The top two seeds in the WCHA Final Five were ousted Friday and one game remains Saturday: Denver versus North Dakota for the Broadmoor Trophy at 7:07 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center.
Five Division I conference champions in all will be crowned Saturday. And then Sunday’s 11 a.m. NCAA tournament Selection Show on ESPNU will reveal who is going where in the four Division I regional tournaments.
Where will Minnesota Duluth be next weekend?
Likely projections, from those in the know, say the Midwest Regional in Green Bay with UMD as a possible No. 2 seed. Friday games are 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. with a Saturday championship game.
Although the College Hockey News live PairWise blog has a projection of UMD going to the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass., with the idea that all higher seeds win Saturday. That live blog is a good place to be up to date right here.
Northeast Regional games are: Saturday, 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and at title game Sunday at 7 p.m. College Hockey News figures that in the first round, UMD could meet Boston University, with senior captain Chris Connolly of Duluth, That region would also have No. 1 overall seed Boston College.
Also possible, is the West Regional at Xcel Energy Center with Saturday games at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., and a Sunday title game at 4:30 p.m. Minnesota is already assigned there as the host school.
A year ago, projections were for UMD to be in Green Bay and the Bulldogs ended up in the East Regional in Bridgeport Conn. The other two sites this year are: again Bridgeport and the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass.
So it is still a guess on UMD’s travel plans. Green Bay seems the most likely of four spots. Seedings are often not all that critical. UMD was the No. 3 seed last season in winning the East Regional.
The PairWise Rankings, with UMD at No. 7, are here.
College Hockey News has some seeding projections for the 16-team field here.
And, finally, a recap of two entertaining semifinal games Friday in St. Paul as temperatures outside reached nearly 80 degrees.
UMD fell behind by three goals, rallied to tie, and then lost 4-3 to Denver in double-overtime (UMD’s second straight double-overtime game, a program first). Game stories from the News Tribune here and Denver Post here.
And Inside College Hockey has a WCHA semifinal recap here.
And if that game didn’t provide enough drama, and there was plenty, regular-season champion Minnesota had a dramatic collapse as two-time defending Final Five champion North Dakota rallied to win 6-3. The Gophers led 3-0 exactly halfway through the game, and were allowing next to nothing, before North Dakota defenseman Derek Forbort started an impressive comeback. He scored late in the second period and North Dakota added five goals in the third period for a 12th straight WCHA playoff win over the past three years. Stories from the Grand Forks Herald here, Minneapolis Star Tribune here and St. Paul Pioneer Press here.