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WCHA Playoff picture becoming clearer, still questions remain

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St. Cloud would clinch home ice for the first round after this weekend if the Huskies take care of business against the other Huskies of Michigan Tech.

St. Cloud coach Bob Motzko speaking to reporters after a recent game.
St. Cloud coach Bob Motzko speaking to reporters after a recent game.

With just two weekends left in the regular season, let's take another look at the ever tightening WCHA standings and where each team stands currently and what each team has left in its path to the league playoffs.

Team Points Remaining Opponents SOS SOS Rank
St. Cloud 33 MTU, UW 21.50 T-10th
Minnesota 31 DU, BSU 21.50 T-10th
Nebraska-Omaha 30 UW, UMD 24.00 7th
North Dakota 30 BSU, MSU 22.50 T-8th
Minnesota State 29 CC, UND 26.00 6th
Denver 27 UMN, UAA 20.50 12th
Wisconsin 27 UNO, SCSU 31.50 1st
Colorado College 22 MSU, MTU 22.50 T-8th
Minnesota-Duluth 21 UNO 30.00 3rd
Michigan Tech 16 SCSU, CC 27.50 4th
Bemidji State 16 UND, UMN 30.50 2nd
Alaska-Anchorage 10 DU 27.00 5th

Bold indicates a home series.

* Strength of schedule is determined by the average points of the remaining opponents. The schedule is ranked by hardest schedule being 1st and easiest being 12th.

Let's take a look at what we know for sure:

  • Alaska-Anchorage will finish in last place.
  • Every team in the conference, with the exception of Minnesota-Duluth and Alaska-Anchorage have four games to play. UMD and UAA only have two games left.
  • St. Cloud and Minnesota can finish no worse than seventh place.

Now let's take a look at what we can infer from the current standings and some assumptions based on the remaining schedules:

  • At the top of the standings, St. Cloud and Minnesota have on paper an identical schedule the rest of the way. Each team plays a team that is tied for sixth in the standings and a team tied for tenth in the standings. SCSU has the edge currently as they are up two points.
  • With just six points separating the top seven teams in the league, it is hard to infer much else about home ice until after this weekend. If St. Cloud sweeps Michigan Tech this weekend, they will clinch home ice in the first round.
  • The two teams in the top seven with the most precarious situations appear to be Wisconsin and Minnesota State. The Badgers have the toughest remaining schedule with a pair of games each against St. Cloud and Nebraska-Omaha. Minnesota State has the second toughest schedule of the top seven teams with series against Colorado College and North Dakota.
  • The bottom four teams in the league standings look to be locked into the last four spots. As mentioned above, UAA is locked into the last spot. Michigan Tech or Bemidji State would have to win three of four to catch 8th place Colorado College and hope CC doesn't pick up another point. Minnesota-Duluth is the only team close to breaking out of the bottom four, but only have two games left against Nebraska-Omaha. CC, while just a point ahead of Duluth has four games left, including two against Michigan Tech.

Jeff Cox covers college hockey for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.