There's a good chance Wisconsin and Denver will be squaring up in the first round of the WCHA playoffs in a few weeks. Photo: Nicole Haase.
PLAYOFFS? You're talking about PLAYOFFS?
...Yes, Jim Mora, I am.
There are two weeks left in the regular season for the Wisconsin men's hockey team, but they are regular in name only.
Head coach Mike Eaves spoke about the attitude his club needs to take into this weekends series at Bemidji, as well as next weekend at Minnesota.
"I know (Bemidji) plays well at home. And the way we played (Saturday vs Denver), I think the guys had a real sense of the way we need to go," Eaves noted in his weekly press conference.
"We've got to be playoff ready now. There's no reason to look at it any other way."
The Badgers enter the weekend tied for 10th place in the 12 team WCHA, but it's imperative for the Badgers to snowball the momentum they picked up from the 5-2 dominating effort against Denver last Saturday night.
It's likely that the Badgers will end up facing that same Denver club that they played last weekend in the first round of the playoffs.
According to the phenomenal website 'playoffstatus.com', we've learned that the highest seed that the Badgers can acquire in the WCHA playoffs is 8th, but they only have a 2% chance at doing so. The most likely scenario (68%), has the Badgers finishing 10th.
With the WCHA's format of the #1 seed hosting the #12 seed, that would likely pit the Badgers against the leagues #3 seed.
According to the playoffstatus.com website, the most likely #3 seed will be Denver at a 50% chance. North Dakota (18%), Minnesota-Duluth (14%), Nebraska-Omaha (7%), Minnesota (6%), and Colorado College (5%) are also possibilities.
The opponent shouldn't be what is concerning for the Badgers at this stage. They know that wherever they play in the first round will be outside of Madison and against a quality opponent.
What is incredibly important is that they carry some momentum into that series.
Wisconsin is just 1-8-1 on the road this season, but has played much better than the results may indicate.
Notching quality results on the road the next two weekends in Bemidji and Minneapolis could go a long ways into creating confidence for this young club wherever they may travel in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
Join the Badger conversation on Facebook! Go to our Facebook page and "like" us!
For more Wisconsin hockey coverage, follow Chuck on Twitter (@UWChuckSchwartz)
Chuck can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org