WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF
2 p.m.: Wisconsin vs. North Dakota
5 p.m.: Gophers vs. Minnesota Duluth
2 p.m.: Semifinal winners
Where: Ridder Arena
Watch: Saturday's games will be streamed on WCHA.com, and Sunday's game will air live on FSN.
Gophers (25-6-5): Minnesota seeks its first WCHA playoff title since 2014. The Gophers were 20-0-1 in a 21-game span against Minnesota Duluth before getting swept by the Bulldogs in Duluth in January. Kelly Pannek leads the nation with 60 points (19 goals, 41 assists).
Minnesota-Duluth (24-5-5): Lara Stalder was named one of the nation's three Patty Kazmaier Award finalists this week. The senior from Switzerland has 22 goals and 31 assists in 32 games. Senior defenseman Sidney Morin, from Minnetonka, was named the WCHA's defensive player of the year.
Wisconsin (29-2-4): Ann-Renee Desbiens is the Kazmaier favorite with an otherworldly goals-against average (0.69) and 15 shutouts. The Badgers also lead the nation in scoring, at 4.09 goals per game, led by Annie Pankowski (50 points), Sarah Nurse (46) and Emily Clark (42). Wisconsin is the two-time defending WCHA playoff champion.
North Dakota (16-15-6): To gain a spot in the eight-team NCAA tournament, the Fighting Hawks would need to win the WCHA playoff title for an automatic bid. The Fighting Hawks lost Game 1 of their best-of-three first-round series to Ohio State last week in overtime. Two days later, North Dakota won the deciding Game 3 in overtime on freshman Emma Nuutinen's goal.