As the season winds down the WCHA playoff picture is as murky as it’s ever been. In fact, a situation exists where five teams could tie for the MacNaughton Cup. That means one team, despite winning a league championship, would be on the road for the first round of the playoff. It’s unlikely, but this season has been anything but likely.
That’s what this post is going to try to breakdown: who has a chance to win the league, host a home playoff series, make the playoffs, or who’s going home:
- Minnesota State: The Mavs got to take last weekend off to rest off for a long trip to Alaska this upcoming weekend. MSU is the only team that truly controls its destiny for the MacNaughton cup, and at worst would clinch home ice with four points or less over the last four games.
- Michigan Tech: A weekend split with Bemidji State muddied the waters for the Huskies bid for a league championship. This weekend they’ll welcome the Nanooks to Houghton as they attempt to make up lost ground from the weekend that was. The Huskies should clinch home ice with five or less points over the last two weekends.
- Bowling Green: It was certainly a disappointing weekend as the Falcons split with the Alaska Nanooks. They’ll welcome a very good Ferris State team this weekend to the Ice Arena. They’ll also need to make up some ground over the last few weeks for a trophy chance, and will need five or less points to clinch home ice.
- Ferris State: The Bulldogs had a single game Friday against Michigan, losing to the Wolverines. The MacNaughton chance will be tough as the Bulldogs need a minimum of five points, and will need to out duel NMU, BGSU, MTU, or MSU for a home playoff spot.
- Northern Michigan: The Wildcats swept Alabama-Huntsville, and the Wildcats will head east to Lake Superior this weekend for a UP match-up. NMU will need at least five points to make a MacNaughton run, and will need to fight off one of the four teams above them for a home playoff series.
- Bemidji State: The Beavers had a pretty good Friday beating MTU, but got shelled Saturday. The Beavers most likely can’t improve their position enough to host a home playoff series, but should clinch a road playoff spot this weekend.
- Lake Superior: The Lakers picked up a road split with Alaska-Anchorage, and while not mathematically eliminated from a home playoff series they’ll probably be on the road in the first round. I’d be surprised if the Lakers stay home this year.
- Alaska-Anchorage: A split with the Lakers helped the Seawolves, but they’ve still got work to do. They can’t clinch a home playoff series and will need to hold off their in-state rival. The Governor’s Cup probably decides the final playoff series, as UAA will need three or less points in their last four games to make the playoffs.
- Alaska: The Nanooks probably had the best weekend they could have hoped against BG, picking up a split. Staying in Fairbanks in the first round isn’t going to happen, and UAF will need to leapfrog the Seawolves to make the playoffs.
- Alabama-Huntsville: The Chargers headed to Marquette and came home empty handed. UAH needs a miracle to make the playoffs, and will probably be trying to play spoiler from here on out.