WCHA Final Five tickets on sale now

CC Alexander Krushelnyski roadI assume the time announced is Central Time, meaning 9 a.m. Mountain, when the press release arrived.

From the WCHA …

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Xcel Energy Center and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) announced today that all tournament packages for the 2013 Red Baron WCHA Final Five, to be held March 21-23 at Xcel Energy Center, go on sale at 10 a.m. today, Monday, Dec. 10. All tournament packages are $165 and $80 and can be purchased at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. To charge by phone using Ticketmaster TDD/TTY, call 800-359-2525. Groups (10+) call 651-312-3486.
Fans can celebrate college hockey with music, interactive games, food, beverages and more at the WCHA Fan Fest Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Bud Light Blue Line Bar and Grill (Xcel Energy Center – Gate 4). Cheerleaders, mascots and WCHA pep bands will also be present at this event with live music from Uncle Chunk on Friday and Playback on Saturday. The WCHA Fan Fest is free and open to the public.
College hockey fans will once again have the opportunity to get in on the tournament action with the return of the “Pick Your Final Five Sweepstakes.” Fans who enter will have a chance to win a prize of four (4) ticket packages to the 2014 WCHA Final Five.
Here’s how the sweepstakes works:
  • Visit www.xcelenergycenter.com/WCHA starting at 12:01 a.m. CT on Monday, Dec. 10.
  • Choose the six (6) WCHA teams you predict will make it to the 2013 Red Baron WCHA Final Five.
  • Choose the two (2) teams you predict will make the Championship game.
  • Choose the 2013 Red Baron WCHA Championship winning team.
  • Guess how many total goals will be scored during the 2013 Red Baron WCHA Final Five.
  • If more than one (1) person correctly answers all four (4) questions, all contestants with correct answers will be entered into a random drawing to determine the prize winner. If no one correctly answers all four (4) questions, those persons that answer the most number of questions correctly will be entered into a random drawing to determine the winner. The contest begins at 12:01 a.m. CT on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, and ends at 11:59 p.m. CT on Friday, March 8, 2013. The winner will be announced by noon CT on Sunday, March 24, 2013.
  • NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  The “Pick Your Final Five Sweepstakes” is subject in all respects to the complete Official Rules available at www.xcelenergycenter.com or by sending a S.A.S.E. to “Pick Your Final Five Sweepstakes – Rules Request”, c/o Saint Paul Arena Company, LLC, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., Ste. 501, St. Paul, Minnesota  55102.  Open only to entrants who, as of the entry date, are permanent legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years old.  Void outside the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and where prohibited or restricted by law.  Sweepstakes entry period begins at 12:01 a.m. Central Time (“CT”) on Dec. 10, 2012 and ends at 11:59 p.m. CT on March 8, 2013.  LIMIT: One (1) entry per person (regardless of method of entry) or address (physical or email).  Entry methods, limits, restrictions and instructions, and prize information and restrictions are set forth in the Official Rules.  Sponsor: Saint Paul Arena Company, LLC, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., Ste. 501, St. Paul, Minnesota  55102. Click here to view complete Official Rules.

First collegiate goal a big one for DU’s Larraza

From WCHA.com …

Denver 4, Minnesota Duluth 3 (2OT)

SAINT PAUL — Zac Larraza is a Denver freshman from Scottsdale, Ariz., whose most prominent role in Friday’s first semifinal at the WCHA Final Five was to serve a major penalty for Denver teammate Larkin Jacobson.

Until the second 20-minute overtime, that is. Then, after both teams had played to exhaustion in the longest game in WCHA playoff history, Larraza got on the Xcel Energy Center ice and scored his first collegiate goal to send the Pioneers into the playoff final with a 4-3 victory over Minnesota-Duluth.

The play started as a rush by Denver’s fourth line, and freshman center Matt Tabrum fired a shot from the right side that glanced off the right pipe and out toward the blue line. Defenseman John Ryder shot again.

“Ryder threw it at the net and it hit me in the chest,” said Larraza, who let the puck drop in front of him, pulled it to his right as goaltender Kenny Reiter went down, and then flicked a backhander into the open goal. He did it with the poise and certainty that a veteran scorer might have shown. Instead, Larraza was dressed as Denver’s 13th forward — a spare after the four regular lines.

“That was the biggest goal I’ve scored,” said Larraza. To say nothing of the only one. “I got about 10 shifts in the game, so I was still fresh at the end.”

