UMD Men's Hockey Practices Today Before NCAA Title Game Tomorrow Night
It all comes down to this. Arguably the two best teams in college hockey all season long square off tomorrow night for National Collegiate Athletic Association glory.
The University of Minnesota Duluth and Denver University, National Collegiate Hockey Conference adversaries, face off for the third time this season in hopes of capturing the coveted NCAA national championship trophy.
The last time these two teams met was back on December 9-10. A series split featuring an exciting 4-3 victory by DU in the series opener, followed the Bulldogs ousting the Pioneers 3-1 the following night.
Since their battle in the mile-high city, there has only been two weeks where UMD or DU has not topped the USCHO.com poll with the nation’s top rank.
“I think our team has certainly had their character tested a lot in the second half. We haven't had any blow-out games. But I think our guys have grown a little tighter together,” said UMD head coach Scott Sandelin, “I think that drive, when you start finding ways to win those games, continues to grow.
UMD rides an eight-game winning streak into tomorrow’s championship game and are unbeaten in 19 of their last 20. Since losing to St. Cloud State University on January 20, Denver is an impressive 17-1. Their lone loss in that stretch came to the University of North Dakota in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff semis.
The Bulldogs are going to have to find a way to get passed the Pioneers strong defensive core and find the back of the net. Denver, this season has only allowed 1.81 goals per game to opponents while scoring an average of 3.47 goals per game.
“I think run and gun is dangerous to play with a team like Denver. You see they score a lot of goals. I wouldn't say necessarily play a stay-at-home defensive game, by any means. We're a team that can get up and down the ice too. The games we played in Denver were two very good games. 4-3, 3-1, I think that's going to be the type of game it's going to be,” said senior defenseman Willie Raskob, “We're a good skating team, they're a good skating team. I think it will be a fun game.”
The Bulldogs and the Pioneers engage in battle tomorrow night at 7 o’clock p.m. in hopes of becoming the next NCAA college hockey national champion.
Photo courtesy of Jim Rosvold