Amidst the hubbub caused the college hockey players taking over the corridors of Xcel Energy Center for the WCHA Final Five, the Minnesota Wild held an afternoon practice.
After taking yesterday off after a three-game road trip, which the Wild swept the set, the team looked crisp and fresh. That’s what winning in two barns (Vancouver and Detroit) – where you haven’t won at in years – will do for a team.
Mike Rupp did not practice with the team, recovering from a lower-body injury. Tom Gilbert was skating and is expected to be a game-time decision tomorrow as the Wild hosts the San Jose Sharks in a matinee game at Xcel Energy Center at 1 p.m., due to the championship game of the Final Five, which will take place at 7 p.m.
Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo spoke to the media about the team’s recent success. You can really see the chemistry coming on the ice, even in practice, of late. The team is playing with a lot of confidence and in the recent win streak. The team is playing gritty hockey and, as cliché as it is, doing whatever it takes to win games.
With only 19 games remaining in the regular season, we’re finally seeing emerging trends around the Western Conference and there is definitely starting to be some separation between the top and bottom halves. However, with everything so jam packed, it will be crucial to continue to amass points down the home stretch.
Yeo also said that goaltender Josh Harding, who continues to receive treatment for multiple sclerosis, has been feeling “great” and is hopeful to return to practice.
It might’ve been buzzing in the hallway outside the club’s locker room as St. Cloud State University prepared to take on the University of Wisconsin, but it also was vibrant in the Wild locker room because many of the current players have WCHA and college hockey ties.
Nate Prosser’s Colorado College topped Zach Parise’s University of North Dakota in a thrilling, 4-3 overtime game last night. With the win, the Tigers advance to tonight’s semi-final game with the University of Minnesota.
In the afternoon game, Matt Cullen’s Huskies, co-MacNaughton Cup champions, take on Dany Heatley and Gilbert’s Badgers. The Badgers mauled the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks yesterday, 7-2.
My pick for the finals: Huskies vs. Gophers. I think we all know who I believe will win that matchup. #GOHUSKIESWOOOOO