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All That Jazz

27 March 2017

tUMD 3, duhOSU 2 (OT)/tUMD 3, Sucks to BU 2 (OT)

tUMD has punched their ticket to Chicago!

What an absurd weekend of hockey. Friday, as you know, I was sitting in my cube, gazing out at the parkade directly outside my window, half-heartedly following the BU-UND game on Twitter. I drove home from work and of course UND had broken a plane of glass  (a good strategy they’ve employed before) and tied it up and they were going to OT. I wanted to get in a short run before tUMD’s game, so I thought I’d head out and get that out of the way. Just before I left, I checked Twitter one more time, saw UND had scored, and shrugged. Ok, no matter what happened in the late game, I wouldn’t be going to Fargo. Cool, no drive!

So for almost an hour, I thought North Dakota had won. Imagine my surprise when I returned home, expecting tUMD’s game was about to start, and found… the game was still going. And then ended for real with a very different result. All I have to say to the majority of UND fans is:

tUMD’s game started rather late, of course (almost 2 hours, I think!) and I actually don’t think that was a good thing. I know it sounded nice for our potential opponents to be exhausting themselves in multiple overtimes, but it also threw our guys off their game, because they had to wait. Naturally, it also threw duhOSU off their game, but I tend to think those types of things benefit the crappier team. Mostly because it seemed to benefit duhOSU and they were the crappier team.

The ref positioned behind the net had a rough day as both an OSU goal and a UMD goal had to be overturned for basically the exact same thing: hitting the goalie in the back but not actually crossing the goal line. Goalinato sure sold it when it happened to him! It worked out well though because it meant OSU did not jump out to a lead. tUMD scored twice in the second (and nearly scored a third time on this sick pass from Blake Young to Jared Thomas):

Then for some reason tDogs decided to play absolutely rotten in the 3rd. I can’t explain it. They allowed some total losers to score, including one guy who is named “Gordi” as if he is a hybrid tribute to Gordie Howe and Geordi Laforge and who hadn’t scored a goal in his college hockey career. WUT. No. And it could have been worse, if not for Hunter Miska:

What is that even? And that wasn’t all.

Raise your hand if you needed a defibrillator to resurrect you after that. RIP me. Our man Willie Raskob had enough. He channeled all the pent-up frustranxiety of tUMD fans into that shot. Well maybe not all of it because the shot didn’t rip through the net, bust a hole through the boards, and reduce the arena to smoking rubble. But it was a hard shot.

So, I was off to Fargo, thanks to some friends. Friends who are UND fans, BTW, and I will remind you that while there are a disproportionate number of UND fans who are… shall we say, delusional, incoherent, violent, alcoholic, racist sociopaths, there are lots of really amazing people. These two wonderful ladies hooked me up with tickets, a parking pass, and two FanFest tickets. Another wonderful fella hooked my dad up with a ticket. All we had to do was get there. Which for me was quite the boring, depressing drive. Yeesh, northwestern Minnesota, spruce yourself up.

We arrived about an hour before the game, met up with my dad (who of course got to drive a real freeway the whole way, as opposed to a glorified Oregon Trail), and then headed over to the rink to meet up with Biddco, Dan of the Week, and other assorted hooligans. We all were able to sit together, although some of us had to move down a row when some ticketed people showed up. They weren’t even tUMD fans so I don’t know why they didn’t just sit elsewhere. I ended up sitting in front of a couple guys chewing tobacco and spitting into plastic cups, so that was disgusting.

There were a fair number of people at the game, but most of them seemed to be UND fans who couldn’t decide who they hated more: Pionk or the team that ended their season after a controversial offsides call. They sucked up a lot of the atmosphere, since they chose not to take sides. I really think that hostility to tUMD would have been preferable to apathy, as far as atmosphere goes, but whatever. Friday was a fairly draining day for everyone, and maybe folks weren’t ready for more hockey, having seen 3 games’ worth of hockey crammed into two games the day before.

