...as everyone is well aware by now! :-p
Yes the Sioux have risen from 9th place to 1st in the WCHA, and this time, no one will catch them. A gritty 2-1 victory last night over the Wisconsin Badgers gave the Sioux 38 points, sole possession of 1st place and the MacNaughton Cup.
A very grinding game, the Badgers appeared to be frustrating the Sioux last night, clogging the passing lanes, shooting lanes, and skating lanes. The Sioux were really unable to generate a lot of good offensive pressure early on. But what struck me as interesting was how Wisconsin refused to keep the pressure on as well. They definitely could have had more offensive pressure, but once they got their 1 goal they seemed content to play with that one goal lead. I noted several times that the Sioux broke it out and already 3-4 Wisconsin players were back to stop the Sioux's offensive attack. I had a good feeling that North Dakota would be able to win the game; it would just take a Wisconsin mistake. And it came in good ol Jamie McBain, the "glorious" player of Wisconsin, who leads the WCHA defensemen in +/- on the - side. Watkins was given a gift and took full advantage of it. Shorthanded, nonetheless.
In the 3rd, the Sioux took advantage on the PP, with VandeVelde beating Connelly and sending the Sioux to a 2-1 victory. A hard fought game, a grind. As my buddy Steve said to me, good teams win the games they are supposed to, great teams find a way to win the games they shouldn't.
I hope the boys don't let up tonight. Keep 'Sconni at bay, and keep the momentum going into the playoffs.