Kasimir Kaskisuo's a Human Wall

Have you ever seen a behind-the-back, back-handed save?


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Ice Breaker Recap - Consolation Champions

The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs fell to the #1 ranked Minnesota Gophers on Friday afternoon in the first game of the Ice Breaker, but defeated Notre Dame by a score of 3-0 on Sunday to top off the Tournament's last day.

What a weekend.

Just a few thoughts on this extremely sub-par, gloomy morning in Duluth...

Glass Half Full

Although the Dogs lost to the Gophers on Friday, it felt more like a win among other Gopher fans in attendance.  It was plain and simple...  The last half of that game went to the team with less hours of skating time as a whole.

So what happened?

First off, Minnesota's two goals came within the first six minutes of the game.  Freshman Kasimir Kaskisuo played between the pipes for the Bulldogs, which was his first official NCAA matchup, which also just so happened to be against the #1 team in the nation.

The Gophers were also playing with a similar team that was able to get them to the Frozen Four last year.  The only freshman that was rostered for Minnesota was Jack Glover, which sucked because it would have been nice to watch some of the other guys skate, but what can ya do?

So that being said, after UMD had the butterflies shaken away, they had the #1 team in the country - a team that has been skating together for much longer than they have - on their heels.

Although I didn't get a chance to watch the shutout against Notre Dame, it looked as though we played pretty darn decent.

Weekend Stats:

Dominic Toninato
Alex Iafallo
Andy Welinski
Tony Cameranesi
Carson Soucy
Matt McNeely
Adam Krause

The Bulldogs will take on the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks this weekend in a home-home series that begins up in Duluth on Friday, October 13th before heading down to Mankato the following day.


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UMD Hockey Season Preview: 2014-15

Snow is bound to fly any day now.  You can finally go outside wearing the perfect outfit - a sweatshirt and jeans - which was voted actually voted by the Bulldog Country staff to be the best trending fashion statement thing of this century.

Anyway, we're one day away from the very first puck drop of the season.

(Photo: UMD Athletics)

The Roster

So between the last game of last season and to this point in time, the Dogs have lost a total of three forwards, two defensemen, and a goalie.  Below is just a brief glimpse at what happened to those guys and who they were...

  • Joe Basaraba (F) - Graduation - San Antonio Rampage
  • Max Tardy (F) - Graduation - Pensacola Ice Flyers
  • Caleb Herbert (F) - Early Departure - Hershey Bears
  • Tim Smith (D) - Graduation
  • Luke McManus (D) - Nerve Injury
  • Aaron Crandall (G) - Graduation - Alaska Aces

Replacing those individuals will not be easy, but the brighter news is we're only losing 20% of goals and 19.5% of the total points from last season.  Of those points, Herbert, who lead the team last year with 19 assists and 31 points, will be the most difficult to replace.

The biggest question mark coming out of the roster situation is going to be the goaltending situation.  Aaron Crandall spent 1,738 minutes and 18 seconds between the pipes for UMD last season, which is about the equivalent to 4 out of 5 games.  Matt McNeely brings experience to the table, but not near as much as Crandall.

Luckily for the Dogs, Sandelin has done very well in recruiting top-end talent.  With that being said, heres a look at the new Pups coming in this season...

  • Karson Kuhlman (F) - Dubuque USHL | Esko, MN
  • Jared Thomas (F) - Sioux City USHL | Hermantown, MN
  • Brett Boehm (F) - Yorktown SJHL | Martensville, SASK
  • Blake Young (F) - Battlefords AJHL | Battleford, SASK
  • Brenden Kotyk (D) - St. Scholastica NCHA | Regina, SASK
  • Nick McCormack (D) - Brooks AJHL | Ramsey, MN
  • Kasimir Kaskisuo (G) - Minnesota NAHL | Vantaa, Finland

Kuhlman and Thomas, who both had very nice years in the USHL last season, scored 25 goals for 44 points and 20 goals for 66 points last season, respectfully.  These two, in combination with Young and Boehm's ability to find the back of the net and see the ice, should provide UMD's offense with a great start going into the season.

Also exciting is Kotyk's arrival to the ice for game days.  He was allowed to practice with the team last season but could not participate in games per NCAA regulations.  His presence on the ice during practice was scary enough, you know, given his 6-6, 225lb frame.  Kotyk, in combination with Ramsey native McCormack should give the Pups some needed strength amongst the blue-liners.