Officially, the goal came at 8:14 of the second 20-minute overtime, which means it was after 38:14 of sudden-death play, making the game’s duration 98 minutes, 14 seconds, breaking the league playoff record, and leaving 12,804 fans nearly as drained as the players. Another record set in the game was the 67 saves by Denver goaltender Sam Brittain, who withstood UMD’s determined comeback from a 3-0 deficit, which featured the Bulldogs outshooting Denver 70-49.

The victory sends Denver (25-12-4) into Saturday’s championship game against the winner of Friday night’s Minnesota-North Dakota second semifinal. UMD goes home 24-9-6, but certain to have a high seed in next week’s NCAA tournament field.

“We dug ourselves a hole at the start, but we did a lot of good things in the second half of the game, and it became a helluva hockey game,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “Both teams had a lot of chances and both goalies made some tremendous saves.”

North Dakota 6, Minnesota 3

Minnesota out shot North Dakota 12-2 in the first period and took a 3-0 and was in complete control.

But from then on, it was all North Dakota.

Derek Forbort, a sophomore defenseman for North Dakota, flung a deflected shot from the right point that eluded Gopher goaltender Kent Patterson at 14:51, but at 3-1, the third period started with no illusions for the Sioux.

But at 5:31 of the third, Michael Parks went to the net and had a pass deflect in off his skate to cut it to 3-2. Exactly 30 seconds later, Brock Nelson blocked a high bouncing puck and fired it in to tie the game 3-3.

The Fighting Sioux fans in the crowd went crazy, and the Sioux poured it on.

Mario Lamoureux scored at 9:42, then Corbvan Knight scored on North Dakota’s only power-play chanbce, at 10:19, and Lamoureux scored again by jamming in a rebund at 16:10.

WCHA playoffs: Wisconsin knocks off Denver; other home teams prevail

No. 10 Wisconsin 1, No. 3 Denver 0

DENVER – A late third-period goal by Sean Little was enough for No. 10 seed Wisconsin to defeat No. 3 seed Denver 1-0 in the first game of the WCHA Playoffs Friday night at Magness Arena.

Little scored the game-winning goal on a 2-on-1 rush with 5:50 remaining in the game to give Wisconsin game one in the best-of-three series.

Netminder Joel Rumpel made 28 saves in the shutout, as Wisconsin improves to 17-16-2.

Denver freshman Juho Olkinuora (Helsinki, Finland) gave the Pioneers 29 saves, but the Pioneers fall to 21-12-4. Denver must win tomorrow night to continue play in the WCHA Playoffs.

“We had our chances to score, I thought we had good opportunities on the power play, but we didn’t execute very well,” DU head coach George Gwozdecky said. “Our pace and our speed were good, but in the third, we were tightening up a little. They made a good play on the winning goal, their guy undresses our defenseman and it turns into a 2-on-1. Olkinuora had good night for us, but we just couldn’t score. This is a playoff series and we have to get ready for tomorrow night.”

The game was scoreless until the 14:10 mark of the final stanza when Little tapped a Jake McCabe centering pass in behind Olkinuora.

Wisconsin outshot Denver 30-28 and went 0-for-3 on the power play. The Pioneers were 0-for-4 on the man-advantage.

The Pioneers take on the Badgers in the second game of the WCHA Playoffs Saturday night. Puck drop at Magness Arena is set for 7:07 p.m. MT.

No. 1 Minnesota 2, No. 12 Alaska Anchorage 1

MINNEAPOLIS — The fifth-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey team jumped out to a 1-0 lead in its best-of-three first-round playoff series by earning a 2-1 win over Alaska Anchorage at Mariucci Arena on Friday night. With a win against the Seawolves on Saturday or Sunday (if necessary), the top-seeded Gophers will advance the WCHA Final Five for the first time in three years.

Each team had its share of chances, but Minnesota goaltender Kent Patterson and UAA netminder Chris Kamal were sharp in the opening 20 minutes and the game remained scoreless after the first period.

No. 2 Minnesota Duluth 4, No. 11 MSU Mankato 2

DULUTH — Brady Lamb took the bull — make that the Maverick — by the horns Friday night. The University of Minnesota Duluth senior defenseman scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner midway through the third period, and sparked the third-ranked Bulldogs to a 4-2 home victory over Minnesota State University in the opening game of their best-of-three Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff series.

“We know anything can happen come playoff time, so we have to bring our best every night,” said Lamb, who extended his scoring streak to a career-high five games. “We had some ups and downs tonight, but all-and-all I thought we played pretty well.”

