Saturday, February 10, 2007

Pouty Pioneers Post Single Point

What a Winter Carnival weekend. After losing last year to a perennially strong University of Minnesota, the Huskies faced an equally formidable challenge with the University of Denver Pioneers making the trip to Houghton this year. Both games proved to be two of the most entertaining and exciting hockey games this season, but a Don Adam-like performance put on by official Marco Hunt allowed for two of the chippiest and dirty games this year as well.

The Pioneers and Huskies came out strong Friday night, allowing only a total of 6 shots on goal total in the first period. Both teams played a very physical, fast-paced game, and with few calls to keep them in check, the hits kept on coming. Scoring was sparse, with the Huskies taking a 2-1 advantage despite being outshot 24-16. Friday night brought some of the best defensive play by the Huskies as well, as most everything Denver threw at the net ended up bouncing off a Husky stick, knee pad or skate. The Pioneers felt the calls were somewhat one-sided, and ended the game on a sour note.

Senior forward Mike Handza decided to share a few choice names with Husky sophomore Justin St. Louis, apparently offended by the fact that St. Louis is black. He then hit St. Louis in the facemask three times, and threw a major temper-tantrum when Hunt finally decided to put him into the penalty box. Handza continued complaining, opening the penalty box door multiple times to argue with the officials and share more words with Jordan Foote and other Huskies near the scene. After the game, Coach George Gwozdecky decided to purchase some ice cream for his angry Pioneers back at their hotel, and another player also felt it necessary to remodel his room by adding a handmade hole to the wall.

Saturday evening brought the conclusion to the Winter Carnival series. A large crowd showed up once again to witness another nail biter, as the Huskies and Pioneers remained neck-and-neck for most of the evening. Curiosly absent from the game was Handza, taken off the ice during warmups. Denver came out hitting once again, losing freshman Brian Gifford to a checking from behind call early. The scoring remained even at 3-3 until Malcolm Gwilliam was able to find the back of the net on Glenn Fisher, who replaced Peter Mannino after two periods. The Huskies maintained their lead until Pioneer Chris Butler was able to fire a fast, bouncing puck at Rob Nolan, proving to be too hard of a read for the Husky goaltender. Both teams remained in a stalemate for the rest of the game, as well as the 5 minute overtime period, ending in a 4-4 tie.

The Huskies left the weekend with 3 more extremely vital WCHA points, as well as their latest Winter Carnival trophy, after missing it last year. Senior defenseman and captain Lars Helminen was chosen as the MVP, after spending a spectacular weekend both offensively and defensively, collecting points on three of the four goals Saturday, and one of the two Friday.

The Huskies are headed for a weekend off before facing the University of Wisconsin Badgers at home and finishing off the regular season in Minneapolis against the Gophers. The remaining 8 points will as usual be hard fought, but are more than within reach. Provided no more officiating farces like the one we saw this weekend occur, the end of the season should be quite exciting. The possibility of acquiring home playoff ice does not look very promising right now, but a run for the WCHA Final Five is not out of the picture with as well as the Huskies have been playing.


MeanEgirl said...

...Oh my god. That jelly donut looks DELICIOUS. Is that Krispy Kreme donut?

Goon said...

Boosh sweet article, I concure about the Pios.