Monday, March 4, 2013

Wild WCHA Weekend as Season Winds Down

Picture Became Very Clear Friday...Then Saturday Happened

A wild weekend in the WCHA saw only two sweeps, both in non-conference action.

In one sweep, Minnesota Duluth scored four goals in two consecutive games to down Alabama – Huntsville 4-2 and 4-0.  Friday was the first four goal output by the Bulldogs since January 12 when they scored five goals.  Going back further, the previous was at Alaska – Anchorage on December 14, 2012 when again UMD again scored five goals.  The four goals in each game was on UAH’s average of goals against (4.13).

The other sweep was Alaska – Anchorage being swept at the hands of Alaska.  The two losses give the Governor’s Cup to the Nanooks and continues a streak for UAA of one win in their last 20 games.
The WCHA games played this past weekend did more muddying up of the waters than anything.  

Saturday night presented a chance for Saint Cloud State to clinch a share of the title and many were rightfully disgusted that the league would not bring the MacNaughton Cup to Saint Cloud for the night.  Problem solved, because the cup wasn’t needed.

SCSU had control of the Friday game against Michigan Tech into the third period leading 4-0.  The MTU Huskies would not go away quietly scoring three straight in the final period before losing 5-3.  That offensive output seemed to set the table for MTU Saturday as they dominated the team who looked poised to have a strangle hold on the league title.

The Tech Huskies reeled off five goals before allowing SCSU one with less than three minutes remaining in the game for a 5-1 win.  The SCSU loss squandered the gains from Friday as the finish line nears.

A Friday night 2-0 shutout of the Gophers by Denver looked to end the likely chances of UMTC getting a share of the title.  The Denver win also propelled them into the home playoff hunt. 

A convincing Gopher win Saturday turned everything around.  Coupled with the SCSU loss, UMTC is back in the hunt and the Pioneers are currently out of the home ice position.  Yes, the #8 team in the PairWise is currently not aligned for home ice in their first round games!  Denver plays one more series next weekend at home against UAA, so chances of moving up are good.

North Dakota likely saw a chance to better their standing, but they likely never saw the challenge on the weekend coming from opponent Bemidji State.  The Beavers held UND to a 1-1 tie entering the third period Friday before losing 4-2.  Saturday BSU lead for the second straight night before UND came back, but that night it was only good enough for a 2-2 OT tie.

The results of the weekend leaves UND in second place tie with UMTC, trailing SCSU by two points.

Minnesota State Mankato salvaged a split with Colorado College on a Saturday night win that puts them in a 4th place tie with surprising Wisconsin who swept at Omaha.

Frantic Finish.  Four of the top six teams play each other this last weekend of the league season, SCSU at Wisconsin and North Dakota at MSUM.  That leaves Denver the only team that doesn’t have a chair in the home ice race and can move into the mix.

Denver is likely to get a chair when the music stops, but who will drop?  Most likely to drop are Wisconsin, MSUM, or Omaha in that order.  But as we found out last weekend, anything is possible!
Again, if you want to look at the possibilities, go to the What-if Calculator.

Up Next.  The Bulldogs will close out their last WCHA regular season hosting Omaha.  THe Mavericks will be trying desperately to rebound from a sweep and stay in the top half of the league for home ice.  The Mavericks swept UMD in November in a series in Omaha.

UMD will be scoreboard watching to see who will finish fourth and be the location the Bulldogs will travel to as they are stuck at ninth place.


  1. This is WAY off topic, but the Minnesota State High School tourney starts today and the local TV station that covers it put together this montage of last year's action. ...There may be a future Bulldog or two in there! :)

  2. Thanks Charlie and yes, there may be some future Bulldogs out there. Definitely it is a busy time of year for good hockey.