Morning Cup-a-Joe (1/29/07)

cupajoe.jpegAll is not Golden in Gopherland. After spending nine consecutive weeks ranked no. 1 in the country, later today Minnesota will cede its prime perch to New Hampshire, as the Gophers were swept at home by the mediocre (15-11-2) North Dakota Fighting Sioux this past weekend. With a couple of national titles in hand, Head Coach Don Lucia likely isn’t feeling much heat these days, but the hockey fanatics in his state remain well aware of the Gophers’ coming up short when it counts recently. In the opening weekend of the post-season last year, Minnesota fell to Holy Cross in what many regarded as the greatest upset in college hockey history. Lucia lost Phil Kessel and Ryan Potulny from that team, which never seemed to gell into a cohesive club, but this year he brought in what was clearly the finest freshman class in the country. And right now they’re playing like freshmen.
Worse, their more experienced guys aren’t getting it done, either. Check out this supreme softie allowed by Jeff Frazee against the Sioux:

A month ago it appeared as if the Gophers were a lock for the Frozen Four in St. Louis. They still have more firepower than any club in the country, but if I could place a national title wager on anybody this morning, I’d go with Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish. ND (21-5-2) will be ranked 2nd in the country this week, but more importantly, they’re one of the best defensive clubs in the country, they come at you with a balanced attack — truly four lines that can hurt you — and they have a legitimate Hobey Baker candidate in netminder David Brown. Brown has won 20 of Notre Dame’s 21 games and boasts a .928 save percentage and a 1.72 goals-against. In 28 games this season Jeff Jackson’s Cindarella squad has surrendered just 47 goals. I also am intrigued by this statistic: the Fighting Irish have played 11 games against teams ranked in the top 15 at the time of the meeting, and their record is 9-1-1.

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1 Response to Morning Cup-a-Joe (1/29/07)

  1. I saw one of those Minnesota/North Dakota games on Fox College Sports after the Caps game on Saturday night. It was an exciting game. I wish they showed more college hockey on tv.

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