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Five Good Minutes: Previewing BC Women’s Hockey vs. Duluth With Runnin’ With The Dogs

The season starts Friday!

BC Athletics

Friend-Of-The-Blog Donna Carpenter from Runnin’ With The Dogs is one of the few WCHA people we tolerate here in our eastern-centric universe. RWD is the best Minnesota-Duluth blog out there, covering both UMD men’s and women’s hockey. We reached out to have Donna help us preview BC women’s hockey’s season-opening series against the Bulldogs this weekend.

We answered questions for Donna as well, which can be found right here at RWD.

BC Interruption: How cold does it get in Duluth, really? And as a follow up, why do people actually live there?

Runnin’ With The Dogs: It will sometimes be -20 F (-29 C) [ed. note: Celsius?? Seriously? You guys really are Canadian...] for days in a row. That's not really the problem, though. The problem is when it's still 32 F (0 C) [ed. note: Again with the “C”...] for a high temperature in April. Or when there's still ice on the lake at the end of May.

People live in Duluth because it is absolutely beautiful in every season. Or because they manufacture and distribute methamphetamines. And of course, for Bulldog hockey.

BCI: The BC vs. UMD games at Conte Forum last year were two of BC's closest games of their nearly-perfect season. How was Duluth able to keep those games under control?

RWD: Well, first of all, BC is probably not used to seeing challenging opponents during the regular season, so your players were probably not prepared. tUMD was also at an advantage, since our coaches had seen BC play many times while coaching/playing at Harvard, while BC did not have a scouting report on tDogs. The Dogs did not even have four full lines to play against BC, you'll recall, so really, you should probably be ashamed you didn't blow our doors off.

BCI: Is it true that a guy was walking his dog in Duluth once and it got eaten by a bear?

RWD: That's completely false, what kind of backwoods hick town do you think this is? It was a wolf, not a bear.

BCI: Now that you've watched the team for a year under Head Coach Maura Crowell, how would you describe the difference between her and Shannon Miller? And is there a different mood on the team under Crowell?

RWD: Coach Crowell is less intense than Coach Miller, but basically everyone is less intense than Coach Miller. I wouldn't mind it if Coach Crowell gave the refs the business a little more.

It's not really fair to compare moods on the team. Prior to Miller's last year, there was an assistant coaching change and roster cuts, then the coaching staff was informed of their non-renewals at mid-season, then a lawsuit was filed, then their trainer became gravely ill, and all the while the community and the local and national media was airing petty, sexist grievances and attacking the team as well as the coaching staff, blathering on about how women's hockey is the worst thing to happen and is responsible for emasculating the entire male population of this planet, etc. [ed. note: o.O]

They seemed to be in good spirits about the season when they came to my house to deliver my season tickets.

BCI: Do you take comfort in the fact that no matter how bad global warming gets, Duluth will still be basically just a rock-solid layer of permafrost with some buildings on it?

RWD: If Lake Superior rises significantly due to climate change, Superior, WI will drown and Duluth will stay high and dry up on our hill. Bring it on.

Our buildings are very nice.

BCI: With a young team and a new coach last year, it was a pretty rough season. What do you expect in year two under Crowell? And what would you consider a "successful season"?

RWD: tUMD should consider 3rd in the league a success, and that's where I expect them to land. The team will benefit from the significant losses (to graduation) of some of the other teams. That kind of sucks for women's hockey as a whole, since teams like SCSU and Buttmidji [ed. note: lol butt] and the Fhawks had made some great strides, but we shall pounce on those losers like a hungry wolf on a pet golden retriever.

I expect the team to make the WCHA tournament and become more competitive with the team from the southern branch of our university system. I do not expect them to make any progress against Wisconsin.

BCI: How many times have you personally witnessed someone being eaten be a bear or a wolf?

RWD: Zero, and I spend a significant amount of time out in the woods alone. I guess if I'm alone though, the only person I could witness being eaten is me.

The only times I have encountered bears is within the city limits, and they can't be bothered with me because they're usually feasting on sweet, sweet garbage. I mostly see deer, bunnies, and squirrels.

It me:

It her, apparently.

BCI: Michaela Cava looked like one of the best players on the ice in BC's games against Duluth last year, but she graduated at the end of last season. Who should BC fans look for this year as a player (or players) to watch?

RWD: Ashleigh Brykaliuk and Olympic bronze medalist Lara Stalder are the two best players for tDogs this year and will be carrying the load offensively, just as they did (with Cava) last year. I expect sophomore Reagan Haley to break out this year, and to see Maddie Rooney really take over in goal.

BCI: As Canadians, do you think it's unfair that the Bulldogs need to score 1.32 goals for every goal BC scores just to earn a tie? Is the worsening exchange rate the reason for UMD's rough '15-'16 season?

RWD: Unfortunately the Swedish Krona is hurting us just as badly. However, WCHAHE:CUR is in our favor, with one Hockey East goal only worth 0.756 WCHA goals. [ed. note: I actually alol’d at this. Well played.]

BCI: What's your official prediction for this weekend?

RWD: Friday BC 2, UMD 1; Saturday UMD 4, BC 1.

Many thanks to Donna from Runnin’ With The Dogs for being a good sport and taking the time to answer our questions. Don’t forget to check out the Runnin’ With The Dogs website, and follow RWD on Twitter at @runwiththedogs. Make sure you check out our answers to their questions over there as well.