Saturday, March 7, 2015

Where they stand

Today is the last day of the regular season for WCHA teams. A few things were locked into place last night. A few things remain to be resolved, including the MacNaughton Cup championship, which Minnesota State hopes to clinch tonight in Bemidji. Here's a look at each team's situation on the final day (league points in parenthesis):

1. Minnesota State (43) at BSU ... needs 1 point or Tech loss to clinch top seed
2. Michigan Tech (42) at NMU ... needs win/MSU loss to get top seed, otherwise 2nd
3. Bowling Green (35) vs. UAH ... locked into 3rd place
4. Bemidji State (29) vs. MSU ... clinched 4th seed on Friday night
5. Alaska (28) at UAA ... can finish as high as 4th place but ineligible for postseason
6. Northern Michigan (26) vs. Tech ... 5th or 6th seed, loses tiebreaker against FSU
7. Ferris State (25) at LSSU ... 5th or 6th seed, wins tiebreaker against NMU
8. Alabama Huntsville (15) at BG ... 7th or 8th seed, holds tiebreaker against LSSU
9. Lake Superior State (15) vs. FSU ... 7th or 8th seed, loses tiebreaker against UAH
10. Alaska Anchorage (12) vs. Alaska ... eliminated from the tournament on Friday night

The playoffs begin next week but there will be a playoff-like feel to a lot of tonight's games. Every game, except the Alaska at Alaska Anchorage, could mean movent in the standings (and even Nanooks-Seawolves is for the Governor's Cup).

For the second year in a row, the WCHA has come out OK on its Alaska problem. (Remember when the league proposed to have those two teams play each other in the playoffs regardless of finish?) Last year, Anchorage went to Fairbanks for the first round of the playoffs. This year, Alaska is ineligible for the postseason due to NCAA violations, and Anchorage will finish last in the league and miss the playoffs.

Speaking of playoffs, did you see what happened at Notre Dame last night. The Hockey East playoffs have begun, and UMass beat Notre Dame in the longest game in NCAA history, 4-3 in five — five! — overtimes. The teams played 151:42 of game time. It started at 7:30 p.m. and ended nearly six hours later, at 1:24 a.m. Irish goalie Cal Petersen stopped 87 shots in the loss, breaking an 90-year-old record. Minutemen goalie Steve Mastalerz stopped 75 shots. Shane Walsh scored the game-winner.

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