Here we are, the regular season has ended and we begin the WCHA
playoffs. Congratulations to the Gophers, who captured their 12th WCHA regular season title by beating their arch-rival, the Badgers
, on Saturday night. The Bulldogs fell just a little short of a fourth league title and will have to settle for second this year. However, this weekend starts a new season for everyone, now it's do or do not, win two move on, lose two and your playoff season is over (for most teams).
Let’s look back at last year and compare it to this season. This year it took 28pts go get home ice and last year it also took 28 points to get home ice. Last year CC finished in 6th place with an even record too, 13-13-2, very similar to SCSU record of 12-12-4 this year. Both this year and last the 2nd place team had 37 points, and 3rd place had 36 points. It is funny how some things seem to stay the same.
WCHA FINAL STANDINGS 2011-2012
4. North Dakota.……….….16-11-1….……33
5. Colorado College ……..15-12-1……….31
6. St. Cloud St……………. 12-12-4………28
8. Michigan Tech………….11-13-4………26
9. Bemidji State……..……..11-14-3.……...25
11. Minnesota State……..…8-18-2...……..18
(#’s are current Pair Wise Rankings)
Michigan Tech @ #19 Colorado College
(season series - CC wins 2-0)
Last weekend these teams played each other with the Tigers sweeping the Huskies in Colorado Springs, 5-2 and 2-0.
With the sweep last weekend the Tigers improved their home record to 11-5-2 this season. The Huskies fell to 5-10-2 on the road last weekend in Colorado Springs. This series should be a tough fought one. It is hard to sweep the same team back to back weekends, and I don’t think it is going to happen. MTU has fought to hard this season to let it end on a four game losing skid to the same team. The Huskies need to score first in these games to take the crowd out of the equation. Also that will allow MTU to dictate the pace of the game. In the end, I think the Tigers will prevail, but it won’t be easy. TIGERS IN 3
Nebraska-Omaha @ #25 St. Cloud State
(season series - UNO wins 1-0-1)
Last weekend the UNO Mavericks
were swept by the Pioneers in Omaha and the Huskies took three points from the Bulldogs in St. Cloud.
These teams met back in late November in Omaha with the Mavericks winning the opener 4-3 and tying in the Saturday rematch, 2-2. The Huskies are heating up at the right time. SCSU is 3-1-1 in their last five and are 5-2-1 in their last eight. The Mavericks have been doing the opposite, they have cooled down, and you might say they have even gone cold. Their losses last weekend cost them home ice and now they hit the road. UNO has now hit a season worst four game losing streak, and have been reeling, going 2-8-1 over their last eleven games. The Mavericks have not swept anybody on the road this season, they closest they came was taking three points from BSU in November. The Mavericks might take a game from the Huskies at the National Hockey Center
, but I don’t think they will make it to St. Paul. HUSKIES SWEEP
Alaska-Anchorage @ #6t Minnesota
(season series - UM wins 2-0)
Last weekend the Seawolves were swept by the Beavers in Anchorage and the Gophers split with the Badgers in Minneapolis.
These teams met in Minneapolis back at the end of October, with the Gophers winning 5-0 in the opener and 3-1 in the finale. And I’m sure most everyone remembers what happened a year ago with the Gophers hosted the Seawolves in the first round, UAA swept them at Mariucci, 4-3 and 2-0. Since last year, these teams have changed significantly, the Gophers are much better than they were last year. The Seawolves have dropped off some since last season. I can’t recall the top seed in the WCHA losing the first round playoff series to the bottom team. On paper this should be a pair of slaughters, but you still have to play the games. I don’t think the Gophers will be over looking UAA this time around. GOPHERS SWEEP
Minnesota State @ #2t Minnesota-Duluth
(season series - UMD wins 3-0-1)
Last weekend the Mavericks were swept by the Sioux in Grand Forks and the Bulldogs got a point from the SCSU Huskies in St. Cloud.
These teams first played back in mid November in Duluth with the Bulldogs sweeping the games by scores of 5-2 and 7-3. They just played in three weeks ago in Mankato, with UMD winning Friday night 4-2 and then tying Saturday night 4-4. It is fairly obvious that the Mavericks need to hold the Bulldogs to less than four goals a game, if they want to make some noise in the post season. The Mavericks are 6-12-0 away from Mankato this year and the Bulldogs are 12-5-1 in Duluth this year. MSUM has their work cut out for them this weekend, but if they can clamp down defensively and get some timely saves they could make a series out of it. In the end, UMD just has to much fire power up front and the Mavericks cannot stymie them forever. BULLDOGS SWEEP
Bemidji State @ #13 North Dakota
(season series - UND wins 2-0)
Last weekend the Beavers swept the Seawolves in Anchorage and the Sioux swept the MSUM Mavericks in Grand Forks
These teams in Bemidji, back in November, with UND winning the game at the Sanford center by scores of 5-2 and 1-0. The Sioux are heating up late in the season they are 8-2-1 in their last eleven games. The Beavers snapped out of four game losing streak by sweeping the Seawolves last weekend. With those pair of wins BSU improved their road record to 6-10-2, meanwhile UND in 14-4-3 in Grand Forks this season. The Beavers need to play some solid defense in front of their net minder, if they hope to extend their season. UND just needs to play their up tempo game style and stay out of the penalty box, in order to prevail this weekend. The Sioux are heating up and that doesn’t bode well for the Beavers. SIOUX SWEEP
Wisconsin @ #11 Denver
(season series - CC wins 2-0)
Last weekend the Badgers split with the Gophers and the Pioneers swept the UNO Mavericks in Omaha.
These teams just played three weeks ago in Madison with the Pioneers winning on Friday 3-0 and the Badgers taking Saturday’s game 5-2. The Pioneers are 12-5-2 at Magness Arena and the Badgers are 4-9-1 away from the Kohl Center. The Badgers just had their four game winning streak snapped on Saturday night, but going 4-1-0 over their last five is a good sign for cardinal and white fans. The Pioneers have won three in a row and six of their last eight games, with the loses to UW and UND. DU was the pre-season favorite to win the league, and as of late they are looking like the team everyone was expecting. UW is playing with a lot of confidence right now and will give DU all they can handle and then some in this series. However, DU has some of the best top end talent in their forwards, which will be the difference maker in this series. PIONEERS IN 3