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Slap Shot
10-20-2013, 01:22 PM
Not much to critique about last night considering it was a 5-1 win that never felt in doubt even when down 1-0. Sure the PP was ofer, but there is no reason to assume it won't after only 4 games in. The PK went from 50% the night before to stopping all PPs, clearly because they pressured the puck more than they had on Friday.

It is a young team still and it will be good to have BC in this early to show the kids what they're going to be up against come NCAA time.

mnstate0fhockey
10-20-2013, 01:27 PM
So what are the strengths and weaknesses of this years Gopher team? Seems like you lost a great deal of top end talent from last year, but am assuming there was plenty of talent in the lower classes and in the pipeline. With BC being at full strength, I don't see another total blowout like we suffered last year. BC returns 4 or so very good to elite level players, but the rest of the returning players are more what you would call role players. They do however have an excellent freshmen class that has been contributing significantly so far and that they'll need to have keep contributing for them to be successful. Not really a #1 goalie yet, though both Demko and Billett have looked pretty good. I was pretty high on BC after they throttled UW, but those feelings have been tempered a bit after seeing what BU did to UW last night. Should be a great weekend of fast, clean and exciting hockey!

The Gophers did lose quite a bit over the offseason. They graduated only one senior (Seth Helgeson), but lost Nick Bjugstad (leading goal scorer), Erik Haula (points leader), Nate Schmidt (All-American defender), Zach Budish (captain), and Mark Alt to the NHL.

They lost quite a bit of size up front and on the back-end, but what they lost in size they replaced with blazing speed. They brought in a number of freshmen forwards and two freshmen defenders this season. The forwards are highlighted by Taylor Cammarata (USHL player of the year with 93 pts), Justin Kloos (2012 MN Mr Hockey with 87 pts in USHL last season), Hudson Fasching (spent last two seasons with NTDP and has been a force along the boards and in front of the net this year), Vinni Lettieri (28 goals for Lincoln last season), and Gabe Guertler (currently suspended, but put up 31 goals for Fargo last season). They also get Connor Reilly (back from injury that had him miss all of last season) back as a red shirt freshman. He tore up the BCHL a few years ago on that Penticton team that won the league.

Defensively they bring in Mike Brodzinski, who had a solid season last year with Muskegon, and Jake Bischoff, who was a star for Grand Rapids in MNHS last season. They have been the pleasant surprise for me as they haven't been playing at all like freshmen.

As for returners, they bring back Kyle Rau (always the agitator with a nose for the puck), Nate Condon (extremely fast and heady player), Ben Marshall and Mike Reilly (very skilled offensive defensemen), Sam Warning (leads the team and nation with 5-4-9 so far this year), and Brady Skjei (1st round draft choice if Rangers).

This Gopher squad is an awful lot like your BC squad. Extremely fast, extremely skilled, yet very young. Should be a pretty fast paced pair of games, especially on the big ice. Should be a very fun weekend of hockey!

mnstate0fhockey
10-20-2013, 01:31 PM
Not much to critique about last night considering it was a 5-1 win that never felt in doubt even when down 1-0. Sure the PP was ofer, but there is no reason to assume it won't after only 4 games in. The PK went from 50% the night before to stopping all PPs, clearly because they pressured the puck more than they had on Friday.

It is a young team still and it will be good to have BC in this early to show the kids what they're going to be up against come NCAA time.

It will be interesting to see how they play against a team that (from what I hear) can match them step-for-step in team speed.

Koho
10-20-2013, 02:07 PM
I hope not, I would rather some other team be the "#1" team and let us just hang around in the background. Sometimes the poles,pohls,polls can be a distraction, my opinion anyway.

I don't claim that team ranking has zero interest to me. It doesn't matter at all once the season is over where they were unless they end in that spot, but it is fun to see your team in 1st, despite how subjective it is. But this early in the season, it is difficult to get too excited. UNH is the only team MN has played that should have given them a game, so we really don't know how good they are.

And as for the #1 ranking firing other teams up, I agree to a point. But when you are one of the top programs in the country, everyone is already pretty fired up to play you. And BC has the added incentive to undo the memory of last year's drubbing, so I don't see being #1 as really giving BC much added incentive. I think it can be good for this team to feel that kind of pressure now, of defending #1, and see how they respond. It can only help them later in the year.

