Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's Time For Hope

So is this the last weekend of the season? Do the UAA Seawolves go down in ignominious defeat or move on to the WCHA Final Five? Do they get blown out or turn in a prideful performance? Moving on to the Final Five at the Xcel Center is a pretty tall order. I don't have easy access to past results but I don't think a #10 has ever advanced against a #1. So does that mean UAA won't be the first to do it? Nope. The Seawolves could certainly pull a big upset and advance. I'd think odds makers would make it a pretty big number. But again, that doesn't mean it can't happen. If then it is possible to beat the Gophers and advance; exactly how the hell is that accomplished?

Well, that's the million dollar question isn't it? Does the team play the same style it's been playing? I wouldn't think so. The 'Wolves have given up 3.875 goals per game in their last 8 while scoring only 1.75 goals per. In that stretch they've played 3 "good games" (games where they had a chance to win and played up to their potential) but 4 of the 5 losses have been pretty ugly (8-2 loss, 4-0 loss, 5-2 loss, 5-0 loss). This all makes it evident that nothing other than the best effort this weekend can be successful. Nobody can take a night, period or even shift off and expect to win. Nobody. Not the 4th line grinders, not the defense and especially not the goaltender. Everyone will need to play their best hockey of the season. That's been the plan since the beginning of the year right? To be playing their best hockey in the playoffs? That's the word I've heard anyway.

But even with the Seawolves playing their best, the challenge is still pretty damn big; it's the Gophers. They'll possess the puck for long periods of time with their excellent passing. They'll work it on the power play and get great chances. They'll be playing in front of a fanbase that won't really be satisfied with anything other than two solid wins. What to hope for then? Hope for a stellar defensive game where UAA blocks shitloads of shots. Hope for a high percentage of success with any transitional chances. Hope that Lawson and/or Olthuis play the best games of their careers. Hope that Seawolves finish their power play chances while simultaneously hoping that the Gophers don't. Hope for a near perfect series. It'll take something close to that. The opponent this weekend has played it's crappy games already. And while they might make a mistake here or there this weekend I'm expecting them to be playing their best hockey. UAA players should have the same expectation.

From time to time this season the Seawolves have shown flashes of brilliance in their play. They've come up with some dominating physical and territorial play at times. I know they are capable of coming up with an effort that will not only make us fans proud but advance them to the Final Five. So as a fan there's naught left to do but hope.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

well said

Anonymous said...

A #10 has beaten a #1 before.

I don't remember the exact year, but it was Don Lucia's first year at CC. They came out of nowhere to win the WCHA title, but were upset in the first round of the playoffs by Michigan Tech and their hotter than hot goalie Jamie Ram. I think Ram stopped over 50 shots both nights and perhaps even had a shutout.

As a caveat to this story, this was when there was no auto-bid for league champions; and the tourney at this time was only 12 teams. As I recall, there was maybe two 'upsets' in league playoff title games and a couple of teams made it that normally wouldn't have. CC was left out of the tourney. The year after they came up with the 'Colorado College' rule about league champions getting auto-bids.

Anonymous said...

A couple of things that that UAA will have a chance to take advantage of is how poorly Minnesota's goaltending is playing along with Minnesota's lack of scoring in the last few games. Yes, Minnesota is capable of possessing the puck for extended periods of time and as was said UAA's goaltending will need to be very sharp. If they get that and frustrate Minnesota they will have the opportunity to counter-attack. Michigan Tech did this pretty well this past weekend so it can be done.

Goon said...

Get Game one and then anything is possible. The Gophers are prime for the picking, their goaltending sucks. The Goofers are good but they aren't world beaters.

Get a lead on them and they crumble.

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