMMENTS

  1. So they have played 4 teams that are actually ranked and two of those were only a one game series. Such a tough schedule………

    • So they have played 4 teams that are actually ranked and two of those were only a one game series….and beat those teams, ranked #1 & 2 respectively, in a one game series by a combined scored of 12-2. The Gophers are good. Boo hoo.

          • huh? well i’ll be. the last time i checked (and granted…it’s been a while), minny had 5 national titles, and only wisco, mich, denver & und had more. did they change it on us? if not, then you have yourself a mystery, Afterfurtherreview. i mean… haha… how on earth did they win those 5 titles without winning in April? i eagerly await the result of your detective work.

          • Well, I noticed you forgot to mention that BC and BU have 5 also. I think you know the more specific game I was talking about. The 8-1 win was impressive, but not quite as impressive as the 6-1 loss last April.
            And, I see you haven’t done your detective work because their first 3 NC’s were actually won in March, if they played them in April, they may only have 2.
            And actually I don’t care about Minn. or ND, if they win, great, if not, that’s OK too. I just like to get some of you more wound up sometimes. My team has never won a NC, so it’s all just in fun… really.

          • yes, I’m well aware UMN titles under brooks happened in march. cousin still has his ticket stubs. didn’t feel need (i.e. too lazy) to explain it all. you got the gist. and you still didn’t explain the other two. your detective work is suspect.

            and sorry, if your goal was to wind me up, you’re going after the wrong person. you’re going to have to tell momma you’re a failure. again.

            (here’s a hint…if someone is being absurd and hyperbolic and writing using nothing but sarcasm, they’re probably doing what you said you’re attempting to do. messing with people. they’re probably just doing a better job of it.)

            so anyway…congrats on accomplishing nothing, I guess.

          • I was at the other 2 and I was very happy about one of them, when they beat Maine in St. Paul. I would say everybody gets lucky sometimes, but my team hasn’t yet.
            Oh, you wouldn’t have replied in the first place if it didn’t wind you up. I do like the passion you guys have for hockey and the hatred the 2 teams have for each other.
            I wouldn’t call it sarcasm, I notice you didn’t mention the BC thrashing that was my original point.
            So I have accomplished the same as the gophers have in the past 10 years… nothing…

          • great, now you’re rationalizing. and you’re just as bad at that as you are at humor and sarcasm. sorry, but this is long past boring. for everyone. bye.

          • Agreed, boring, like the Goofs.
            Can’t rationalize with somebody who is a complete a$$, such as yourself though.
            See ya in April.

          • I was and it showed in your reaction that it worked and brought out your true colors, that’s all.
            I believe the purpose of this is to bring up teams and games, not personal. Apparently I was wrong and you took to bashing me, not a team.
            I thought you were done with this long, boring post.

        • Ooh, what a retort! Know what…bet they don’t. And…bet we’ll find out in March. And oh yeah, “playing them one game” is your criticism? Hahaha. Lame. Newsflash…that’s how games are played, genius. One game at a time. Guess BC and ND should have come to play. The Gophers kicked the sh*t out of the #1 ranked Eagles and #2 ranked Notre Dame in contests that weren’t even all that competitive. So you’ll have to excuse me as I laugh in your general direction.

        • I guess we’ll find out this weekend. Or does this weekend not matter because the Gophers are at home? Real beat down UND threw on Holy Cross last weekend. Talk about needing power plays to win a game.

          • The keebsler elf asked about Holy Cross, I responded in kind. Using my line on me? I know you are but what am I …You are in so far over your head you have no way out.

          • You take what he said and use it against him, I do the same to you…so by your logic we’re both idiots. Welcome to the idiot club.

          • So basically what you’re telling everyone here is….Holy Cross has more big wins in the past 10 years than UND does?

          • At least we can beat holy cross. Also talk about needing a powerplay to win? Look at last Friday. Anchorage had you beat and the refs bailed you out with a bs major.

          • That power play comment was directed at your buddy UMgopherchoker who thinks its lucky when other teams use PP goals to win games but when his team uses them to win it is out of skill and hard work.

          • Is that all you got…the Holy Cross game? Save it. Ancient History. As for the checking from behind penalty either you don’t know what the definition of checking from behind is or your blind. What happened is a classic checking from behind call, a no-brainer. Player had his back to the checker, facing the wall and was checked between the numbers. Even with the call, the Gophers still needed to score twice on the PP, which rarely happens on a 5 minute major. You talk about the Gophers barely beating UAA, and yet UND lost to UAA and tied them at home.

