Thursday, March 20, 2008

In Alex We Trust

And, then there was five left in the WCHA. Today marks the beginning of the WCHA Final Five, which pits five likely NCAA teams in one building (Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul). You have two teams battling for No. 1 seeds in Colorado College and North Dakota. Denver and St. Cloud State are trying to hang on to No. 2 seeds, while Minnesota is trying to give themselves some breathing room from the Pairwise cutoff line.

What does this mean? One heck of a weekend - five games in three days with one champion to be crowned.

It will be hard to top last year's finale, in which Blake Wheeler's unbelieveable diving shot won the championship for the Gophers. Who might be able to top that score? Freshman goaltender Alex Kangas.

Last weekend, Kangas made 115 saves on 119 shots - yes, that's a save percentage of 96.5%. For the season, his goals against average is 1.95 and his save percentage is 93% (both school records). Can he keep the streak going? He will have to for this offensive-challenged to move on.

In tonight's play-in game, St. Cloud State and its trio of stars - Ryan Lasch, Garrett Roe and Andreas Nodl - is riding high after sweeping Wisconsin on its home ice last weekend. Even goaltender Jase Waslowsky has been playing well lately after struggling with consistency for the first half of the season.

St. Cloud State is 8-1-2 in their last 11 games,and 4-0-3 against Minnesota — their longest unbeaten streak in the all-time series - since an 8-7 semifinal win in the 2006 Final Five. They beat the Gophers 3-1 on Jan. 11 at Mariucci Arena, then skated to a 4-4 tie the next night at the National Hockey Center.

I'll be down at the X for the Gophers 3-2 win tonight (that's a prediction). I see Colorado College and North Dakota in the finals with CC winning it all. All the action is on FSN.

To read more about tonight and this weekend - I give you links:
St. Cloud Times

St. Cloud TimesII

Star Tribune

Pioneer Press

Mankato player Jason Wiley, who elbowed Tom Pohl in the head, causing him to lose his helmet and forcing him into the boards last Sunday, visited Pohl in Rochester yesterday. What a classy move. I heard Wiley was pretty distraught after finding out Pohl had a skull fracture and had bleeding in the brain. Again, love to see the class.

To read more:
Star Tribune


alex said...

Pretty good prediction there.

The Scarlet Gopher said...

Solid prediction, PJS! Now, if you'd predicted a goal in the final minute, that might have been a bit eerie...

PJS said...

As much as I'd like to take credit for such a solid prediction, I cannot. My hockey contributor "The Sports Guy" authored the post and prediction above.

Kudos to the sports guy.

And quite a game it was. I actually watched most of the hockey game as opposed to the b-ball last night.

The Sports Guy said...

Put a face to the name - that's me with the sign:

Great game - Gophers are playing best hockey of the season, and there isn't any better timing than now.

alex said...

"In Alex we trust"
So true.

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