Jess Myers of Inside College Hockey tweeted about an interesting web site. It is called PlayoffStatus.com.
The site predicts the chances every team in the WCHA has to win the conference title, to make the NCAA tournament, etc. It assumes all future games are either won or loss with a probability based on relative team strengths.
So what does PlayoffStatus say about the Gophers?
* MacNaughton Cup/ The Gophers have a 41 percent probability of finishing first in the WCHA. UMD is a close second at 39 percent, then it's Denver at 17 percent. Every other team is at 2 percent or less.
The Gophers have a 30 percent probability of finishing second, a 20 percent chance of third. So the probability of them finishing in the top three is 91 percent.
* NCAA tournament/ The probability of the Gophers, who are No. 13 in the PairWise rankings, on making the national tournament is only 46 percent, according to PlayoffStatus.com. Two WCHA teams have much better chances; UMD's NCAA chances are put at 90 percent, Denver's at 62 percent. Right behind the Gophers is North Dakota at 42 percent, then there is a big drop to Colorado College at 23 percent and Bemidji State at 14 percent.
* Final Five/ The Gophers' chances of winning the Final Five and getting an automatic NCAA bid are set at 17 percent, North Dakota's at 12 percent. The Gophers have not qualified for the NCAA tournament the past three seasons and have not advanced to the Final Five in two seasons, losing a first-round conference playoff series in three games to North Dakota in 2010 and a home playoff series in two games to Alaska Anchorage last season.
To check out PlayoffStatus.com, click here.
NORTH DAKOTA TO PLAY OUTDOOR GAME IN '13
North Dakota and Nebraska Omaha will play an outdoor hockey game on Feb. 9 next season in Omaha at the ballpark home of the College World Series.
TD AmeritradePark Omaha will be the site of a hockey doubleheader a year from now. The Omaha Lancers and the Lincoln Stars, two USHL teams, will play the first game. The WCHA game will follow.
"This will be a tremendous event both for our long-time fans and folks who may be relatively new to college hockey," said Trev Alberts, UNO's director of athletics. "As we attempt to grow our flagship sport, a game like this will showcase all that UNO hockey has going for it --- a supportive community, great facilities, outstanding opponents and national exposure."
Said Mavericks coach Dean Blais, "Our players are already excited to play in a game like this, which is sure to receive plenty of local and national attention. We have had very competitive games against North Dakota since we joined the WCHA, and playing outdoors in front of a big crowd will only makes these games more fun for everyone."
* Former Wisconsin goalie Kirk Daubenspeck, who was injured in a car accident under foggy conditions a year ago, will drop the ceremonial first puck before the Badgers-Denver game on Friday at the Kohl Center.
* Colorado College played without three of its top five scorers, and defenseman Eamonn McDermott and goalie Josh Thorimbert last weekend at Bemidji State and got swept. The Tigers are hoping to get at least one or two players back for their series at Nebraska Omaha this weekend. CC has scored only 10 goals in its last six games. Three weekends ago, the Tigers split 2-1 decisions with the Gophers at Mariucci Arena.
* UMD sophomore J.T. Brown will miss the Bulldogs' series at Minnesota State Mankato this weekend. He suffered an upper body injury last Saturday against North Dakota.
* Ex-Gophers women's hockey coach Laura Halldorson has been named one of the assistants for the U.S. women's national team which is preparing to play in the IIHF World Championships from April 7-14 in Burlington, Vt. Halldorson's Gophers team won three national titles in 2000, '04 and '05.
Robb Stauber, a former all-america goalie for the Gophers, has been named the goalie coach for the U.S. women's national team.
* Denver coach George Gwozdecky on his weekly radio show said Friday's first period set the tone for the weekend against the Gophers. The Pioneers had 19 shots that opening period and led 3-1. They swept the Gophers 5-3 and 4-3 in overtime.