And It All Comes Down To This

Well, well, well. My hopeful foresight of two weeks ago came up one game short.

A border war is on the horizon for this weekend. What are the stakes? Only UVM’s chance to secure a home-ice playoff series for the first time since 2004-2005, the Cats’ last year in the ECAC hockey league.

After this past weekend’s split at home against Maine, the weekend to come arouses several different feelings.

Excitement, concern, urgency and disappointment are the most important of these feelings on what will be Vermont’s biggest weekend to date.

After the split with Maine and Boston University’s split against UMass, UVM and B.U. remain tied for second place in the conference. Behind them lie Providence and Boston College, each with a chance of gaining home-ice during the playoffs if they have a successful weekend.

So yeah, I’m excited.

This next weekend could prove to be the biggest weekend for UVM hockey in a few years and could herald the team as a force to be reckoned with in Hockey East in the near future –– in this, the Catamounts would be overcoming and not succumbing to what has been a sub-par Hockey East year.

I’m thinking about the home playoff series against Dartmouth all those years ago (ah, freshman year). I’m thinking about how completely nutty The Gut was for three nights that March. I’m thinking about UVM’s series win that year, and how it epitomized the importance of home ice.

As optimistic as I want to be, I’m concerned about the future, too.

UVM has not won at UNH in its short tenure in the Hockey East ranks. Our hockey team has only won three times ever in Durham. Those three wins come along with 29 losses and two draws.

This track record is neither impressive nor positive for the upcoming weekend. What it is, is a cause for concern, and yet…

…Yet the sense of urgency and maturity that has taken hold over this year’s team is still keeping that seed of hope alive in the back of my head. The urgency of the moment is having its effect on me, too.

I’m of the mind that this year, high hopes are not just a foolish pipe dream. Rather, this might just be the year that we overcome a powerful UNH team and prove something to ourselves, all the while proving something to the college hockey prognosticators who hold the cards over post-season at-large bids.

And then, I’m disappointed.

I’m not disappointed in the team. No, no, they’ve come together in such a fashion down the stretch, they’ve grown up and together so fast, that they could not possibly be the target of disappointment at this point in the season.

What I’m disappointed in is the timing and planning of what could potentially be a huge weekend for UVM and for UVM hockey.

The Hockey East home playoff series for which I pine falls on the last weekend of our spring break. The Gut will not be The Gut if the Cats come back to town.

And that, is disappointing.

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