Can UMD end hockey slump tonight at DECC?
Allowing the most goals in one game this season, and the most in a weekend series, was enough to get Scott Sandelin's attention. The Minnesota Duluth coach also noted how the goals were scored by St. Cloud State last weekend in beating UMD 3-1 an...
Allowing the most goals in one game this season, and the most in a weekend series, was enough to get Scott Sandelin's attention.
The Minnesota Duluth coach also noted how the goals were scored by St. Cloud State last weekend in beating UMD 3-1 and 6-3 at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn.
He told his players this week what needs to improve in the final seven weeks of the regular season, starting with nonconference home games today and Saturday with Bemidji State
"We gave [St. Cloud State] what I consider some easy goals, rebound goals. You can't give guys two or three whacks at the puck," Sandelin said this week. "We didn't defend well. You can't get outmuscled along the boards and in front of the net.
"We also have to be better at the offensive end. We got to [St. Cloud State's] net in the final 30 minutes Saturday, we played hard, and that's what we need for a whole game."
After an eight-game unbeaten streak through December, the Bulldogs (9-7-6) have lost three straight games for the first time this season. They've fallen out of the Division I polls and nearly out of the PairWise Rankings, a computerized predictor of the NCAA tournament field.
UMD's players say last weekend was atypical.
"It was one of our weakest series, by far, and not just because we lost," junior center Drew Akins said. "We got away from physical play, which we've had for a majority of the season. To get that back, we've had a lot of battles in practice. We know how important every game is."
The Bemidji State games mark the end of UMD's nonleague competition, followed by six Western Collegiate Hockey Association series. The Bulldogs are sixth in the league with 15 points, three points out of third and one point ahead of eighth place.
UMD can't afford adding to a losing streak and the Bulldogs say they have to forget about St. Cloud State.
"For the first five minutes last Friday, we dictated play and scored a goal, and I don't know if we thought it was going to be easy because we had already beaten them twice," UMD senior defenseman Josh Meyers said. "It ended up that they had more drive than we did. At the end of Saturday's game we were better. We wanted to make a statement and take something home."
The Bulldogs had 17 shots on goal and two goals in Saturday's third period. They finished with 70 shots on goal, their most in one weekend since November. Now, Sandelin wants more shots, fewer penalties, continued power-play production and a more competitive style.
"It's been pounded into our heads this week -- you need the will to get into the tough areas and make something happen," junior goalie Alex Stalock said.