We'll know a lot more after the next few series....

Koho
10-20-2013, 02:15 PM
BTW- with BC next, I thought there would be a series thread already. (Don't forget the icon in front!)

mnstate0fhockey
10-20-2013, 02:31 PM
I don't claim that team ranking has zero interest to me. It doesn't matter at all once the season is over where they were unless they end in that spot, but it is fun to see your team in 1st, despite how subjective it is. But this early in the season, it is difficult to get too excited. UNH is the only team MN has played that should have given them a game, so we really don't know how good they are.

And as for the #1 ranking firing other teams up, I agree to a point. But when you are one of the top programs in the country, everyone is already pretty fired up to play you. And BC has the added incentive to undo the memory of last year's drubbing, so I don't see being #1 as really giving BC much added incentive. I think it can be good for this team to feel that kind of pressure now, of defending #1, and see how they respond. It can only help them later in the year.

We'll know a lot more after the next few series....

All good points Koho.

SanTropez
10-20-2013, 02:52 PM
Bring on the number 1 ranking, we are the best program in the country no matter where we are ranked. :)

carltonbarrett
10-20-2013, 06:49 PM
Damm, sounds like you guys have some freshmen that can play!

5mn_Major
10-20-2013, 07:14 PM
Damm, sounds like you guys have some freshmen that can play!

In terms of points, #s 2,3 and 5 on the team. On a highly ranked team with some pretty solid returners, that's a pretty good statement so early in the season.

Koho
10-20-2013, 08:24 PM
In terms of points, #s 2,3 and 5 on the team. On a highly ranked team with some pretty solid returners, that's a pretty good statement so early in the season.

I'll be more impressed if the Gophs are doing well mid and late season and the frosh are still in those spots. Hard to judge this early in the season and against mostly teams with less talent. In the next couple series, we'll be able to better gauge how the frosh are adjusting to college hockey.

Hammy
10-20-2013, 11:10 PM
Say what you want about who they have played. Point taken. It's not the fact they won those games but how they won those games. When you beat teams by 4 to 6 goal margins, its a pretty good sign even if they aren't the top of the hill in quality.

As for the #1 in the polls thing, let's be honest... we aren't going to keep that rank the entire regular season and the players know it. We will eventually lose and somebody else will get the nod so I am not sure why anybody would be concerned about it happening.

Nobody gives a squat about these polls other than a certain percentage of fans and some of the talking heads in the media. The players and coaches know it means nothing and that is all that matters.

D2D
10-21-2013, 12:07 AM
I'll be more impressed if the Gophs are doing well mid and late season and the frosh are still in those spots. Hard to judge this early in the season and against mostly teams with less talent. In the next couple series, we'll be able to better gauge how the frosh are adjusting to college hockey.

Never have truer words ever been spoken. That said, it's plainly obvious to me that our freshman class may be the strongest the Gophers have had in quite some time. I am very anxious to see how they respond when pitted against what could be the most talented team they'll face all season.

Tiggsy
10-21-2013, 10:02 AM
Say what you want about who they have played. Point taken. It's not the fact they won those games but how they won those games. When you beat teams by 4 to 6 goal margins, its a pretty good sign even if they aren't the top of the hill in quality.

As for the #1 in the polls thing, let's be honest... we aren't going to keep that rank the entire regular season and the players know it. We will eventually lose and somebody else will get the nod so I am not sure why anybody would be concerned about it happening.

Nobody gives a squat about these polls other than a certain percentage of fans and some of the talking heads in the media. The players and coaches know it means nothing and that is all that matters.

I think when WI is up there too high and gets hammered twice, more of us may care simply for the built in rips on bucky, and that's never a bad thin.

I also don't think we're concerned about #1. It's more of a validation. We always knew we were the best so it's about freakin' time the pollsters finally do a few weeks into the season. Plus bucky ahead of us? I think not. tArrogance!

