The title got ya, I hope.
This marks the second season UND has played well and real life robbed me of the ride. Graduate School and full time employment means you get what you can get and you don't throw a fit, so to speak. Well, I accepted it... until Thursday night.
I watched the game and I thought bad for doing it. Why? Because, to me, I felt I've already done a grave disservice to UND and UND Fandom by being unable to watch the entire season for the second straight year. It felt, to me, like I was watching a blockbuster movie but instead of watching all 2.5 hours or so, I skip right to the last fight scene or final 20 minutes or so of the movie.
What I saw, however, was amazing. Brad Schlossman's comment section has a fan commenting that the arena was very silent, seeming uninspired or uninvolved. I argue the opposite. I think the entire arena was hyperinvolved. The problem is, there was no scoring. Both teams played emotionally stoic gameplans. The refs looked almost bored (despite they missed one crosscheck on Minnesota and something like 2 Too Many Men penalties on UND).
Dillon Simpson was playing his final game, it turns out, for UND. And he played like it was the final game of his life. He was outstanding. He failed to make the All American team (most likely the D-man from Alaska Fairbanks beat him out). That's the only "downside" for Simpson as an individual hockey player you could say of him. I already believe he goes down as one of the best players to wear a letter in UND history. I do think he inspired his assistants as well (to the point where I believe next year's Captain will be Stephane Pattyn and Grimaldi will take an 'A' on his sweater).
The Game? Minnesota needed to play run and gun, fast, possession style hockey. North Dakota couldn't afford it to become that kind of game. So North Dakota employed what I believe is the most boring style of game imaginable: The Badger Gameplan... The trap. Only, I guess my homer is showing when I thought it wasn't as boring as it could've been. It certainly wasn't good for my heart or my stress levels.
I've never seen UND employ that gameplan so perfectly in the past. NEVER. Minnesota was the more talented team top to bottom. They were the more complete team talent wise. I knew it. Brad Schlossman knew it. Brad predicted a 4-1 Minnesota win, no less. I thought it might've been a bit worse. But it wasn't. In fact, it very nearly was a nightmare for Minnesota.
In the end, Minnesota got Gothberg down on the first goal and did what ANY hockey player would have done in the closing second for the other: get the puck on net. Our goal, let's face it, was a great follow through by Gaarder but really was a fluke. Wilcox had a slight lapse in concentration and loosened up at the post and Gaarder slipped it in. 99.9% of the time Wilcox (nor Gothberg) wouldn't've let that puck by him.
So what of the season? As I sit here on Saturday, April 12th, I'm amazed at the lack of Gopher trolling going on both here and on Brad's blog. I've long ago abandoned USCHO and formerly known as Siouxsports message boards so I have no idea what is going on there. I expected Gopher fans to gloat and call us losers while I expected UND "fans" aka haters to dance about excitedly and start calling for Hakstol's head (somehow delusionally thinking that perhaps Blais would come back if we fired Hakstol and because of that, suddenly UND would go undefeated for the season...or whatever delusional garbage the UND haters who call themselves fans latch their parasitic mandibles to). I guess the Hakstol bashing was relegated to Twitter. That's ok, I've used Twitter in the past and I find that 90% of it is just people who are bored off their rockers telling the world how they feel they're important despite it not being true. When I was little, I called that playing pretend or makebelieve. Thank you Twitter for allowing people to visit their own Mr. Rogers' neighborhood.
Anyways, I can't say I was surprised or anything about the results of the season. I missed most of it (outside of reading Brad's blog or Goon's World). I resent Graduate School (but I won't resent the substantial pay raise I get when I graduate in one month) for losing track of my alma mater.
But we acquitted ourselves VERY well in Philly and I will NEVER belittle what these boys accomplished this year. I just wish I could've called myself a bigger part of the fandom picture than reality dictated.
Go UND. This fan has PRIDE for your accomplishments this year. Next year cannot come soon enough.