The game is over. The season is over, most likely, but we’ll get to that later. As tight as it was on the scoreboard, it really was a Sioux team a half step ahead of the Bulldogs.
If it wasn’t for Kenny Reiter making his best Stalock impersonation at the Final Five, it might have been a 5-0 game instead of only 2-0. “That has to rank right up there with my best performances…I just tried to give us the best chance to win,” said Reiter. He is correct and he was one of few outstanding player wearing maroon and gold Thursday night.
Even the coach, Scott Sandelin, believed that was the case as he said in his post game conference. “After the first shift we really didn’t show a spark…we were a half step behind all night.”
Both teams played three games last weekend, so that really can’t be the breaker. The teams are very familiar with each other as this was the fifth match between the teams this year. So why did the game go the way of the Sioux? The better team on the ice was the Sioux. But the Bulldogs would not go away. They had their moments and stuck around waiting for their chance to take charge.
That chance came early in the third period when Cody Danberg took a swing at a high puck in the slot. He made a connection and the puck bounced off goalie Brad Eidsness, off of Darcy Zajac’s skate and into the net. Red light on, refs in the review mode.
“I was told that two views showed a high stick,” said Sandelin concerning the waved off goal. The review was not was not affirmed on press row with many questions remaining about what those views that showed a high stick were. The issue of the puck going in off the Sioux player’s skate is still to be resolved in the minds of UMD faithful. Either way, UMD had to find ways to score. Those ways just didn’t happen.
It was a sluggish game for the Bulldogs. When asked about the “half step behind” comment, Sandelin talked about the team lacking speed and urgency to get the puck up the rink most of the night and the power play was not clicking (0 for 5).
"We live to fight another day," said Sioux coach Dave Hakstol after the game. The same as last year's Cinderella Story Bulldogs. The bottom line is that UMD was not the better team, but they were in this game and now must play the waiting game to see if this was the last scene for the 2009-2010 Bulldogs.
PWR and Rankings. As I write this article back in the press box after the SCSU 2-0 defeat of the Wisconsin Badgers, I cannot help but be interrupted by the other conference games on the TVs up here. Is there hope? Yes, but hope and a prayer is about all the Bulldogs have. It will take the other conferences to go in line as far as higher seeds winning…and it will take help from higher powers in the NCAA selection committee to get the Bulldogs in the tourney. I really don’t want tot be correct, but I put the chances of entrance into the NCAA’s at 1%, or even less.
Rankings Frustrations Part II. The CHA two game tournament pickle has been aired here already so we will move to Part II, the ECAC predicament.
This is not about the top ranked Yale Bulldogs being ousted in the first round. No, this is about the fact that no team from this eight team conference will have enough games played to make their TUC count in the rankings. The minimum is ten to kick in TUC.
We are talking about a major conference here and the top two teams, Yale and Cornell ranked 8th and 9th respectively, have not played tem games against the top 25 in the PWR yet…and they won’t until the NCAA Tournament when rankings are done being compiled!
Taking two teams from this conference will happen due to computer rankings. At some point, though, we must look up from the computer screens and use our heads to look at who teams are playing more than how many wins they have, and Common Opponents is not the cure to this problem.
We will stay tuned and keep running the PairWise Predictor to see what effect the games tonight have on UMD’s future of their season.