Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs @ Denver Pioneers
Summary: The Bulldogs snapped their 5 game losing streak with a win over Minnesota last Saturday. The Pioneers are on a losing streak of their own, now 3 games after being swept by CC. UMD ended DU's season in 05-06 after beating them in the 1st round playoffs in Denver. They might need to do it again if they want their season to continue past the F5.
WWN Says: Which fanbase would I rather see at the F5? The Bulldog fans would probably travel in greater number if they happen to make it (due to that whole distance thing), but the Pioneer fans are fun to hang with as well. That probably doesn't matter though, being that we'll all see them in April anyway for the F4 in Denver. So I'll pick UMD here.
Summary: This might be the only series that is almost a sure-fire bet that the home team will win. The Seawolves were the only team that wasn't fighting for placement in the WCHA standings the last few weekends, as they finished solidly in 10th place (10 points behind 9th). The Tigers, meanwhile, look to be playing quite well after sweeping DU and they will want to get a #1 seed at their own regional.
WWN Says: Which fanbase would I rather see at the F5? That's a really difficult question...being that I don't think I've ever met a fan (that I remember anyway) from either school. If the Seawolves made it, would any fans bother to come anyway? Donald's donation plan fell through, so I guess not. Ahh, who am I kidding, the Seawolves aren't going to advance.
Summary: When was the last time that the Mavericks beat the Gophers? I would guess that most fans can't even remember. I know I couldn't, so I looked it up. It was Nov 8th, 2002 with a 3-2 win in Mankato. And now they would have to win twice in one weekend if they want to advance to the F5. Can they do it? There is more at stake for both teams as well...a poor series from either team could push them out of the NCAA tourney.
WWN Says: Which fanbase would I rather see at the F5? Tough call here. The Xcel is normally 65% Gopher fans anyway due to the "away" venue, but how many will show up if the Gophers aren't there? My guess: if the Gophers lose, you'll see a buttload of F5 tickets all of a sudden become available. But, there will still be some UMN fans there. And those will probably be the "good" ones, if there is such a thing. Plus, the league would be pissed if they weren't there...so I say go Mavericks.
Summary: The Huskies have been inconsistent lately (actually, for the whole season it seems), although they did manage some quality wins against Denver and Mankato recently. And now they travel to face the Sioux, who are unbeaten in their last 17 games. It's a tall order, but UND might be ripe for the picking right now with 3 good players out with injuries. If they can't play, MTU might get past them and punch their ticket to St. Paul.
WWN Says: Which fanbase would I rather see at the F5? North Dakota State fans travel well, so if the Sioux advance, there will be a ton of them there. But if the Gophers don't make it, will any of those UND fans be wearing Holy Cross jerseys? I think that the MTU band will be there anyway, as well as the best Tech fan, so I'll just pick UND since I would rather not listen to the whining that would erupt if they weren't there.
Wisconsin Badgers @ St. Cloud State Huskies
Summary: For some reason, the Badgers seem to always have the upperhand when they play the Huskies. But SCSU managed to beat them just a couple weeks ago, and being that the series is at the NHC, this might tip the scales in their favor. Neither team has played that well recently, so this series is probably the most difficult to predict. Which should probably be the case in a series between the 5th/6th place teams.
WWN Says: Which fanbase would I rather see at the F5? If the Badgers advance, we'll see fans hopping around in their seats doing some sort of dance routine instead of watching hockey. If the Huskies advance, we'll see the number of snowmobile jackets in the Xcel increase by at least 10x. But, I have ulterior motives here. UW is really screwing up the brackets for the rest of the WCHA teams being that they are hosting a regional, yet are down in the 3/4 seed area. For that reason, we need them out of the picture, so go SCSU.