Last week Theresa: 9-2-1
Season Theresa: 129-74-24
Last week Tyler: 9-2-1
Season Theresa: 131-53-20
Oh hey look, everybody – it’s the last weekend of the regular season which means everybody plays everybody else. This year is also especially fun because we’re essentially deciding spots 2-11. All we know is that UND and MTU will play each other two weekends in a row. Now, onward!
No. 19 Minnesota (15-12-5, 12-10-4 WCHA) at Bemidji State (12-16-4, 8-14-4 WCHA)
Theresa: We all know that each team has a lot to play for this weekend, so I’m going to mention it now and not again so I don’t feel like a broken record again this week. With the exception of last week’s sweep at the hands of a rolling Sioux squad, the Beavers had been picking it up a little again (3-0-2 going into last weekend, along with a few close overtime games prior). The Gophers, on the other hand, may, after all season long, finally have found their stride (4-0-1 in their last five). BSU is a team that has surprised me all season long (hard to predict, in other words) and will probably do so again this week. Why do I mention this? Well, because I think Minnesota wants to for sure, 100% guarantee home ice, I’m calling a UM sweep (which, of course, means BSU will. But I’m sticking with the Gophers).
(and my math is kind of fuzzy (journalism major, duh), but I’m pretty positive the Gophers can still lose out on home ice due to one of the tiebreakers … since said tiebreakers are a tad confusing now that most teams don’t play four game series anymore. regardless, I think all they need is one point to clinch.)
Tyler: The Gophers can lock themselves into the fifth spot depending on what happens Friday. The key for Minnesota is to keep from getting complacent and simply take care of business in the first periods. The Beavers were playing a good stretch of hockey before they went to North Dakota last week so don’t expect BSU to roll over. Minnesota sweep.
Alaska-Anchorage (12-17-3, 10-14-2 WCHA) at Minnesota State (14-14-6, 8-14-4 WCHA)
Theresa: With the way the Seawolves have been playing this season, I would typically automatically call at least a split – if not more – for them here. However, they’re on the road this weekend and their road record isn’t so hot (3-10-0). Luckily for them, they’re playing the Mavericks, who sit just below them in the standings. MSU hasn’t had the best of luck this season and really, this should be a well-matched series. Therefore, I’m still going with the split – MSU Friday, UAA Saturday.
Tyler: The way the pesky Seawolves have taken points from some of the WCHA’s top teams, it’s hard to believe they are fighting for eighth place. MSU has played the WCHA’s top teams tough too, especially at home, but the Mavericks seem to struggle in games they’re expected to win. Split.
No. 12 Nebraska-Omaha (20-12-2, 16-8-2 WCHA) at No. 11 Minnesota-Duluth (19-8-6, 14-7-5 WCHA)
Theresa: In which two of the three teams battling for second play. No matter what happens this weekend, we’ve got two of the 2nd-thru-4th place teams right here, in their first meeting all season. The Bulldogs have been struggling lately, going 1-3-2 in their last six games … all games that they should have arguably won. The Mavericks, on the other hand, had for the most part regained the groove they had earlier in the season. UNO could surprise us here with a sweep, but I think I’ll go with the logical (to me) choice of a split – UNO Friday, UMD Saturday.
Tyler: Probably the best matchup on the docket with two of the best offenses in the league against average goaltending. Expect a lot of goals from both teams, expect Jack Connolly to win the scoring championship and expect UNO to pepper the Bulldogs’ net. The Mavericks always seem to send a lot of pucks on goal every game. UMD will come away on top this weekend if the Reiter/Crandall platoon stands tall. Split.
St. Cloud State (14-15-5, 10-12-4 WCHA) at No. 5 Denver (20-9-5, 16-7-3 WCHA)
Theresa: Another time two teams meet for the first time all season! SCSU has been fairly inconsistent all season (and highly frustrating for Husky fans), but has played arguably some of their best hockey in the last few weeks. The Pioneers, on the other hand, may quite possibly be falling apart – splits in their last four weekends. Plus, it’s never good when your coach still says there are things to really work on this late in the season. Is it possible Denver peaked too early (again)? All shall be revealed soon enough, of course. As for this weekend, I think a split is probably the most likely result, given both teams right now. SCSU Friday, DU Saturday.
Tyler: Denver is up and down just like it was at the end of the regular season last year and SCSU has caught the Pioneers at the right time. The Huskies are playing their best hockey since the holidays, scoring like they should be and have proven they’re able to skate with any team in any arena. SCSU desperately needed a leader when one of its assistant captains was dismissed/left the team and Drew LeBlanc has been that guy. The junior has 18 points in the 14 games since the New Year. Split.
No. 1 North Dakota (24-8-3, 19-6-1 WCHA) at Michigan Tech (4-26-4, 2-22-2 WCHA)
Theresa: Tech rule. UND sweep.
The Sioux are rolling once again and even though Tech plays teams tough, UND is finding ways to win right now. Coach Dave Hakstol has said his team isn’t taking the weekend off and he’s not resting anybody … which makes things tricky for MTU. Then again, it is the final weekend (senior night and all that) and Tech can surprise. Still, odds are pretty low of any other result. Wait until next week when the series will most likely go three.
Tyler: In a WCHA first round preview, the Fighting Sioux should have no problem getting a sweep as long as they jump on Tech early and don’t let the Huskies hang around. UND sweep.
No. 17 Colorado College (18-15-3, 12-12-2 WCHA) at No. 18 Wisconsin (19-13-4, 11-12-3 WCHA)
Theresa: In which we have the fun series that will most likely decide the final home ice spot (I believe SCSU still has a shot as well … but I think they need a whole lotta help). CC had a huge weekend last week, taking three points from Duluth and has proven they can skate with anybody. The Badgers, on the other hand, have been sliding badly – the team earned only one point the entire month of February. That being said, I don’t think this losing streak for UW will continue – particularly at home – much longer. As much as it will make my playoff-covering life miserable next week (boo hoo, I know), I think CC will get the points necessary to claim the final home ice spot. That’s right, I’m thinking splitsville – CC Friday, UW Saturday.
Tyler: This one’s for all the marbles (of home ice advantage). CC wins Friday and the teams will meet next week in Colorado Springs for the first round of the playoffs. If Wisconsin gets three points, it has the tiebreaker and the teams will meet in Madison. Check the column for keys to the series. CC, only needing two points, will win and lock up the No. 6 spot. Split.