UMD (23-8-6 overall), which is now unbeaten in 14 of its last 15 games with the Mavericks and 8-0-1 against them in Duluth since Jan. 11, 2007, took a 1-0 lead on right winger J.T. Brown‘s team-leading 22nd goal of the season. Brown beat Maverick goaltender Austin Lee with a turnaround wrister in the high slot after grabbing a loose puck which came off freshman left winger Caleb Hebert’s stick.

No. 4 North Dakota 4, No. 9 Bemidji State 1

GRAND FORKS — Junior forward Carter Rowney registered three assists to help North Dakota win game one of a WCHA playoff series with a 4-1 victory against Bemidji State on Friday evening at Engelstad Arena.

No. 6 St. Cloud State 4, No. 7 Nebraska Omaha 0

ST. CLOUD — Junior goaltender Mike Lee made 27 saves and freshman defenseman Andrew Prochno had a goal and an assist to lead St. Cloud State to a 4-0 win against Nebraska Omaha in WCHA playoff action on Friday night at National Hockey Center.

Sunday reading: Pairwise, Hamburg, Tigers record, AHA, CCHA, ECAC and Hockey East playoffs

Here’s the latest Pairwise rankings, which have CC in 19th and hoping some of the teams ahead of them stumble. Tiger fans should root against No. 15 Cornell, No. 16 Merrimack, No. 14 Northern Michigan, No. 18 Notre Dame, and No. 17 Western Michigan.

Bowling Green forced a Game 3 in their CCHA series with NMU tonight. Three ECAC first-round series, including one involving Merrimack, will be decided tonight.

CC’s Andrew Hamburg is playing better hockey of late, It looks like he is finally fully recovered from offseason surgery which is good news for the Tigers.

With Saturday’s win, Colorado College (18-14-2) is assured of its 12th winning season in a row. Congratulations, but that is not the goal for the team right now.

The Tigers could really use a sweep of Michigan Tech, which will be very, very tough to accomplish, and win  one, maybe two, Final Five games to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s a quick look at the WCHA first-round match-ups by Roman Augustoviz, who was burning the midnight (actually 1:38 a.m. CT) oil. IMO, the Gophers fans don’t give Roman enough credit for all his hard work. Six hours later he posted more reaction to the MacNaughton Cup (really Trophy) by goalie Kent Patterson, who bounced back from his first mid-game pull in Friday’s 4-1 loss to Wisconsin with a 2-1 win on Saturday. The win was sparked by Erik Haula’s shorthanded goal.

Here are the Hockey East match-ups: No. 1 Boston College vs No. 8 Massachusetts; No. 2 Lowell vs No. 7 Providence; No. 3 Boston University vs No. 6 New Hampshire and No. 4 Maine vs No. 5 Merrimack.

Two Atlantic Hockey Association series conclude tonight, which will determine if top seed Air Force hosts No. 8 UConn, No. 10 AIC or No. 11 Sacred Heart this coming Friday in a best-of-three quarterfinals.

Saturday reading: WCHA scenarios, standings, other playoff news

Junior Rylan Schwartz and his CC teammates could still finish sixth if both Nebraska Omaha and St. Cloud State Both win Saturday night and the Tigers lose.

Junior Rylan Schwartz and his CC teammates could still finish sixth if both Nebraska Omaha and St. Cloud State Both win Saturday night and the Tigers lose.

No. 2 Minnesota Duluth blew its chance at garnering the WCHA regular-season title outright. They could share the title but Minnesota would be the top seed headed into next week’s playoffs. That said, two playoff series are determined with more to be decided tonight.

The Golden Gophers, whose power play struggled in a Friday loss to Wisconsin, hosts Alaska Anchorage while Minnesota State Mankato will head north to Minnesota Duluth.

Then it gets a little murkier. No. 3 seed Denver or No. 4 North Dakota will host either Bemidji State or Wisconsin.

No. 5 or 6 seed Colorado College will host either Michigan Tech, Nebraska Omaha or St. Cloud State. All three could place sixth and host the seventh-place team in a playoff series.

Here’s the full list of scenarios and tiebreakers involving the places 5-8 teams courtesy of the WCHA. Yikes.

Colorado College (29 points, vs Michigan Tech) –
Seeded 5th with a win or a tie.
Seeded 5th with a loss and a Nebraska Omaha loss or tie.
Seeded 5th with a loss and a St. Cloud State loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a loss, a Nebraska Omaha win, and a St. Cloud State win.

