Monday, January 08, 2007

Tigers Shut Down By "Hostile and Abusive" Sioux Defense

After shutting out North Dakota on Friday night, CC got a taste of its own medicine on Saturday as the Sioux defense held them to just one goal, and only two shots in the second period. Jack Hillen and Scott McCulloch provided the Tigers' only goals on the weekend, and Matt Zaba was stellar in net with 60 saves on 62 shots. North Dakota's win on Saturday moves them into a tie for 5th in the WCHA with Wisconsin, who took Denver to the woodshed on Saturday after losing on Friday. CC has dropped to 4th behind Minnesota, Denver, and St. Cloud State, although each of these teams has two games in hand on Denver. Next week the Tigers travel to Minnesota Duluth to take on the cellar dwelling Bulldogs. UMD is 4-10-2 in the WCHA and is tied for last place with Minnesota State. Nevertheless, UMD typically plays the Tigers tough and a much needed sweep may be hard to come by.

Denver and Michigan Tech are not playing WCHA games next weekend, instead taking on Niagara and Bemidji State respectively. There are some league matchups to keep an eye on however. Minnesota takes on rival Wisconsin in Madison. Could the winning streak come to an end? Not all that likely, but with Elliott in net you never know. Another interesting matchup will be UAA playing at UND. UND has been terrible at home this year and UAA is fighting for home ice in the WCHA playoffs. St. Cloud State will be playing at Minnesota State, and I would expect a Huskies sweep but you never know. The level of play in general should be much higher next weekend in the WCHA with the return of players from the World Junior Championships in Sweden. About half the Team USA roster seemed to come from the Gophers, and a number of other WCHA schools, including CC, sent players as well.

The Tigers split with North Dakota was not particularly helpful in the quest for an NCAA tournament berth. CC has dropped to 9th in the pairwise rankings, and probably won't be able to get any quality wins next weekend. In the next three weeks, the only TUC that CC will be seeing is Wisconsin, and they are just barely on the bubble. This will make CC's later games against St. Cloud State, Minnesota and Denver all the more important. And unlike last year, don't expect OOC bonus points to help CC at the end of the season. With OOC losses to New Hampshire and Bemidji State, the bonus will not do anything but hurt the Tigers' chances.

One last piece of news: CC recently got a commitment from Steve Schultz, who's been putting up some impressive numbers in the USHL.


At 9:20 AM, Anonymous gmf1a said...

Abusive D is right. UND got on us physically in the second period and we backed down.

UND played clean but hard. Bet we see some more of that in the future.

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