Three teams will battle to hold on to the fifth and final slot for home ice advantage while a fourth will look to possibly clinch the WCHA regular season title this weekend.
Wisconsin will take on St. Cloud State on the road in its final series of the season.
The Badgers are currently in fourth place and are just one point ahead of a two-team tie for fifth, but the team’s biggest worry is having next weekend to sit and watch from home, according to coach Mike Eaves.
“We’ve got to go in and get some points this weekend and then see how things fall, because we have to watch the last weekend,” Eaves said. “So our task will be to get as many points as we can, with four being the maximum.”
Meanwhile, the other team tied for fifth in the WCHA, Minnesota State, will try to pick up a few points of its own while attempting to keep Colorado College from taking its third title this decade.
The Tigers are currently four points up on second-place North Dakota meaning a sweep this weekend would at minimum give Colorado College a share of the title – five points would make it the sole owner of the MacNaughton Cup.
“We need two more wins and tie to get it outright,” senior defenseman Jack Hillen told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “I don’t want to share it with anybody.”
The last time the Tigers earned the conference’s regular season title was during the 2004-2005 season when they split the cup with in-state rival Denver.
That year the Pioneers went on to win the national championship, beating Colorado College in the NCAA semi-finals.
A pair of Colorado College players earned WCHA awards this week after the Tigers swept Minnesota-Duluth on the road.
Senior forward Andreas Vlassopoulos took home the Offensive Player of the Week honor – scoring two goals and assisting on another pair as Colorado College extended its lead in the conference to four points.
Valassopoulos’ four points would be all the Tigers needed against the Bulldogs as freshman goaltender Richard Bachman pitched two consecutive shutouts on the road – the first time a Colorado College netminder has accomplished the feat in 70 years – to earn the Rookie of the Week award.
Bachman stopped all 60 shots he faced last weekend to improve his nation-leading goals against average to 1.71 and his save percentage to .935 – also tops in the country.
The freshman has now earned the honor three times this season, the first coming after the Tigers swept Minnesota late in October.
Bachman, however, wasn’t the only goalie that the WCHA recognized this week.
St. Cloud State sophomore goaltender Jase Weslosky picked up the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week award after allowing just one goal in a Huskies sweep over Michigan Tech.
The sophomore has earned wins in his last five starts for St. Cloud State and has given up just five goals in that span.
“I don’t really know if there’s any specific thing, but it’s a confidence builder every time you get in there and have a good game,” Weslosky told the St. Cloud Times. “It’s kind of just carried on. It’s been a pancake effect the way your confidence builds up.”
Lucia reacts to fans
Minnesota coach Don Lucia expressed displeasure yesterday while talking about the recent behavior of Gopher fans.
During this weekend’s series against Wisconsin, fans jeered a derogatory phrase directed toward the Badgers – one that Lucia said has no place in college hockey.
“We’re better than that. We’ve had to deal with that when we go on the road Ö I just don’t think that that’s what college athletics are about,” Lucia said.
“Let’s cheer passionately for our team, but let’s leave the swearing out of it.”