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21 and done?


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Of course not.

But let us entertain the idea that the gopher hockey team might not be as good as they seem to be. Winning games in February is different than winning in November and December. This would be back to back poor performances.

I am not a believer in this team. Not yet. I watch them play. I them every weekend. I know this team and I am not wearing the golden turtleneck.

They have two weaknesses. One being goaltending. Folks. This stellar net-work isn't going to last all season. You may have a veteran in the nets but how rattled will he be when he loses a couple games? There hasn't been much mental toughness in the past.

The second might be a stretch, but the defense isn't as strong as gopher fans might think. My take is that you have three good defensemen. Goligoski, Johnson, and Vannelli are good but there is only three on this list. There is something missing in this group. A fast team might take advantage of the slow feet of the gopher D.

Rest well ye weary gentleman. Saturday night will surely make for happy times.

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actually, it was 22, but that's not an issue. I agree that Minnesota's top three defensemen are johnson, vanelli and goligoski. Johnson wasn't playing at his full potential at the start of the season, but his solid performance at the WJHC has carried over to his play at the U. I noticed that when Vanelli has a bad night,the team struggles. Last night was evident of that. Goligoski has been pretty consistent so far this season. Peltier and Anderson have performed just average this season. They have had some games where they played well, but overall, they are not the caliber player of a Vanelli or goligoski. They also need to learn to hit the net and keep the puck down. I think Fischer is the biggest surprise of the season. He was pretty green when he started the season. The past few weekends when he logged extra ice time, he really has started to show some confidence with the puck and some speed. I'd keep an eye on him. If Johnson goes pro after the season, look for him and Goligoski to hold down the blue line next season.

I'm not sure If I agree with your statement on Briggs. I think he is the main reason the gophers managed to stay unbeaten for 22 games. I'd say at least a third of those wins/ties were won by Briggs, when the team was flat or just played poorly. It will be interesting to see how he handles the loss last night, but I Don't think it will be as devastating as you believe. Frazee was the one who I would worry about taking the loss, but he is coming off a stellar performance as well at the WJHC. I assume he'll get the start tonight. This will be his true test of whether or not he is "big time" goalie.

My biggest concern is the freshman class. Aside from the fourth line, the freshman just haven't produced much the past several weeks. Barribal seemed to have peaked to early. Okposo has been useless since his stint at the WJHC. Maybe a case could be made that since Hirsch is gone his performance will suffer. I think he needs to get some well deserved rest before the jury is out on that one.

Wheeler is just not utilized well. His speed and skills are useless if he can't get the puck. I think Lucia needs to break up the mix with Wheeler and Barribal. Either have Okposo center that line, or put Okposo, Wheeler and Stoa together. Gordon has been a disappointment thus far. He started the season well, but just looks lazy out there now. He doesn't seem to move his feet much, and seems to always try to make the cutesy pass and the big play.

Yes, there are some flaws with this team, as with any team. The main difference between last night and the rest of the season is that the puck didn't bounce their way last night. The true test of this team will be to see what happens when the tide has turned. Tonight will be a good challenge, but I think they are still too exhausted to put out a decent effort tonight. I'd say to look at next week's match-up and then the series with the Sioux after that. then I think we'll have a good idea of where this team truly stands.

Good Luck gophers!

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I disagree Red, the Gophers are NOT the best team by a LONG margin! There are a handful of teams that are in the same class as them ie... New Hampshire, Maine, BU maybe?? and by the end of the year this WCHA standings thing will get closer at the top... Minnesota went out of sync over the holidays and with their main players going to play overseas... they need to get back the rhythm they had prior to X-mas and start firing on all cylinders... right now they are not... A positive out of this past weekend was that Jeff Frazee is starting to look like the goaltender he was projected to be, and he's another example of a player showing up big on the World Junior stage and then returning with more confidence.

P.S. Where's Waldo?? I mean Okposo?

Should be an interesting finish!!

P.S.S. How about Minnesota State Mankato the past two weekends vs the Gophers and SCSU!! Jutting has done an excellent job and has been over looked by national guys... the two teams I don't want to play in the WCHA finals are Wisconsin and Mankato, that sounds wierd to say! grin.gif

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Boy, I do agree they are out of sync, but they should get that back.

Okposo is a freshman remember. He has been playing like a junior or higher. He will get his legs back. He just put in some serious time and effort going over-seas. Jez, I get tired driving from Bemidji to Grand Rapids....

And, buzz, I disagree to agree. The gophers have been so solid the only team I see playing with them is Maine. And, that might be a stretch.

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Goph's finally looked vulnerable during the last few games. Pretty light on scoring lately. In the end though I think a little adversity in the middle of the year will help them in the tournaments.

What's up with Okposo bashing? I agree with Redlake; he will get back to form. I haven't seen better freshman play out of anyone for quite some time. If he returns next year, I think I'm gonna have to choose a different Bulldog series to watch. Maybe UMD vs. the Elliot-less Badgers.

My big question is still Briggs. As a senior he's shown he can play really well in the regular season. But, I still wonder if he can get them deep into the NCAA's.

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My big question is still Briggs. As a senior he's shown he can play really well in the regular season. But, I still wonder if he can get them deep into the NCAA's.

Hmmm, Isn't that what some said about Adam Hauser? And he was definitely not as good as Briggs. oh and he has a National Championship ring.

Who says come NCAA time that Frazee won't be the man between the pipes? Just a thought.

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The sioux are going to have their hands full this weekend against a pesky Beaver team. This is a Bemidji team that has cleaned up on the lower section of the WCHA and swept Minnesota State in Mankato. Impressive indeed.

Watch UND get swept this weekend with the gophers on the horizon.

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The gopher fans are a little nervous this week. The UND squad is playing .500 hockey but it looks like they are turning the corner once again in late January.

I am having Deja Vu as I think I typed the same thing last year at this very time of the season. The golden gophers have peaked in December yet again.

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