Rankings. What are they good for? Gophers started at #1 and stayed for a good month plus, now they are out of the top 20. But they do give a little direction of the national view on a team's place in the greater picture of the sport.
That being said, this weekend will mark the fourth and fifth games for UMD where they will be playing a team out of the top 20 at the time of the game. Yes, even Notre Dame was in the top 20 when they met in October.
The resultant of that stat is that the Bulldogs have the #1 strength of schedule (SOS). And that SOS has kept them afloat in the PairWise as of late when UMD has had somewhat of a swoon.
That needs to end this weekend. The Bulldogs cannot rely on the SOS to save their ship now that it is February and the weekends are getting few. Wins are what counts more than ever now. And a sweep this weekend could rally go a long way.
StatPack. UMD and NMU by the stats:
|Images via Wikipedia: Bulldog, NCAA, Wildcat|
#10 Denver @ Colorado College: The Pioneers split with the Bulldogs last weekend and the Tigers got run out of their some rink by St. Cloud. This is a big rival game but even with the home ice Denver will win this game putting them up 2-0 for the Gold Pan Trophy.
Western Michigan vs. #8 Miami (Hockey City Classic, Chicago, IL): This outdoor game should be a good matchup. Last weekend these two teams played to tie in Kalamazoo and I think we will see the same result.
Northern Michigan @ Minnesota Duluth: The old WCHA rivalry gets rekindled this weekend at AMSOIL Arena. The Wildcats have not played well in the road this year and will have to rely on goaltender Mathais Dahlstrom to carry them against the Bulldogs. UMD inconsistency at home is worrisome, but I think they will be able to light the lamp and get a sweep.