A final weekend: The WCHA’s Final Five

The WCHA’s 61st season comes to an end over the next three days with the Final Five at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. Thursday’s quarterfinal match ups are Wisconsin vs. Minnesota State-Mankato, 2:07 p.m., and Colorado College vs. North Dakota, 7:07 p.m.

Regular-season co-champions St. Cloud State and Minnesota are seeded into Friday’s semifinals. The title game is 7:07 p.m. Saturday. All five games are on FS North.

Mankato is in the Final Five for the first time in 10 years and the Purple Mav fans are understandably excited on what should be record-breaking attendance for the five games. Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press sets the scene here.

Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald does likewise here.

College Hockey News looks at Minnesota State-Mankato’s transformation this season under coach Mike Hastings in a story here.

Rachel Blount waxes nostalgic in looking back on the end of a WCHA era in the Minneapolis Star Tribune right here.

Joe Paisley of Colorado Springs also has plenty of Final Five links here.

Final Five previews from College Hockey News here and Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey here and U.S. College Hockey Online here.

And Chris Dilks of Western College Hockey will have Final Five updates all weekend here.

And Andy Johnson of SB Nation looks at the end of the WCHA as we know it here.

A New York Times story, published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, takes a look at the entire changing landscape of Division I men’s hockey (including the extinction of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association) which is here.

U.S. College Hockey has its latest NCAA Bracketology right here.

The 10 finalists for the 2013 Hobey Baker Memorial Award will be announced at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Projected Top 10 lists for the Hobey Baker from College Hockey News here and U.S. College Hockey Online here.

St. Cloud State senior forward Drew LeBlanc of Hermantown and Ohio State senior goalie Brady Hjelle of International Falls are on both lists.

Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk is out 2-4 weeks with a knee sprain and the Raleigh News & Observer has an update here.

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