Nebraska Omaha (27 points, vs Denver) –
Seeded 5th with a win, a Colorado College loss, and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 6th with a win and a Colorado College win or tie.
Seeded 6th with a win and a St. Cloud State loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a tie and a St. Cloud State loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a loss, a St. Cloud State loss, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th with a tie and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 7th with a loss, a St. Cloud State win or tie, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th with a loss, a St. Cloud State loss, and a Michigan Tech win.
Seeded 8th with a loss, a St. Cloud State win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win.

St. Cloud State (27 points, vs Minnesota Duluth) –
Seeded 6th with a win and a Nebraska Omaha loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech win by 11 or fewer goals.
Seeded 6th/7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech win by exactly 12 goals.
Seeded 7th with a win and a Nebraska Omaha win.
Seeded 7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech win by 13 or more goals.
Seeded 7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win by 11 or fewer goals.
Seeded 7th with a loss and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th/8th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win by exactly 12 goals.
Seeded 8th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win by 13 or more goals.
Seeded 8th with a loss and a Michigan Tech win.

Michigan Tech (26 points, at Colorado College) –
Seeded 6th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State loss.
Seeded 6th with a win by 13 or more goals, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 6th/7th with a win by exactly 12 goals, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 7th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State loss.
Seeded 7th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 7th with a win by 11 or fewer goals, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 7th with a win by 13 or more goals, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 7th/8th with a win by exactly 12 goals, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 8th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 8th with a win by 11 or fewer goals, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 8th with a loss or a tie.

Wisconsin (24 points, at Minnesota) –
Seeded 9th with a win or a tie.
Seeded 9th with a loss and a Bemidji State loss or tie.
Seeded 10th with a loss and a Bemidji State win.

Bemidji State (23 points, at Alaska Anchorage) –
Seeded 9th with a win and a Wisconsin loss.
Seeded 10th with a win and a Wisconsin win or tie.
Seeded 10th with a loss or a tie.

Two-Way Tiebreakers:
Colorado College over Nebraska Omaha (2-2-0 head-to-head, Colorado College more WCHA wins)
Colorado College over St. Cloud State (1-1-0 head-to-head, Colorado College more WCHA wins)
Nebraska Omaha over St. Cloud State (1-0-1 head-to-head)
Nebraska Omaha over Michigan Tech (1-0-1 head-to-head)
St. Cloud State vs Michigan Tech at 28 points to be determined (WCHA goal differential)
St. Cloud State over Michigan Tech at 27 points (1-1-0 head-to-head, St. Cloud State more WCHA wins)
Michigan Tech over Wisconsin (2-0-0 head-to-head)
Wisconsin over Bemidji State (2-0-0 head-to-head)

Three-Way Tiebreakers:
Nebraska Omaha over Colorado College over St. Cloud State (Nebraska Omaha head-to-head, then revert to two-way tie)
Nebraska Omaha over St. Cloud State over Michigan Tech at 27 points (Nebraska Omaha head-to-head, then revert to two-way tie)
Nebraska Omaha over St. Cloud State / Michigan Tech at 28 points (Nebraska Omaha head-to-head, then revert to two-way tie which is to be determined)

CURRENT WCHA MEN’S STANDINGS

WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
Minnesota
27
19
8
0
38
86
56
23
12
1
128
77
Minnesota Duluth
27
16
7
4
36
100
70
22
8
5
129
89
Denver
27
15
8
4
34
93
77
20
11
4
122
94
North Dakota
27
15
11
1
31
79
73
19
12
3
105
94
Colorado College
27
14
12
1
29
93
86
17
14
2
108
97
Nebraska Omaha
27
11
11
5
27
81
82
14
15
6
103
102
St. Cloud State
27
12
12
3
27
83
71
15
16
4
109
96
Michigan Tech
27
11
12
4
26
85
85
14
17
4
102
107
Wisconsin
27
11
14
2
24
75
81
16
15
2
100
94
Bemidji State
27
10
14
3
23
67
85
16
16
3
92
97
Minnesota State
27
8
17
2
18
73
99
12
21
2
97
119
Alaska Anchorage
27
5
21
1
11
56
106
9
22
2
77
120

And of interest to Tiger fans, UMass-Lowell, coached by former CC assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers, clinched home ice in the Hockey East playoffs and could finish in second in the regular season standings. So, who would like to see a home-and-home nonconference setup with Lowell in the next couple years? Count me in.

Here’s an update on the first round of the CCHA playoffs. Check out the Pairwise rankings, which CC in 20th, behind Notre Dame and Ohio State, which are playing in an elimination game tonight..

In women’s playoff action, Minnesota whipped North Dakota 6-0 Friday behind four points (two goals) from Pine Creek High School graduate Emily West.