The margin for error is now almost completely gone.
by wearendhockey (2019-02-03 11:13:42)

There are two potential paths to the NCAA tournament for this team, although neither is likely.

The only sure thing is to win the conference playoff championship, which carries the automatic bid. The other way, and it is hardly a sure thing, will be to win out in the regular season and sweep a first round playoff series. A 9 game win streak against teams who average around 25th in the RPI right now would likely move the team far enough up the PWR chain that a single loss in a conference semi-final or a win there and a loss in the final probably would not drop them enough spots. We might be able to afford a loss on the road to Minnesota but losses at home to UM, WI or PSU will drop us like a rock.

Of course an at-large bid is entirely dependent on how many upsets there are in conference tournaments, and what the rest of the NCAA does over the next month. We can win, but since we're not playing any more teams in front of us in the RPI/PWR (unless we make the conference championship game) there is no guarantee we leapfrog anybody.

Missing the NCAA for this program means the regular season failed to live up to what I consider some pretty modest expectations. Missing it when you hit the holiday break in the top 5 in both the polls and the PWR is even harder to take. Yes, there were a couple of key players lost, but hockey is a physical game. Every team can expect to miss players over the course of a season, often for an extended period of time.

This team may yet get it done. It's a tough, steep hill to climb now though.