The Mavericks will open WCHA tournament play tonight at third-ranked and defending national champion Minnesota Duluth. The best-of-three series will continue Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday. Since it's an even-numbered year, chances are it will go to Sunday. It happened for the Mavericks in 2004, '06, '08 and '10. Still, they haven't been able to get over the hump and get to St. Paul. Joe Schiller and the other seniors on the team certainly have that on their minds this weekend.
Read The Free Press' gameday preview here.
As for the Bulldogs, they have been carried all year by their veterans, including WCHA player of the year Jack Connolly and sophomore J.T. Brown. But, as the Duluth News-Tribune writers, their rookies have been rock-solid, too. Read their gameday preview here.
Going around the WCHA ...
Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota: The Seawolves face the stiffest test of the weekend, and know everything must go right if they're to upset the Gophers. Minnesota, meanwhile, are relishing its return to the top of the WCHA. The Star Tribune looks at the Gophers' seven seniors and what they've endured over their career to get there.
Wisconsin at Denver: The Badgers finished 10th but have a dangerous duo in WCHA defensive player of the year Justin Schultz and center Mark Zengerle. Will either be back next season? Schultz seems like a no-brainer to sign, and scouts say the free-agent Zengerle could be a hot prospect once Wisconsin's season ends. For the Pioneers, they're glad to have goalie Sam Brittain back from his knee injury and he could platoon with WCHA all-rookie team goalie Juho Olkinuora this weekend.
Bemidji State at North Dakota: The Beavers are ready for the second season that is the playoffs but have a tough first-round matchup at red-hot North Dakota. Despite suffering a multitude of injuries, UND has turned around its season like no other team in the conference.
In another interesting story, the Grand Forks Herald's Brad Schlossman examines the crazy number of broken panes of glass in college hockey this season. Some are saying that the pucks are too hard. Up at All Seasons Arena, Minnesota State's practice facility, the Mavericks have broken 16 panes of glass around the rink this season.
Nebraska Omaha at St. Cloud State: The red Mavericks head into the playoffs on a losing streak but believe they match up well with the Huskies. St. Cloud State, meanwhile, comes in on a bit of a roll and is expecting a physical series with Omaha.
Looking around the interwebs, INCH and College Hockey News pick their all-WCHA teams, while CHN also breaks down the playoffs. and award winners. USCHO does the same here.