Monday, February 27, 2012

Bulldogs Sweep Despite Playing Like Tigers

CC With Recent Late Collaspes Almost Takes Out UMD After Trailing

UMD swept Colorado College last weekend taking care of business leading up to the playoffs. At the same time, the Bulldogs locked up no worse than second in the final conference standings. More to come on that later.

The weekend sweep over the Tigers was not without some anxious moments, and don’t try to say they weren’t anxious.

UMD took a commanding 3-0 lead in the second period only to find themselves in OT tied 3-3. They did their best CC Tigers impersonation, and it was a good one. But UMD broke out of character, the CC character, just in time to save the game with a JT Brown goal in OT.

This is time to solidify things before the playoffs, not channel that 4-0 lead blow debacle against Michigan Tech from a few weeks ago. That is why it was anxious times. All UMD faithful wanted to see if the Bulldogs were really bouncing back or on the slide. Things do look good heading towards the playoffs.

No Worse Than 2. UMD has secured at least second place in the conference, which is important as we have said for months now. First and second place get first round byes at the Final Five, assuming that they reach Saint Paul. Of the six teams that head to the Xcel, four need to win three games in three days to take the playoff championship. UMD is now set up to be one of the two that needs only two wins.

The Bulldogs could win the MacNaughton Cup, but it is a long shot. The Gophers are up by two points and have the tie-breaker so UMD needs three more points than the Gophers this weekend.

UMD MacNaughton scenarios: If the Bulldogs are going to win it outright they cannot lose and the Gophers cannot win. If the Gophers tie and lose, the Bulldogs must sweep and if the Gophers are swept UMD can get away with a win and a tie. The cup will undoubtedly travel to Mariucci, but either way, it is a short drive from Minneapolis to Saint Cloud if the cup is won by the Bulldogs.

Speaking of the Xcel. I will unabashedly say that it would be great to see UMD back in Saint Paul for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. There is nothing to fear, Saint Paul may be the toughest regional to win, so why not go for it.

Of course the Bulldogs have no say in where they go for the NCAA’s. They aren’t the school hosting the regional, Minnesota – Twin Cities is and they will be in the West Regional.

I will not profess to be a bracketology guru, in fact those articles and speculation are just interesting reading once a week. But in looking at the current PWR and eyeballing banding of teams, it looks if things were set today, the West Region might very have a seeding like this:

  1. Michigan
  2. Minnesota – Twin Cities
  3. Michigan State
  4. North Dakota
Whoa! That would be a “Super-Regional” for attendance if not for quality hockey. It would be like the stars aligned for a Bi6 Ten preview/NCHC showdown.

Saint Cloud Up Next. The Huskies are coming off of a split against the Huskies of Michigan Tech last weekend in Houghton.

SCSU is vulnerable, but dangerous at the same time especially at home. It will not be an easy weekend for the Bulldogs as they have not swept in Saint Cloud since November 12-13, 1999. Since that sweep, UMD is 5-14-1 at SCSU.

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