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Bulldogs need to get more shots on goal

In hockey, the theory goes that a shot on goal is never a bad thing. But the key part of the phrase is "on goal." Shot statistics are kept in various categories, starting with total shot attempts and including shots on goal, but also shots that m...

In hockey, the theory goes that a shot on goal is never a bad thing. But the key part of the phrase is "on goal." Shot statistics are kept in various categories, starting with total shot attempts and including shots on goal, but also shots that miss the net and those that are blocked.
UMD coach Scott Sandelin is aware of the differences. He acknowledged that his Bulldogs had a problem scoring last season, so he has taken it as a positive that this year's team is shooting more, even if they've only been enjoying it more outside the WCHA.
"As long as we're getting chances, that's a good sign," said Sandelin, as he ran his Bulldogs toward this weekend's series against Colorado College at the DECC.
The Bulldogs went into the weekend as the only team still winless in the WCHA, at 0-9-1, but with a 7-3 nonconference record against such ranked powers as Michigan, Boston College, RPI, and Nebraska-Omaha. One of the more impressive nonconference games was Saturday night's 5-1 loss to Boston College in the final of the Silverado Shootout, even though it ended UMD's month-long winning streak at three games.
Despite the score, the Bulldogs had an interesting game, falling behind 3-0 in the first period, then peppering the BC goal with shots. UMD fired 93 total attempts in the game, definitely a season high, with 75 of them in the second and third periods. However, they had 22 shots blocked.
"There is a difference," Sandelin said, "between taking a shot and having someone block it, and shooting right into someone who is between you and the goal."
Defenseman Andy Reierson, who scored a goal both in the 3-2 victory over Yale and in the 5-1 loss to Boston College, fired 15 times in the BC game, mostly from the point. He had the goal, plus five shots that were saves among the 50 made by BC goaltender Matti Kaltiainen, six more that were blocked, and three that missed the net.
That isn't a bad percentage, based on UMD's tally for the first 18 games of the season. While forwards generally have fewer shots blocked than the defensemen who shoot mostly from the blue line, the statistics until the Silverado Shootout show some interesting tendencies.
Reierson has the most total shots on the team, and the second most shots on goal. Winger Judd Medak is second in total shots, and leads in shots on goal. While Reierson gets 44 percent of his shots on goal, that falls within the range of other defensemen. Mark Carlson gets 50 percent of his shots on goal, Beau Geisler 60 percent (but only has half the shots of Carlson and one-third of Reierson), while freshmen Tim Hambly has put 38 percent on, and Neil Petruic 37 percent.
Among forwards, the most total shot attempts have been taken by Medak, Junior Lessard, Tom Nelson, Jon Francisco, Tyler Brosz and Evan Schwabe. Of those, the percentages of shots on goal are: Francisco 75 percent, Nelson 70, Schwabe 68, Medak 67, and Brosz 65.
When it comes to blocked shots, however, Reierson was the leader and Carlson second, undoubtedly because they get a lot of action from the points on UMD power plays. Going into the Silverado Shootout, Reierson had 40 shots blocked, Carlson 25, followed by Hambly with 17, Lessard 17 and Medak 15. Francisco had only seven shots blocked.
While the Bulldogs need to get their shots past the blockers and on net, they will find a tough foe in Colorado College. The Tigers were picked by the coaches to win the league, but struggled to a slow start, losing twice at North Dakota and against Denver in early series.
CC has come on, with a 5-6-1 record that still trails St. Cloud State (13-2-1), Denver (11-1), Minnesota (6-2-2) and Wisconsin (6-3-1), but the Tigers come to the DECC knowing they need to make up ground in a hurry. Last season, UMD played its best in beating CC 2-1 and losing 6-4 at the DECC.
While UMD is 7-3 in nonconference games, the whole WCHA has done well outside the league. Minnesota is 8-0-1, St. Cloud State 4-0, Denver 5-1, Colorado College 4-1, North Dakota 5-2, and Mankato 3-1. Michigan Tech is 4-4, Wisconsin 2-5 and Alaska-Anchorage 1-2-1.

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