The WCHA’s regular season is now complete and their first-ever three-weekend playoff will begin next week.
Here are the first round match-ups. All four series will be played Friday-Saturday and Sunday if necessary. All games are scheduled to start at 7:07 local time, minus a potential Game 3 between Bemidji State and Northern Michigan, which would start at 5:07.
#1 Bemidji State vs. # 8 Northern Michigan
Bemidji State won all four regular season meetings between these two teams, though they caught Northern Michigan in the first half of the season, when the Wildcats were a disaster. Northern Michigan has played much better down the stretch, and Bemidji State’s inability to blow teams out means this should likely be a close series.
#2 Michigan Tech vs. #7 Lake Superior State
These two teams only meet for one series during the regular season, which were a pair of easy victories for Michigan Tech in Houghton. The Lakers have the offensive firepower to maybe make things interesting, but they’ve only won one game against not Alabama-Huntsville in 2017, so odds of taking two out of three here look grim.
#3 Minnesota State vs. #6 Alaska-Fairbanks
The Mavericks and Nanooks split in Fairbanks, then Minnesota State won and tied in Mankato. The Mavericks have more talent on paper—both MSU wins were blowouts—but have lacked the consistency to do that two games in a row all year. Minnesota State has started a different goalie in each of their past three games, which is never a good sign heading into the playoffs. Whichever name the spinner lands on next weekend, he’s likely to make things interesting for at least one game.
#4 Bowling Green vs. #5 Ferris State
This should be a great series. The two teams split both of their regular season series and appear very evenly matched. Both teams had really high hopes heading into the season that were dashed by a disastrous non-conference performance. But they’ve played better as the season has progressed, and the winner here should be an extremely tough out in the next round.