It would be an exaggeration to use the phrase exponentially more important when talking about this upcoming weekend as compared to last weekend. It isn't like points in February have any more real value than points in October. But when there are so few remaining chances to get those valuable points then it sure seems exponentially more important than last weekend.
We all recognize (I think ...) that the Seawolves "woulda, shoulda, coulda" got 4 points out of the last two series against Minnesota and DU. But they only got 2. If you ran through the "what-if calculator" that I referenced earlier this week you probably recognize that to get to 6th place and win that coveted first time home-ice playoff series, the Seawolves don't quite control their own destiny.
In order to secure that bid, the team likely need some help from some other results around the league. So this weekend, we are all DU fans over CC. We are all UMD fans over Minnesota. We are also UNO fans over St. Cloud. As for the Bemidji/Mankato series; hope for a split. None of that matters much if the Seawolves don't sweep Michigan Tech though.
I want to thank frequent blog read and participant OnWolves for the following submission reprinted in whole here. It saved me a bit of work. Such participation from you guys is wholly appreciated and encouraged. What you see here is the result of research that is kinda pedantic and boring. I typically don't go to this level of detail for those reasons. So yeah, anytime someone wants to contribute in this way ... far out. You can often also find similar information in the UAA weekly release from the not-bothered-by-pedantic UAA SID Dallas Baldwin.
Spent some time analyzing stats of MTU vs UAA. The offenses of these teams look identical. Sad but true. They have more goals than UAA 58-54, same assists 96-96, similar penalties 135/333-133/343. However, UAA has played 2 fewer games, thus our goals per game is slightly better at 2.25 vs. MTU’s 2.23.
Their top scorer, Gordic, owns 11-6-17 totals in 26 games, next guy has 8 goals, then 6; almost identical to our own Grant, Bailey, Bruijsten trio. After those three, Tech has four guys with 4 goals on the year, 2 with 3, 2 with 2, and 7 with a lone goal. UAA fans will note that we have Parky and Wiles who have shown the ability find the twine, with 6 and 4 goals respectively, then Kwas and Cameron with 3 each, 3 with 2, and 7 with a lone goal… sound familiar?
The difference lies in the D and special teams. They have allowed 113G 197A in 26 games. UAA has allowed 74G 125A in 24 games, which is bad—11th in the league—but not as bad as Tech. Adjusting for the difference in games played, the ‘Wolves have still allowed some 33 fewer goals on the year than MTU. They have two goalies hovering around .890, we have Gundy at around .900 and Kamal at .864 but coming off a shutout against a relatively low octane Gophs squad. (though Gundy would probably disagree with my characterization of UM as low octane, they are 8th in the WCHA in scoring)
On special teams they have the second worst penalty kill in the WCHA, we have the worst power play… so pretty much a wash. Their power play is surprisingly effective at 19.6%, good enough for 7th in the league, while our PK is 80.7% putting us a 9th. The difference is that over the past 8 games the ‘Wolves have killed off 30 of 33 for a 90.9%, many of those 33 penalties being 5 minute majors (at least 3), the Husks have killed 25 of 33 for a less stellar 75.8%. From these stats we find that, while evenly matched overall, UAA has been better over the past two months. However, it should be noted that over the past two weekends MTU has killed off 16 of 17 penalties against Duluth and Wisconsin, so they have been rolling for that short period.
This series is an absolute must sweep if we want to stay in the hunt for home ice.
Thanks very much to OnWolves. I don't think I really need to say much more. This series against MTU is by no means a given. The Seawolves will need to play two games at their highest level. 60 minutes both nights will be needed to get these 4 points.