What seems to be a very long time ago, NCHC voters picked UMD to finish fifth and Omaha sixth.
Fast forward to the end of February and UMD is fifth and Omaha tied for third. And this weekend further determine where the teams will finish.
More importantly, PairWise ranking can rise or fall on the weekend. Falling in the PWR is nothing new to Omaha, once top three, now getting closer to the bubble. Omaha is currently at eighth.
Omaha's fall in the PWR is tied to their streak of four losses in their last five games. And that drop should not be ignored by UMD. The Bulldogs have the toughest schedule in the nation, but they have still struggled to put together wins. Ending the season at Western Michigan, a team that took five of six points on the weekend when WMU came to Duluth. The Bulldogs must focus for a strong finish over the next two weekends.
Speaking of almost, but not quite, swept, UMD and UND are the only two NCHC teams that have not been swept in any series, conference or non-confernce, this season. As a side note, the only time UMD has gone an entire season without being swept was 2010-11, the same when they won the national championship.
StatPack. UMD and Omaha by the stats:
|Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, NCAA, NCHC, Mav|
Picks by @afiskness. This weekend the NCHC teams are back at it with all eight teams in conference play. The top six teams all still have a chance to win the Julie and Spencer Penrose Memorial Cup. In my opinion last Saturdays third period and overtime let down likely cemented UMD to a fifth place finish. Of course there are other games this season where points that could have been picked up were also missed. Last Saturday's game in Oxford really shows how good this conference is and how close these teams are to each in ability.
Nebraska Omaha @ Minnesota Duluth: I am not sure what to expect out of the Mavericks this weekend on the road making this a tough pick. Since the Bulldogs the last few seasons have been a better road team then home I will go with a split.
Saint Cloud State @ North Dakota: This is a big rivalry series and the recent up swing in the Huskies play leads me to believe that this will be a split.
Miami @ Denver: Last Saturdays come from behind overtime win likely saved the Redwaks chance to win the confernce, unfortunately for them they are playing the red hot Pioneers. I like Denver morebin this series, but I think the Redhawks will have unough fightbin them to get a split.
Western Michigan @ Colorado College: Simply put the Tigers are out matched by all other teams in the conference, but the big ice and body clock will result in a split against the Broncos.