It was two spirited games at Mariucci for the Bulldogs, but the result was the same as last weekend. Just as at Bemidji, UMD came away with one point with a Saturday night tie.
But the most recent one point weekend looked and felt better, if that has any bearing on anything. It seemed as though UMD wanted to win more than against the Beavers. It looks like UMD may be poised for a run if they can play so well for five of six periods against the #2 Gophers. But again, those are feelings, not statistics.
The statistics do show improvement. UMD held the top ranked power play in the nation to one goal on nine chances. After the horrid penalty kill of five kills on nine chances against Bemidji, recent results are a definite, quantitative improvement.
Additionally, goaltender McNeely is improving with some quality saves. But he is still being asked to do too many of those saves. At the same time, it is not against the rules to make a big save on a defensive slip up leaving the goalie to fend for himself. We watched Wilcox do it for the Gophers.
WCHA Outlook. As the season moves towards the end, possible first round matchups are taking center stage.
A tool has been created to predict the final standings of the WCHA and other leagues, called the What-If Calculator. You predict the outcome of remaining games and it give output of the league standings.
I have never boasted a great prognosticating mind, but I gave it a try anyway. My best guess is UMD will travel to North Dakota for the first round.
Go ahead and give it a try and post your best guess in the comments!