Friday, March 14, 2014

Game 35: Western Michigan at UMD (NCHC First Round Game 1)

Win or go home.

That's playoff hockey to me, and that's what faces both these teams here this weekend.

Without the automatic bid, Western Michigan is not going to the NCAA Tournament. Without the automatic bid, UMD is likely not going, though Lloyd Christmas would be thrilled to know the Bulldogs still do have a shot without it. That minute opportunity revolves around winning this weekend and probably again next Friday in the NCHC semifinals.

For those who think this team is better off on the road, I'm told Western Michigan's travel plans weren't set in stone until Wednesday. They flew from Detroit (a couple hours from Kalamazoo) to Minneapolis and took a bus to Duluth. That might have been a normal trip to Duluth for them, but it's hard to claim creature comforts and routine on the road when you don't know all your details until the day before the trip.

Traveling this time of year -- on short notice -- can be a major pain. Athletes crave routine, even on the road, and it's hard to get that with this kind of travel.

And, no, I'm not going to change my tune if UMD loses this weekend. I don't care if 1,500 people show up for the games. The Bulldogs need to establish a presence and an attitude in this building. No better time than now.



Osterberg - Cameranesi - Crandall (Justin)
Farley - Herbert - Basaraba
Iafallo - Toninato - Krause
Tardy - Decowski - Spurrell

Soucy - Welinski
Johnson - Raskob
Corrin - Molenaar

Crandall (Aaron) - McNeely - Fons

Berschbach - Balisy - Kovacs
McKee - Mellor - Hadley
Hargrove - Kessel - LaPorte
Dries - Cichy - Novak

Nitsche - Morrison
Dienes - Fleming
Oesterle - Brown

Slubowski - Hafner

(Note: Hafner is starting. WMU lists goalies in numerical order.)

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