Saturday, March 7, 2009

Home Ice!

The Gophers stopped Friday night's bleeding and defeated Michigan Tech 2-0 in Houghton Saturday night. The win gave the Gophers fifth place in the WCHA and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs next weekend. Alex Kangas settled down after Friday's shaky performance and stopped all 21 Husky shots. The Gophers received goals from Ryan Stoa and Tony Lucia, who both capped fine offensive weekends with their performances tonight. Stoa's 21st of the year makes him the only WCHA skater to notch at least 20 goals in league play.

Elsewhere around the league:
  • Wisconsin beat North Dakota 4-1 to split their weekend. UND had already clinched the MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular season champion. The win gave Bucky a share of third place with Colorado College. The two teams split their two meetings in Colorado Springs, but the Badgers get the tie-breaker by virtue of having two more league wins.
  • MSU-Mankato and St. Cloud State tied at 4 (HT to the St. Cloud Times). The tie clinches sixth place for the Huskies. The Mavericks finish eighth.
  • UMD suffered a costly series sweep to the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, losing 4-3 at the DECC. UMD finishes seventh, while the Seawolves finish ninth.
  • Denver and Colorado College tied at 1. The Pioneers were going to finish second regardless of this game; CC tied Wisconsin for third, but loses the tie-breaker to the Badgers.

So, the first round match-ups this weekend are:

  • Michigan Tech at North Dakota - UND was 1-0-1 vs. MTU in conference play, but lost to Tech in non-conference action in the Great Lakes Invitational tournament
  • Alaska-Anchorage at Denver - Denver and UAA split two games in late January at Denver
  • MSU-Mankato at Wisconsin - MSU was 1-0-1 vs. Wisconsin this year in the teams' only two meetings
  • Minnesota-Duluth at Colorado College - CC was 1-0-1 against UMD in the Springs
  • St. Cloud State at Minnesota - UM won season series 4-0

The end-of-regular season PairWise (via shows the Gophers still on the bubble, but in much better shape than Saturday morning.

Monday's entry will try to look into the crystal ball and think of NCAA Tournament scenarios for your beloved Maroon and Gold.

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