Friday, August 29, 2008

WCHA to add NHL style shootout format to league play

It's official - shootouts will be part of the 2008-2009 WCHA season. (You can click on the link for full WCHA press release) Much has been debated about this subject amongst the coaching circles since the idea was batted around at the AHCA (American Hockey Coaches Association) Convention this past April in Naples, FL. The WCHA won't be the first women's NCAA D-I conference to implement a shootout format. It will be, however, the first Women's D-I conference to have shootout results count in league standings. College Hockey America (CHA) tinkered with a shootout format last year which had no bearing on league standings and was as used more from a promotional / fan-experience perspective. The Women's WCHA announcement comes on the heals of the CCHA's recent decision to re-introduce a shootout format which will have bearing on final league standings. I say 're-introduce' because in the mid-90's, Hockey East (Men) used a shootout format.

So what does this mean for the Women's WCHA? For starters it means every game will have a winner with the integrity of the NCAA selection process intact. What is lost, is the "Good Tie". After a 60 minutes of regulation and a 5 minute overtime tie, you have to follow it up with a shootout win to have it mean something. Lose the shootout and your opponent gains 1 point more than you. In the WCHA last season UND and St. Cloud had 4 ties followed by Wisconsin and OSU with 3, Minnesota, Mankato and Bemidji each with 2. MN-Duluth had 0. For the Sioux that could have meant possible wins against OSU, St. Cloud twice and Mankato.

On the men's side, the WCHA has no imediate plans to implement a shootout format. I'm sure curious eyes will be watching the CCHA and how well received the shootout format is this year before making any decision. Time will tell... UND's first WCHA game is Oct. 9 & 10 vs. St. Cloud at the Ralph.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Welcome to Let'sGoSioux!

Hello and welcome to the 'Official' blog of the University of North Dakota Women's Hockey Program - Let'sGoSioux! We are delighted you chose to stop and check us out. We are confident you will like what you read.

You can expect weekly updates on all matters relating the UND Women's Hockey, the WCHA and women's college hockey in general. So, let's get started!

New season set to start
The 2008 - 2009 season unofficially begins tomorrow with the first day of class. Officially, in the eyes of the NCAA, things won't get underway until September 20th which is the first official NCAA D-I practice date in women's ice hockey. It has been quite an active off-season for the Sioux. Around two-thirds of the team stayed on campus this summer to take classes and participate in on and off-ice captains' practices. This included returners as well as incoming freshmen.

New in town
At press-time, 10 new players will join the Sioux this year. 4 countries, 6 Canadian provinces and 4 US states will be represented. Quite a geographical change from in years past. Also new to the program is Kevin Vaughan, Director of Women's Hockey Operations. Kevin was the Asst. equipment manager for the Men's and Women's Hockey Programs at St. Cloud Stat
e University.

USA vs. CANADA U-18 and U-22 Series
The USA Under-18 Select Team went 2-1 vs. its archrival Canada this past weekend in Lake Placid, NY. The Under-18 Select Team won the first two games of the three game series 4-1 and 3-2 before losing 3-2 (ot) in game three. The USA Under-22 Select Team won it's first game 3-2 in a shootout before losing its next two, 7-2 and 4-3 (ot). That series was held in Pierrefonds, Quebec.

Two of UND's incoming recruits, defensemen Ashley Holmes (USA U-18 Select Team) and Alyssa Weibe (CANADA U-18 Team) played against one another in last summer's U-18 Select Series. Holmes received player-of-the-game honors in the first game of the series.