I don’t know what the heck happened, but the first two periods went by in the blink of an eye. Maybe it was because there were only 5 penalties in the game? I’m not sure. tUMD went down early on a goal from Clayton Kellar, and once again, the game could have been much worse early on, if not for this Miska save to keep it 0-0 at the time:

This happened basically right in front of my face and I could not believe it. Anyway, I thought tUMD would be in decent shape going into the first intermission down a goal. It wasn’t ideal, but wasn’t insurmountable. Then tDogs really started to come on in the last minute or so, and Alex Iafallo made sure they went into the locker room tied.

Very good stuff.

The second period was a bit frustrating because tUMD had a PP and squandered it with a too many men situation so obvious that even I saw it, and I never see those penalties. Usually it happens along the bench, but in this case, we could almost see the moment where the whole team went “Oh ****” (put whatever word you like in there) because it was too late. Le sigh. And then it was the second intermission, and it felt like the game had gone by in the blink of an eye.

Halfway through the third, my dude Joey Anderson scored a goal that I did not fully appreciate until seeing this GIF.

It happened at the opposite end of the rink so I couldn’t see that it was really 2 shots, and that he roofed that shot just before he ran out of time and space. Wow. We spent the next several minutes praying for the guys to hang on, and of course, prayer doesn’t work, because it was tied. And it just felt weird. Like maybe no one would score, and it would be 5 OTs, and everyone would all die, and the game would just be forfeited and OSU and UND would have to play for the forfeited spot in memory of their fallen comrades on tUMD and BU.

I swear they slowed the clocks down during intermission. There’s just no other explanation for it.

Early on in OT, Bobo Carpenter (no relation) took a guy down. It happened at center ice, I don’t even know who he actually took down, and I didn’t really see it due to the bad sight line I had, but I do know that tUMD had a PP, and a chance to get justice for 2015. (There used to be a YouTube video to a Tupac song in that post, but I guess it got yanked.)

And lo, justice was served.

What an unbelievable moment, to end an unbelievable weekend. That was one of the most grueling regionals I can recall, and there were probably four or five plays that came inches, millimeters, Angstroms away from ending tUMD’s season, and yet tDogs are going to Chicago.

And so am I. Come on ‘Dogs, we’re gonna paint the town — and all that jazz.

Zen and the Art of Watching College Hockey

24 March 2017

tUMD takes the ice in like 1.5 hours (really less than that, but I am rounding, but probably more than that, because of the broken glass), and I’m at work (working very hard, I know. It is Friday, I am salaried, and I get my work done on time). I was feeling a bit anxious earlier — but only because of a professional exam I have to take, not because of the hockey game.

Let’s contrast that with 2011. (It appears that the Starland Vocal Band video was pulled from YouTube at some point. Whoops.) Life was a lot different then, but that was the last time I felt really keyed up about a regional. I suppose because it was in St. Paul? I was so anxious all day. Here is an excerpt from that post:

And when I say suffered, I mean SUFFERED. Holy mother. I was completely distracted, my heart was pounding, and I thought I was going to puke. Good god was that stressful. I sent a frantic email to one of my friends sort of jabbering on about how freaked out I was about the game. Then I wrote “Gee, I guess I’m not helping, am I?” She wrote back “NO YOU’RE NOT!” Ha.

And yet here I am, listening to Alice in Chains, blogging out of boredom, and thinking about maybe planning what I’m going to say for a meeting I’m running in 15 minutes. (Now that I’ve thought about it, I’m just going to wing it. And actually now the meeting is over, had to stop writing the blog and hop on the call.) 2011 RWD would be like “What happened to you? You used to be cool.”

To which I would say, “Jeah, whatever. I am cool. You’re the one who has no chill.” Neither “Jeah” nor “no chill” was in my lexicon in 2011  so that would be very confusing for Past RWD.

What did happen to me, though? I didn’t have any major life changes (ok I moved to Duluth and graduated from tUMD but I guess I don’t count that), and I am certainly not more mature.

