Tuesday, November 16, 2010

UMD Becomes Top Dog

Yes, it's a bad play on words.

Who cares?

The UMD men's hockey team is the nation's new No. 1 team, according to polls conducted by USCHO and USA Today. It's been over six years since the last time the Bulldogs were No. 1.

The numbers certainly are eye-catching so far. The Bulldogs are 9-1-2, marking the best start in the program's history. They lead all of Division I with those nine wins. They are in first place in the WCHA, ahead of a team that hasn't lost a league game ... ever (Nebraska-Omaha).

It's a hell of a start for UMD, but in the end, they know it's just a start. While some fans might actually look at this as some sort of curse, there isn't anything negative about it.

"It's exciting for UMD hockey," assistant coach Brett Larson told us on The Fan 1490 Monday. "We're gonna tell them, 'Congratulations, guys. Your hard work is starting to pay off.'"

Bottom line is that this is a blessing for UMD hockey. Not a curse in any way.

Yes, the No. 1 ranking in the regular season is meant to be lost. The only team that is guaranteed not to lose a No. 1 ranking is the team that wins the national championship in April. Other than that, the voters are just waiting for the No. 1 team to slip up so they can vote someone else in that position.

But that shouldn't stop anyone associated with the program or a fan of the program from celebrating.

UMD doesn't get here very often. The last time they did, they didn't stay, and the fall was gradual throughout the season. This time, there could be a second chance. The Bulldogs might not be good enough to sweep Wisconsin this weekend, which means they'll probably give up the No. 1 spot next week, but they are definitely good enough to stay in the mix for that ranking in future polls.

Enjoy the ride, UMD fans. Don't bellyache about the good things.

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