We’re Back (She Says, Hesitantly)
tUMD 3, UMTC 5/tUMD 2, UMTC 2
I am, once again, of two minds about this past weekend. It seems like that’s happening a lot this season, but I guess success is a lot less confusing than… non-success.
This past weekend wasn’t a failure, not by a long shot, but I’m not going to call it a success. Really, I think we are past the point where “not getting swept” and “playing a good game” are successes. What simultaneously cheers and infuriates me is, that effort (and it was not the best effort ever in a hockey game, let’s make that clear) was enough to win probably half a dozen of our other games. I mean, tUMD had chances to win both of these games, and if not for some bad luck, they could have. (Of course, if not for some good luck, they would have lost in OT on Saturday night in the first 10 seconds, because I don’t know what happened there but I thought the game was over and the easiest OT goal over would have been scored.)
I certainly thought the games would be much more disastrous than they were. When tUMD went down 2-0 on a short-handed goal on Friday, I was ready to tap out on the evening. Justin Crandall was not, and the Dogs scored on the same power play. I can’t remember the last time I saw a SHG and a PPG on the same PP. I am sure I’ve seen it happen but haven’t noted it. Nevertheless, it’s a rarity.
The Gophers have to be glad they are parting ways with the Bulldogs at this point, because let’s face it: if Austin Farley was the groundskeeper in Caddyshack instead of Bill Murray, that gopher would have been dead and buried in like the first half hour of the film. Which unfortunately would have meant Judge Smails won the golfing competition.
Saturday’s game was hilarious. After scoring the game-winning goal on Friday night, a certain over-hyped Rodent player took himself completely out of the offensive portion of the game by attempting to play agitator. His scoring line for the night? 0-0-0 with a non-goal from a blatant high stick and one penalty that led to a Bulldog power play goal. Is there a such thing as getting into one’s own head? Effective chirpers, such as Mike Connolly, don’t let their gamesmanship affect their ability to effectively play hockey. There was a lot of crying from the Rodentia about the officiating, including a very fortunate-for-tUMD non-call late in the third, but we all know that this is the Season of Excuses from the Southern Branch of the University of Minnesota System. Bad ice! Bad refs! Other teams are goons! Other teams play styles of hockey that don’t let us just walk all over them! Oh the humanity! Sadly, though tUMD had a stellar chance to make about half the Gopher fanbase throw themselves into oncoming traffic during the OT PP for, of all things, too many men (which Gopher fans blamed the refs for, rather than their own players or coaches for the miscommunication), they couldn’t quite get the dagger through the hearts of the 8,000 or so people using their corporate tickets to entertain clients for the evening. (The other 2241 were Bulldog fans or students.)
I have high hopes for this team to finish the season strong. There’s no reason why they can’t win out or at least go 3-1 in the final two series of the season, and make some noise in the playoffs and get back to the Xcel. And then get an auto-bid to the NCAA tournament. And then win four games. 9 wins in a row isn’t unheard of; most of the members of this team were part of a 17-game unbeaten streak just a season ago. Seems totally possible to me!