A national championship happened, I guess. It happened, when it felt like maybe it would never. tUMD from getting a maybe once-in-a-decade shot at a title to playing much more regularly in the national tournament. If it can happen once, it can happen again. Anyone can win 4 games in a row, especially when there must be a winner (no ties, shoot-outs, etc.)

But somehow I’ve managed to keep the joy of victory while letting go of the sorrow of defeat. I don’t know if that happened because I pulled back from fan message boards like USCHO and RacistmascotSports, or because I see tUMD play a lot more, or because there are actual problems in this world like a fascist (well, many fascists) in the White House, or because I got into trail running and work out all my aggression through running, but somehow I’ve managed to stop getting so negatively invested in games. Perhaps I finally was able to internalize that I personally am not a better or worse person because the team I choose to cheer for wins or loses. That sounds stupid but at the same time if more people would realize that, we wouldn’t have, like, hockey dads fighting in parking lots over mites games.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight, or even what’s going to happen in the UND-BU game (currently 3-1 BU with 12 minutes to go), but I know that I enjoyed the season, I don’t want it to end, I want to go to Chicago, and that even if tUMD’s season doesn’t end in a win, life will go on, and I’ll still be able to enjoy sports.

Tl; dr version? I’m better than you.

Let’s go DOGGIES!

With Honors, Too

23 March 2017

I spent a fair bit of time breaking down some stats about the WCHA’s All-Academic Team when it was announced, and decided to do the same for the NCHC’s. I didn’t realize that it had been released over a month ago, since I expected it to be announced with the rest of the awards. Stupid me. Here’s the full list of players.

I’ll say it again, schools don’t do enough to emphasize the student in student-athlete. When I look up a senior on DU and find out his major is “undecided,” I think one of two things: 1. He declared a major but DU doesn’t care about updating a player’s bio once he declares (but have no problem whipping out a thesaurus to write a ridiculous blurb about the player’s accomplishments over the previous seasion), or 2. He is still undeclared and DU doesn’t care whether or not their players are on track to graduate. Neither is a good look, Monty/Peg.

The average number of All-Academic team athletes per school was 15.38. UNO leads the way with 19, so I guess Gappy McTooth is doing something right there. The average roster size for the NCHC is 27.38 (CC has 31 guys!), and the demographics of the team will affect how many players are eligible. Like, Miami looks like a bunch of chumps, but they have 14 freshmen out of 26 guys. That means all but two of their eligible players (idk, maybe someone is a red shirt freshman, but I don’t care) is on the team. I say all but 2 because they actually have a non-rostered player, Johnny Wingels, on the team. Because he is a non-rostered player, he is included in the chart below, but not in any of the future charts (as the pertinent data is not readily available). Congratulations to all 123 of these men!

Sorry about the formatting on these charts. Google Sheets isn’t as nice as Excel. I don’t want all this freaking white space!!! Look how stupid the chart below looks, with all that space in the bottom right. Gah.

By position, of course there are more forwards than defencemen than goaltenders, since that’s how a normal roster is made up. What’s interesting is the proportional makeup of the All-Academic Team is almost identical to the proportional makeup of the population of players as a whole. This happened on the women’s side as well. No position outperformed their proportion.

I considered comparing the men’s and women’s results, but ultimately decided against it. First, while there are 8 women’s teams in the WCHA and 8 men’s teams in the NCHC, there’s not significant overlap in the member schools. There are also more rostered men than rostered women, so the comparisons would all have to be proportional, and I didn’t feel like pulling all that stuff together. Finally, I don’t think it really says much, other than maybe looking at the majors, which we will.

Here’s how the majors break down by category. Applied sciences are things like exercise science or public health (I see you, Brendan Kotyk). 51% of the players are majoring in a business-type subject (there could be more, as you see 26% were either undecided/undeclared or their bio did not list their major), which is not super surprising. There are way more business majors than on the women’s side (18% over there). As a person with a business-type major (finance and accounting), that is not surprising, as my classes always seemed to have more men than women. And we all know anecdotal evidence is proof, right?

