Teams ride flow of breaks, UMD women make theirs
The Minnesota Twins magic carpet ride through the 2019 season came to
an end with a thud when they were swept in three straight by the New
York Yankees and now have to go through the winter being reminded that
they have lost 16 consecutive playoff games — a figure that no other
team in the five major pro sports in the U.S. has ever exceeded. But
you know what? It was still a great season. Even if we all have to
wonder how the entire starting pitching rotation vanished at the mere
mention of the word “playoffs.”
The Minnesota Vikings have apparently figured out that they can win
when they play against a defense that can’t stop the run, or can’t
stop either the run or the pass, and an offense that can’t offer a
threat by air or by land. But now they face the Philadelphia Eagles,
and we can see if Kirk Cousins can duplicate his Giants-killing form
against Carson Wendt, who seems to have the Eagles flying.
The Minnesota Wild is facing an unfair start to the season, with seven
of their first 10 games on the road. As they say, you can’t win the
division in the first two weeks of the season, but you can lose it.
Fortunately, the Wild has only to look at the St. Louis Blues for
inspiration, after the Blues were dead last in the entire NHL in
January, but rose up to win the Stanley Cup.
The University of Minnesota football team has it all figured out —
just make sure your opponent is either out of quarterbacks, using a
rookie quarterback, or sends its quarterbacks away to the injured list
early in any games. The Gophers may have started with a cupcake
schedule, barely beating South Dakota State, Fresno, and Georgia
Southern, but SDSU had a new quarterback, Fresno had a new
quarterback, and Georgia Southern had to use a backup QB. Then came
Purdue, where Elijah Sindelar just returned from a concussion to face
the Gophers, and the Gophers knocked him out with a new injury in the
first half. Next came Illinois, last weekend’s foe, which had to use
Brandon Peters, a transfer from Michigan, at quarterback, and the
Gophers knocked him out of commission. Now comes Nebraska, which has
all kinds of incentive against Minnesota, but may also be without its
quarterback, who is listed as questionable. Amazing string.
But now we return to AMSOIL Arena to observe the UMD women’s hockey
team, which has had nothing handed to it. Facing No. 3 Clarkson last
weekend, the Bulldogs came out firing on all cylinders Friday, and
sent sophomore Gabbie Hughes to work for a goal at 0:31 of the first
period for a 1-0 lead. Clarkson countered with a goal by Avery
Mitchell two minutes later, but captain Sydney Brodt regained the lead
at 2-1 for UMD. Then the Bulldogs hit the ice swarming the Clarkson
net in the first five minutes of the second period. Coach Matt
Desrosieres called a time out, at 5:25 of the second period.
Seems like he might have wanted to save the time out, but his players
said he just wanted to calm things down and put things back in order.
From then on, Clarkson got three goals, UMD none, and the Golden
Knights won 4-2. Brooke McQuigge and Michaela Pejzlova scored late in
the second period, and Elizabeth Giguere clinched it with a goal early
in the third period.
“I thought it was a great hockey game,” said UMD coach Maura Crowell,
who disputed the seeming change of momentum Clarkson enjoyed after the
time out. “We could have beat them.”
The next night, the Bulldogs did beat them, backing up their coach
with a strong performance, mainly thanks to goaltender Maddie Rooney,
who made 28 saves for the shutout. And, of course, Gabbie Hughes,
whose tendency to score the first goal in games continued when she
broke the scoreless tie with a fantastic goal at 11:30 of the second
period. Brodt rushed up the right side, as Anna Klein broke for the
net from the left. Noticing she was covered, Brodt looked for the
trailer, who happened to be center Gabbie Hughes, who took the puck
right to the net, making one move that froze the goaltender before
sliding the puck in.
In the third period, Clarkson pressed for the equalizer, outshooting
UMD 13-5, but Rooney stoned the UMD got a power play. Hughes got the
puck on the left side, and made a dazzling rush, putting the puck
between the skates of one defender, leaving a second one groping at
thin air, and rushing the net where a shot looked imminent. Instead,
she passed to the crease where Brodt was waiting for a quick
conversion at 11:28.
“So much better,” said Crowell. “No lapses. We didn’t give them many
Grade A chances. It was a big win for us to come back today.”
Minnesota State-Mankato, which was throttled 5-1, 7-1 by Minnesota
last weekend, comes to AMSOIL Arena for games at 3 p.m. Friday and
Saturday. After the stirring show of talent against Clarkson, the
Bulldogs are in perfect position to open the WCHA schedule.