The most anticipated arrival comes from former Minnesota Wilderness netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo.  The Finnish goaltender put up crazy statistics last year allowing him to placed on the Midwest All-Division Team.  SBNation College Hockey's Chris Dilks wrote a great article on Kaskisuo, check it out by clicking that link.

Lastly, well from a roster standpoint, is number changes.

  • Dominic Toninato from #17 to #19 (Max Tardy's old number)
  • Carson Soucy from #4 to #21 (Caleb Herbert's old number)
Well, moving on.

Line Predictions

Bold moves here.  I really have no idea what to expect, but I thought I'd give it a go.  So, with that being said, this is how I see the lines opening up against the Minnesota Gophers this upcoming weekend in South Bend, Indiana.

Osterberg - Cameranesi - Crandall
Farley - Decowski - Kuhlman
Iafallo - Toninato - Krause
Sampair - Thomas - Boehm
B. Young - A. Young - Spurrell

Soucy - Welinski
Johnson - Raskob
Corrin - Kotyk
McCormack - Molenaar

McNeely - Kaskisuo - Fons

Again, just a toss up here based on last season's trends and some assumptions.  I think goaltending could change, but I couldn't tell you for sure.

By The Numbers

The University of Minnesota Duluth's Athletics website (www.umdbulldogs.com) recently posted some interesting facts about the Men's team.  I'll highlight some of the facts below, but check out the rest - "Bulldog Men's Hockey ... By The Numbers".

  • 89 – Points generated by the UMD's seven freshmen last season. Only nine other schools in the country (and none from the National Collegiate Hockey Conference) possessed a rookie ensemble with a higher scoring total.
  • 50 – Bulldog hockey alums who have gone on to do time in the National Hockey League . Larry Wright was the first (Philadelphia in 1970-72) and Justin Fontaine is the latest (Minnesota Wild one year ago)
  • 15 – Seasons Scott Sandelin has presided over the UMD hockey program. That's the longest continuous tenure of any NCHC head coach.
  • 6 – Europeans who have enlisted their services with the Bulldogs since 1931. The latest addition to that club is rookie goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo (KAH-see-mer KAH-skee-swah-oh), a member of the North American Hockey League's Minnesota Wilderness one year ago. The Vantaa, Finland, product is the first non-North American to play for 15th-year head coach Scott Sandelin.
  • 4 – NHL Draft picks on the 2014-15 roster. That list includes Tony Cameranesi (Toronto), Carson Soucy (Minnesota), Dominic Toninato (Toronto) and Andy Welinski (Anaheim).

More to come...  Eventually.  The first puck drops tomorrow night at Amsoil Arena against Lakehead.  Be there or be square.


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I'm currently, actually, writing a post for this blog.  Today?  Tonight?  Tomorrow?  It'll come soon.  

Brant Nicklin Joins UMD Hockey Staff

Brant Nicklin, who enjoyed a prosperous puckstoppoing career at the University of Minnesota Duluth during the late 1990s, will make his return to the Bulldog men's hockey program this season as a volunteer assistant coach.

See post at UMDBulldogs.

Elite League Bulldog Recruits

As summer begins to cool down and the trees are thinking about changing color, the Upper Midwest High School Elite League begins to start the engines.

Not too long ago, the rosters for the various teams were released.  Although this doesn't mean that a given player is guaranteed to attend, it does give a look at who made the cut and received an invite.  Junior hockey starts around the same time, so some players choose to skate their until the high school season begins, over the Elite League.

This year, the University of Minnesota Duluth leads all other colleges in the amount of recruits that are expected to be present at the rink.  This, in my eyes, is a good ole' pat on the back for Mr. Sandelin for a couple reasons, but it's always fun to watch a recruit develop until they're actually pulling on the UMD sweater (and keeping them in Minnesota is nice too!).

Forwards Nick Swaney, Kobe Roth, Jared Bethune, and Riley Tufte are joined by defensemen Matt Anderson and Mikey Anderson to represent UMD this year.  Swaney, Roth, and Bethune took place in last year's Elite League as well.

Below is a list of college-committed recruits that have received invites.

