Let us look at the bright side of Colorado College’s loss to St. Cloud State. And there is a bright side. Actually, a couple of them. First, by the look of the World Arena, not many Tigers fans saw the 3-1 loss in person. It’s the last time this season CC fans had the opportunity to see the Tigers play at home and the stands were hardly filled. Then for the fans who did show up, it was sad when the loudest cheer of the night came after the announcer said Minnesota Duluth was beating Denver 4-1. The other good thing about Sunday’s loss is the Tigers now have time to rest. Tigers coach Scott Owens knows his team will likely be a part of the 16-team field when the NCAA Tournament selections are made March 19. For the past few days, Owens has talked about his team needing to rest They were abysmal in Friday’s loss to the Huskies. They were better in Saturday’s victory and in Sunday’s loss. But, Owens said, the Tigers were still sluggish. “We’re a tired team, Owens said. “We either have six months to rest, or we have 11 days to rest.” Unless every conference tournament ends in an upset, the Tigers will be in the NCAA Tournament. The tournament fields 16 teams. Even after Sunday’s loss, the Tigers have a No. 10 rating in the PairWise, which is a simulation of the system used to determine the NCAA Tournament field. The PairWise rating can go up or down depending on future wins and losses of other teams. Odds are against the Tigers’ PairWise rating dropping seven points. The Tigers need to learn from the rival Pioneers. Two years ago, the Tigers defeated the Pioneers in Denver in the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. The Pioneers, much like the Tigers this year, had the chance to rest. A few weeks later, the Pioneers won a national championship. “That’s really what helped Denver win,” Owens said. “They were worse than us two years ago, when we beat them up there. “That’s the only thing that’s a positive. If you do get in the tournament, at least you’re going to get some rest instead of turning around and playing Duluth on Thursday. And if you win that, then you’ve got to play Minnesota or Wisconsin, then you’re done.” Instead the Tigers will be playing in a low elevation and on a smaller sheet of ice than the one at the World Arena, and they’ll be playing after a week and a half of rest. “We have a better chance of having success in the NCAAs with a 10-, 11-day break than with a 5-day break after two or three more games,” Owens said. Denver coach George Gwozdecky probably said the same thing two years ago. And the bright side of that — it worked. Columnist Milo F. Bryant can be reached at 636-0252 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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