There are 4 engineering majors, and 3 are goalies. Will Massey, Matt Hrynkiw, and Nick Deery are the goalies, and Ben Storm is… idk, a Fooper who really, really didn’t want to go to Tech? There were 3 women in the WCHA majoring in engineering (again, possibly more, as 36% of players did not have a major provided!), which is interesting – as a person with an engineering degree (mechanical), my classes were teeming with men and I was frequently the only woman. I’m not surprised engineering and sciences are uncommon majors among hockey players, due to the workload from the majors (especially engineering), the time commitment from the sport, and the schedule complications due to labs and senior design. When looking at all the STEM categories (applied science, science, and engineering), a higher proportion of women (22.7%) than men (8.2%) are enrolled in those majors. Now that’s something interesting.

I looked at where the players were from geographically: 75% of NCHC players are American. This is higher than I thought! Canadians underperformed vs. the general population of rostered Canadians, and Americans and Europeans slightly overperformed. I didn’t look at the population of eligible players (it’s too hard to tell due to transfers/red shirts), so it could be that there’s a lot of freshmen Canadians and they didn’t truly underperform, but, c’mon. The map just shows the states/provinces where the All-Academic team guys are from, it doesn’t really say stuff, it’s just there for Biddy because he likes maps.

Congrats again to all 123 players! Thanks for setting an example for young hockey players that education is important, and for making the most out of this great opportunity before moving on to your pro careers, whether you go pro in hockey or you don’t.

NCHC Frozen Faceoff, Year 4

20 March 2017

BEST FAB FOUR YET!!!!!!!! (Here’s links to my 2015 and 2016 recaps. I guess I didn’t do one for 2014.)

Friday we arrived early, because Priority Ticketholders like us were allowed to get in half an hour before the proles. They didn’t seem super prepared for the early arrivals as the souvenir stand was still unpacking, and there seemed to have been a small fire in concessions, as the concourse was smoky. Here is a terrible panorama shot I took, which includes my dad.

targetcenter wide

We took advantage of the Priority Ticketholders’ lounge throughout the weekend. It was a nice perk – shorter lines for drinks, a full service bar, a place to sit and hang out comfortably, and most importantly, NO LINE FOR THE BATHROOM. It also had a countdown clock that let us know when it was game time, so we could make our way back to our seats before intros/puck drop. Or within a reasonable amount of time.

tUMD’s game against Western started out a little rough. They ended up with an early 3×5 PK. Andy Murray called what was likely the world’s earliest timeout, and in fact I can say without a doubt the earliest timeout not directly caused by a giving up several goals. There didn’t seem to be a point to it as tUMD successfully killed both penalties, and then some stuff happened, and then Toninato scored on the PP! Dom is coming on strong at the perfect time, it’s really exciting. Western unfortunately scored to tie up the game, but tDogs answered back 24 seconds later.

For most of the period, I was sitting at the end of the arena, awaiting my chance at fame and fortune in some sort of dance competition. The opponent: some fellow from the WMU band. The song: Usher’s “Yeah!” The moves: Elaine Benes-worthy. And I lost, too! Shameful. They said to be crazy, I was crazy. Dance like no one’s watching, indeed. Life’s too short to worry about what thousands of people think of you. The reaction was mixed. It was slightly unfortunate that I was 1. wearing a very distinct jersey 2. wearing very distinct glasses and 3. sporting very distinct hair, because then people kept approaching me, but only with good-natured jocularity. Also, if you were in the arena at the time, you are to blame for this loss as much as me. YOU ARE ALL CULPABLE.

