Saturday, February 16, 2008

UND 4 DU 1 Final Saturday Night

(above) Denver's Cody Brookwell takes down North Dakota's Matt Watkins during the second period Saturday night
Photo Credit: John Stennes, The Grand Forks Herald

by Virg Foss

Possum Hollow, N.D. — University of Denver hockey coach George Gwozdecky will be looking for answers after North Dakota put an exclamation point on the Pioneers' struggles of late.

The Fighting Sioux moved into a first-place tie with idle Colorado College in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association on Saturday night with a 4-1 win over DU.

It completed a weekend sweep for North Dakota (19-8-2, 16-7-1 WCHA) and ran its unbeaten streak to 11 games (10-0-1), the nation's longest.

Denver mustered just 17 shots on goal Saturday after managing only 18 on Friday, when the Pioneers blew a 4-1 lead in the second period and lost 5-4.

Sophomore center Brian Gifford scored Denver's only goal Saturday, at 13:14 of the second period, after the Sioux had built a 3-0 lead.

The Pioneers were held to nine shots on net in the first two periods.

"Our top two lines really struggled to generate chances," Gwozdecky said. "Part of it was that I thought North Dakota did a great job of forechecking us and really taking us out of a lot of transition. Our defensemen as a group really struggled against North Dakota's pressure."

It was the second time in three weeks the Pioneers have been swept on the road.

The Pioneers have been without Tyler Ruegsegger (abdominal injury) the past four games and lost leading scorer Brock Trotter (who signed with the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 7) for the season.

Between the two, they accounted for 23 of Denver's 80 goals (29 percent). Minus both players, the Pioneers have been held to 10 goals the past four games.

"Any time you take two of your top players out of your lineup, it's going to affect you," Gwoz-decky said. "If you take (Ryan) Duncan and (T.J.) Oshie out of their lineup, it's probably going to affect them. They were pretty good this weekend."

They are North Dakota's top two scorers.

Duncan had a goal and three assists in Friday's win for the Sioux, and Oshie had a goal.

The Pioneers remain sixth in the PairWise rankings, which mimic the process the NCAA uses to select its 16-team tournament field. North Dakota moved into a tie for second in those rankings with New Hampshire.

21 comments:

Twister said...

Tonight's game should be very interesting. Pios need to play 60 minutes of hard intense hockey.

Last night's loss was a kick in the nuts.

du78 said...

Twister I totally agree with you. You can't only play 39 minutes like last night. GO DU!!!!!!

achsdu17 said...

I think that was a bit more then a kick in the nuts. Especially when you let a bunch of d-bags like them come back from being 3 goals behind.

Pesimistic fan said...

what a fight! Testwuide...

Pesimistic fan said...

what a brawl.....

Anonymous said...

pes,

big one?

achsdu17 said...

Pios blew it this week. They gave away a 3 goal lead last night and got out played tonight. Disappointing hockey this week.

DU better get set up for Alaska and use that series to get some momentum, confidence and just fix the kinks on both offense and defense.

Let's regroup and get ready for the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Alaska is really good. I expect a split with UAA, and a split with tough Michigan Tech. CC scares me and I don't know what we can do with them. They are so scary and awesome. DU grad '86

cc4life said...

someone got knocked the f out - nice work sioux. beat them badly and managed a win last nigth when du blew it..now stop winning so we can win the dang title

go cc - du is a joke

Anonymous said...

I think DU will come back from this weekend. I liked how they responded in the hand shake. They could have pulled a Minnesota and cheap shotted the Sioux, but instead they man'd up and shook hands. I think these 2 teams could meet again. And the one dude was sucking his own blood and that says something. 'til next time, Go Sioux!

SiouxFanatic said...

This was a great series. Despite the brawl that happened this series was overall pretty clean. Which was evident in the fact that no brawl happened in the handshake line.

Adios until the next time DU and UND meet!

Goon said...

