Originally written on Goon's World  |  Last updated 10/25/14
Here we are the middle of March and the playoffs have arrived in St. Could, Minneapolis, Grand Forks, Mankato, Madison, and Denver.  Congratulations to all those teams on a top half finish in the WCHA’s last season as we know it.  This is the first MacNaughton Cup title for SCSU, who are sharing it with UM (their 11th). I have included my preseason predicted finish number behind the points, I did okay on a few teams and completely missed on other… WCHA FINAL STANDINGS 2012-2013 Team………………………W-L-T………Points…..Prediction 1. St. Cloud St……………18-9-1.……….37----------5 2. Minnesota……………...16-7-2……..…37----------3 3. North Dakota.………….14-7-7………..35----------2 4. Minnesota State………16-11-1....…….33---------11 5. Wisconsin…....………..13-8-7………...33----------8 6. Denver…………..……..13-9-5..….......31-----------1 7. Nebraska-Omaha…......14-12-2…....…30----------7 8. Colorado College …….11-13-4..….….26----------6 9. Minnesota-Duluth….….10-13-5……….25----------4 10. Michigan Tech………..8-16-4…..…..20-----------9 11. Bemidji State……..…..6-15-7......…..17-----------10 12. Alaska-Anchorage…....2-19-6.....…..10-----------12 The # numbers below are current PAIRWISE rankings. 1st Round of WCHA Games - Best of 3 Series Alaska-Anchorage @ #10 St. Could St.  Last weekend the Seawolves were swept by the Pioneers (7-1, 6-1) in Denver with the Huskies split with the Badgers (4-2W, 3-2L) in Madison. 2012-13 series – tied 1-1-0 These teams clashed back on Nov30-Dec1 in Anchorage, with the Huskies prevailing in the opener 4-3 in overtime, and the Seawolves extracting revenge the next night with a 3-1 win.  I don’t remember if or when the top seed has ever lost in the first round and I don’t see it happening this year.  SCSU has too much talent and depth for UAA to keep up in a three game series, if it even goes three games.  HUSKIES SWEEP Bemidji St. @ #2 Minnesota Last weekend the Gophers swept the Beavers in Bemidji (4-3, 5-1). 2012-13 series – UM wins 2-0-0 This is interesting, since these two teams just played each other last weekend in Bemidji.  I don’t care what level of hockey it is, it is hard to beat anybody four games in a row.  The downside for the Gophers is, does playing the same team two weekends in a row cause a problem in the next round for them?  The pressure is on the Gophers to dispose of the Beavers in two games.  The Beavers would like to gnaw on the Gophers this weekend in Minneapolis and stay there for play next weekend in St. Paul.  Remember when BSU made the Final 2011, by beating UNO on the road, and then beating UMD in a play-in game before losing to DU in a semifinal?  Well, I don’t think they are going to be making that trip.  GOPHERS SWEEP Michigan Tech @ #5 North Dakota Last weekend NoDak split with MSUM (4-3W, 2-1Lot) in Mankato and the Huskies split (2-0W, 4-3L) with the CC Tigers in Houghton. 2012-13 series – UND wins 2-0-0 These two longtime foes played in Houghton in mid-December with NoDak sweeping by scores of 6-1 and 4-1.  If I’ve looked up the numbers right the last time MTU beat UND it was December 28, 2008 at the Great Lakes Invitational Tournament.  This could also be the last time these teams play for years to come with the new conference changes coming next season.  The Huskies have been playing much better the second half of this season, but they don’t have what it takes to knock off a top tier team in a best of three series.  NORTH DAKOTA SWEEP Colorado College @ #5 Denver Last weekend the Tigers split with the MTU Huskies (2-0L, 4-3W) in Houghton and the Pioneers swept (7-1, 6-1) the Seawolves in Denver. 2012-13 series – DU wins 2-1-1 The Pioneers swept the Tigers back in November and in February the Tigers won and tied DU.  This being a rivalry and playoff series at once should be a humdinger to watch, almost makes me wish I was in Colorado.  I think this will be a three game series with the home team prevailing, but I’ve been wrong before.  PIONEERS IN 3 Nebraska-Omaha @ #9 Minnesota State Last weekend the UNO Mavericks were swept by Bulldogs (5-4, 6-0) in Duluth and the MSUM Mavericks split with NoDak (4-3L, 2-1Wot) in Mankato. 2012-13 series – tied 1-1-0 The red and purple Mavericks locked horns back in mid-December in Omaha, Mankato won the opener 6-3 and Omaha won the closer 5-1.  Omaha has fallen hard the last two months, they have lost 7 of their last 9 games (8 of 10 if count the exhibition against the U-18 USA team) and their two wins are against UAA.  Before February rolled around, Omaha looked to be a top half finisher, and now they just look finished.  MINNESOTA STATE SWEEP Minnesota-Duluth @ #18 Wisconsin Last weekend the Bulldogs swept the UNO Mavericks (5-4, 6-0) in Duluth and the Badgers split (4-2L, 3-2W) with the SCSU Huskies in Madison. 2012-13 series – UW wins 1-0-1 It has been a while since these teams shared the ice, it was back in late October they played with the Badgers blanking the Bulldogs 2-0 and then they tied the following evening 2-2.  UMD is on their longest winning streak of the year at 4 in a row, sweeping UNO and UAH, and they tied the UM before to have a 5 game unbeaten stretch now.  UW has been one of the hotter teams in 2013 and have been playing good hockey as of late.  This is going to come down to which team wants it more and neither team is going to back down in these tilts.  I’m giving the nod to the home team, but just slightly.  BADGERS IN 3
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