Minnesota State v Wisconsin:
Matthew: Mike Hastings was richly deserving of his WCHA Coach of the Year honors this season as MSU has been marvelous in their first year under his tutelage. The problem, though, is that the Mavericks are winless all-time in the Final Five and were taken to the three-game limit last week against a Nebraska-Omaha team that floundered down the home stretch of the regular season, while Wisconsin swept Minnesota-Duluth last weekend and is in desperate need of a couple wins in the Final Five if UW is to make it into the NCAA tournament. MSU’s a virtual lock at this point for an NCAA at-large spot, so a loss here to a UW squad that has gone 18-5-5 since Nov. 30 wouldn’t be devastating. UW 3-1.
Tyler: I’m taking Wisconsin for some of the same reasons as Matthew. The Badgers looked solid against UMD in the first round while MSU struggled against a UNO team I expected MSU to sweep. I’ve liked Wisconsin on the small sheet all season because it fits the Badgers style. MSU’s fourth-ranked power play will give it a chance to be successful against Wisconsin’s penalty kill, which is ranked 40th, but I’m still taking the Badgers.
Colorado College v North Dakota:
Matthew: Joe Howe was phenomenal in the CC nets last weekend against arch-rival Denver, and he may well be experiencing a hot streak that sees the Tigers past North Dakota, too. I don’t see it happening, though, because I think this UND team has too many high-powered offensive weapons for CC to handle. Also, the Tigers went 0-for-10 on the power play against DU, and few teams can afford to do that against a club like UND’s which doesn’t give up a whole lot in its own zone. UND 4-1.
Tyler: The Tigers are playing their best hockey right now but UND has been playing more consistently since early February and is a better all-around team. UND will be able to take advantage of its opportunities and be able to get a few past CC, though the Tigers started playing better defensively. UND wins