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New Kids on the Block

31 October 2017

Oh this young season. It’s been a trial so far. We show up to the rink and don’t know half the players on the ice. Even some of the non-freshmen are strangers, like Houston, Convery, Krieger, and hey, let’s even say Johnson, Deery, and Shepard, because unless you were looking at who opened the door on the bench last year, they’re unfamiliar figures. We’re missing our heroes and leaders like Dominic Toninato and Lara Stalder. We’re seeing the plays that clicked like clockwork off just a tick.

Please Don’t Go, Girl

A lot of people left last spring. Some had no choice, as much as we wanted them to stay, their eligibility was used up. Some had brighter opportunities they couldn’t pass up, and while it stings to wonder what might have been had every possible Bulldog returned, I wish them all well and hope they represent tUMD with pride and grace.

Probably the biggest loss, while temporary, was tUMD goaltender Maddie Rooney. Rooney is centralized with Team USA to prepare for the Olympics, and while I’m happy for her to have the opportunity — she’s gotta play. It’s a waste if she leaves for a season just to sit on the bench as the 3rd string goalie. We already saw an entire year without Brigette Lacquette during the last Olympics, when she was cut from Team Canada. Rooney will be back next year, of course, but let’s be real. We need her this year.

Hangin’ Tough

The season started a bit rough. The men lost back to back games (against MTU and Bemidji, which was depressing and horrid for the PWR) for the first time in the history of the universe, and the women are in the midst of their worst start ever. The goaltending is at times questionable, in ways I haven’t seen in a very long time. More experienced teams with more balanced rosters have preyed on the inexperience of our teams. This sucks. But we have to be patient, because…

You Got It (The Right Stuff)

…these players are talented. They’re U18 veterans. They’re drafted. They’re stars. We can all see the individual strengths on the ice – we just need to give them time to put things together. I really do believe that if everyone sticks around a few more years (rather than jumping ship if this season ends in the same disappointment with which it began), both of these teams are going to contend for national championships.

Step by Step

And we are seeing improvements. The women staunched the bleeding with a split at Bemidji, and their November schedule eases up a bit. The men got a sweep and back to back to back strong goaltending efforts, but will be pushed to the limit against a rested, unbeaten St. Cloud State.

I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)

Let’s be real though. I don’t really care. I’m still going to go to the games, I’m still going to cheer, dress up in stupid costumes, and write ridiculous stories. And it could be worse, right?

We could be North Dakota.

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