Minnesota Duluth

  1. Nick Swaney - Lakeville South
  2. Kobe Roth - Warroad
  3. Jared Bethune - Warroad
  4. Riley Tufte - Blaine
  5. Matt Anderson - Holy Family
  6. Mikey Anderson - Hill-Murray
St. Cloud State
  1. Ryan Poehling - Lakeville North
  2. Jack Poehling - Lakeville North
  3. Nick Poehling - Lakeville North
  1. Ryan Zuhlsdorf - Edina
  2. Ryan Edquist - Lakeville North
North Dakota
  1. Mitchell Mattson - Grand Rapids
  2. Matt Kiersted - Elk River
  1. Max Zimmer - Wayzata
Michigan Tech
  1. Jacob Olson - Hill-Murray
Boston University
  1. Kieffer Bellows - Edina
  1. Ben Newhouse - Benilde-St. Margaret's
Notre Dame
  1. Dylan Malmquist - Edina
  1. Jack McNeely - Lakeville North


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2014-15 UMD Bulldog Roster

The University of Minnesota Duluth has announced the roster for the 2014-15 season.

Roster changes include Carson Soucy changing from 4 to 21, taking Caleb Herbert's number from last season and Dom Toninato changing from 17 to 19, taking Max Tardy's number.

Freshmen Brett Boehm will be wearing 12, Blake Young wearing 17, Nick McCormack wearing 18, Karson Kuhlman wearing 20, Jared Thomas wearing 22, and Kasimir Kaskisuo will be sporting 33.

A sortable roster has been updated on the roster page.


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Q & A With Future Bulldogs: Jared Bethune

The Warroad superstar committed to the University of Minnesota Duluth along with his teammate Kobe Roth this past season. Bethune logged an outrageous 35 goals and 56 assists for 91 points in just 28 games this past season with the Warriors of Warroad. In case you were wondering, thats 3.25 points per game.  Not too shabby...

Bethune's larger frame allow him to display a more of a 'power forward' like style, giving him an edge against other players when it comes to a loose puck in the corners and driving to the pipes. Bethune was selected to play for the US Select 17 team last season, but citizen issues interfered.

The 6-foot winger joined the Lincoln Stars of the USHL after Warroad took an exit from Minnesota High School post-season action, and could end up playing for the Stars next season as well, which would be his senior year of high school.

Tell me about yourself... What do you do in your past time?

I'm Jared Bethune, 16, and in grade 11. I love hockey, but I love to spend my summer on the lake, golf course and playing other sports like basketball, and football with my friends for fun!

Tell me about where you're from and growing up?

I'm originally from Fort Frances, Ontario; born in Canada, grew up on the out door rinks in Fort, and played my minor hockey for them until I moved to Warroad in the summer after grade 7. It was the best move my family has ever made; I've developed unbelievably as a player and person here with the unlimited amount of ice time and great people that have helped me. Everyone is so happy for our teams success and also for Kobe and myself on continuing our career together someday at UMD.

Can you describe how much the sport of hockey means to Warroad?

Describing how much hockey means to Warroad is hard to put in words. The tradition and success that comes from Warroad is rare. So much support from the town. We get unlimited amount of ice time on the 2 ice surfaces, if the ice is not booked, no fee and a bucketful of pucks is there waiting for you. Most towns make you rent the ice at expensive costs. This town just loves it's hockey.

How did you come about choosing UMD? What drew you to the school, the town, and the team?

I've grown up being only a few hours from Duluth, spent many hockey weekends in Duluth and always loved the town. The Bulldogs have such a cool tradition and I've always been a fan of the style they play. When I found out that they were interested in me, and in my linemate, who is also my best friend, to play together for UMD - it was like a dream come true.

What is your plan for junior hockey?

My plans for juniors would be to play for Lincoln stars of the USHL after high school for a year or two. It all depends on how I handle the league and hope I can be a big impact for Lincoln. When I'm one of the top guys in that league I plan to leave and come to UMD.

Tell me about Kobe and your commitment to UMD with him?

Well it's a dream come true to be going to play college hockey with my best friend and linemate who I have had so much fun and success with. Kobe's talent is ridiculous, after 4 years playing with him I still am amazed at the things he can do. I've never seen anyone with that good of hand eye coordination. Some people have doubt whether he can handle the physical part of the game at the next level, and I know better than anyone he will be able to.