It was a great series to watch the last time UND swept DU in Grand Forks was 1999.

Anonymous said...

didnt du sweep the sioux in 04 04 in gf?

Anonymous said...

The Sioux know all too well that these regular season games don't mean much later on. Look at 2003-2004 Sioux vs DU. 8-2, 6-2, 6-1, 1-1, 0-1. I think DU won something big that year. The Sioux know what is at stake and they need to keep on building and keep on rolling. DU needs to do what they did in 2004. I will puke if 2004 is repeated. Go Sioux - #8!

Twister said...

Man, tough weekend for DU. Friday's loss was a bitter one to swallow, and last night they were just outclassed and overmatched. Actually, except for the first 30 minutes of Friday's game DU was overmatched the entire weekend. Seems like any positive momentum gained from the series with the Gophers was squashed in Grand Forks. ND, when they wanted to, seemed to completely dictate the pace of both games.

The Sioux are the real deal. Loads of talent, depth, goaltending, effective aggressiveness, forecheck, speed etc. If there's a better team in the country I'd like to see. ND is the team to beat at this point. I'd be very surprised if they are not back in the FF this year.

I haven't seen Michigan play this year, but I have seen Miami twice in person, back in the fall. Based on those games and what the Sioux are doing I think Miami would get waxed by ND.

I'll say the same thing I've been saying....I still think the Pios have a lot to play for. 6 games left. 12 league points sitting out there and a chance to solidify their chances for an NCAA berth. Hopefully 4-5 wins in the last 6 games and then a trip to the Final Five. But these guys have to play hard for 60 minutes.

sioux#8 said...

friday was denvers chance to grab at least a point and the sioux took it to them after they fell back on their heals. denver is a solid team. nice weekend. ruegsegger is a big loss denver fans as you know. you will pick it up with him getting back hopefully. best of luck and please beat cc for us;) hope to see you again in the final 5. best of luck the rest of the season. go wcha. we are gona get 5 teams in the ncaa tourney for sure. stay healthy best of luck. go wcha nd go sioux

willy mo said...

We saw a great team vs an above average team this weekend. I was cautiously optimistic going into the weekend but am not terribly surprised DU came away with zero points. If my math is correct DU is now 2-6-1 in its last 9, while the Sioux are unbeaten in their last 11. DU ran into a buzzsaw. As great as the Pionners' start was on Friday, the Sioux generate so much pressure that turnovers seemed inevitable.

Is it just me or have other teams (not just ND) given DU fits with a constant forecheck this season?? I am waiting for the day when DU turns the tables and stops playing passively and instead generates their own forecheck to take some pressure of of their own d-men. So many games I've watched and the other team just skates up the ice and dumps and then pounds on our d-men. Just getting the puck out of the defensive zone has been challenging. It's not rocket science--forecheck the hell out of the Pioneers and good things will happen. I hate to sound critical but it drives me nuts the more I see this.

I would love to see the Pioneers back in the playoffs this year. But without trying to sound overly critical, I'm not convinced they have the tenacity and mental makeup to beat teams like ND, CC, BC etc in a playoff game. Hopefully we get the chance to find out.....

Twister said...

willy mo,

Don't forget that DU is still probably adjusting to playing without Trotter and hasn't had Tyler Rueg for several games now. Lots of hockey still to play this year.

Anonymous said...

Sioux#8: We'll beat CC first of all for us and then if we help you guys out, so much the better. CC4life is a typical CC moron much in the mold of CCtig. I've heard that tig is a nice guy but has far as the gray matter goes he is kinda stuck in neutral although on a good day he manages to get it to first gear. CC will not be NC because I can't see them beating a number of teams mainly UND which is just one of about five.

willy mo said...

twister--I like your optimism, I'm just not feeling it right now. Maybe a sweep vs UAA and then a sweep vs Tech will change my mind. Go Pios!

Goon said...

anon,
I was talking about the last time the SIOUX swept DU. It has been a while.