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The Playoff Picture

There's one weekend of games left in the CCHA, and everybody in the WCHA except for Minnesota State has two weekends of games last and the final regular season standings are starting to take shape.

In the WCHA, Minnesota looks like they're going to win the McNaughton Cup. They've got a the easiest schedule down the stretch playing at Anchorage and home against Minnesota-Duluth.

Wisconsin is holding onto second place, and finish out with two tough series at Mankato and home against St. Cloud. Denver is currently in third and probably has the toughest schedule of the top three with series against North Dakota and Colorado College.

The race for 4th-6th place is going to be interesting. Colorado College, North Dakota, and St. Cloud are all within 4 points of each other and each team plays a series against a weak team and a series against a strong team. Colorado College has the lead right now, but have to travel to Duluth, and play a series against Denver, who they struggled against.

Minnesota State is pretty much locked into seventh place in the league. Michigan Tech will race Duluth for the 8th place spot. Tech finishes with four tough road games, but Duluth hasn't shown any signs of life since Christmas, so I don't see them overtaking the Huskies. And finally, Anchorage is pretty much guaranteed to finish in the basement.

The CCHA is starting to take shape at the top of the standings. Miami is guaranteed to finish in first in the league. The other three teams that will get byes in the first round of the playoffs seem set too. Michigan State is guaranteed a top four finish. Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha each need a single point in the last weekend to clinch a first round bye as well. If either does get swept, Northern Michigan or Lake Superior would have to sweep to move into that fourth spot.

The rest of the leauge standings will be decided on the last weekend. The difference between 5th place, and hosting the 12th seed in the first round, and 10th place, which means traveling to the 7th seed is only 2 points right now. Basically anything could happen.

Bowling Green is in 11th and can't reach 10th place. Western Michigan pass them for last place is the Broncos swept Nebraska-Omaha and Bowling Green didn't take any points from Miami.