From a fan blog writer's perspective, it doesn't get any more boring than having to come up with some sort of angle to write about Duluth. In a state full of boring 'bergs and cookie-cutter hockey programs Duluth is the median of the bell-curve.
Duluth doesn't have the Manifest Destiny history of someplace like racially monotone Mankato. There's no stinking nearby 100 year old refugee camp for Native Americans like Buttmidji. There's no Stearn's County Syndrome reputation like St. Cloud. Even their nickname is boring and unimaginative in comparison to the team just west of the western Minnesota border with the hostile and abusive nickname. Seriously, Duluth isn't even part of the famed "Iron Range". And I mean ... Bulldogs? Yeah, boooooring (and wheeeeezzzzyyyy).
So what's a blogger to do but provide a generic milquetoast preview? There is really just a limited number of Edmund Fitzgerald snarky references available. The least boring thing about Duluth is that it's almost in Wisconsin. So strap yourselves in (not really) as I detail (yawn) the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.
Connolly's and Fontaine. There you have it. I know that's some pretty well articulated and exciting info. Let's all pause now to take our blood pressure medicine before we get too overwhelmed with excitement eh? The Connolly's are not related. One is named Jack and the other Jill (I mean Mike). One has naturally curly Annie hair, the other doesn't. I forget which is which. One is 5'9" and the other is 5'8".
One weighs an appropriate 160lbs and the other is a fat ass at 190lbs. One has like 28 career goals and the other has 27 career goals. They're both juniors. One is from Duluth, the other from Calgary. Want to bet the one from Calgary is thrilled to not have grown up in Duluth? So far this season, they both have 3 goals and 5 assists in 4 games.
The other primary threat is Justin Fontaine. If that isn't a romance novel lead character's name then I just don't know my Harlequin books very well. Fontaine is from Bonnyville, Alberta and is a senior. As is the case with "the twins" he's only been on the ice once during his UMD career when his team actually beat the Seawolves. That's right. The Seawolves are a stellar 5-1-2 against UMD since Fontaine's freshman year. So far this year Justin has a 3 goals and 6 assists.
Sure, there are other hockey players on this UMD squad. Of note is former UAA netminder Kevin Reiter's little brother and also goalie Kenny. After that it get's even less interesting. There are a couple of decent defensemen in sophomore Dylan Olsen who almost scored as many points as Curtis Leinweber in the AJHL but only has one goal since arriving at UMD. Next is Brady Lamb (another Alberta product) who put up a nice 11 goals last year from the blueline.
And if I continue to describe anyone else I'll fall asleep right here at the keyboard. I swear I will. So that's it. Oh yeah .. the Bulldogs are "ranked" number 5 by the polls. For whatever that is worth. This will be UAA's 4th game out of 5 versus a "ranked" opponent.
The Seawolves better not be as bored as me with Duluth this weekend. Because, snark or not the guys I've talked about above and their mind numbingly boring entourage can put the puck in the back of the net at a non-boring rate. They're averaging 5.25 goals per game over the first 4 contests this season.
If the Seawolves can manage to play a tight defensive game keeping the lanes blocked and being committed in their end, then they'll leave Duluth with some WCHA points in the first conference series of the year.
I'll have a game day post up at least a couple of hours before game time tomorrow which is 4:07 (Alaska Standard Time). The CoverItLive chat room will be online about 15 mins or so prior to the game. Don't forget to get your credit cards out for the B2 (uh .. America One) webcast as it is the only way to watch this weekends game live.