Sioux-Miami, The Last Time

By Elliot Olshansky - October 31, 2007

So, just because I can't pick games nearly as well as Greg Amsinger can doesn't mean I can't borrow his other putting humorous captions underneath action photos.

"Hey Phil, nice job, but do you have to be so darn good? How am I supposed to win the Hobey?"

OK, I should probably stick to commentary...

In all seriousness, it's amazing to look at this week's Hobey Baker Watch and see that the Sioux have the second, third, and fourth-place candidates in the Watch behind Michigan's Kevin Porter. That's pretty darn impressive, and it really speaks to the collection of talent that Dave Hakstol has assembled in Grand Forks.

Of course, the Sioux aren't No. 1 right now. Miami is, and there's certainly been quite a bit of conversation following yesterday's Tuesday @ the Rink chat involving myself, Dave Starman, Antoine Pitts and Ken Schott. Tim in Cleveland asked who would win in a hypothetical game between Miami and North Dakota. I've sampled some of the reaction to our discussion, and it would appear that neither the Sioux fans nor the Miami fans think their team got enough credit.

For the record, the last game between these teams was a 3-0 North Dakota win in the 2005 Lefty McFadden Invitational, which saw the RedHawks outshoot the Sioux, 37-22, only to run into a very hot Jordan Parise. Jonathan Toews and T.J. Oshie scored in their first collegiate game, and Drew Stafford got the other one.

It's certainly easy to look at North Dakota, look at Miami, and say that the Sioux would win, just based on the talent on both rosters. Of course, given that the Sioux really bring in the highest of the high-end kids, especially lately, you probably could have said that before each of the Sioux's last two NCAA tournament meetings with Boston College. No disrespect to BC - I mean it, none at all - but they don't have the same kind of high-level NHL draft picks that North Dakota does. Neither does Miami.

Ryan Jones knows that. Go back and listen to the audio interview I did with Jones last November. They bring the physicality and work ethic to the ice every night to go with some very good talent; Jones and Nathan Davis certainly don't have to take a backseat to anyone in college hockey right now, and Rico Blasi continues to attract high-end talent to Oxford...which really is a beautiful town with good hockey fans and a fantastic rink.

I'm also more inclined to believe that the Jeff Zatkoff we're seeing now is the real Jeff Zatkoff than I am to believe that the Jean-Philippe Lamoureux we're seeing is the real Jean-Philippe Lamoureux. Let's be honest: Lamoureux's not going to have too many stretches of four shutouts in five games this season. No one is. David Brown couldn't get more than two shutouts in five games last season. David McKee never managed more than three in five games in his Hobey Hat Trick season in 2004-05, and neither did David LeNeveu in his mind-blowing 2002-03 season. Brian Elliott did it once in 2005-06 (and then some, given that that stretch included the triple-OT battle with Cornell).

Geez, after reading that, maybe we should pencil Lamoureux into the Hobey Hat Trick. Oh wait, he's played five games. But I digress.

One more digression: look at those four goalies. None of them won the Hobey. The next time I write about why a particular goalie isn't going to win the Hobey, don't take it personally.

OK, now back to the point. Both teams have good goaltending. Both teams work very hard, and are extremely well-coached. Both teams can play physically, but also can put together those pretty goals. On paper, the high-end talent is more on the Sioux side.

I'm writing all of those things about North Dakota-Miami. But again, I could have written them about North Dakota-BC before either of the last two Frozen Fours.

I don't know who would win this game. It would depend on whether Nathan Davis is playing, and what the real Jean-Philippe Lamoureux is going to look like this season (I don't know how good he's going to be, but four shutouts in five games is decidedly unreal). I said as much in the chat yesterday.

I don't know who would win, but I will say this: a RedHawks-Sioux matchup in the NCAA tournament, should it happen, could be every bit as good as those North Dakota-BC matchups we've cherished the last couple of years.

Posted by Elliot Olshansky at 06:32 PM on October 31, 2007

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