Minnesota Duluth takes a five-game unbeaten streak on the road to open the Western Collegiate Hockey Association men’s playoffs against Wisconsin in a best-of-three series starting at 7:07 p.m. Friday at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Playoff pairings for the 12-team league were finalized Sunday after Denver defeated Alaska Anchorage 6-1 in the last regular-season game, played in Denver.
UMD (14-17-5) blanked No. 16-ranked Nebraska-Omaha 6-0 Saturday at Amsoil Arena for a fourth straight win and 4-0-1 mark the past five games, a season-best streak. The Bulldogs placed ninth. Wisconsin (17-12-7) split at home with league co-champion St. Cloud State and tied for fourth.
It marks UMD’s first road series to open the league playoffs since 2009 when the Bulldogs eliminated Colorado College in two games on their way to a Final Five title.
During the regular season, on Oct. 26-27 at Amsoil Arena, UMD lost 2-0 and tied Wisconsin 2-2 in overtime.
Other first-round pairings: Alaska Anchorage at St. Cloud State, Bemidji State at Minnesota, Michigan Tech at North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha at Minnesota State-Mankato and Colorado College at Denver.
In final WCHA statistics, for league games only: Omaha’s Ryan Walters won the scoring title with 16 goals, 24 assists and 40 points, Omaha’s Josh Archibald led in goals (18), St. Cloud State senior center Drew LeBlanc of Hermantown led in assists (25), Mankato freshman Stephon Williams led in goals-against average (1.93) and Wisconsin sophomore Landon Peterson led in save percentage (.928).
Michigan Tech’s Alex Petan led rookie scoring at 11-18-29, UMD’s Tony Cameranesi was second at 11-17-28 and UMD’s Austin Farley tied for third at 14-12-26. UMD’s power play was second in the league at 23.8 percent behind Minnesota’s 26.5.
Minnesota, North Dakota women to meet in NCAA tournament
Top-ranked and defending champion Minnesota and No. 10 North Dakota will meet in the NCAA Division I women’s quarterfinals, according to pairings released Sunday. They play at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
Minnesota (38-0) won the WCHA Final Face Off title Saturday, defeating North Dakota 2-0 to earn an automatic entry. North Dakota (26-11-1) gained an at-large berth, while No. 8 Wisconsin (23-10-2), the 2012 NCAA runner-up, was not selected.
No. 2 Cornell (27-5-1) is home against Mercyhurst (28-6-1) to lead the bottom-half of the quarterfinal bracket. Six of the eight entrants are Eastern colleges. WCHA teams have won all 12 previous NCAA-sponsored tournaments.
The Frozen Four is March 22 and 24 at Ridder Arena.
Gustavus advances to Division III Frozen Four
Undefeated Gustavus Adolphus College of St. Peter, Minn., faces Elmira (N.Y.) College in the NCAA Division III Frozen Four women’s semifinals Friday at Wessman Arena in Superior. Gustavus (26-0-1) and Elmira (22-5-1) meet at 7 p.m.
In the other semifinal game, at 3:30 p.m., Plattsburgh (N.Y.) State (26-0-2) plays Middlebury (Vt.) College (19-7-2). The title game is 7 p.m. Saturday.
Gustavus won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title with an 18-0 record and defeated Wisconsin-River Falls 2-1 in Saturday’s NCAA quarterfinals at home. The Gusties have won nine straight games since tying Wisconsin-Superior 1-1 Feb. 5 at Wessman Arena.
Plattsburgh has won seven straight games since a 3-3 tie at home against Utica (N.Y.) College on Feb. 2. Plattsburgh eliminated St. Norbert College 5-2 Saturday in Plattsburgh.
Tickets can be purchased through the NCAA website, ncaa.com, or by calling the UWS ticket office at (715) 395-4693.