Goalie Dubnyk Saves Minnesota Wild

On January 13th, the Minnesota Wild were in need of salvation.

With a lukewarm 18-19-5 record, the Wild seemed destined to join the Twins, Vikings and Timberwolves in Minnesota pro sports purgatory by missing out on the playoffs in the 2014-2015 season.

And then an angel named Dubnyk arrived from Arizona.

The Wild acquired 28-year old Saskatchewan native Devan Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes a week before the All-Star break. Dubnyk, a journeyman goaltender, has been Minnesota hockey’s personal savior since heading north, resurrecting Mike Yeo’s underachieving squad from the depths of mediocrity and restoring the faith of Wild fans.

Since January 15th, Dubnyk has started every game for the streaking Wild. Through March 7th, he’s gone 18-3-1 with a .940 save percentage and a 1.60 GAA, while pitching 5 shutouts from between the pipes. As a result of Dubnyk’s stalwart netminding, with fewer than 20 games remaining on their schedule, the Wild are poised to capture a playoff spot when the regular season concludes about a month from now.

Here’s a graph depicting just how dramatic a difference Dubnyk has made for the Wild (Click to make it big):

Minnesota Wild Graph

As you can see from the data, with Dubnyk’s arrival Minnesota seemed to be born again, and their results on the ice have been remarkable. Since #40 first donned a red and green jersey on January 15th, the Wild’s wins have stacked up (18) while their losses have been few and far between (2 regular, plus 3 in overtime).

This second half regular season surge might be just the beginning of bigger things for the Wild this year. Historically, top notch goaltending is a key part of the formula for teams who’ve found success in the playoffs. Minnesota has a very talented roster of skaters and, if they can stay on track and lock up a decent seed for the postseason, may set out on a spirited run at hockey’s holy grail: Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Dubnyk has started two games after the chart above was created –a loss to the Avalanche and a dominant victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Image by: Brent Lee

 

‘Hairmantown’ & ‘Flowbio’ Highlight 2015 All Hockey Hair Team

all hockey hair team

The 2015 Minnesota State Boys’ Hockey Tournament wrapped up on Saturday night in St. Paul. Lakeville North won the AA Championship, capping off a perfect 31-0 season with a 4-1 victory over Duluth East in the final. In Class A, East Grand Forks won its second straight title, defeating Hermantown 5-4 in the championship game. (This was the 6th straight loss for Hermantown in the final. Ouch.)

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Minnesota Boys’ High School Hockey Tournament At Xcel Through Saturday

The State of Hockey will crown its high school champions this Saturday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Two teams — one from Class A and one from Class AA — will emerge from the 8-team brackets victorious, entering the history books as the 2015 titleholders in Minnesota’s favorite winter sport.

Here is a graphic showing the schools who’ve won the most state boys’ hockey championships in Minnesota history (Click to Enlarge):

Minnesota Boys High School Hockey Championships

This year, in the Class AA bracket, six perennial powers and two up-and-comers will battle for the title. Defending champions Edina, along with Duluth East, St. Thomas Academy, Hill-Murray, Eden Prairie and Blaine have all won the championship before — in fact, they have captured a whopping 28 state titles between them. The final two teams in the bracket — Bemidji and Lakeville North — have never won a championship, though the Panthers from Lakeville North enter the tournament as the undefeated top seed and look poised to change that.

The Class A bracket is wide open. Breck is the only team to have one multiple state championships (4), while five teams — New Ulm, New Prague, Mahtomedi, Spring Lake Park and St. Cloud Apollo — have never one a title. Last year’s champion was East Grand Forks, and Hermantown enters this year’s tournament with the #1 seed.

So, will Edina win their third straight state tournament and add a 13th championship banner to it’s rafters in the Class AA pool? In Class A, will Breck skate past the competition to collect their 5th Class A championship? Or will teams who have yet to taste the title hoist the trophy this Saturday night?

Here is the schedule — all games will be played at the Xcel Center and be televised on KSTC45.

Wednesday, March 4 — Class A Quarterfinals

11 a.m. — New Ulm (18-8-2) vs. Mahtomedi (24-2-2)
1 p.m. — New Prague (20-8) vs. East Grand Forks (23-4)
6 p.m. — Spring Lake Park (16-11-1) vs. Hermantown (25-2-1)
8 p.m. — St. Cloud Apollo (22-4-2) vs. Breck (21-7)

Thursday, March 5 — Class AA Quarterfinals

11 a.m. — Bemidji (23-3-2) vs. Edina (24-1-2)
1 p.m. — Duluth East (14-10-4) vs. St. Thomas Academy (24-4)
6 p.m. — Hill-Murray (21-7) vs. Lakeville North (28-0)
8 p.m. — Eden Prairie (18-9) vs. Blaine (22-5-1)

Friday, March 6

11 a.m. — Class A Semifinals
1 p.m. — Class A Semifinals
6 p.m. — Class AA Semifinals
8 p.m. — Class AA Semifinals

Saturday, March 7

9 a.m. — Class A 3rd Place
12 p.m. — Class A Championship
4 p.m. — Class AA 3rd Place
7 p.m. — Class AA Championship

 

Author’s Picks: Edina and Breck win, carving themselves out a little larger slice of the all-time championship puck pie.

 

Image via:  Brent Lee — Google

Gopher Men’s Hockey Set for NCAA Tournament

This past Sunday, the Golden Gopher women narrowly missed a chance to win their third consecutive NCAA Hockey Championship, falling to Clarkson University 5-4 in an unexpected heart-breaker.

This upcoming Saturday, the Gopher men will begin their pursuit of tournament glory, taking on Robert Morris at the Xcel Center in the opening round of the 16-team NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championships.

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Gopher Women Fall Just Shy of Three-Peat in Hockey

2014 NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Championship

Think about this: entering Sunday’s NCAA ‘Frozen Four’ Championship Game, Golden Gophers Women’s Hockey had not lost since November 17th of last year.

Spanning more than four months, the Gophers had gone unbeaten in 26 straight games.

But wait. There’s more. Much more.

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