WCHA Final Five Visitor’s Guide

By March 15, 2015 September 26th, 2015 Other News

With a pair of wins this weekend the Falcons have punched their ticket for a trip to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN to play in the WCHA Final Five. Last year, the Falcons made the trip to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI in their first Final Five. They will look to improve on last year’s early exit.

The City/Arena

St. Paul is the second most populated city in Minnesota, home of 294,873 residents. The city sits just east of the Mississippi River, adjoining with Minneapolis to make up the “Twin Cities.”

The Xcel Energy Center is a 17,954 seat arena used by the Minnesota Wild of the NHL. It opened in 2000 and had hosted every WCHA semi and final up until last year’s weekend in Grand Rapids. “The X” also hosts the yearly Minnesota State High School Hockey tournament semis and finals, selling out the venue.

In 2010 the Xcel Energy Center was named the third best in-stadium experience by ESPN and in 2004 was named the best sports venue in all sports in the United States by ESPN as well.

The Games

Via the WCHA

Nationally second-ranked Minnesota State – the reigning Broadmoor Trophy champion and 2015 MacNaughton Cup winner – swept Lake Superior State in a WCHA first round playoff series. The Mavericks are tied for the nation’s top winning percentage at .770 (27-7-3).

No. 4 Michigan Tech leads the country with 28 wins (28-8-2) and a +71 goal margin. The Huskies are 12-1-1 over their last 14 games after outlasting Alabama Huntsville in a first round sweep that included a 1-0, triple-overtime thriller Friday night (at 118:49, the contest was the second-longest in WCHA history and seventh-longest in NCAA annals).

No. 13 Bowling Green is sixth nationally with a .671 winning percentage (23-10-5). The only team in the country to win at least one best-of-three postseason series in each of the last five years, the Falcons won in overtime Friday night before completing a first-round sweep of Northern Michigan on Saturday.

Ferris State was the lone road team to win a WCHA first round playoff series, upsetting Bemidji State with a 4-1 win Friday and a 3-2, triple-overtime victory Saturday (at 106:40, the fourth-longest game in WCHA history and 13th in NCAA annals). The Bulldogs, who opened the season ranked No. 9 in the country, are 7-1-1 in their last nine games.

In the first game Friday the Falcons will face-off with Michigan Tech at 4:07pm CST/5:07pm EST. The Falcons and Huskies split earlier in the season when Bowling Green traveled to Houghton in January. The evening contest will see Minnesota State and Ferris State play at 7:37pm CST/8:37pm EST in front of what should be a large amount of black and purple.

The winners from both games will play for the Broadmoor Trophy on Saturday at 6:07pm CST/7:07pm EST. There is no consolation game for the losing teams from the semifinals.

Tickets can be purchased here for $35 for individual games or all-games passes for $65.

Getting to St. Paul

As of this writing there are still round-trip flights available from Detroit (DTW) to Minneapolis (MSP) for $420 round-trip on Southwest.com. On Expedia.com flights start at $520 for other airlines flying from Detroit, and $530 for flights leaving from Toledo (TOL).

For the Sheldon Cooper types Amtrak offers train service from Toledo to Minneapolis for $214 round-trip(11 hours). Those looking to drive should plan on giving themselves at least 10 hours from Bowling Green via I-90W and bring toll money.

Where to Stay (Ordered Closest to Xcel Energy Center)

Holiday Inn St. Paul Downtown
175 W 7th St
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 225-1515

The Saint Paul Hotel
350 Market St
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 292-9292

Crowne Plaza St. Paul-Riverfront
11 Kellogg Blvd E
St Paul, MN 55101
(651) 292-1900

Hotel 340
340 Cedar St
St Paul, MN 55101
(651) 280-4120

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Paul Downtown
411 Minnesota St
St Paul, MN 55101
(651) 291-8800

Best Western Plus Kelly Inn
161 St Anthony Ave
St Paul, MN 55103
(651) 227-8711

Embassy Suites St. Paul – Downtown
175 E 10th St
St Paul, MN 55101
(651) 224-5400

Drew Evans

About Drew Evans

Drew is a co-founder and the editor for BGSUHockey.com. When he's not in the press box he makes (legal) drugs at a northwest Ohio compounding pharmacy. Drew is entering his eighth season covering Falcon hockey and has been a fan of the program since his time as a student beginning in 2003. He can be reached on Twitter @BGSUHockeySite and by e-mail at Drew@bgsuhockey.com.