The final weekend of the 2018-19 regular season in the NCHC kicks off in about 90 minutes. Check out this article summarizing what’s at stake for each team.
St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota-Duluth
The marquee matchup of the weekend — a potential Frozen Four preview — features two of the top three teams in the Pairwise. It’s hard to imagine either team coming away with a sweep — I’ll take St. Cloud as the winners on Friday, UMD on Saturday. St. Cloud has already locked up the No. 1 seed in the NCHC playoffs, starting next weekend. With a weekend split, UMD would clinch the second seed.
Denver vs./at. Colorado College
Denver has an outside chance of moving up to the No. 2 seed this weekend, but will likely finish in third place — and therefore will likely host CC in the NCHC quarterfinals next weekend. So this weekend could serve as a playoff preview, too. Both games between the Pioneers and Tigers this season have been close, and I’d expect the same this weekend as well. I’ll take Denver with a regulation win at home on Friday, and a tie between the two teams on Saturday (with CC getting the extra point at home). In that scenario, Denver remains in third and CC remains in sixth.
The real intrigue heading into the final weekend is which team — Western Michigan or North Dakota — will earn the final home ice spot in the NCHC quarterfinals next weekend. Despite the Broncos’ blunders of late, I’m still taking Western Michigan — but that’s mostly because Miami seems unlikely to help out North Dakota. Western Michigan wins on Friday night to clinch the fourth seed, then Miami wins Saturday to move up into seventh place…
North Dakota vs. Nebraska-Omaha
North Dakota hasn’t been able to pull off a weekend sweep the last six weekends, but this may be the weekend they get it done. It won’t be enough though, if Western can win a game this weekend. Omaha finishes as the the 8th seed.
St. Cloud State vs. Nebraska-Omaha
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Miami
Denver vs. Colorado College
Western Michigan vs. North Dakota