Preview: WCHA Final Five semifinals
- March 21, 2013 - 9:11 PM
2 p.m. and 7 p.m. • xcel energy center • fsn (both), 1500-am (7 p.m. only)
Gophers at a glance: Minnesota plays in the 7 p.m. semifinal and is the No. 2 seed. After sweeping Bemidji State in the first round of the WCHA playoffs last weekend, the Gophers (26-7-5) reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in the USCHO.com poll. They have won the tournament championship 14 times — second only to Denver’s 15 titles. The Gophers lead the WCHA in scoring offense (3.61 goals per game), scoring defense (1.97 goals against per game), power-play success (25.2 percent) and penalty-killing (86.2 percent). One more victory for G Adam Wilcox (25-6-5) will break Kellen Briggs’ record for most by a freshman. Junior F Erik Haula, who had three assists in last Saturday’s victory over Bemidji State, leads the Gophers with 49 points (16 goals, 33 assists) and has tied his career high set last season.
St. Cloud State at a glance: The No. 7 Huskies (23-14-1) face Wisconsin at 2 p.m. Friday. They earned the top seed by sharing the MacNaughton Cup with the Gophers, winning their first league title. They have won the Final Five championship once, in 2001. F Drew LeBlanc was named a Hobey Baker Award Top 10 finalist Thursday; the senior from Hermantown was voted WCHA player of the year and is the nation’s third-leading scorer with 50 points. His 37 assists are the most in Division I. St. Cloud State has made the Final Five 14 times and has a record of 8-16. D Nick Jensen, the WCHA defensive player of the year, ranks second among Division I defensemen with 25 assists. F Jonny Brodzinski leads Division I freshmen with 21 goals. The St. Cloud State offense averages 3.42 goals per game, third in the nation.
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