Monday, March 28, 2005

Sisyphus the Greek

As expected, the first two rounds of the NCAA hockey tournament provided an exciting weekend of college hockey. If you were only interested in the winners there was no need to go any further than this post. Exactly as I forecast, the higher seed won every game except for North Dakota’s upset of Boston College.

Those of us fortunate enough to attend the West Regional at Mariucci Arena were treated to not one, but two Gopher overtime victories. The first game was controlled by the Gophers, but they just couldn’t get the biscuit past red hot Maine goalie Jimmy Howard. Chad the Elder spotted the problem during the first period: the Gophers were shooting too much at his excellent glove hand and not enough at his stick side. Finally in overtime, Evan Kaufman followed the Elder’s advice and scored the game winner on the stick side. Kaufman described it thus in the Star Tribune:

"I just fired it. I was talking to [backup] goaltender Justin Johnson and he said we were shooting to the glove hand all game. He said if we're going to beat him it's going to have to be to the blocker side. That's where I shot it."

If only Chad the Elder could have gotten word to the Gopher’s bench sooner, we would have been spared the stress of overtime. Hopefully Coach Lucia will supply the Elder his cell phone number so that he can phone in tips during the Frozen Four.

Also during Saturday’s game, I opined to the Elder at length my disappointment with the performance of senior forward Barry “Condor” Tallackson. As noted in this post, the Condor went out the next night and scored the game winner in overtime. Drunk with the excitement generated by this goal, I momentarily enshrined the Condor among my all-time Gopher favorites. But soon I sobered up: one good goal is not enough to overcome four years of wasted talent. Now, if he were to get the game winner in the finals, I just may start that Condor fan club …..

P.S. In my original post forecasting the NCAA tournament, I had the wrong match ups for the Frozen Four. The Gophers will be playing North Dakota, not Colorado College in the semi-finals. So my corrected predictions:
The two week layoff before the start of the Frozen Four will be just what the doctor ordered for the banged-up Gophers. The Sioux on the other hand will have time to cool off. I predict a relatively easy victory for the Gophers. In the other semi-final, Colorado College will reverse the outcome of the WCHA finals and crush Denver. Then in the finals Colorado College will prevail for their first national championship since 1957.

Gopher fans will be consoled by visions of phenom Phil Kessel in the maroon and gold next year.


Blogger Chad The Elder said...

I'm willing to settle for a spot behind the bench in Columbus. I can hang with Justin Johnson and help him open the door. And if need be, I can slap some sense into Mr. Hirsch in a manner reminiscent of General Patton.

4:00 PM  

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