The Game That Wasn’t
If the Bulldogs fall in double overtime, and I’m not there to see it, does it really happen?
Yes, yes. I am a terrible person and only made it to one Final Five game. (Thursday afternoon.) I don’t like it any more than you do. There is only one more Final Five left, and tUMD had better make it, and you had better believe that I will be taking those days off. And probably sobbing uncontrollably once the championship game is over.
When the conferences realign, it will, for the most part, be business as usual. tUMD will still have nearly the same opponents it does now. I will still attend as many games as I can, try to road trip (technically all games except the UMTC games are road trips for me) when I can, and occasionally see conference games on television.
Nothing will ever, ever replace the Final Five, however. It is a huge loss for me as a fan. And anyone who has attended a Final Five or two will say the same thing. I have been attending the Final Five since Northern Michigan was still playing in it. It is like attending a family reunion. Of course, my “real” family does attend, but so do dozens of people I truly enjoy, some who I see all the time and some who I only see a few times a year, always at the Final Five. It seems overly maudlin to be so focused on the end of the Final Five when we still have one more to go, but who knows? It could be tUMD’s last. It could be any of the teams’ last. And the ones who didn’t make it this year may not make it next year. This year’s hilariously epic Gopher-UND confrontation could be the last. UNO could go for their whole short stint in the WCHA without making the tournament (which would be sad for their fanbase. However, if they match up against tUMD in the first round, they’ll just have to stay home.) Next year, if the players in the WCHA have any sense of historical perspective, every first round game is going to be a knock-down, drag-out Battle Royale.
There were so many seasons of RWD where tDogs were on the golf course at this point in the season. (And this year would be an excellent year for golfing!) It is ridiculously cool that three out of the last four seasons (2011-12 inclusive), tUMD has still been playing. They are the only men’s D-1 ice hockey team in Minnesota who can say that. tUMD will travel to Woohstahhhh, Mass. to play Maine (where Jack Connolly will make Spencer Abbott look like a peewee, if Abbott can come back from injury), and then the winner of BC and AF. Two wins to get to Tampa. And then two wins in Tampa. #TampaTwo, if you’re nasty. And on Twitter.
There is absolutely no reason why tUMD can’t beat Maine and BC or Air Force. There is no reason why tUMD can’t beat ANY team in this tournament. They just need to 1. score goals and 2. play defence. The only question is, how do they top Kyle Schmidt’s snow angels?