Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What if?

Sitting on a late season bye this weekend, the Northern Michigan Wildcats will be forced to sit and watch, waiting to see if the rest of the CCHA will pass on by.

In theory, the Wildcats still could host a home playoff series if the following happens.

1) NMU sweeps Miami.


2) Lake Superior State only takes one total point from Michigan and Western Michigan (0-3-1). Both games are in Sault Ste. Marie.


3) Alaska only takes four total points from Notre Dame and Nebraska-Omaha without getting two wins. (1-2-2, 0-0-4). Both games are in Fairbanks.


4) Ferris State only takes six total points from Bowling Green at home and at Notre Dame (2-0-2, 3-1-0).


1) NMU takes three points from Miami with a win and a tie.


2) LSSU loses out, going 0-4-0 against Michigan and Western at home.


3) Alaska only takes three points at home against Notre Dame and UNO (1-2-1, 0-1-3).


4) Ferris State only takes five points against Bowling Green at home and at Notre Dame (2-1-1, 1-0-3).

The Wildcats will be eliminated from home-ice contention if they lose one game. They need at least three points and a lot of help.

If the help does not come, there are a number of places the Wildcats could travel to for the first round of the CCHA playoffs, specifically Alaska, Ohio State, Omaha, Western or Lake Superior State.

For the Wildcats, if you have to travel, Kalamazoo and Sault Ste. Marie would be your first choices. The series in the Soo would be all about revenge and it would also be a short trip. Western Michigan is also a winnable series and the travel is okay. Both the Lakers and Broncos have horrible records recently in the playoffs as well.

Omaha, Ohio State and Alaska (especially) would be awfully long trips, however, in 2003-04, NMU traveled to Fairbanks where they swept the Nanooks to advance to the CCHA Super Six.

NMU was a No. 7 seed that season in the playoffs and had been swept by UAF in Fairbanks during the regular season. I picked NMU to lose the series in three games that season and gave them no chance of winning that series, especially since Craig Kowalski was out for the season (Sorry for keeping that from you all that year but Walt Kyle wanted everyone to fear him coming back. It was off-the-record information and I was still trying to win over Walt. It all worked out, eh?).

I told my editor to plan for a season wrap up the next week and had told my professors that I would not be leaving for Detroit. By 3 a.m. on that Sunday morning, I was making hotel reservations, frantically e-mailing professors and eating crow.

Then NMU pulled another upset, beating Michigan State in Game 1 and extending my vacation. The point is, anything can happen come playoff time, even on the road.

It's not time to give up yet posters. We may still get our free beer after all.

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