WCHA weekly preview: February 25-March 3

Weekly WCHA Preview logoThere are only two weeks left in the WCHA regular season, but much is still to be decided. Only six points separate first-place St. Cloud State from Denver and Wisconsin, who are tied for sixth place.

WCHA standings as of 2-25-13

WCHA standings as of 2-25-13

Minnesota Duluth, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, and Alaska Anchorage have all been eliminated from contention for a top-six place in the conference standings and thus for home-ice advantage in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. Alaska Anchorage is guaranteed to finish in last place.

That leaves St. Cloud State, Minnesota, Nebraska Omaha, North Dakota, Minnesota State, Denver, Wisconsin, and Colorado College fighting for home-ice advantage and the MacNaughton Cup.

In last week’s action, St. Cloud State split with Colorado College. St. Cloud’s loss on Saturday hurt badly for the Huskies, as it dropped them to 10th in the PairWise rankings, meaning they would be a low seed in the NCAA tournament if it started today.

Denver also split with North Dakota last week. Denver won Friday’s matchup 5-4 but got embarrassed in front of its home crowd in a 6-1 loss on Saturday.

In the other conference matchup, Minnesota took three out of four points from Minnesota Duluth.

In non-conference action, Nebraska Omaha lost an exhibition game to the US Under-18 Team, and Wisconsin blanked Division I independent Penn State 5-0.

This week features five WCHA matchups, each of which will affect the battle for playoff positioning and the MacNaughton Cup.

Wisconsin v. Nebraska Omaha

The MacNaughton Cup

Who will win the final MacNaughton Cup of the current incarnation of the WCHA?

  • Times/Locations:
    • Friday at Nebraska Omaha (6:37 p.m. CT)
    • Saturday at Nebraska Omaha (7:07 p.m. CT)
  • Records:
    • Wisconsin – 10-7-7 WCHA (T-6th), 14-10-7 overall
    • Nebraska Omaha – 14-8-2 WCHA (T-3rd), 18-12-2 overall
  • Last Ten Games:
    • Wisconsin – 5-3-2
    • Nebraska Omaha – 5-4-1
  • National Rankings:
    • Wisconsin – Received votes in USA Today, 16th USCHO, T-17th PairWise
    • Nebraska Omaha – 15th USA Today, 13th USCHO, T-20th PairWise
  • Head to Head:
    • Have not faced each other this season

Denver vs. Minnesota

  • Times/Locations:
    • Friday at Minnesota (7:07 p.m. CT)
    • Saturday at Minnesota (7:07 p.m. CT)
  • Records:
    • Denver – 11-8-5 WCHA (T-6th), 16-10-5 overall
    • Minnesota – 13-6-5 WCHA (2nd), 21-6-5 overall
  • Last Ten Games:
    • Denver – 4-4-2
    • Minnesota – 5-3-2
  • National Rankings:
    • Denver – 11th USA Today, 10th USCHO, T-13th PairWise
    • Minnesota – 2nd USA Today, 2nd USCHO, 2nd PairWise
  • Head to Head:
    • Have not faced each other this season

Bemidji State vs. North Dakota

  • Times/Locations:
    • Friday at North Dakota (7:37 p.m. CT)
    • Saturday at North Dakota (7:07 p.m. CT)
  • Records:
    • Bemidji State – 5-13-6 WCHA (T-10th), 6-17-7 overall
    • North Dakota - 12-6-6 WCHA (T-3rd), 17-9-6 overall
  • Last Ten Games:
    • Bemidji State - 1-6-3
    • North Dakota - 4-3-3
  • National Rankings:
    • Bemidji State - Unranked USA Today, Unranked USCHO, Unranked PairWise
    • North Dakota - 6th USA Today, 6th USCHO, 6th PairWise
  • Head to Head:
    • Have not faced each other this season

Michigan Tech vs. St. Cloud State

  • Times/Locations:
    • Friday at St. Cloud State (7:37 p.m. CT)
    • Saturday at St. Cloud State (7:07 p.m. CT)
  • Records:
    • Michigan Tech – 6-14-4 WCHA (T-10th), 10-16-4 overall
    • St. Cloud State - 16-7-1 WCHA (1st), 19-12-1 overall
  • Last Ten Games:
    • Michigan Tech - 4-5-1
    • St. Cloud State - 7-2-1
  • National Rankings:
    • Michigan Tech - Unranked USA Today, Unranked USCHO, Unranked PairWise
    • St. Cloud State - 9th USA Today, 7th USCHO, 10th PairWise
  • Head to Head:
    • Have not faced each other this season

Minnesota State vs. Colorado College

  • Times/Locations:
    • Friday at Colorado College (8:37 p.m. CT)
    • Saturday at Colorado College (8:07 p.m. CT)
  • Records:
    • Minnesota State – 14-9-1 WCHA (5th), 20-9-3 overall
    • Colorado College - 9-11-4 WCHA (8th), 12-15-5 overall
  • Last Ten Games:
    • Minnesota State - 6-3-1
    • Colorado College - 4-3-3
  • National Rankings:
    • Minnesota State - 7th USA Today, 9th USCHO, 7th PairWise
    • Colorado College - Unranked USA Today, Unranked USCHO, 30th PairWise
  • Head to Head:
    • Have not faced each other this season

Non-WCHA Matchups

Wisconsin hosts Penn State at 7:37 p.m. on Monday in the second game of a rare Sunday-Monday series.

Minnesota Duluth hosts Alabama-Huntsville on Friday and Saturday night. Alabama-Huntsville is a Division I independent that will join the reconstructed WCHA starting with the 2013-2014 season.

Alaska-Anchorage has a home-and-home series with in-state rival Alaska on Friday and Saturday night to decide the annual Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup.

Idle Teams

No WCHA teams are idle this week.

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