Hockey Bucks to Host No. 20 Minnesota-Duluth

By Aubrey Nelson on November 1, 2013 at 1:23p
15 Comments
The Buckeyes try to keep the success train rolling against Minnesota-Duluth this weekend

The Buckeyes continue their jam-packed week of games by hosting No. 20 Minnesota-Duluth. Games are set for 7pm both tonight and tomorrow. Ohio State’s gameday page has all the info you’ll need for following from afar. If you’re headed out to the Schott you can get the lowdown on this weekend’s promotions in the series preview, including a postgame meet-and-greet with Buckeye players on Saturday. Huntington Bank customers can also get two free tickets to Saturday’s game. You can find more details on that promotion here.

Minnesota-Duluth should present an interesting challenge for Ohio State this weekend. The Buckeyes are college hockey’s 12th highest scoring team, while the Bulldogs are one of the top defensive teams in the country. They allow an average of just 1.67 goals per game and a measly 21.33 shots per game. They also boast one the nation’s best penalty-killing units (91.7%) which is good because they're also one of the nation's most penalized teams. Last week, in a split with No. 2 Notre Dame, the Bulldogs were assessed 44 PIM and killed off 11 of the Irish's 13 power plays.

UMD is a young group, but their freshmen have been anything but a liability so far this seaon. With five goals and nine assists, they’re college hockey’s seventh highest scoring rookie class. Two standouts, Kyle Osterberg and Alex Iafallo,each with two goals and two assists, are among the Bulldogs’ scoring leaders. Osterberg was also recently named the NCHC’s rookie of the month for October.

In net senior Aaron Crandall and sophomore Matt McNeely are both off to great starts this season. They’ve each allowed more than one goal in a game on just one occasion. The Bulldogs’ defense has given them some pretty good support as well. The two Duluth goaltenders have stopped a combined 118 shots in their six games this season. (By comparison, Matt Tomkins has stopped 138 in five.) 

“They’re a very fast-kill team, so it’s going to be a high-tempo game, and I feel like one of our strengths is our speed, so I think we’re going to match their speed and it’s going to be a very intense game.” Ryan Dzingel in Daniel Fyffe's series preview

Some more pregame reading...

  • Don't forget to vote! The polls close on the goalie portion of the All-Buckeye team voting this Sunday. 
  • Rick Weegman wrote about Steve Rohlik and Brett Larson facing their former team this weekend. 
  • The No. 10 Ohio State women's hockey team is up in Wisconsin to take on the No. 2 Badgers. You can keep up with them via the links in their preseries preview. You may also want to check out the article Meghan Eustice wrote about the series from a Wisconsin perspective here.

I apologize that I don't have more of a recap from Tuesday's game. As long time readers of Deadly Nuts know, the rain washes out my internet connection. It's one of the "perks" of country living, like driving behind combines for miles and wildlife turning up in inconvenient places. Anyhow, I've been stuck offline since Wednesday morning and put all of my limited time this morning into reading up on Minnesota-Duluth. Check out the highlights of the Bowling Green game via BTN and Student U. I'm loving the colorful play-by-play.

15 Comments

Comments

buckeye56's picture

I'm interested to see how the goaltending situation starts to take shape. Olson started on Tuesday and lasted about 3 minutes before being yanked after 2 quick goals. His post to post movement looked really slow, although he wasn't really helped by his D. Tomkins looked good for the rest of the game. I'm kind of assuming that they will split the weekend. Should be interesting.

Aubrey Nelson's picture

It is an interesting situation. Not sure what's up with Olson. He's a much better goalie than he's shown so far. I hope you're right and they do split the weekend. It may be a rough outing for Olson but I doubt he's going to get any better by sitting the bench and (as fun as winning is) these early results don't much matter for the Buckeyes. It's the Big Ten games that will make or break their season. 

Joe Beale's picture

No original MS Paint artwork? I'm disappointed, but Go Puck Bucks anyway!

Aubrey Nelson's picture

I know. FAIL! But I plan to make up for it next Tuesday. MS Paint out the wazoo.

Seattle Linga's picture

Thanks for the write up Aubrey -- Where do you see this team in 2-3 years?

Aubrey Nelson's picture

Oh boy that's a tough one. Barring any early departures or decommitments the next two years look good for the Buckeyes. After that the outlook is less clear. Rohlik and Co. have recruited some nice players for the future, but whether they'll be able to lure top shelf recruits away from their Big Ten competition remains to be seen. The best thing that can happen for future OSU teams is for the Buckeyes to be competitive in the Big Ten right away. We should have a better idea of whether Ohio State is rebuilding or reloading by this time next year.

Seattle Linga's picture

Thanks for the update - I appreciate it

Quack_Quack's picture

Duluth is one of the better college hockey programs, if i'm not mistaken they won the tourney a couple of years ago.  They are tough for sure.

Aubrey Nelson's picture

Yep, in 2011. They are, aside from Miami, the biggest challenge in the Buckeyes' non-conference schedule this season.

Quack_Quack's picture

I actually recognize nhl alumni on their roster, that's how I know they are good.

William's picture

The only big time NHLer OSU has right now is Ryan Kesler. RJ Umberger doesn't count, because he's a 3rd liner at this point in his career, although Matt Bartkowski could end being quite good for Boston. 

Quack_Quack's picture

Jt. Brown had his debut a year or two ago, that's what I remembered Duluth from.  He might be in the ahl currently though.   Can't find him anywhere.

Quack_Quack's picture

Oh hey sorry William, I was actually referring to Duluth.  Ryan Kesler is pretty good though, injuries have slowed him down a bit though.

William's picture

Tough test for OSU this weekend. It would be nice if they could win one of the two games. They have to capitalize on the power play if they're going to do so. That's crazy that UMD racked up 44 PIM while playing ND in one game. 

Aubrey Nelson's picture

Oops. I worded that poorly. It was 44 PIM in the series, 17 in one game and 27 in the other.