:D

5mn_Major
10-21-2013, 11:18 AM
I think when WI is up there too high and gets hammered twice, more of us may care simply for the built in rips on bucky, and that's never a bad thin.

I also don't think we're concerned about #1. It's more of a validation. We always knew we were the best so it's about freakin' time the pollsters finally do a few weeks into the season. Plus bucky ahead of us? I think not. tArrogance!

:D

In years past, the #1 has been an anchor. And is typically so for other teams, this year already UML, Miami and WI have gone down while they were rdy to accept the honor. I will say that the gophers had it much of last year and this still appears to be a confident bunch...so I think they will look past it as well as most teams.

Driftryder
10-21-2013, 11:27 AM
The next 4 games should shed a little more light on what kind of team this Gopher squad is this year.

2 at home against BC and 2 on the road against Notre Dame.

Tiggsy
10-21-2013, 11:36 AM
In years past, the #1 has been an anchor. And is typically so for other teams, this year already UML, Miami and WI have gone down while they were rdy to accept the honor. I will say that the gophers had it much of last year and this still appears to be a confident bunch...so I think they will look past it as well as most teams.

The one unique thing about the Gophers is #1 doesn't make them any more of a target. MN is always a game circled on opponents schedule so adding a #1 to that doesn't add much more. I guess that's a good thing....I think.

gopher wes
10-21-2013, 12:20 PM
Thoughts from the weekend:

-Fasching, thus far, looks like a STUD.
-This team is ridiculously fast. Already knew this, but they looked even faster live and in person for my first games this year.
-Bemidji probably isn't a very good hockey team, but two road wins with those kinds of margins are hard to complain about.
-I thought Isaackson looked horrible on Saturday night.

mnstate0fhockey
10-21-2013, 12:56 PM
Thoughts from the weekend:

-Fasching, thus far, looks like a STUD.
-This team is ridiculously fast. Already knew this, but they looked even faster live and in person for my first games this year.
-Bemidji probably isn't a very good hockey team, but two road wins with those kinds of margins are hard to complain about.
-I thought Isaackson looked horrible on Saturday night.

I agree with you on the Isackson comment. One shift in particular I counted three turnovers by him. No doubt he has skill, but at times it appears a s though he has trouble anticipating. I would say it's a confidence issue, but he got top line minutes at times last season and didn't impress. Hope he figures things out or I am sure Guertler will be pressing him for playing time when he gets back. And in all honestly, I think Guertler is better suited than Isackson (skillset wise) to play a 3rd line role as it is.

Koho
10-21-2013, 01:59 PM
I agree with you on the Isackson comment. One shift in particular I counted three turnovers by him. No doubt he has skill, but at times it appears a s though he has trouble anticipating. I would say it's a confidence issue, but he got top line minutes at times last season and didn't impress. Hope he figures things out or I am sure Guertler will be pressing him for playing time when he gets back. And in all honestly, I think Guertler is better suited than Isackson (skillset wise) to play a 3rd line role as it is.

Don't know if it a lack of confidence, or too much sometimes. He usually gets in trouble because he tries to hold the puck too long. Sometimes he does this and stickhandling bails him out of a spot where I am sure he'll lose it. Other times, he just loses it. He seems to think at times that he can carry it through 3 opponents, when everyone else will pass. The biggest issue to me is consistency. He has games wherer you just notice the good, and others where it is reversed.

Koho
10-21-2013, 02:00 PM
I agree with you on the Isackson comment. One shift in particular I counted three turnovers by him. No doubt he has skill, but at times it appears a s though he has trouble anticipating. I would say it's a confidence issue, but he got top line minutes at times last season and didn't impress. Hope he figures things out or I am sure Guertler will be pressing him for playing time when he gets back. And in all honestly, I think Guertler is better suited than Isackson (skillset wise) to play a 3rd line role as it is.

Don't know if it a lack of confidence, or too much sometimes. He usually gets in trouble because he tries to hold the puck too long. Sometimes he does this and stickhandling bails him out of a spot where I am sure he'll lose it. Other times, he just loses it. He seems to think at times that he can carry it through 3 opponents, when everyone else will pass. The biggest issue to me is consistency. He has games wherer you just notice the good, and others where it is reversed.