Goal one achieved: advancing to the Final Five in Saint Paul. One cannot take away the success in the best-of-three game series, but the fact that the Bulldogs needed three games to do it may prove to be costly for the goal of making the NCAA Tourney.
Behind stellar goaltending, solid defense, and balanced scoring the Bulldogs surged to the second round of the WCHA Playoffs with a 4-0 win over Colorado College at the DECC. The loss by CC ends their season.
To not follow CC to a season end, the Bulldogs must win. UMD is entering the Final Five as the only team of the five to not be as close to a guaranteed NCAA berth as it gets. In fact, UMD needs to get through Thursday’s Play-in game against North Dakota and even win one more to get a chance at the NCAA field. Bold statement, but how do we know what it takes is the question.
Again this year USCHO has their PairWise Predictor running. It is an interactive scenario generator where you choose the winners and losers and the PWR is calculated based on your choices. Without spending too much time yet on it, I have tried many possibilities and have come to the conclusion that UMD needs at least two wins to get in. Also, again this year I challenge you to look at the possiblilites and find if there is a way for UMD to get into the NCAA Tourney with only a Thursday win. Remember, at this point the top 14 get in because of the CHA and AHA champions not being in the PWR. Good luck and post comments if you find anything.
It again all comes down to how many conference winner “upsets” we see like Alabama – Huntsville’s CHA championship.
The bottom line remains that to continue the season UMD has to take care of their business and let the chips fall where they may.