After UAF knocked off Ferris State 5-3 tonight for a series sweep and its sixth straight win, which also clinched the Nanooks a playoff spot, the WCHA standings are a glorious mess entering next week's final series of the regular season.
We know this about the 10-team league: Ferris State and Minnesota State-Mankato, currently tied for first, will finish 1-2 and have home ice in the first round, but we just don't know what order those clubs will finish; UAF and Michigan Tech, tied for third, have clinched playoff spots; five teams -- UAA, Bowling Green, Lake Superior State, Bemidji State and Northern Michigan -- are battling for the four remaining playoff spots. Those five teams are separated by a mere three points, which is crazy awesome.
Alabama-Huntsville, long out of the playoff race, is reduced to a possible spoiler role. It entertains Northern Michigan next week. Northern Michigan sits ninth currently but could do some leap-frogging with a sweep of the Chargers.
And UAA, idle this week, most likely needs to get points out of its season-ending series in Fairbanks against UAF -- that series doubles as Games 3 and 4 of the annual Governor's Cup, tied 1-1 after the Seawolves and Nanooks split in Anchorage before the holiday break.
The hottest team on the circuit is UAF, which has won six straight and eight of nine, and is closing the stretch run in remarkable fashion. Also, the athletic department's Twitter feed and the Nanooks Hockey Blog both must surely be nearly out of exclamation points (nothing positive goes without an exclamation point, and often two, on those feeds -- it's a day ending in 'y'!! Hey, Cody Kunyk missed the net tonight and still got three exclamation points from the Nanook Hockey Blog/Heart Attack Waiting To Happen. He scores against UAA next week and that blog is gonna break the Internet.)
In any event, below is how the standings currently sit, with places, points and each team's final series:
1) tie, Ferris State, 38 points, home vs. Lake Superior
1) tie, Minn. State-Mankato, 38 points, home vs. Michigan Tech
3) tie, UAF, 28 points, home vs. UAA
3) tie, Michigan Tech, 28 points, at Minn. State-Mankato
5) tie, UAA, 26 points, at UAF
5) tie, Bowling Green, 26 points, home vs. Bemidji
7) tie, Lake Superior St., 24 points, at Ferris
7) tie, Bemidji State, 24 points, at Bowling Green
9) Northern Michigan, 23 points, at Ala.-Huntsville
10) Ala-Huntsville, 5 points, home vs. Northern Michigan
By DOYLE WOODY, adn.com