After a weekend that shocked many and was deemed unacceptable by most around the program, the UMD men's hockey team is back to work Monday in preparation for a weekend set against Alaska-Anchorage.
Saturday's 5-0 loss to Michigan Tech was UMD's first home loss since Oct. 15 to Minnesota, and the first time it had been shut out in a league game in over 100 games.
(Shutout losses to North Dakota at the 2010 Final Five and the Amsoil Arena opening game were officially non-conference games.)
There is no explanation from our standpoint for what happened. Honestly, I'd be surprised if the players could offer much. I'll be at the facility Tuesday, but don't expect to hear anyone say "Well, this is what really happened ..."
It's not that easy.
Add in the blown 4-0 lead on Friday, and Michigan Tech scored nine straight goals in the series to take three points.
These are tough times in Bulldog land. The best explanation I can come up with is the idea that a team that goes on the kind of run UMD went on (17 straight unbeaten, 20 of 21 without a loss before Saturday) is bound to struggle at some point.
No one in college hockey has been immune to it. Boston University -- No. 1 in the Pairwise entering the weekend -- was swept at home by Maine. Top six teams Notre Dame and Ohio State lost games over the weekend, too. The landscape is full of flawed teams who can't seem to find any consistency through this mid-season stretch.
Minnesota swept St. Cloud State, which is huge for the Gophers, but it's not like Minnesota was setting the world on fire prior to that.
Everyone has struggled, and now it's apparently UMD's turn.
The mindset now, though, has to be to stop the bleeding. UMD is still in a good position, but can ill afford a hiccup against Alaska-Anchorage this weekend. It's easier said than done, because the Bulldogs haven't swept a two-game series in Anchorage since 1996. Now'd be a good time to end that drought.
With North Dakota, Colorado College, and St. Cloud State on the schedule over the last four weekends, UMD needs four points here. It would be a huge step back in the right direction.