When the final ACHA rankings came two weeks ago the Bulls took the last open at large spot in the NECHL championship. Their first round opponent, #16 Colorado, is a big part of the reason UB is making a trip to nationals.
In the waning weeks of the season Colorado beat then #18 Colorado State twice. If CSU had won either of those games they might have jumped UB in the rankings and left the Bulls at home this coming Thursday. Instead UB has in in Cleveland and CSU is home watching.
Now the Bulls have a chance to "thank" Colorado by dropping them from the tournament.
To do so Buffalo may have to play their best game of the year. Colorado is a very well tested team coming from the Western Collegiate Hockey League. They have been tested against a half dozen top 25 teams in their conference. Among those teams is future NCAA program Arizona State and two other top 10 teams.
The "Buffs" are led in scoring by Jake Bauer who has 19 goals and 16 assists on the year. It's a modest stat line for a teams leading scorer but Colorado is a team which seems to thrive on offensive balance and defensive strength.
Bauer's 35 points are augmented by 23 each from Thomas and Pierce Maty.
In net Buffalo will probably face Alex Palumbo who has a save percentage slightly north of 90. In a league dominated by top 10 teams he managed to post a winning record and keep his goals against average at a healthy 2.91.
For Buffalo their are two questions
First off is "who to you put in net"?
Dylan Arnold statistically leads the ACHA in save percentage and goals against but Tyler Stark had a great run through the NECHL tournament. UB has two good net minders but it seems as that if fagigue is not an issue Coach Sal will lean towards Stark.
The second question is "How is Sean Dungan"?
Buffalo was comfortably beating Niagara in the NECHL championship game until Dugan was injured. Him leaving the game against the Purps seemed to suck the life out of UB and as a result the Bulls gave up three unanswered goals in the second half of the game, losing 5-4.
Puck drops tomorrow at 5:00pm and we will have a game thread here on Bull Run. If UB prevails they will take on #1 Arizona State on Friday.