While Minnesota Duluth’s season came to an end, at the hands of Wisconsin 4-1 Saturday, three WCHA first-round playoff series will go the limit Sunday night: Michigan Tech at North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha at Minnesota State-Mankato and Colorado College at Denver.
All three road-team wins were by 2-1 margins. There was one power-play goal total in the six games. Co-champions St. Cloud State and Minnesota swept and have advanced to Friday’s Final Five semifinals, while Wisconsin will be in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
In the PairWise Rankings: 2. Minnesota, 8. North Dakota, T9. Denver and St. Cloud State, 12. Mankato and T18. Wisconsin. The PairWise Rankings are here and the U.S. College Hockey up-to-date NCAA Bracketology here.
UMD closed out 2012-13 at 14-19-5 and missed out on the WCHA Final Five for the first time in five years. Recaps from Saturday from the News Tribune here, the Wisconsin State Journal here and College Hockey News here.
The game at the Kohl Center in Madison marked the end of the road, for game stories, for the Rink and Run editor after 35 years at the News Tribune (23 years with UMD men’s hockey). Many thanks to UMD’s coaches and players and fans, and all those associated with the program since 1978. The road trip was made enjoyable as shared with Red Rock Radio’s Bruce Ciskie, Northland NewsCenter’s Tom Hansen and UMD’s sports information director Bob Nygaard, not to mention former News Tribune beat writer Bill Brophy and former Wisconsin head coach Jeff Sauer, now based in Madison.
At Mankato, Minn., Dominic Zombo scored a tie-breaking game-winning goal at 5:21 of the third period as Nebraska-Omaha beat Minnesota State-Mankato. John Faulkner got the win with 34 saves. Mankato led in shots 35-27. From the Mankato Free Press here and Omaha World-Herald here.
At Grand Forks, N.D., C.J. Eick scored with 2:02 to play as Michigan Tech edged North Dakota 2-1. Attendance 10,953. Tech led in shots 31-30. Tanner Kero gave Tech a 1-0 lead 20 seconds into the second period. Danny Kristo (24) tied it for North Dakota with 5:03 left in the third period. Pheonix Copley got the win with 29 saves. Clarke Saunders worked for North Dakota. From the Grand Forks Herald here.
At Minneapolis, Ben Marshall’s unassisted goal with 53 seconds to play completed Minnesota’s rally for a 4-3 victory and series sweep of Bemidji State. The Beavers led 2-0 and 3-1 (late in the second period). The Gophers scored the final three goals. Andrew Walsh took the loss with 37 saves. Minnesota led in shots 41-22 and was called for one penalty in the series. Attendance 9,997. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune here, Bemidji Pioneer here and the St. Paul Pioneer Press here.
At St. Cloud, Minn., Drew LeBlanc had a goal and two assists as St. Cloud swept away Alaska Anchorage 5-1. Anchorage lost its final nine games to finish 4-24-7, the second-worst mark in the program’s 34 years . The Huskies scored four third-period goals and led 46-20 in shots. Attendance 3,663. From the St. Cloud Times here and Anchorage Daily News here.
At Denver, Archie Skalbeck scored 5:58 into the second period which ended up as the game winner as Colorado College stopped Denver 2-1. Quentin Shore of Denver tied the game 1-1 just 33 seconds into the second period. Joe Howe got the win with 41 saves. Denver led in shots 42-22. Attendance 4,851. From the Colorado Springs Gazette here and Denver Post here.
WCHA Summaries Courtesy of College Hockey Stats.net