Minnesota State, which was idle, is in 11th place in the standings. The Mavericks can't fall to 12th but they could move up to 10th or even (if my math is correct) ninth with a sweep over North Dakota this weekend and some losses by Bemidji State and Wisconsin, who play at Alaska Anchorage and Minnesota, respectively, this weekend.
If MSU stays in 11th, which appears to be the likeliest scenario, it will go to Minnesota Duluth or Minnesota for the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
Here's how the league standings and schedule look heading into the final weekend:
1. Minnesota 38 points (vs. Wisconsin)
2. Minnesota Duluth 36 (at St. Cloud State)
3. Denver 32 (at Nebraska Omaha)
4. North Dakota 29 (vs. Minnesota State)
5. T-Colorado College 27 (vs. Michigan Tech)
5. T-Nebraska Omaha 27 (vs. Denver)
7. Michigan Tech 26 (at Colorado College)
8. St. Cloud State 25 (vs. Minnesota Duluth)
9. Wisconsin 22 (at Minnesota)
10. Bemidji State 21 (at Alaska Anchorage)
11. Minnesota State 18 (at North Dakota)
12. Alaska Anchorage 11 (vs. Bemidji State)
So what else did I miss over vacation time?
Well, the MSU women's team had its season come to an end with a playoff sweep at Wisconsin. The top-ranked Badgers beat the Mavericks 7-0 and 7-0. Minnesota State closed out the season on a 15-game winless streak (0-14-1). On Friday, coach Eric Means was not on the bench, with the only explanation coming from a statement in a WCHA press release:
"After having some time to think about the events that occurred during our game at the University of Minnesota Duluth on February 17, I have decided to voluntarily step away from the bench for our first play-off game versus the University of Wisconsin to reflect more deeply about my actions last Friday. And although I have not been suspended by the league, I am confident that this time away from the game will provide the opportunity to consider how this situation might have been handled differently. I will have no further comments regarding this issue."At the end of the game in question (a 4-1 loss at Duluth), MSU's Lauren Smith was called for two major penalties, getting a game misconduct and a game disqualification as well. Afterwards, there was an apparent verbal confrontation between Means and Duluth coach Shannon Miller.
Meanwhile, over at Gustavus Adolphus, the men's team there not only advanced to the MIAC championship game with a 3-1 victory over St. John's on Saturday, but it will host the title game this weekend, thanks to St. Olaf's stunning upset of St. Thomas. The Gusties and the Oles will play at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday at the Don Roberts Ice Rink.
The Gustavus women will begin MIAC tournament play on Thursday night against the winner of Tuesday's game between Bethel and St. Olaf. If the Gusties win, they will host either St. Thomas or Concordia in the championship game on Saturday. The Gusties won the MIAC regular-season title.