Something weird happened that appeared to be a Western goal and it was not. I don’t know why. I don’t care, because it wasn’t a goal. Then they scored for real, it was very unfortunate. Then Alex Iafallo and his silky mitts thin mints gino bingo sauce scored. I believe there is a Bible verse about this goal. Matthew 19:24: And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a hockey puck to enter into the net through the opening Alex Iafallo doth haveth. Look it up.

 In the 3rd, Parker Mackay added another goal to allow us to breathe a little. Adam Johnson made WMU look silly on the play. With the goalie pulled, Jared Thomas scored his 3rd of the year from fairly far out (things are fuzzy at this point, that was 2 days ago as I write this), and tUMD secured its spot in the championship game for the second year in a row! That was great news since the runner up in every previous NCHC final had gone on to win the championship the following year. It’s almost like it was destined…

Denver and UND played a really boring and stupid 1-0 game. Zzzz. I spent most of my time correcting UND fans on the name of their mascot. Some dumb old person took my photo so she could I guess have a record of the person annoying the crap out of her at the game. She was not at all discreet about it so I saw the picture. I looked good. It was a zoom in of my face. That is weird. I took a very invasive photo of her husband, and then of herself, since she was afraid to speak to me when I asked her why she was taking my photo. These people showed up with like 6 seconds left in the first period of the tUMD-WMU game and insisted on getting into their EXACT SEATS instead of taking the open seats at the end of the aisle and sorting it out later. People are very stupid when they leave the North Dakota for the Big City, I guess.

Saturday morning I got up and ran the Hot Dash 10 Mile, repping the NCHC as part of my reign as Fan of the Year. When the nude photos of me from 1984 emerge, I will be replaced by Dan.

It was 33F and that was what I wore because I am The King in the North.

kinginthenorth

I chose to wear a different jersey, different glasses, and a different hairstyle in order to put the Dance Mania situation behind me. (It didn’t work, I’m just that memorable looking! Who knew.) We attended part of the WMU-DU dullness, then left to get food. I stopped off to visit the downtown Macy’s store, which was closing the following day. (Passing Dan Molenaar [I think, it might have been Osterberg, sometimes I can’t tell them apart] and an Alice Cooper/Tommy Lee hybrid on the way!) I worked there for a year and a half while I was in community college before transferring to tUMD, and I wanted to see it one more time before it closed. Bad idea. It was sad. I had to drown my sorrows in a ginger ale and some tater tots at the Depot, while watching people hit cars while trying to parallel park. It was so entertaining. At one point, 4 Bulldogs players walked in (healthy or unhealthy scratches) saw us, and walked out. Or saw there weren’t any free tables, and walked out. Unsure.

Attending the night game was like attending a Trump rally, but with hockey jerseys. It was not the greatest situation. Admittedly, some of this was of my own doing, since I am trying to help UND fans help themselves by correcting them when they mispronounce “Hawks” as “Sue.” (Soo? Idk.) They struggle to understand. Nevertheless, I persist.

Look, the game was a freaking disaster from an officiating perspective. I saw how it was going to be early on, and tried to just ride the waves of soft calls, face-off mind games, and overall confusion like an adorable sea otter, smashing abalones on my furry belly while floating on my back in the waters off the Kuril Islands of Russia. There was no use in getting angry, because it wasn’t going to change the fact that tUMD had to defend 10 PPs, including 3 5x3s and a major. Eugene Ionesco himself could not have written anything more absurd. He certainly would not have dreamed up a scenario in which tDogs went into the first intermission down a goal, after spending I think like 9 minutes on the PK, after multiple UND players threw punches that went unpunished, and another took a stick blade to Pionk’s groin like he was Tim McCracken because he was mad his precious widdle goalie took a little bit of a hit. Nor could he have scripted that Toninato, Tufte, and Johnson would all score within 58 seconds of each other, less than three minutes into the second period, silencing the green masses. I don’t think anyone liked that I shouted out “HERE’S YOUR UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DULUTH SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-RINGGGGGGGG” at the top of my lungs, either.

