Three things from last weekend’s WCHA action:
1. Wildcats, Mavericks sweep to keep pace
First-place Northern Michigan and second-place Minnesota State — separated by just a point in the standings at the moment — both took six points on the weekend to stay where they are, at least for the time being. The Wildcats needed overtime to beat Alaska 2-1 on Friday and then toughed out a 4-1 win on Saturday that was much closer than the scoreline. The Mavs also needed overtime to win 3-2 Friday in Huntsville before getting a 6-1 win Saturday. So at least for one more week, the Wildcats remained atop the standings. However, NMU has next week off while MSU hosts Ferris State, which means the Mavericks can jump ahead of the Wildcats with yet another sweep. Bowling Green, which was off this weekend, can also gain on NMU with a positive series in Anchorage. The Falcons are eight points behind the Mavericks and nine points behind the Wildcats.
2. Lakers eliminate Seawolves
The first team officially out of WCHA playoff contention if Alaska Anchorage. The Seawolves, who have not made the playoffs since 2014, will miss out for the fourth straight season. They were swept away by Lake Superior State, 3-2 and 2-1, during their home series in Anchorage. UAA has just two wins this season and are officially locked in to the No. 10 slot for the second consecutive season. Since they made their Final Five run in 2014, they’ve finished last three times and ninth once — both out of playoff contention.
3. Three spots still up for grabs
The top five teams in the conference have clinched playoff spots, and the top three have clinched home ice. And with UAA eliminated, that leaves four teams battling for three slots: Alabama Huntsville, Alaska, Ferris State and Lake Superior State. How touch and go is it going to be for those four teams in the last two weeks? Well, those teams are separated by just four points. UAH has 30 points, UAF 29, Ferris 28 and LSSU 27. (Yikes!) Alaska and Ferris will each be in action this weekend for a chance to leap ahead of Huntsville (and each other) but nothing will be decided for sure until the final weekend of the season. (What else did you expect.)