It's the last week of the regular season, and little has been decided in the WCHA, other than Alaska-Anchorage will be the ninth seed and Michigan Tech will be 10th. The Mavericks? They'll be on the road, at one of five locations. For now, let's go to this week's coverage ...
Minnesota State has a home-and-home series against St. Cloud State. Mavericks coach Troy Jutting said he's disappointed that his team didn't get home ice for the playoffs but not disappointed in its play of late. Jutting told both The Free Press an the St. Cloud Times that midseason injuries are the chief reason why the Mavericks are four points behind the fifth-place teams and not four points ahead of them. As for the Huskies, they're playing for home ice, and Michael Olson is one of four seniors hoping tonight is not his last game at the National Hockey Center.
Also on the Times' site is writer Kevin Allenspach's all-WCHA picks. I'll unveil mine on the blog next week. So far, our picks look quite different (there are few obvious choices), but one thing he and PucKato have in common: We're both writing in MSU's Kael Mouilleirat as a third-team forward.
In Madison, Wis., tonight, North Dakota can win the McNaughton Cup as WCHA champions, something that might have seemed impossible last November. For those of us still trying to figure out the WCHA player of the year, Brad Schlossman makes a case for UND's Ryan Duncan, even though he's not a nominee. ... As for the Badgers, they can clinch home ice -- and a possible playoff date with Minnesota State -- with a win. However, junior Blake Geoffrion is out after suffering a knee injury last week in Mankato.
In Houghton, Mich., Minnesota is also fighting for its upper-division life -- the Gophers can finish as high as third and as low as eighth -- as it plays Michigan Tech, a team with just one WCHA victory this season. The Huskies do have something to be happy about, however, as senior Malcolm Gwilliam might be able to play again next year after suffering a stroke last November before a game in Minneapolis.
In Duluth, Minnesota Duluth is also in the hunt for home ice, and three players are drawing inspiration from older brothers who play hockey in other leagues. The Bulldogs host the spoiler-minded Seawolves of Alaska-Anchorage, who are having one of their best seasons as a road team.
In Denver, Denver is hosting rival Colorado College in a single game on Saturday. The Pioneers need to win that game and have North Dakota lose twice at Wisconsin to win the championship. The Tigers, meanwhile, brought in CC's club-team goalie to serve as a third-string practice goalie after backup Drew O'Connell went down with a season-ending injury.
CC's goalie story should be familiar to MSU fans. In 2002, the Mavericks did the same thing, bringing in club goalie Erik Gilbertson. Minnesota State even started Gilbertson on senior night and let him play the game's first 3 1/2 minutes.
Other WCHA previews can be found at INCH, USCHO and This is the WCHA.