St. Cloud State at Minnesota Duluth
What: WCHA regular-season finale
When: 7:07 p.m. Friday; 4:07 p.m. Saturday
Where: Amsoil Arena
Records: UMD is 20-5-5 overall, 17-5-4 in WCHA; St. Cloud State is 9-19-4, 7-16-3
Rankings: UMD is No. 2 in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls; the Huskies are unranked
Series: The Bulldogs lead 58-11-5 after sweeping the Huskies in St. Cloud, 3-0 and 3-2
Coaches: Eric Rud, in his third season at St. Cloud State, is 30-65-9 overall; Maura Crowell, in her second season at UMD, is 35-26-6 and 58-33-10 for her career
TV: My9 Saturday
UMD update: The Bulldogs enter the final weekend of the regular season out of the WCHA title race - Wisconsin clinched the conference title a week ago with a 1-1 tie and 8-0 win over UMD in Madison - but could still tie Minnesota for second in the league. UMD would need to sweep St. Cloud State, and the Gophers would have to get swept by the Badgers in Minneapolis. If that happens, UMD would get the second seed in the league playoffs via the third tiebreaker (conference losses). No matter what happens, the 2016-17 season will be the Bulldogs' best finish in the WCHA since tying the Gophers for second in 2010-11. UMD will get back senior forward Lara Stalder and junior forward Katerina Mrazova from Olympic qualifying this week. Mrazova missed the last two weeks while with the Czech Republic national team while Stalder, the team's leading scorer with 19 goals and 26 assists, missed last week's series while leading the Swiss to an Olympic berth with eight goals in three games. Stalder may be asked to drop back to defense this weekend, as well as junior forward Michelle L'wenhielm, due to injuries on the blue line. Junior defenseman Jessica Healey (lower body) and freshman defenseman Jayln Elmes (head) missed last week's series at Wisconsin due to injuries and continue to be day-to-day, according to Crowell.
SCSU update: The Huskies enter the final week of the regular season looking to hold on to fifth in the WCHA, leading sixth-place Ohio State by a point. The difference between fifth and sixth is the fifth-place team travels to North Dakota for the first round of the WCHA playoffs while sixth heads to either Minnesota Duluth or Minnesota. The Huskies finished fifth a year ago in the league. SCSU is coming off a split at home with Bemidji State a week ago, winning 5-2 on Friday before losing 3-1 Saturday. Sophomore forward Julia Tylke (11 goals, 8 assists) leads in scoring though was held scoreless against UMD in December. Forward Kayla Friesen (7-9-16) is fifth among WCHA freshmen in scoring. Freshman starting goaltender Janine Alder, the Swiss native who played in both losses at Duluth, sports a .930 save percentage and 2.32 goals-against average.
Quote: "We're well aware of the national picture and the standings. We talk about it pretty regularly, so these guys know how big these six points are this weekend - if we sweep and Wisconsin sweeps - what that can do for our program." - Crowell