Saturday, March 13, 2010

WCHA First Round Playoffs: Friday Recap

Wisconsin 4 vs Alaska-Anchorage 1
I don't think there is a player in the Wisconsin locker room that will tell you that they played their best hockey last night but sometimes when your as deep as the Badgers are you can win games on depth and raw ability alone. I think that was the case last night. Not a dominating performance but the defense kept Anchorage to low quality scoring opportunities and Scott Gudmandson was good enough to protect the win.

North Dakota 6 vs Minnesota 0
Flat out complete domination by the Sioux in this one. I said in one of my most recent bracketology articles that the Sioux are one of the two teams I flat out do not want to have to play right now. EVERY season North Dakota starts slow and Hakstol has them flying by March. North Dakota got on the board less than two minutes into the game when Dany Kristo, a Minnesota boy notched his 14th goal of the season and the Sioux never looked back. Eau Claire native Derrick LaPoint had 3 assists in the victory.

Minnesota State 5 vs St. Cloud 4-OT

This is an important series to watch for Badger fans. If we want to win the WCHA Final-Five, we want St. Cloud to win this series. If the Badgers and Huskies both make the final five they will play each other in a Friday semi-final. If St. Cloud doesn't make it, Wisconsin will end up playing against the Sioux and like I mentioned previously, I don't want to play them if we don't have to right now. Kael Mouillierat was the hero last night for the Mavericks who put together a very resilient effort in picking up the victory on the road. Minnesota State was down 3-0 to start the game and scored 3 third period goals to force overtime before the Mouillierat game winner :20 into overtime.

Denver 2 vs Michigan Tech 1

I bet this final was a bit closer than you all expected. Remember, this is still WCHA hockey and every team in the league has players that can make a difference. Tech got a solid goaltending performance from Josh Robinson and his 38 saves. If Tech wants to have a chance in this series their goaltenders are going to have to steal a game. Robinson put the Huskies in a position to win last night but Denver is just too good.

Minnesota-Duluth 3 vs Colorado College 2

One of the best match ups of the weekend, and it should be being that it's the #5 seed vs the #6 seed. This series is ooozing with importance for both clubs. Currently Duluth is the last team out of the tournament thanks to Bemidji State choking in the CHA playoffs last night which means a second CHA team will make the tournament. So Duluth obviously needs to pick up some wins to make a push up the ladder. Colorado College is sitting at 22 in the Pairwise which is too much ground to make up so they need to win the Final Five. Should be a great game tonight.