The UMD Bulldogs hockey squad is off this weekend sitting at #13 on http://www.uscho.com/ PairWise Rankings (PWR). What can be better than a good rest before the final push to the playoffs? Well, ask the North Dakota Fighting Sioux the same thing and you might here some gripes. In the projections of the NCAA Hockey Tournament on USCHO, the Sioux went from in the tourney to outside looking in. And its not because they lost, won, or tied last weekend; it is because they were idle.
Bulldog surge in PWR Ranking? Thanks to UMass-Lowell and Northern Michigan picking up the pace, UMD's Teams Under Consideration (TUC) numbers are on the rise and thus the PWR. Go Hawks and Wildcats!
Big games this weekend in the WCHA: OK, let's just say all games this weekend are important to UMD's chances for home ice, a spot in Saint Paul and the NCAA's
1. Alaska-Anchorage at Minnesota. Can the Gophers turn around their dismal 2009? Can the Seawolves continue their mini hot-streak? Likely there will be a little of both, I believe. Look for a split.
2. Michigan Tech at Saint Cloud State. Let's not mince words, Tech is #2 in my book of teams I pull for, but this year has been brutal due to injuries in Houghton. The wildcard in this series is which SCSU will come to play, the inept team (the real SCSU) or the one that pulls off some wins. As much as I would like to see Tech take at least 2 points, I see SCSU leaping over UMD by taking at least 3.
3. Minnesota State at North Dakota. As much as Maverick fans want to believe that MSU has a shot at the upper half of the WHCA after their 4th and 5th wins against Minnesota in 39 tries all time. Right place at the right time taking advantage of a falling Gopher. Here, NoDak is on the warpath and only getting better, especially at the Ralph. Sweep for NoDak is predicted and needed to provide more space in the standings between the Mavs and UMD.
4. Denver at Colorado College. A Denver win in their one game this weekend would be a great help for UMD in the standings and it will happen this weekend.
As stated before, UMD is idle this weekend and can only watch from the sidelines. We will have to see how the college hockey landscape has changed after the weekend.