Once again the WCHA has proven itself to be one of the elite college hockey leagues; all teams in the Final Five this week are ranked in the top 20 nationally. The group—with the notable absence of the Gophers—features matchups between No. 14 Minnesota-Duluth and No. 5 North Dakota, and No. 7 St. Cloud State and No. 3 Wisconsin. The winners of those games then play each other for the chance to take on the overall top seed, No. 1-ranked University of Denver, to determine who gets to take home the Broadmoor Trophy. Whoever ends up facing the Pioneers—with an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament going to the winner—hard-fought hockey is sure to be in store. Denver, a balanced team with a strong defense, could have trouble since all of their potential opponents, save for North Dakota, have defeated them once this season. But if Wisconsin wins, Denver's defense will be put to the test against the Badgers potent offense. North Dakota's bread and butter is its lockdown defense, which only let 82 goals squeak by all season. But then St. Cloud State might be the sleeper team in the Final Five. The Huskies have flown under the radar most of the season, finishing third in the WCHA and having trouble dispatching Minnesota State in the first round of the playoffs.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 2 p.m. Starts: March 18. Continues through March 20, 2010