All four WCHA playoff series were decided in just two games this weekend, meaning we now know the line-up for next weekend's WCHA Final Five semifinals at the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In the first semifinal, which will take place at 4:07pm CST on Friday afternoon, the second seed Michigan Tech, who defeated Alabama-Huntsville this weekend, will take on third seed Bowling Green, who swept Northern Michigan this weekend.
The Huskies are already guaranteed their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 1981. But they will be looking for the second conference tournament victory in school history, and trying to secure a number one seed in the NCAA tournament.
Bowling Green, meanwhile, is firmly on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. A win in Friday's semifinal likely makes them pretty comfortable heading into Saturday, even if they can't win the Broadmoor Trophy. A loss and they'll spend Saturday sweating out other results and hoping they can secure one of the final at-large bids for the tournament.
The two teams only met for one series this season, in Houghton, that ended in a split.
In the evening semifinal, scheduled to start at 7:37pm CST, the top overall seed Minnesota State, coming off a sweep of Lake Superior State, will meet fifth seed Ferris State, who swept Bemidji State on the road, in a rematch of last year's Final Five championship. Minnesota State is likely locked into a one seed in the NCAA tournament regardless of next weekend's outcomes. But the opportunity to add some more hardware in what has already been a special season is always exciting. From a financial standpoint, the WCHA is likely hoping Minnesota State at least makes it to the championship game to keep their final from looking like a ghost town.
For Ferris State, there's little ambiguity. It's win-or-go-home from here on out. And with CJ Motte in goal, the Bulldogs have a great equalizer that gives them an excellent chance of stealing a few games and sneaking into the NCAA tournament in an otherwise disappointing season.
Minnesota State swept the season series with Ferris State, winning all four games the team played. Adding in last season's results and the Mavericks are now 7-0-0 against the Bulldogs since Ferris State joined the WCHA. But it's hard to beat any team eight times in a row, and especially so when it is a team as good as Ferris State with a goalie like CJ Motte. There would be some measure of revenge as well, if Ferris State spoiled the tournament hopes of a top seed on their home ice, after Minnesota State did the same to Ferris State last year.
The winners of Friday's game will meet in the Final Five championship game on Saturday, scheduled to start at 6:07pm.