Weekend Preview - Colorado College

This series will be one of the biggest tests this Bulldog hockey team will have to endure this season.  Colorado College isn't exactly going to be a nice opponent, as they tend to score a lot, but also give up just as much.  For the Bulldogs, scoring isn't exactly something that comes with to much ease, which may need to click if they're going to walk out of Colorado Springs with a handful of points toward home ice.

In the WCHA, 4 points separate the top 8 teams.  This means that every game is very important for the battle of home ice going into the WCHA final five.  Right now, the University of Minnesota Duluth sits 3 points ahead of Colorado College with 16 points.

Photo: Dave Harwig

Overview:

For a team that started out with fire, Colorado College has definitely cooled down.  The Tigers are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games and 1-3-0 in 2013 after being swept by Nebraska Omaha and managing a split with North Dakota last weekend.  But don't let their last few games fool you, they've played with every team they've been faced with and have found offensive production when they needed it, like 3 goals to tie Minnesota in the 3rd period.  Top scorers...

Pos.
(GP) G-A-Pts.
Pts/G
Rylan Schwartz
F
(23) 11-19-30
1.30
William Rapuzzi
F
(24) 12-16-28
1.17
Scott Winkler (DAL)
F
(24) 12-11-23
0.96
Mike Boivin
D
(24) 9-10-19
0.79
Eamonn McDermott
D
(24) 2-14-16
0.67
Pos.
(GP) GAA/Sv%
Mins.
Josh Thorimbert
G
(14) 3.69/.875
747

For a team that played so during their Holiday tournament, Minnesota Duluth definitely surprised college hockey fans and maybe even themselves by opening up the new year by sweeping a Michigan Tech team that was coming hot off the GLI tourney sweep.  The power play, which started off the year so good, will need to continue to improve as well as the penalty kill for this weekend if the team that has the most penalty minutes in the WCHA is to find at least a single "W".  Top scorers...

Pos.
(GP) G-A-Pts.
Pts/G
Mike Seidel
F
(22) 11-11-22
1.00
Tony Cameranesi (TOR)
F
(22) 10-12-22
1.00
Austin Farley
F
(20) 8-9-17
0.85
Wade Bergman
D
(21) 2-13-15
0.71
Andy Welinski (ANA)
D
(22) 2-9-11
0.50
Pos.
(GP) GAA/Sv%
Mins.
Matt McNeely
G
(14) 2.47/.903
825

Compare:

Bulldogs
Tigers
9-10-3
...Overall...
9-13-2
7-6-3
WCHA
6-9-1
5-4-1
Home
5-5-2
4-4-2
Away
4-8-0
2.73
Avg. Offense
3.38
2.77
Avg. Defense
3.75
16.5
PIM/G
12.3
22.8%
Power Play
20.7%
83.5%
Penalty Kill
75.9%
29th
SOS
5th
32.6
Shots/G
28.5
26.0
Opponent S/G
31.7

Past Meetings:


The Verdict:

Colorado College is not a team to mess with.  Tiger scoring leader Rylan Schwartz senior step-up William Rapuzzi have both punished teams for sloppy play, converting with ease on defense turnovers. Joe Howe played well against North Dakota last Friday which resulted in a Tiger victory, a situation which could trouble a Bulldog team who has shown to struggle with scoring.  Defenseman Mike Boivin has proven to be a very productive scorer for the Tigers with 9 goals so far this season, meaning the Dogs will have to keep an extra eye out for a solid shot from the line.

I expect Matt McNeely will start Friday for sure, and Saturday depending on his performance.  McNeely will need to be on his A-game if the Duluth wishes to find some points this weekend.  The top line that UMD has depended on for tallies will have to perform, but will need some help from players like Caleb Herbert and the rest of the second line.

Goals will come from mistakes this weekend.  Which ever team is able to capitalize on sloppy play, whether that be bad passes, failing to win faceoffs in defensive zones, or giving up bad rebounds, will win games this weekend.  I would imagine two high scoring games, at least from one team per night anyway, and based on the circumstances and situation, i'm predicting a weekend split.  Friday win for the Dogs and Tiger win on Saturday.

Photo: Dave Harwig

Friday's puck drops at 8:37 CT and 8:07 CT on Saturday.  The games can be viewed for a fee via CC athletics here or listen to Bruce Ciskie, the voice of Bulldog Hockey, here (click listen live).

Cheers!


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