Title race update; UMD sweeps, Denver splits

Drew Claussen

The WCHA title will come down to the season’s final weekend and will be a two-horse race between Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth.

UMD and Denver — the two teams that trailed the Gophers with legitimate chances of winning the conference — swept and split their respective series this weekend.

Bulldogs

The Bulldogs, like the Gophers, took care of business and swept Colorado College at Amsoil Arena.

UMD scored three unanswered goals Friday in the second period and had a commanding 3-0 lead with time in the second expiring. CC scored a power-play goal with just seconds left in the second and gained some momentum.

The Tigers completed the comeback in the third, and the game went to overtime tied at 3-3.

The Bulldogs recovered for the much-needed win three minutes into the extra frame when J.T. Brown scored on a one-timer.

UMD followed Friday’s performance with a 5-2 stomping of CC on Saturday.

Pioneers

Denver needed a sweep to stay in contention for the MacNaughton Cup, but the Pioneers split a home series with North Dakota.

UND built a 4-0 lead in Friday’s game and held it until about five minutes remained in the third period. Drew Shore, Joey LaLeggia and Jason Zucker all scored goals for the Pioneers in the final five minutes.

Zucker scored with only 11 seconds left, though, and Denver ran out of time for a comeback.

Denver bounced back with a 5-3 win Saturday. Shore and Zucker both contributed another goal Saturday night for the Pioneers.

With the split, Denver is six points behind Minnesota in the conference standings with only two games remaining.

Minnesota will end its season at home with a series against rival Wisconsin. UMD will cap off its season with a series at St. Cloud State.

Minnesota can clinch the MacNaughton Cup with a sweep of the Badgers or a win and a tie and can clinch at least a share of the conference title with a split.