          • You should probably check your scores again. We beat and tied UAA at home. Speaking of playing UAA at home remember when they swept you at Mariucci in the playoffs. I remember.

          • and lost to UAA at the Alaska Gold Rush, which is what I was referring to. We are talking about this year, so if we want to drag up the past I can stuff too.

          • Actually we crushed UAA at the gold rush and lost to Fairbanks by a goal. So again I’ll say you should probably check your scores again…..

          • UND fans…always on here talking about other teams beating Minnesota. Anyone care to talk about last year when we went 4-2 on the season and crushed you in the regional?

    • The Gophers played 2 early in the season against Mich St. They were an NCAA tourney team last year but continue to struggle this year. If you don’t like the Gopher’s SOS now, imagine next year if Mich and Mich St don’t turn things around. Add 4 more games with the Penn St. newbies. (The) OSU is under .500 and Bucky just got his head above water last weekend. That’s 20 conference games without a ranked opponent based on records this year to date. It just makes my toes tingle to think we’ll be able to watch all 60 B1G conference games next year on the BTN. If I could deal with the devil, I would trade all 60 for 4 Gopher-Sioux bloody knuckle battles. I think we will know all we need to regarding the Gopher’s worthiness of a number 1 ranking by 8pm Saturday.

  2. Congratulations gophs. You beat a bc team without their best player (who is arguably one of the best in the nation) and then you beat the Irish after they hadn’t played for a month. Both on your home ice in a one game situation. I guess we should all just crown you right now? Nice field for your tournament at that dump of an arena you play in by the way. Huntsville and Air Force!!! Look out for them come March!!!

    • With all the Hardware Hakstol has brought home since he took over at UND, I’m surprised UND fans even remember hockey is played as late as March. (Psst… Sometimes even as late as April!)

          • Is 6 question marks supposed to scare people? 3 conference tournaments in a row, to answer your question, since you weren’t specific enough.

          • You guys are so proud of winning that two game tournament at the end of the year. It’s hilarious. And when you do, you only beat each team once, so basically, from what I’m reading here, it’s not worth anything. Correct?

      • I was referring to the other teams in the tournament besides the goofs and bc. Some stiff competition there before playing each other….

        • Yep, OK. I quit. read the whole board and got about 4 good posts from Whioux fans out of 130. I’m done. We’ll find out this weekend and I’m sure you all will be back on the boards next week, even if your team loses?

          • Please do quit, your pointless insults are some of the worst on here… only 4 good posts… I would question your judgment of good, but you being a goopher fan it could just be a counting problem. And you goopher fans will be back on here if your team loses as well… can you try and make a point worth reading?

  3. I find some of these arguments amazing. What’s more, I bet a large portion of these comments come from grown men.

    To the corncobs who think Minnesota shouldn’t be #1, who should?

  4. As someone that doesn’t follow the hockey out west, it is odd to me how a majority of comments that come from ND fans mention Minnesota and not the other way around… It seems like the view on the “rivalry” is a lot more one sided than anything. Do the Gophers not think about ND as a rival?

    • They are definitely a huge rival, just not sure they know a whole lot about the game itself, other than they have a good team every year. Its not their fault though, they dont really have hockey in ND. They dont even have one North Dakotan on the squad this year.

      • That argument is so old… look at the populations, ND is less than a fifth of the size of MN. And MN is the State of Hockey. Its like complaining that you have less pot heads than California.

        • Still, you’d think you could find at least player in the whole state that is good enough to play for the almighty __________ (insert nickname here)

          • How is that an insult to UND? goopher and UND series bring out the best in everybody… if I can’t say anything abotu your team I’ll just insult their entire state highschool hockey program.

          • Wasn’t supposed to be an insult. I think someone may have a little too much sand in their vagina this week. There is the insult that you were looking for. Enjoy

    • You have to realize that hockey and waiting to get washed downriver towards Hudson Bay is all that people in Grand Forks have to look forward to. Gopher fans try to stay interested,but most have lives and options.

      • and after reading some of the liberal comments you have made it obvoius why you don’t agree with people in Grand Forks… we have morals and ethics… unlike the crazy liberals in the twin cities with their savior berry running things. All we do is cling to guns and religion

    • Its hard not to think of someone as a rival when they have more NC’s and in recent years a better head to head record. But with as close as the two programs are…we are rivals. Look a little harder and you will see just as many crazy goopher fans saying stupid stuff and they have some very creative names too

    • Minnesota definately considers UND as a rival. Personally, I would consider UND our biggest rival. There are equal amounts of crazy people posting for UND and the U of M it is just heay on the UND side for this article.

