UMD opens men's hockey practice; picked 8th by WCHA coaches
It wasn't officially "Hockey Day in Duluth" or anything, but it might as well have been when the DECC was jumping Monday. The UMD women's hockey team practiced first, then the UMD men's team hit the ice for the first official practice of the season.
It wasn't officially "Hockey Day in Duluth" or anything, but it might as well have been when the DECC was jumping Monday. The UMD women's hockey team practiced first, then the UMD men's team hit the ice for the first official practice of the season. When the Bulldogs left the ice at 5:30 p.m., the Minnesota Wild skated out and ran through a brief practice and an intrasquad scrimmage, drawing 3,124 fans.
Members of the UMD men's team said the official opening of practice was a comparative breeze next to the rigors of unofficial practice, which included weight training and captain's practices. The 'Dogs don't have much time, however, because they are scheduled to open their exhibition season with a game against Regina University Saturday night at the DECC. That game will conclude homecoming day, which starts with a women's soccer game at 10:30 a.m. at Griggs Field, then the football homecoming game against Moorhead State at 2 p.m. and a women's volleyball game.
Scott Sandelin is starting Year 2 of his regime as UMD hockey coach, and he says he has a much better handle on the team personnel this year and is running a tight, 28-man camp that will require no cuts. With almost the whole team back, the Bulldogs are brimming with optimism, but other coaches around the WCHA do not share that feeling for the Bulldogs' potential improvement.
In the 31st Grand Forks Herald poll, in which the league coaches exclude their own team and rank the rest of the WCHA, the Bulldogs were slotted for eighth, ahead of only Michigan Tech and Alaska-Anchorage.
Colorado College was picked as the league champ, with six first-place votes and 78 points. Minnesota was picked second, with three first-place votes and 73 points, while North Dakota got the other first-place vote and 66 points to rank third. St. Cloud State was fourth, with 57 points, followed by Denver 51, Wisconsin 39, Minnesota State-Mankato 34, UMD 23, Tech 20 and Alaska-Anchorage 9.
In projections for the top players in the league, Mark Cullen (3.5) outpointed Colorado College teammate Peter Seyna (3) as player of the year, with Jordan Leopold of Minnesota and Mark Hartigan of St. Cloud State following in order.