Minnesota Duluth's stay in St. Paul was brief in 2010. After Thursday's WCHA Final Five Play-in loss to North Dakota 2-0 Thursday at Xcel Energy Center, the Bulldogs will be on a bus for Duluth on Friday. Then they must sit and watch, not only the remainder of the Final Five, but the rest of the Division I league tournaments as they play out this weekend. UMD (22-17-1) has slim NCAA playoff hopes after dropping three spots Friday from No. 11 to No. 14 in the PairWise Rankings, but only 16 spots are available. The field will be announced Sunday morning.'
A year ago, UMD won three games in three days at the Final Five and went from an NCAA bubble team to a No. 2 seed. On Thursday, the Bulldogs had to relinquish the Broadmoor Tophy. In Friday's semifinals, St. Cloud State faces Wisconsin at 2:07 p.m., while North Dakota (plahying its fifth game in eight days) faces top-seed Denver.
There will be four Hobey Baker Memorial Award candidates at the Xcel Energy Center on Friday. The 10 finalists were named Thursday for an award which goes to the top player in Division I. There are two from Denver, WCHA player of the year, junior goalie Marc Cheverie, and WCHA scoring leader, senior forward Rhett Rakhshani; and two from Wisconsin, senior forward Blake Geoffrion, and junior defenseman Brendan Smith. A link to the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Web site is here.
A game story from Thursday's game is found in the Grand Forks Herald here.
While live event blogging for the UMD men is taking a break, there will be living blogging at 8 p.m. Friday night from Ridder Arena in Minneapolis as the No. 2-ranked UMD women face No. 3 Minnesota in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals.
Here is the current PairWise Rankings.