Minneapolis, MN – Following last night’s 5-5 tie against the Dugouts, Head Coach, Dan Bylsma sat in front of dozens of reporters with a big smile and an upbeat outlook on the Rink Rats’ chances of squeaking out a playoff spot. The Rink Rats have gone 3-0-1 since losing to the Fighting Irish, and Ryan Miller has looked outstanding in goal for the Rats, who are just two games away from securing a playoff spot for the 3rd year in a row.
The Rink Rats will travel to Nashville to take on the Stampede tonight and then back to Minnesota for the final game of the season against the Gorillas. Although the Gorillas and Stampede have struggled at times this season, Minnesota wants to leave nothing to chance.
“We know we need to play both teams to the best of our ability and the fact of the matter is that there’s still a chance to gain some ground in our conference,” stated Bylsma after the game. “Our guys are focused and ready to go. I haven’t seen Ryan play this well in a while and seeing Jamie Langenbrunner and Dave Krejci step up here recently has been a big positive. We have a lot of things going for us right now.”
The quest for the cup starts tonight against the Nashville Stampede. Minnesota, the Express, the Voodoo and the Fighting Irish all have a chance to clinch the final two spots over the next two games. The only other compelling race in the WHL is 1st place in the Wales Conference. The Saints have a one game lead on the Demons and are a half game ahead of the Icedogs. All of the other teams have home ice locked up and the Bulls, currently 17 games unbeaten, all but clinched the President’s Trophy weeks ago. One thing is for sure, it should be a fun finish to an exciting WHL season.