The chances of seven UMD men's hockey seniors finally getting a home ice playoff series took a huge blow over the weekend. The one-point weekend at Minnesota was ill-timed, because it means UMD no longer can finish in the top five of the WCHA without help.
However, it's not the end of the world. Dreams of home ice for the seven great kids who comprise the Bulldog senior class are not dead. Was it a huge blow? Yes. But it's not the death shot.
There are a number of scenarios that are realistic and could lead to UMD getting home ice.
It all starts with either three or four points against Alaska-Anchorage. Anything less than that, and all these scenarios begin to look less realistic.
If the season ended right now, UMD would finish seventh. They'd play a first-round series at Wisconsin. However, the Bulldogs are within striking distance of third-place Colorado College.
To get home ice, UMD needs help. If they can outpoint St. Cloud State (home and home against Minnesota State) and Minnesota (at Michigan Tech), they're in. The three teams each have 27 points, but UMD loses the tie-breaker with both teams, whether only two of them are tied or all three remain tied.
UMD could also pass Wisconsin if they sweep Alaska-Anchorage while Wisconsin gets no more than one point against North Dakota. A three-point weekend against Anchorage would require that Wisconsin get swept by North Dakota.
The Bulldogs pass Colorado College if they sweep UAA and CC loses to Denver Saturday. They could tie Colorado College (and win the head-to-head tie-breaker because of a 1-0-1 season record) if they get three points against UAA and CC loses to Denver.
The simplest way to put it: UMD needs to finish Saturday night having passed two teams in the standings. With CC playing a single game against Denver, Wisconsin playing red-hot North Dakota, Minnesota making a tough trip to Houghton, and St. Cloud State playing an inconsistent MSU outfit, there's no reason to think it can't happen.
If things don't work out, UMD will have a week to figure out their woes on Olympic ice. The Bulldogs have played series at Alaska-Anchorage, Colorado College, St. Cloud State, and Minnesota, plus a series at Wisconsin, who's rink is five feet short in width of being Olympic-size. The Bulldogs also played a single game at Northern Michigan. The record sits at 3-5-3 in these games, meaning half of UMD's losses have come on Olympic ice.
No matter how it works out, a road series would take place on Olympic ice for UMD.
Before I go, congrats to Bulldog senior MacGregor Sharp (in the above photo). His natural hat trick against Minnesota was the first hat trick by a Bulldog since October of 2004, and it is fitting that a guy who worked so hard on his goal-scoring touch over the off-season would pull it off.