Dodge Holiday Classic
#6 Northeastern vs. #4 Minnesota Golden Gophers (8PM EST)
The Huskies picked up a solid 3-1 win over a pesky Western Michigan team in the first round of the Dodge Holiday Classic, setting up an excellent championship game vs. #4 Minnesota. Huskies netminder Brad Thiessen was, again, a sponge between the pipes, stopping 23 of 24 Bronco shots. WMU goalie Riley Gill also had a hell of a game, turning away 37 of the 40 shots he saw.
The NU power play struggled, going 0-6, although Wade MacLeod's goal (the third for NU) came at the end of a Husky power play, so the stats are a little misleading.
More troubling was Minnesota's 6-2 win over Brown. At one point, the Gophers were outshooting Brown 31-2, a stat you're not likely to see very often. Brown rallied to 4-2 from a 4-0 deficit but was unable to maintain momentum after playing from behind through two periods.
Tonight's game is heavily dependent on goaltending. Neither Minnesota nor Northeastern has a single player who is a go-to scoring threat, but both teams have excellent goalies who will likely keep the game a low-scoring affair. If the Huskies score 3, they should be in prime position to take home the trophy.
The game is on FCS-P and FSN-North (tape delay).
San Diego Chargers vs. Indianapolis Colts
With the Patriots off to Pebble Beach for an early tee time, the team least-deserving of their playoff berth, the San Diego Chargers, take on the Colts in San Diego at 5 PST tomorrow. The Chargers have always been my second team, largely a result of their proximity to Los Angeles and my general love for all things San Diego.
The Chargers defeated the Colts earlier this season, before NFL MVP Peyton Manning's knee stopped causing him trouble. The Rivers vs. Manning competition should be interesting, as playoff games are rarely pass-heavy events...that said, neither of these teams currently has a great running game. LaDanian Tomlinson strained his groin last week against the Broncos, so expect Darren "Lawn Gnome" Sproles to get lots of carries.
Predicting this one's tough. Let's go powder blue.