Here are my thoughts about the five first round matchups:
#10 Michigan Tech at #1 North Dakota
Tech seems to give UND fits. The two teams split the regular season series 1-1-1, but there’s too much on the line and the Fighting Sioux have been lights out in 2009. North Dakota in two.
For a complete preview of this series, click here.
#9 Alaska-Anchorage at #2 Denver
Here’s my upset special of the week. The Seawolves split with the Pioneers in Denver this year, they’ve played well on the road, and they’re playing as well as anyone (aside from UND) in the conference. The Pioneers will watch the Final Five from home and get Bozak back in time for the NCAAs. Anchorage in three.
#8 Minnesota State University-Mankato at #3 Wisconsin
The Badgers were on a terrible slide until the regular season finale in Madison. The Mavericks’ Trevor Breuss will be unavailable for Friday’s opener due to another suspension, and UW will roll at home. Wisconsin in two.
#7 Minnesota-Duluth at #4 Colorado College
I wish both of these teams could make the Final Five, but it’s not meant to be. I like the Bulldogs in this one, and it’s not an upset. Duluth in three.
#6 St. Cloud State at #5 Minnesota
The Gophers handled the Huskies in the regular season, winning all four games. It all depends on which Maroon and Gold squad shows up (and more to the point, what kind of goaltending they get). This series might set records for the most goals scored in a first round series. St. Cloud State in three.
So my Final Five will look like this:
St. Cloud State
Check back on Sunday night for a look at how close I was and for a complete preview of the WCHA Final Five.