OXFORD, Ohio - UND had a golden chance to lock up home ice for the first round of the NCHC playoffs and get in better position in the Pairwise, but lost that opportunity with a loss and tie at Miami. Now, it’s all going to come down to the final weekend of the regular season.
There’s one thing we know. St. Cloud State is the Penrose Cup champion and will play Miami in the first round of the playoffs. Obviously, the Huskies will be major favorites in this series, but if you recall, the other time St. Cloud State won Penrose in 2013-14, it got swept by an eighth-place Miami team in the first round. That Miami team had some high-end offensive guys like Blake Coleman, Austin Czarnik, Riley Barber and Sean Kuraly.
This Miami team doesn’t have guys quite of that caliber, but if Josh Melnick and Kiefer Sherwood play like they did this weekend, Miami can be a dangerous team.
Here’s what we know….
ST. CLOUD STATE 49 points. Final week: at North Dakota. Status: Clinched No. 1 seed and will host Miami first round.
DENVER 42 points. Final week: vs. Miami. Status: Clinched No. 2 seed.
MINNESOTA DULUTH 36 points. Final week: vs. Omaha. Status: Clinched home ice. Can clinch No. 3 seed with one point against Omaha or if UND loses just one point at home against St. Cloud State.
NORTH DAKOTA 31 points. Final week: vs. St. Cloud State. Status: Controls destiny for home ice. But UND loses all tiebreakers to Western and Omaha. So if it loses Friday and WMU or Omaha win, UND loses control. There are many tiebreaking scenarios out there, though, with the possibility of having three different ties, different three-way ties and even a four-way tie.