Thursday, March 12, 2009

Name Your Cliché, Part II

Backs are against the wall in 80% of the WCHA this weekend. There may very well be no tomorrow after Sunday for much of the league. The reason is that mediocre play by the teams of WCHA this year leaves only two teams in the NCAA playoffs if they lose the first round series this weekend. To say it another way, eight of the teams need to win their first round series or their hopes of the NCAA's is done. North Dakota and Denver are firmly in the top ten according to the PWR on . Minnesota is right on the bubble at 13. CC is tied at 14. Our UMD is tied at 17 with Bucky, SCSU, AA and Mankato at 19-24 (they are right bunched up because of ties in the system). If all goes as planned with conference tournaments (and really, when does it?), the top 14 in the PWR go to the NCAA tourney. Its March madness, I guess...

PWR Helpers - Denver. Go Denver! After taking (escaping?) with only one of eight points against Anchorage this season, the Bulldogs PWR would benefit greatly from AA falling out of the top 25 in the PWR and thus being excluded from the Teams Under Consideration (TUC). If only the Dogs could have...would have...but that is in the past.

PWR Helpers - UMass - Lowell and Norther Michigan. Wins by these teams would also bolster UMD in the PWR. Lowell wins keep them in the TUC and wins by NMU would likely mean entering the TUC. Unfortunately they are both on the road in their respective tournaments.

Are You Serious? It is the last year of the CHA and finally the last year of teh CHA auto-bid to the NCAA tourney. The CHA tournament is this weekend at Bemidji and the Beavers are the favorite at a whopping 16-15-1 record. Maybe the only entrant from the State of Hockey? It could happen if the rest (UMD, UMTC, SCSU, MSU) all lose this weekend.

So What is the Best Shot at NCAA? If any team besides NoDak and Denver want into the NCAA, they need to get to Saint Paul. But this blog is really all about UMD and their chances. Is it good to be headed to Colorado Springs? Yes they have had success in Colorado, but at this point, they need to be focused on beating the team in the opposing jersey, wherever that team is from. If UMD is to be included in the NCAA tourney, they need to get to Saint Paul AND get to one of Friday's games (that would likely mean a win Thursday night). It would also be very helpful for Saint Cloud to clear the Gophers out of consideration in the first round. That paired with UMD beating CC would allow UMD to pass two teams in the PWR. Just win this series at CC!

This Weekend's WCHA First Round Playoff Series. It is that time of year when good teams win and the others go home for summer.
  1. #10 MTU at #1 NoDak: Case closed, Flickertails in 2.
  2. #9 Anchorage at #2 Denver: As said above, the Dogs would benefit from a Denver sweep, but one AA road win in 09 was at Denver. Judging from the poll on this page, at least one person believes that AA will continue their hot streak into the playoffs with a series win. I for one, see a Denver sweep.
  3. #8 Mankato at #3 Wisconsin: Upset #1, Purple Cows in three.
  4. #7 UMD at #4 CC: I want to say upset #2, but the Bulldogs of late February and March thus far are very unimpressive. Has Stalock been overused? Is the defense tired and exposed? They need to stop CC and get to Bachman early. I believe they can do it and so do the poll voters on this page, but it will take 3 games. It all rests on Friday, a win is a series win. A loss Friday and get out the golf sticks.
  5. #6 SCSU at #5 UMTC: Another pollsters favorite upset! But SCSU 0-4 against UMTC this regular season. Turn around? This series is ripe for upset. I honestly think that UMTC will pull through, but this is another Friday night is the night to tell the tale of the series.

Again, this is an important weekend for all those WCHA teams looking for NCAA bids. Gotta win, Dogs....gotta score!


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