The field for the WCHA’s final Final Five is set after three first-round series deciding games Sunday night (two played before tiny crowds).
Thursday’s quarterfinal games at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center: Minnesota State-Mankato (24-12-3) vs. Wisconsin (19-12-7), 2:07 p.m.; and Colorado College (16-18-5) vs. North Dakota (21-11-7), 7:07 p.m.
Friday’s semifinal games: Mankato or Wisconsin vs. St. Cloud State (23-14-1), 2:07 p.m.; and Colorado College or North Dakota vs. Minnesota (26-7-5), 7:07 p.m.
Saturday’s championship game is 7:07 p.m. All tournament games are on FS North.
The PairWise Rankings show: 2. Minnesota, T6. North Dakota, T9. Mankato, 12. St. Cloud State, 13. Denver, 16. Wisconsin, 25. Colorado College. The PairWise Rankings are here.
U.S. College Hockey Online wraps up the WCHA’s opening round here.
At Mankato, Minn., Matt Leitner’s power-play goal early in the third period clinched Minnesota State-Mankato’s 3-1 victory over Nebraska-Omaha. Mankato is in the Final Five for the first time in a decade. A crowd of just 2,405 was on hand at Verizon Wireless Center. Mankato led in shots 35-27. Mankato led 2-0 in the first period on goals by Bryce Gervais and Max Gaede. Omaha’s Dominic Zombo made it 2-1 after two periods. Stephon Williams had 26 saves and is 21-10-6. From the Mankato Free Press here and Omaha World-Herald here.
At Grand Forks, N.D., four second-period goals sparked North Dakota to a 6-0 win over Michigan Tech. It was the most lop-sided loss by Tech coach Mel Pearson in his two seasons. North Dakota earned an 11th straight trip to the Final Five. Derek Forbort had two assists. Three goals came in seven minutes in the second period for North Dakota. North Dakota led in shots 44-28. Clarke Saunders had 27 saves for the win. Attendance 10,384. From the Grand Forks Herald here.
At Denver, Colorado College scored three goals in five minutes in the second period to rally to beat Denver 4-3. Denver led 2-0 after one period before CC came back. Rylan Schwartz had a shorthanded goal during CC’s second-period flurry. Charlie Taft had the game winner at 9:49 of the third period. Denver led in shots 40-26. Just 2,754 fans at Magness Arena. Winning goalie Joe Howe had 37 saves. From the Denver Post here and Colorado Springs Gazette here.
WCHA Summaries Courtesy of College Hockey Stats.net