  5. “Soiux player carries the puck into the neutral zone, AND THE CROWD GOES WILD as he dumps it into the corner!!!” Seriously Sioux fans, learn what a rush looks like. Stop screaming like your player is on a breakaway when he’s at center ice and there are two defenders in front of him…

    • There are 10,000 fans at The Ralph EVERY GAME. I guess cheering fans is a foreign concept to the pole barn ticket holders at other rinks that are “sold out” yet empty…

      • You don’t have enough fingers and toes to count that high. There are many games where mariucci west is almost empty last Friday the place was maybe half full

          • Pay no attention to the so called North Dakotan Gopher fan which he self-proclaimed himeself as last week sometime… He knows not what he says

          • I was at the up chuck on Friday and Saturday and because me and a lot of others there scaned 2.3. or 4 tickets on the way in doesn’t mean those seats were full.

        • I have season tickets to The Ralph. Calling the Palace “Maryhoochi west” is not only an insult but another of your lies. Friday night had 9,500 in attendance during a blizzard. When the gofer’s scores are announced and the gofers are behind (frequently) the 10,000 cheer loudly…

    • what kind of arguement is that? lol laughable. Take your nonsensical hate somewhere else. North Dakota is the most watched hockey in North America. North Dakota hockey has been the most watched hockey for the past few years. I’m proud of my fellow Sioux fans for their love and appreciation of the game.

      • Of course they are….what else are you going to do in Grand Forks, ND on a Friday or Saturday night? I’m much more impressed with teams like Minnesota, BC, and BU who are competing with pro teams.

          • The sentence was understandable but your point was missed. By your flawless logic, attendance at BC/MN games should’ve increase during the lockout, correct?

          • MN fans come on here and make fun of UND fans… goldcountry is a brand new person to the board here. I wonder what his other gopher loving nicknames are. Creating multiple nicknames to come on a here make fun of other teams fans… real classy! makes all the insults they sling laughable.

      • Isn’t this stat about being the “most watched college hockey team in N. America” a little misleading? It does not take into account TV or internet viewers, it is just a summation and average of attendance figures from all games (home and away) they participate in vs everyone else. Clever marketing by the UND SID though.

    • As someone who has been to many games at the Ralph, this comment made me crack up. So true….they also ooooh and ahhhh for every shot on goal.

  6. I think Minnesota has so many other rivals considering the Big Ten and the pros that the rivalry with North Dakota, while important, is one of many. The thing that gets me about NoDak fans is how many of them seem to act like they have never lost to Minnesota. I know some of them, overall great people, but they just disappear when the gophs win and suddenly show up when the win (missing word on purpose).

    • Very true….I lived in North Dakota for a short time and you would never find nicer people in the world…but put a green sweater on their back and they turn into the most ignorant, disrespectful people you’ve ever seen. Much like the hockey players they love so much…

      • I have owned property in both states for years and have been to both rinks many times to watch the best college hockey games in the country. If you believe that Sioux fans are the only ignorant or disrespectful fans I have a Dodge mini-van adorned with Sioux memorabilia that has been vandalized numerous times while parked at mn rinks as evidence to the contrary.

        • Thats for sure! I hope this year is different than last years matchup at the Hucci! Me and my gal (who wearing Sioux jerseys) never felt so disrespected in out entire lives. Given we were somewhat close to the student section but still… I am sure there are Gopher fans that have had bad experiences in our barn as well! Maybe UND will just have to win to be treated as equal human beings this weekend. Either way, We’ll be there lookin’ mean in green! And at the Wild scrimmage tonight :)

    • congrats. although there is something i’ve always wondered about hakstol…where does he keep all of his NCAA championship trophies?

  7. Why don’t we all “cool our jets” for a minute here? We’ll see who wins this weekend. Minnesota could be ranked #1 and UND unranked, or UND ranked #1 and Minnesota winless on the season and this would STILL be the best weekend of college hockey all year! We all know that both teams will come to play no matter what, whether it’s at the Ralph or Mariucci. For Gopher fans (which I am) who are bashing UND for having a sweet rink, I’d say you’re the ones who are “butt hurt”. Don’t be jealous, and don’t tell me you don’t find that place absolutely unbelievable. For UND fans ragging on our rink I’ll say this- it’s got character, tradition and it’s a great venue for college hockey. I’m going to relax this weekend and enjoy some hockey and many, many beverages. Go Gophers!

  8. Boy, sure a lot of trash-talk on here.

    What’s the point guys?

    Just get pumped for your team when they play well, and stop with the I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I business.

    College hockey is awesome… that’s why we’re all here reading these articles. That, and there’s no more INCH.

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