1. Down goes No. 1
Minnesota State was bruised and battered at Alaska, not only tying and losing but playing without three injured forwards for Saturday and half of Friday (while two others were nursing their own ailments back in Mankato). It was first time this year that the Mavericks suffered significant injury issues. It was also the first time they didn’t win at least once in back-to-back games, which shows what kind of season they’ve been having. The Mavericks now hold a slim one-point lead over Michigan Tech, which destroyed Alaska Anchorage by a combined score of 15-1. Meanwhile, Alaska showed it could hang with the best team in the country and actually finished the season series 2-1-1 against MSU. The Nanooks look like a team that could go on a nice postseason run — if they weren’t banned from the postseason.
2. Playoff mashup
There’s not just a tight race at the top of the WCHA standings between Minnesota State and Michigan Tech. Bemidji State’s sweep at Northern Michigan put the Beavers into a tie with the Wildcats for fifth place in the standings, while holding the tiebreaker over NMU for last home-ice spot for the playoffs (ineligible Alaska is in fourth place). Meanwhile, Alabama Huntsville put itself into good playoff shape by taking three points at Lake Superior State. The Chargers are in eighth place now, three points ahead of the Lakers and with two games in hand. The Lakers did get one point to give itself a three-point lead over Alaska Anchorage, although the Seawolves have two games in hand.
3. Jedi Mind Trick
It was “Star Wars” night in Big Rapids, Mich., and the force was with Ferris State, which snapped a seven-game losing streak, thanks to Jared VanWromer’s goal at 3:48 of overtime on Saturday night. The Bulldogs defeated Bowling Green 3-2. During their losing streak, they scored a total of eight goals, so getting to three was significant (even two wasn’t safe, as the Falcons erased a 2-0 deficit). The defending MacNaughton Cup champions are in seventh place in the standings, two points out of a home-ice spot. Can they get back on track and make a stretch run? The Bulldogs close the season with series at Alabama Huntsville and Lake Superior State with a home set against Bemidji State in between.