PlayoffStatus.com, a site I just found out about recently, say the Gophers' fortunes are looking up after their sweep of Bemidji State last weekend:
Probability of winning the WCHA regular-season title and claiming the MacNaughton Cup, 78 percent
Probability of making the NCAA tournament, 72 percent ... it was 46 percent last weekend
Probability of winning the Final Five ... 22 percent
Can't vouch for how accurate PlayoffStatus.com is, but it's interesting to take a peek at what it says.
LAST IRON MAN IN NETS?
Senior Kent Patterson has played every minute of every game -- except when the Gophers pulled him for an extra skater -- this season.
That leads to the question, has anyone ever done that before?
The University of Minnesota Gophers media guide suggests John Lothrop might have done it in the mid-1960s. But the numbers are a little fuzzy.
Lothrop played in 26 games in 1963-64 when the Gophers' record was 14-11-0, that's 25 games. The numbers don't quite add up.
The next season, Lothrop played in 29 games and the Gophers were 14-12-2.
In 1965-66, Lothrop played in 28 games and the Gophers were 16-11-0.
Do you spot a trend? He played in one more game each of those seasons than the Gophers played.
John Mariucci coached Lothrop all three seasons and was replaced by Glen Sonmor for 1966-67. Doug Woog, the ex-Gophers coach and now TV broadcaster, was a center and one of the team's leading scorers during Lothrop's three seasons as a goalie.
According to Minnesota Daily story written several years ago, the longest goaltending streaks in Gophers history are:
80 games John Lothrop, 193-66
61 Robb Stauber, 1987-89
54 Kent Patterson, 2010-present
51 Alex Kangas, 2008-09
Have to do some more digging on Lothrop's numbers. At any rate, Patterson has a chance to catch Stauber for second on this list. The Gophers have four regular-season conference games left and then will host a first-round WCHA playoff series, that's either two or three games. And if they win the at first-round series, they will be in the Final Five and possibly in the NCAA tournament.
So at a minimum, the Gophers will play at least six more games and, at most, if they advance to the national championship game, they could play as many as 14 games.