BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – March 4, 2018 – The quest for the inaugural Jeff Sauer WCHA Championship Trophy, Presented by Anderson's Maple Syrup, is moving on to the best-of-three semifinal round of the 2018 WCHA Playoffs. Minnesota State will host Michigan Tech in a rematch of the 2017 semifinals, while Northern Michigan welcomes Bowling Green the weekend of March 9-11.
The two winners will move on to the one-game 2018 WCHA Championship, held Saturday, March 17 at the home of the highest-remaining seed. The WCHA Postseason Tournament champion receives the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship.
Pairings, locations and start times for the Friday-Sunday, March 9-11 best-of-three, semifinal round of the 2018 WCHA Playoffs (* denotes if necessary):
No. 5 Michigan Tech at No. 1 Minnesota State (Verizon Center; Mankato, Minn.)
- Game 1 (Friday, March 9): 7:07 p.m. CT
- Game 2 (Saturday, March 10): 7:07 p.m. CT
- *Game 3 (Sunday, March 11): 7:07 p.m. CT
No. 3 Bowling Green at No. 2 Northern Michigan (Berry Events Center; Marquette, Mich.)
- Game 1 (Friday, March 2): 7:07 p.m. ET
- Game 2 (Saturday, March 3): 7:07 p.m. ET
- *Game 3 (Sunday, March 4): 7:07 p.m. ET
Top-seeded and nationally third-ranked Minnesota State (28-7-1), which won the MacNaughton Cup as 2017-18 WCHA regular season champions, ran its unbeaten streak to 13-straight games (12-0-1) with a quarterfinal-round sweep of No. 8 seed Alaska. Northern Michigan, the tournament's No. 2 seed and ranked No. 19 nationally, outlasted No. 7 seed Alabama Huntsville in three games. Third-seeded and nationally-ranked No. 17 Bowling Green won both games against No. 6 seed Ferris State, while fifth-seeded Michigan Tech pulled off the lone quarterfinal-round upset with a road sweep at No. 4 seed Bemidji State.
The Mavericks swept the Huskies in their lone regular season series, winning 3-1 and 5-3 on Oct. 27-28 at the Verizon Center. Minnesota State will be looking to avenge a 2017 semifinal-round loss to Michigan Tech, which won a decisive Game 3 at home. The Wildcats swept the Falcons on Jan. 12-13 at the Berry Events Center, following a 5-2, series-opening victory with a 3-2, overtime triumph the next night.