Valiantly, the refs did try to stick to the script, by giving UND another 5×3, which they did manage to capitalize on (shocking!), and we went into the third up a goal. We retired to the lounge, where we had the following discussion:

DA: Who sings that song “99 Tears?”
Me: It’s “96 Tears.”
DA: And who sings it?
Me: ? and the Mysterians.
DA: And how does it go?
Me (miming playing the organ): dut dut dut dut dut dut dut dut 96 tears
DA: Ok so we can sing that when they start crying about the game again. Dut dut dut dut dut dut dut dut 99 tears.
Me: Ok, but it’s 96 tears.

It was a good plan and I may or may not have busted it out at one point during the 3rd. And then things started to go pear-shaped late in the game, as UND got yet another 5×3 on a classic holding-the-stick/hooking play that refs let go all the time because they know both guys are at fault. Naturally, UND tied it up, and the fans were frothing at the mouth as though Hitler himself had come down from the rafters, and we were so salty that we started screaming “5 on 3! Give ’em another!” for stuff like us icing the puck. And in fact, when a penalty was called on UND, we voiced our confusion — shouldn’t the call be on us?? But instead, another call went against UND (guess the refs were afraid the fix was too obvious), and then Joey Anderson deflected the puck in off a UND skate, and then there was less than a minute left in the game and we were still on the PP and UND could do nothing and the game was over and we were JUBILANT.

UMD dominated the all-tournament team and Iafallo was named MVP. They celebrated with the cup while we pounded on the glass, and then many of the players came over and pounded back in celebration. (I see you, glass pounders — it did not go unnoticed that the team leaders were among them.) It was a great effort all around, all weekend, from the goaltending to the penalty kill (Kyle Osterberg blocking shots painfully with both legs and then staying out there and remaining effective) to the fire and passion shown by Toninato when he saw his teammates (especially Iafallo) getting absolutely jobbed by the referees (while getting messed with himself during face-offs FOR NO REASON). tDogs at times didn’t play their technical best or their most defensively sound, but they are playing with determination, fiestiness, and passion. While Saturday’s game was nerve-wracking, the whole weekend was amazing, and I was so happy to bang on the glass til my hands hurt.

If I ever get to a point where I sneer at moments like this, or fail to enjoy them because they’re not a national championship, euthanize me, please. Life isn’t worth living if you can’t enjoy a regular season overtime win, or touch a conference championship trophy, because it isn’t enough.

Doggies win the NCHC Frozen Faceoff! #umdwhat #letsgobulldogs #umdhockey

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tUMD goes to Fargo on Friday to put a couple teams through the woodchipper, starting with tOSU. tBattle of tSmall ts.

woodchipper.gif

With Honors

2 March 2017

The Final Faceoff is almost here! I’m maybe a little bit excited/anxious/terrified. The WCHA announced their awards today, and to say tUMD cleaned up would be underselling the team’s success. Coach of the Year, Player of the Year, Student-Athlete of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, 1x First Team All-WCHA, 2x Second Team All-WCHA, 2x Third Team All-WCHA, 1x All-Rookie Team, and 16x All-Academic Team. That is DOMINANT.

One of my good friends is a professor at UWS (or UW Super, which I cannot type without cringing with fremdschämen), and several of her students are on the women’s hockey team. Since she knows I love hockey, she and I have attended a few of their games together. (Seriously, she is the best, if a student has an event, she will attend it. Games, plays, etc.) She always tells her students that the programs should list their majors, to better emphasize the student in student-athlete, and also to let her students (biology majors) show that not all hockey players major in recreation and tourism or underwater basketweaving.

Schools don’t do enough in general to emphasize what their students are studying. I mean, I understand that, say, Alabama football does not emphasize what their players’ tutors are taking for them, but most athletic departments are not de facto money laundering conduits for rich, shady donors, and their students work very hard to juggle a full load of classes, practices, games, and travel. I did some mild number crunching to produce some colorful graphs to illustrate some of the facts about the WCHA All-Academic team demographics.

