Final Five Return Not Exactly Worth The Wait
I’ll keep this brief since the more I type, the more likely I am to say something I’ll regret, and given the fan base I’m writing towards plus the magnitude of the game, I’m guessing most people saw what happened and aren’t in a big-time hurry to relive it.
There aren’t many moments over my 20 years or so of cheering for the Gophers that I can say I was embarrassed, but the third period of Friday’s loss to North Dakota was one of them. To completely dominate a team for the first 40 minutes of a playoff hockey game and then to come out with ZERO fight or effort in the third period when you KNEW the Sioux were going to come as hard as they possibly could is a total joke. This wasn’t about X’s and O’s or line matchups; this was about the Sioux throwing the kitchen sink at the Gophers and Minnesota subsequently playing scared and watching a 3-0 lead in the second period morph into a 6-3 loss.
Now the Gophers will almost assuredly be a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, while North Dakota will probably be the No. 1 seed in the West Regional if they can beat a gassed Denver team on Saturday. So, these two teams could meet in the regional final next Sunday on the same sheet of ice as they played on tonight. I’m fairly confident UND will be there. The Gophers? Not so much given Friday’s meltdown.