I listened to the WCHA Correspondent talk to both Hakstol and Lucia this week about the upcoming series. The tone of their voices and the way they described the upcoming series were very different. She talked to Lucia on Monday and he sounded extremely confident, if not cocky. He didn't even know the name of the arena! He said something along the lines of "it's not even the Engelstad anymore....the Ralph!" Can you believe that? To me, it sounded like he just figures the Gophers will win and that will be that.
Hakstol on the other hand, sounded very business-as-usual. She asked him about the rivalry and coach Hakstol said that it shouldn't be a factor...because if it is, the players and team aren't focused. It seems the two coaches have a very different viewpoint on this series.
That being said, I'm trying to figure out how the Sioux can win this series. I get that they are the better team and I get that they are riding a 7 game win streak into the playoffs. But that doesn't matter. Nothing matters at this point. People are trying to convince me that the Sioux will make the NCAA's regardless of what happens in this series. I disagree. The Sioux need to make the F5 to make the NCAA's.
So...both teams can score goals. Both teams can hold opponents to shutouts and one goal games. So what does it come down to? I'm gonna go with goaltending. The X factor in this series is going to be goaltending. Both goalies have shown signs of brilliance, and both goalies have shown total incompetence at times. Ultimately, whoever has the goalie that decides to show up will win this game.
That being said, I still see the Gophers making the trip to St. Paul next weekend.