The average number of All-Academic team athletes per school was 14.25. Bemidji and UMTC lead the way with 17, but tUMD is right behind them. Both tUMD and Bemidji have almost every single eligible player represented on the team (I didn’t check any other schools). For perspective, most rosters have around 22-25 players (some fewer, duhOSU only has 20, and 8 of them are freshmen, so they still have 75% of their eligible players on the All-Academic Team). This is a fantastic achievement for the WCHA teams!

By position, forwards dominate, but there are also more forwards than defenders on rosters. I didn’t bother to compare whether any position is doing better or worse proportionally, because I just thought of it now. Maybe I will crunch those numbers tomorrow. If I had to guess, goalies would be performing best proportionally. Maybe we’ll see. Goalies and forwards are represented at a slightly higher rate on the team than among the overall population of players, and defenders and hybrids are represented at a slightly lower rate. (Note that this is based on the overall rostered players, not eligible rostered players. That’s too much work.)

I know you’re probably saying “Dohkay, RWD, they’re all exercise science majors.” I know this because someone already said this to me tonight, and I haven’t even published this stupid post! But that’s not true, anyway. I grouped the majors by categories I made up (because listing each individual major looks stupid). If you’re wondering, exercise science falls under “applied science.”

These numbers are sort of jacked up because Mankato, duhOSU, and St. Cloud do not list majors (except tOSU lists Julianna Iafallo’s), and Wisconsin does not list everyone’s major. I guess I can write in “communications” for everyone else. Oh wait, this is not tUMD’s men’s team.

I looked at where the players were from, geographically. Almost 2/3 of the players are from the US. I’m not sure how that stacks up against the percentage of American women playing in the WCHA, but there are more Americans in the WCHA than I expected. The second image shows how the proportion of players on the All-Academic Team compares to the proportion of rostered players from each region. The makeup is pretty similar: Americans slightly underperform, Canadians perform about the same, and Europeans overperform. There are 14 total European women in the WCHA, 12 made the All-Academic Team, and the other 2 are freshmen and thus ineligible. That means 100% of eligible Europeans made the team. Extra congratulations to all the women for whom English is not their preferred language! The third image illustrates the home states/provinces for North American players. It doesn’t say much but I wanted to use that feature in Google Sheets.

Let’s give a virtual standing ovation to the women of the WCHA All-Academic Team! Considering 100% of the schools in the WCHA are party schools, hockey spans both semesters, and women’s hockey players don’t get to fart around in class and sign contracts for millions of dollars when they finally face academic ineligibility, they’re a pretty amazing, persevering bunch!

Cats and Dogs

20 February 2017

tUMD 2, SCSU 1/tUMD 4, SCSU 1
tUMD 2, CC 1/tUMD 2, CC 2 (SOW)

Congratulations to tUMD women on their big sweep this weekend! I’m very pleased. St. Cloud made it tough at times, but the women came through. Unfortunately, Wisconsin did not come through, so tUMD finishes 3rd in the WCHA, and will play SCSU again this weekend. By “weekend,” I mean Thursday, Friday, and hopefully not Sunday. I suppose this is not really that big of a tragedy, as 2nd place would mean playing Buttmidji AGAIN. No thank you. I don’t really like being alternatively bored and annoyed by hockey.

After the game, the team honored their 6 seniors: Crossman, Lindh (junior in eligibility but graduating), Stalder, Brykaliuk, McGovern, and Morin. As Fleisch listed off each player’s accomplishments, the Aaaahj turned to me and said “That’s a lot of talent leaving.” It is. It’s a lot of talent that could have left two years ago, but every single one of them chose to return, and to lead, and to pull others up along the way. Five of the six players scored this weekend – though they still have at least 3 (? have they clinched home ice for the NCAAs? Have they even clinched a spot in the NCAAs? Run some scenarios on BC Interruption’s PWR What-if Calculator and see for yourself.) more games to score in front of the home crowd. (Well, I won’t be there Thursday or Friday, as I will be working. As hard as I am working right now, even.)

