MCHA’s last weekend expected to be a thriller

 (Tim Brule)

With the final weekend of regular season upon us, five teams in the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association will be fighting for a spot in postseason playoff action. Adrian, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Marian have sealed their fate for the first-round of playoffs.

This week, I’ll examine the possible outcomes for this weekend with Finlandia, Lawrence, and Northland all within two points of each other and fighting to stay in the top three of the Northern Division. Lake Forest and Concordia hold a similar fate, as the Foresters only need one win, while the Falcons would need two wins and a loss to Lake Forest.

Let’s start with the Southern Division. Adrian clinched the regular season title two weekends ago for the sixth consecutive season. The Bulldogs earn a first-round bye and a ticket to the Harris Cup Four.  With a tie and win against Lake Forest, the MSOE Raiders have secured a first-round hosting gig at the Kern Center (Feb. 22-24).

Currently, Lake Forest has 15 points, which is good for third in the Southern Division. The Foresters will need one win this weekend to secure their spot in the postseason. Lake Forest is taking on Lawrence this weekend. The Foresters and Vikings have not played against each other this season.

Concordia’s fate will lie with a sweep of Lake Forest and two wins for the Falcons. Concordia is on an eight-game skid right now, going without a win since Jan. 12 against Finlandia. Concordia is facing Marian this weekend. The Falcons need the wins, while Marian can look to the postseason with confidence.

The Northern Division has much more on the line  this weekend. Marian sealed its fate with a sweep of Northland over the weekend. The Sabres are the top team in the North, and earned a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Finlandia is sitting narrowly in the second spot of the division with 14 points. The Lions swept past Lawrence this weekend, earning four points, giving them a two point “cushion” out of last place. They will take on Adrian this weekend; the Bulldogs haven’t lost a conference game yet this season.

Presently, Lawrence and Northland are closely behind Finlandia with 12 points apiece. After a sweep coming from Finlandia, Lawrence’s losing streak stands at five. The Vikings will be playing with desperation this weekend, as they take on Lake Forest.

Northland is taking on MSOE this weekend. The Lumberjacks were making vast improvements to their game before getting swept by Marian last weekend. Northland was shutout for the first time this season in a 3-0 loss in Friday’s game. I spoke with head coach Steve Fabiilli three weeks ago, where he stressed how the team is determined to make the postseason this year.

Needless to say, this weekend will be filled with all the excitement that the last regular-season games deserve. I am intrigued to see how the chips will fall and what teams will make it through to the first round of playoffs.