WEEKEND VIEWING: Both games will be on MidcoSN and Fox College Sports Central. There is NO DirecTV tonight. There IS DirecTV on Saturday (626). There IS a webcast for purchase at www.undsports.com and there WILL BE live chats that be tons of fun so come join.
It’s hard to believe how quickly this season went by, but it’s playoff time already. UND hosts Michigan Tech for the fourth time in six years in a first-round series. A berth at the last Final Five is at stake.
It’s also going to be a critical series for UND in the Pairwise Rankings. Look no further than Jim Dahl’s breakdown on SiouxSports.com. If UND wins the series, it appears to pretty much be a lock for an 11th straight NCAA tournament bid. If UND loses the series, it will head to the dangerous bubble area of the Pairwise and it will have to sweat out the next weekend.
UND has won a record 13 consecutive WCHA playoff games and is aiming for a fourth straight Broadmoor Trophy.
But the Tech team standing in the way is a lot different than the one they saw in December. For one, Tech was missing a few players at that time, like Tanner Kero, who has been one of the Huskies’ best in the second half. They will be playing a different goaltender and they boast the best power play in the nation since Jan. 1.
Michigan Tech says that UND exposed a lot of weak areas in their game during that December series, but since, they’ve made some fixes. Read about that in the Mining Gazette.
This week’s USCHO column details the race for the national attendance leader. For the first time since the Kohl Center went up, it will be UND this year. Read about that here.
Of note, only five non-NHL teams in the world had a higher average attendance than UND this year: SC Bern (Switzerland), Dynamo Minsk (Belarus), Eisbaren Berlin (Germany), Kolner Haie (Germany) and SKA St. Petersburg (Russia).
Speaking of European teams, here’s a random note for you. Brent Davidson’s team in Denmark was knocked out of the playoffs in overtime of Game 7. The overtime winner was scored by Michelle Karvinen’s brother (Davidson was out with a concussion at the end of the season).
UND’s players are going with the regular beards this postseason, but they’re adding a new twist. Check that story out here.
The last regular season as we know it provided quite a race down to the final day. We’ll see if the playoffs can provide the same entertainment. If you want a rundown on each matchup and my picks, here you go.
Also of note, Shattuck-St. Mary’s sensation Nathan Noel was scheduled to be visiting campus this weekend, but will not be able to because of poor road conditions. Noel, a 1997-born forward, is being mentioned as the possible No. 1 overall pick in the QMJHL draft and it would be a coup if a college could nab him.
We’re scheduled to have a gameday video blog posted today. Until then, here’s Through These Doors.