Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Getting ready for St. Paul

A few notes from Tuesday's conference call between with the WCHA Final Five coaches ...

• Commissioner Bruce McLeod said that a record number of ticket packages have already been sold, and the league is expecting to surpass record income from the tournament set in 2007.

• This year was the closest WCHA regular-season race ever with just four points separating the top six teams.

• St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko gave a shout-out to MSU's Mike Hastings, WCHA coach of the year and a SCSU grad.

• Three of the coaches — Hastings, Motzko and Colorado College's Scott Owens — have been assistant coaches for Minnesota's Don Lucia.

• Quote from Lucia: "I think we could play this tournament three or four times in a row and have three or four winners."

• North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said Michigan Tech gave his team "one of the toughest first-round series we've had since I've been here. It was a great series that pushed us to be better." Tech took UND to three games.

• Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said Minnesota State is "as good as anyone in the country all year." The two teams open the tournament at 2:07 p.m. Thursday. "It should be a whale of a game; it's a whale of a field."

• Hastings returned the volley, saying about Wisconsin: "We're looking forward to playing one of the top teams in the country over the last three-four months. They're hard to play against."

There will be more to come, including a story in Wednesday's Free Press about this being the final Final Five (as we know it) and another on Thursday about some of the unsung heroes who got these teams to St. Paul.

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