After Denver's 6-1 drubbing of Alaska Anchorage on Sunday made a three-way tie for fourth place in the WCHA standings, Minnesota State will get the No. 6 seed and host No. 7 Nebraska Omaha next weekend in the first round of the conference tournament.
Minnesota State is tied with Denver and Wisconsin for fourth but ended up sixth in the tournament pairings based on the WCHA's tiebreaking criteria when more than two teams finish with the same number of points.
Here's how it works:
In a three-way tie, pluses and minuses are awarded based on the teams' head-to-head results during the season.
Wisconsin — went 2-2 with MSU (even), went 1-0-1 against DU(+1) = +1
Denver — went 2-0 against MSU (+1), went 0-1-1 against UW (-1) = even
Minnesota State — went 2-2 against UW (even), went 0-2 against DU (-1) = -1
Minnesota State had more league wins than those two teams (16) but also had more league losses (11).
So that means Omaha will be coming to town. Mike Hastings gets to face the team he worked with as associate head coach the last three seasons, and former MSU coach and current UNO assistant Troy Jutting returns to Mankato for the first time as an opponent.
A few other nuggets:
• Omaha has the WCHA's scoring champion and possible Player of the Year in Ryan Walters (40 points in league play, 50 overall), while Minnesota State has the league's goaltending champion and possible Rookie of the Year in Stephon Williams (1.93 GAA in conference, 1.83 overall).
• In the last four games, Omaha is 0-4 (vs. Wisconsin, at Duluth), and MSU is 2-2 (at Colorado College, vs. North Dakota).
• The Mavericks and Mavericks split their only regular-season series, Dec. 15-16 at Omaha. MSU won the opener 6-3, and UNO took the second game 5-1.