Photos from the opening game vs. Union:
Photos from the opening game vs. Union:
Union and their freshman class looked good and I'm sure they'll get sharper still as the season progresses. They should do better in conference play this season. We'll see.
YabaDabaDoo and Shotblocker, you must not have been watching the same game as I was! While I agree that the Gophers were at times a little rough around the edges and their passing was not always a thing of beauty, they were clearly the dominant team and controlled play for almost the entire game. I give all the credit to Union for never giving up, and surely they are much improved compared to a couple of years ago, but - in this game - whatever pressure they put on was sporadic and didn't amount to more than a brief flurry. Raty faced 15 shots, or 1 every 4 minutes on average, while Minnesota had 35 and could have easily scored more than their 6 goals. At least a half-dozen other chances were point blank and barely off target. Not saying the Gophers don't have work to do - they do - but it was only the first game and they will get better too.
Syracuse will be a tougher test tomorrow, but I expect the Gophers to pick it up a notch or two and play better than what we saw today. Meanwhile, Union and St. Cloud should be a good game too - no doubt both teams will be anxious to come away with a win and avoid going 0-2 to start the season.
You are absolutely right...
That's what I get for going to the bar before sharing the link with you guys.
Go here: http://www.pictureprints.net/albums.php?gallery=3793
Minnesota 4, Syracuse 0.
A little bit nicer atmosphere in the building tonight. The crowd was up to 1,300 from just over 1,000 last night and it helped a lot that the band was there. But mostly the Gophers played quite a bit better. They were very dominant in nearly every aspect with the exception of the final score. I wouldn't call it very dominant but still 4-0 is pretty convincing.
Shots were 50-10.
Billadeau played very well in net for the Orange and was a big factor in keeping the score down. She played well but she also had plenty of help from Minnesota missed opportunities. Although I only heard the puck off the iron once there were numerous point blank chances which were not converted.
Both the 3rd and 4th lines saw a lot of ice time again tonight and tonight there was a clear 3rd and a clear 4th. Both Bona and Lorence on the 3rd line continue to look like they might light the lamp soon but they better keep working because Brausen looked very good tonight in her appearances on the 4th line.
Kelly Terry is phenomenal. In fact, that line started the game and if you were confused and thought that was the Gophers' first line you wouldn't have seen much from the way they played tonight that convinced you otherwise. West does still seems to be finding herself just a little, not quite there yet.
Real danger seemed present whenever Schoullis, Erickson and Kessel hit the ice. I thought they played a dominant game. This is a very good group, every opponent is going to have to scheme a way to try to keep them under control.
Seeler was good tonight, Ramsey looked a little less nervous, Schleper and and Bozek played up to their reputations and Mira scored a goal. Gillanders again looks most improved from last season.
A quality effort by the team, a quality effort by the band, Goldy was good, they had chuck-a-puck, it was a great night at Ridder Arena.
We also saw flashes of increasing confidence from all the freshmen tonight. It will be fun watching all of them improve as they adopt to the quicker pace of D1 hockey.
Both Terry and Davis have been excellent with a nice chemistry of their own I think. They had their share of those barely missed opportunities vs. Syracuse...all weekend really. When West returns to her pre-injury, spark plug, catalyst form a line with the three of them could potentially blur the 1st line, 2nd line picture. I have hunch West, Terry and Davis will turn up the heat on the Huskies too.
Don't mean to cause a stir and we can agree to disagree, but went to the game specifically to watch the MN freshmen. Did not see them play as often as you would make everyone here believe. What we saw was that they played once or twice in a the third and less previous to that. It appeared to me that the first line played almost every other shift. Case in point, 1 minute left, score is 4 - 0, and you put your first line out.... against Syracuse's 4th line (yes, was watching MN freshmen on that team too...)
Perhaps Frosty thought, as has been expressed here, that MN should have "buried an inferior opponent" and was frustrated in not doing so.
As for frustration, I didn't sense any. When shot the shot attempts wind up 96 to 21, that speaks to fairly clear control of the game.
But what I thought was that in even strength situations Minnesota rolled three lines always and the fourth pretty often. If we are discussing the third period well, there were quite a few penalties. I am with you that none of the Minnesota freshman forwards saw any time either on the power play or the penalty kill, at least not that either you or I noticed. Those minutes were taken by the top 7 forwards (the first two lines and the center, Kortum, off the third line). These ARE Minnesota's most experienced forwards. I believe the freshman defender did see some time both on the PP and PK. This is to be expected, her regular partner is a returning All-America.
So I am not really sure we disagree at all. I agree that during special team situations Saturday and in fact all weekend, the Minnesota freshman forwards didn't get much ice time.
As to your last point, if you were watching for that then I guess you are probably correct. I did not notice who the Gophers threw out in the last minute, I wasn't watching for that.
I myself wouldn't say Syracuse was an "inferior opponent". Further I believe the "bury an inferior opponent" quotation that you refer to is actually in a response by the Minnesota streaming video play by play guy to a complaint by Union fans that he was insufficiently neutral during the Friday night broadcast of the Minnesota v. Union game. I don't believe the reference is to Syracuse at all. I thought Syracuse acquitted themselves very well. I would note that even Coach Flanagan acknowledged that Minnesota was a superior team.
I thought Union was overmatched and I have said so but I agree with Coach Frost and share his respect for their effort.
Is there a reason the teams have gotten away from the home and home series format in St. Cloud and Minneapolis?