Weekend of March 11-13

Well, we have our Final Five. Nos 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 (or UND, DU, UMD, CC, UAA, BSU).

(In some respects, it’s almost too bad Tech didn’t pull the upset – we would have had seeds 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12!)

Anyway, I’m preemptively apologizing for not going to go too in depth with everything that happened this weekend; three games in three nights (plus the time change) melted my brain … and I need to keep that fresh for the Final Five. And pack. And get ready to head to Minnesota. So, let’s get through this quickly, shall we?

Colorado College beat Wisconsin in three
– Well, the pre-series comments from the coaches regarding the series essentially being a best-of-five? Yeah, well, it definitely was. It also makes sense that the 6/7 series was the only one that went three games, too.
– UW won the first night, 3-1 before CC came back in the third in two straight games, winning 4-3 (in OT) and 2-1.
– Fun fact: On Saturday, CC’s freshman class broke the 100-point barrier  for the season thanks to two assists by Dakota Eveland and Jeff Collett, getting points 100 and 101. Unsurprisingly, Jaden Schwartz contributed a third of those points.
– Fun fact: (maybe …?) On Sunday, I heard it floating around that coming into the series, the Badgers hadn’t lost a third period lead (I believe in the playoffs) in 53 games … before doing it twice this weekend. However, I can’t seem to find the stat right now to double-check the accuracy.

Denver beat Minnesota State in two
– Despite the Mavericks putting up one heck of a fight.
– DU scored four goals in the third period to win 4-2 on Friday and then came back once again to win 3-2 Saturday in overtime.
– I felt bad for the Mavericks watching them on Saturday. They deserved a better fate than what they did. Still, Troy Jutting’s quote after the game was apt.
“Tonight’s game probably summarized our whole season,” he said. “Played extremely well against an exceptional hockey team, but left some goals on the table that you can’t leave if you’re going to win.”

Minnesota-Duluth beat St. Cloud State in two
– … or my failed upset pick.
– The Bulldogs, from the sounds of things, played the more complete game on Friday, winning 4-2 before edging the Huskies in triple-overtime on Saturday, 3-2.
– Fun fact from Friday’s USCHO recap: Kyle Schmidt cracked his helmet when he blocked a shot with his facemask. That’s thing you need to do in the playoffs.

Alaska-Anchorage beat Minnesota in two
– Well, I told the Seawolves to prove me wrong in my picks and they did.
– On Friday, UAA survived a Minnesota rally (up 3-0; Gophers tied it) to win 4-3 before scoring two third period goals on Saturday to win 2-0.
– Fun fact: Saturday’s eventual game-winner was the first goal - and point - of the season for Mickey Spencer.
– Fun fact: The Seawolves blocked a total of 50 shots on the weekend.
– Fun fact: Chris Kamal’s shutout on Saturday was the first ever for a Seawolf netminder in a WCHA playoff game.

North Dakota beat Michigan Tech in two
– Not that the Huskies didn’t make it interesting on Saturday.
– Friday, however, was more of the same as last weekend – UND crushed MTU, 8-0. On Saturday, the Huskies held an early 1-0 lead, before the Sioux added two quick goals in the second and an empty-netter for insurance to win 3-1.
– Friday was weird for the Sioux in that their scoring wasn’t as balanced as it had been: Matt Frattin had four points (3g, 1a), Jason Gregoire had a hat trick and Chay Genoway had four assists.
– Fun fact: the Sioux players did not touch the MacNaughton Cup when it was presented on Saturday.
“Our eyes are on the big picture,” defenseman Derrick LaPoint explained to USCHO’s Patrick C. Miller. “This is a great accomplishment for our team, but we’ve got more important things to accomplish.”

Bemidji State beat Nebraska-Omaha in two
– Law of averages? What law of averages? BSU continued their dominance over the Mavericks, going 5-0-1 this year against them.
– BSU took advantage of their opportunites on Friday, winning 4-2. They then overcame an early 1-0 deficit and survived a late onslaught to win, 3-2 on Saturday.
– Fun fact: BSU scored two goals on three shots in the third period on Friday and won, despite being outshot 48-17.

WCHA teams in the PairWise Rankings:
UND – 2nd
DU – t-6th
UMD – t-6th
UNO – t-13th
CC – t-13th
UM – 19th
UAA – 20th
SCSU – 21st
UW – 24th
BSU – t-25th