Monday, January 2, 2012

Harvard Recap

The Fighting Sioux entered a non-conference series needing a big weekend to bolster their national tournament hopes, and with a short bench they took three out of four points against a solid Harvard Crimson squad. Friday night saw the two teams battle to a 4-4 draw, while the Fighting Sioux sent their revered nickname out in style New Year's Eve by blowing by Harvard 7-3 in the final game in which a North Dakota athletic team will officially be known as the Fighting Sioux.
  • Friday night the Sioux started out slow, played a good second period, and finished with an uncharacteristic third period in which they relinquished a two goal lead. Saturday night was a different story, as they had jump from the get-go and played a strong 60 minutes. There appeared to be some tired legs late Saturday, but considering the injuries this team is dealing with, that is very understandable.
  • The freshmen are really starting to come into their own. A lot of very young players are playing an awful lot of minutes, and they are performing admirably. The team has had an awful lot of personnel issues this season and a lot of players have been thrust into roles that were not expected of them, and they have risen to the occasion and then some. Already short on skaters when fully healthy due to the pre-season eligibility issues of Colten St. Clair and Michael Di Puma, North Dakota played every healthy player on their roster and still was short a forward and a defenseman due to the unavailability of Corban Knight, Mario Lamoureux, Derek Rodwell, Derek Forbort, and Rocco Grimaldi. The fact that the shorthanded Sioux were able to post a seven-spot on a respectable Harvard team is a testament to this team's ability to adapt and evolve when faced with difficult situations. Saturday's victory was a signature win, and it could become a defining moment for this team.
  • Scoring came from all over the lineup this weekend, with the top line not getting into the scoring column until Saturday night. Freshmen Nick Mattson and Brendan O'Donnell provided some spark Friday while Connor Gaarder continued his strong play by scoring his first collegiate goal Friday and following it up with a big three-point night Saturday. Six freshmen produced points in the Saturday night victory.
  • On the injury front, it sounds like Grimaldi is still a couple weeks away from knowing how well the shut-down helped his knee heal. Knight, Lamoureux, and Forbort will be evaluated as the week goes on and may or may not be ready for the Clarkson game Saturday night while Rodwell is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.  
  • In browsing through some stats New Year's Day, a few interesting numbers jumped out. I sent them out yesterday via Twitter as I came across them, but here they are for those of you who do not use Twitter: 
  • Freshmen accounted for 16 (8G, 8A) of the 30 points the Sioux tallied this weekend
  • The Sioux are 8-2-1 with Connor Gaarder in the lineup, 2-6-1 with him out.
  • Dillon Simpson had 0 points the first nine games of the season. He's now had at least one point in eight of his last 11 games.
  • Danny Kristo has factored in on seven of UND's ten game-winning goal this season.

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