So don’t go yet, ladies. Don’t stop til you’ve conquered St. Louis. Do not go gentle into that good off-season. Rage, rage, against single elimination tournaments.

The men, on the other hand, seemed to be playing Penalty Bingo. If you had tripping – hooking – free space – slashing – contact to the head, please come to section 101 to claim your prize. Killing penalties at altitude on Olympic ice is always a good idea. Killing a major penalty in 3×3 4×3 OT at altitude on Olympic ice is freaking genius. Look, tUMD’s PK is Not That Great (although holy crap, in-conference there are some DISASTROUS PK stats for our colleagues), so this was a nice opportunity for them to improve, but like… why. tUMD’s greatest strength is its depth. It’s pretty crappy to get a goal from your 4th line on Friday night and then keep them off the ice while you’re killing penalties (without a top PKer, Sammy Squirrel, due to a case of too many centers, not enough lines) the whole freaking night on Saturday.

I’m not really that mad about it, despite taking 45 minutes to write that paragraph and having it ooze sarcasm like sap from a maple tree in spring. This team is still a great team. They struggled against CC, yes, which is weird, but they still are having a fantastic season, and they sold out hard in OT during that extended and insane PK. Maybe I am going soft in my old age, or maybe participating in a sport myself instead of just spectating is changing my perspective, or maybe with all the terrible garbage happening in this country, a loss by a sports team doesn’t seem quite so dire.

The men are home for a Thursday-Friday series against Miami, who sucks, and who we have not played yet. This is very odd. I suggest sweeping.

The Art of War

14 February 2017

tUMD 1, Red Menace 1 (12 round SOL)/let’s pretend Sunday’s game didn’t exist

tUMD played #1 Wisconsin this past weekend without Stalder, Elmes, Mrazova, and Healey. What a massive letdown for a #1 vs #2 matchup, eh? I can’t say that I  was extremely hopeful about the result.

What I did not know was what masterful tacticians our coaches are. I sort of blew off following the game on Saturday because I didn’t want to be depressed, but came home, pulled up my Twitter feed while hyperventilating and covering my eyes while peeking through my fingers, braced for the worst. And it was 0-0! Until I tweeted about it, then Wisconsin scored and I thought it was all over.

AND THEN UMD SCORED. Sydney Brodt scored! And it was not all over! And then when Morin took a penalty in OT, I thought it was all over, and it was not all over!

And then ALL OF THIS HAPPENED, and it was regrettably all over.

shootout

tDogs got the crap kicked out of them on Sunday, but who cares? They got a tie. Let’s say they don’t completely sell out for that tie on Saturday, and lose 1-0 or 2-0 or maybe 4-1 or something, not sure. And then they don’t lose 8-0 on Sunday, but does that really matter? A 1-0 loss is the same as a 2-1 loss is the same as a 1000000000000-0 loss when it comes to the PWR and the league standings. Yes, it was a meager 1 point out of 6 available for the weekend, and eking out a shootout win would have been nice, but it is a heckofa lot more than any of us expected. Well, I don’t know, maybe some of you out there are unmitigated optimists.

That tie was important, PWR-wise. The only team with a better record against Wisconsin is UMTC, and they have their second series this weekend to close out the season. We, ahem, would like for the Badgers to be sweeping that, although I think tDogs would still come out in 3rd place. The Goofs would tie us in league wins, they have the H2H comparison we are tied in the H2H comparison, and they have more goals for. So unless the tiebreaker was something odd like league losses (it’s not it is, holy crap), tDogs are in 3rd place. (Update: I made some horrendous errors and corrected them.)

I really never thought I’d be so happy with a tie, but when your team is missing the WCHA’s best player and three other key skaters, a tie against the #1 team in the country (to whom your team has already handed one of their stingy 2 losses on the season), a tie is pretty freaking groovy.