It’s the final day of the NCHC season. Three, possibly four teams, will advance to the NCAA tournament, where I’m sure they will represent the league well. Candace and Matt went 1-1 (.500) in their semifinal picks, with Candace correctly picking Minnesota-Duluth and Matthew picking St. Cloud State. Let’s see how we do on the final day of picks.
Saturday, March 19
North Dakota versus Denver
Candace: Denver crushed North Dakota last year in this same game. This year, neither team really has anything much to play for. North Dakota could jump to a No. 2 seed and play in the St. Paul regional with a win here and a St. Cloud loss in the final. Denver is pretty much a six or seven seed regardless, and is flying somewhere. I’ll pick the Fighting Hawks to get revenge for last year and keep alive the hopes of a shorter trip. North Dakota 4-2
Matthew: DU was the last team to beat UND before Friday, but while I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pioneers beat UND again on Saturday, I’m taking the Fighting Hawks to eke one out. North Dakota 3-2
Minnesota-Duluth versus St. Cloud State
Candace: Both teams will come out flying. Duluth knows its NCAA tournament hopes are assured by winning. If Duluth loses, Bulldogs fans will be rooting mightily for Michigan to take down Minnesota in the B1G final. St. Cloud knows that a win means it gets a bus trip to its regional, instead of flying to Cincinnati. It should be one heck of a game. Just for grins, I’ll pick opposite of Matthew, though I think you could flip a coin and have better odds of picking this one. St. Cloud 3-2
Matthew: On paper, at least, St. Cloud looks like the better team. I have a feeling, though, that UMD steals a win here and takes home the playoff title. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2