I've been contemplating the Sioux's loss to Yale and the ending of the season over the weekend...all while fighting an infection in my tooth (painful).
What to say? The Sioux fell in the opening round of the NCAA's for the 2nd straight year and will be watching the Frozen Four on TV again. So why did this happen again this year? I have a few thoughts on the matter:
1. The Sioux ran out of gas. After playing 6 games in 9 days, they had to fly 1500 miles to the east coast to play a Yale team that had essentially a 3 week break. Simply put, the Sioux team was not rested for this game.
2. They were no longer the underdogs. Most of the season, the Sioux were playing from behind, be it on the scoreboard or in the standings. The team seemed to embrace that role, and it worked all the way through the Final Five, where no one expected them to do anything. Once in the regional, everyone expected the Sioux to go all the way. This could have presented problems.
3. The defense was banged up. Yes, I know good teams play through injuries, but when your best player is still suffering from concussion symptoms, another is out, and two others are playing through injuries, it's not easy. I hate using it as an excuse, but certainly could be a reason.
4. The Sioux underestimated Yale. It's possible that UND was thinking this game would be easy against a ratty ECAC team that has no clear cut goaltender and is missing it's best forward.
5. Yale overachieved. As the Sioux did in the Final Five, Yale might have just said F this and risen up. Let's be honest; they were playing with house money and when that happens, teams generally do very well.
I don't want to sit here and say that it's ok that the Sioux lost because it's not. I don't care that they "did better" then they were supposed to. Once you get to the playoffs, do your job and win games. At the same time, I still am proud of this team. They worked very hard in the face of some ridiculous adversity. Let's not forget that the Sioux are one of the premier teams in the NCAA and always have a target on their back.
That being said, as Sioux fans, sit back and enjoy the Frozen Four.
Good job Sioux, good game