Sunday, February 27, 2011

Clear as mud

North Dakota defeated Bemidji State 5-1 on Sunday afternoon to clinch its 15th WCHA title. That means the Sioux will host Michigan Tech in the first round of the league playoffs in two weeks.

The other matchups? Well those will have to wait until next week's regular-season finales.

Minnesota State is currently tied for 10th place with Bemidji State. If I have my tiebreaker scenarios correct, the Beavers hold a slight edge over the Mavericks, based on goal differential (16-14). If things stay the same, MSU would go to Denver for the first round. But many things could change between now and then, and those changes could have the Mavericks as high as the eighth seed or as low as the 11th seed.

Next weekend's WCHA matchups include:

Alaska-Anchorage at Minnesota State
Nebraska-Omaha at Minnesota Duluth
North Dakota at Michigan Tech
Colorado College at Wisconsin
St. Cloud State at Denver
Minnesota at Bemidji State

One WCHA writer, the Star Tribune's Roman Augustoviz is already predicting the first-round matchups, and has the Mavs getting the ninth seed and going to Duluth for the playoffs. Seems like a reasonable spot to put MSU. Purple fans will be keeping their eyes on that Omaha-Duluth series, as well as the one involving Denver, which faces a much-improved St. Cloud State team (eight points in its last six games). But Minnesota, Colorado College and reeling Wisconsin (six-game winless streak, including five lossses) are still in the mix as potential MSU opponents, it appears.

UPDATE: More playoff predictions and analysis from Omaha's Chad Purcell and Western College Hockey blogger Chris Dilks.

No comments: