Minnesota Duluth will be without sophomore defenseman Hunter Lellig for at least this weekend’s home series against #1 Denver, and there are fears that his injury could be season-ending. Remaining reserves on the blue line are a couple walk-on-ish-type defenders in Jarod Hilderman and Jake “Jack” Rosebaum. Should it come to it, UMD head coach Scott Sandelin said he’s comfortable playing just the five regular defensemen, which sounds bad, but probably isn’t. Skating just five defensemen might have some consequences over the long-term, but for the most part, it’s doable. Matt Anderson’s inclusion in the UMD line-up two years ago during the 17-18 title run was largely ornamental, so it can be done.
If you haven’t seen the Amy Potomak shootout goal yet, that’s really on you, at this point. Here it is again:
I already said this earlier in the year, but Potomak should play on a line with Abbey Murphy next season, and they should only be allowed to score goals between their legs.
More important is that Minnesota took five of six points from the Badgers in the most important #1 vs. #2 battle of this fortnight, which means the game is once again afoot for the WCHA title. Wisconsin is now one point lost behind Minnesota in the WCHA standings, but the Badgers get to host Minnesota in mid-January, and I get the sense that the Badgers are a little less likely to drop points here or there to the other five teams in the conference than the Gophers. If nothing else, last weekend’s result means it should be a very tight race throughout the course of the season.
Brad Schlossman dove into some of the early stats for North Dakota, and while it’s worth noting that 29% of their schedule so far is Canisius, and the rest is WCHA schools, they are generally trending in a more positive direction than previous years. We should have a much better idea of how much North Dakota has improved in two weeks when they travel to Denver.
Michigan and Minnesota are playing for a trophy this weekend that nobody can find. Big Ten hockey, y’all.
Dartmouth hosts Princeton this weekend, which means it is time for Dartmouth’s annual tradition of throwing tennis balls on the ice after Dartmouth’s first goal:
Dartmouth’s president wants to remind fans to only throw them after the first goal, since any further tennis balling would result in a minor penalty. We also, apparently, differ on how much looking kinda racist hurts North Dakota’s program.
Speaking of which, #ThrowbackThursday to the time Minnesota Duluth lost a game in part because they gave up a power play goal after being penalized when their fans kept throwing stuffed bears onto the ice. That UMD team finished 13-21-5, so it didn’t cost them a tournament spot, but it certainly didn’t help the increasingly warm seat of UMD head coach Scott Sandelin. Amazing to think that since then, Sandelin has gone on to win a total of zero regular season conference championships.
Incidentally, that was one of my first stories featured on the now-deceased Deadspin(The first story I got linked was the shock of a then-14-year-old Jon Merrill committing to Michigan). Silly as it may seem, that was “making it” in the nascent, loosely associated community of people that wrote about Sports on the Internet.
I was a devotee of the Leitch/Chandler-era Deadspin, because I am 1000 years old, so the site has existed to me in name only for over a decade, but now that not even the name exists anymore(Sorta? I guess? Maybe? I haven’t followed closely enough), it is perhaps time for some quiet reflection on how much things have changed, how much we’ve lost, and how much higher-minded pursuits like money and power can suck the essence out of something fun. Big Ten hockey, y’all.