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Captain Gino Guyer picked up the MacNaughton Cup after the Gophers won it in 2006. The trophy goes to the regular-season WCHA champion and is up for grabs this weekend, the last before playoffs begin.

File photo by BRUCE BISPING • bbisping@startribune.com ,

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Chart: WCHA race comes down to final weekend

  • March 8, 2013 - 12:35 AM

wcha regular-season race: the final weekend

A mere six points separate the top seven teams in the WCHA standings:

St. Cloud State

Position: First place, 35 points

This weekend: at Wisconsin

Comment: It’s simple. Win one game at Wisconsin this weekend and clinch at least a share of their first MacNaughton Cup ever. Three points or more guarantees the championship outright.

Gophers

Position: Tied for second, 33 points

This weekend: at Bemidji State

Comment: The Gophers can grab at least a piece of the regular-season title if the Huskies falter. Minnesota hasn’t technically clinched home ice yet for the first round of the WCHA playoffs, but unless Denver makes up a 24-goal differential this weekend, there will be hockey at Mariucci Arena next weekend.

North Dakota

Position: Tied for second, 33 points

This weekend: at Minnesota State Mankato

Comment: UND has clinched home ice, and like the Gophers can grab at least a share of the conference title if St. Cloud State falters.

Minnesota State

Position: Tied for fourth, 31 points

This weekend: vs. North Dakota

Comment: Would need a lot of help to get a piece of the title, but the Mavericks can move up in the standings and clinch home ice with a strong weekend. MSU would lose a tiebreaker to Denver (0-2 head-to-head).

Wisconsin

Position: Tied for fourth, 31 points

This weekend: vs. St. Cloud State

Comment: Would gain a share of the title with a sweep of St. Cloud State and a split or worse for the Gophers and UND. The Badgers hold the tiebreaker edge for home ice over Denver and Nebraska-Omaha.

Nebraska-Omaha

Position: Sixth place, 30 points

This weekend: at Minnesota Duluth

Comment: UNO clinches home ice with a sweep of UMD, which it already did once this season. The Mavericks are vulnerable, though, as Denver and Wisconsin have tiebreaker edges.

Denver

Position: Seventh place, 29 points

This weekend: vs. Alaska-Anchorage

Comment: The Pioneers are on the outside looking in currently in the race for a top-six finish and home ice. But they have the easiest final series at home against the last-place Seawolves and could very well move up.

Michael Rand

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