No. 1 St. Cloud State (23-14-1) vs. No. 4 Wisconsin (20-12-7), 1:07 p.m. MT
Season series: tied 1-1
Notes: Badgers enter Friday’s game against SCSU on a four-game winning streak that began with a 3-2 win over the Huskies. …. At No. 16 in the Pairwise rankings, UW needs to win to garner an NCAA berth. … The first line of Nic Kerdiles, Mark Zengerle and Tyler Barnes accounted for three of Thursday’s seven goals. … Joel Rumpel made 38 saves in the quarterfinal win.
Leaders: UW, Michael Mersch, jr. F (23g, 13a); Mark Zengerle, jr. F (9g, 22a); Nic Kerdiles, fr. F (8g, 20a); Tyler Barnes, jr. F (13g, 15a); Joel Rumpel, soph. G (14-8-4, 1.87 gaa, .933 saves). SCSU, Drew LeBlanc, sr. F (13g, Division I-best 37a); Nic Dowd, jr. F (14g, 24a); Jonny Brodzinski, fr. F (21g, 11a); Kalle Kossila, fr. F (15g, 17a); Ryan Faragher, soph. G (22-12-1, 2.27 gaa, .916 saves).
Season series: Minnesota leads 1-0-1
Notes: Senior goalie Joe Howe returned to his freshman while the Tigers’ penalty kill went 6-for-6 against a potent North Dakota power play. Alexander Krushelnyski scored his third shorthanded goal for CC to win the special teams battle. … All three UND goals came at even strength. … Minnesota has the nation’s top offense (3.61 goals) and power play (25.16 percent). … CC scored three goals in the third period to forge a 4-4 tie last time the teams played.
Quote: “(Minnesota is) big and strong and will be good on a smaller sheet,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “We’re just going to stay with our deal and see if we can make some good things happen. We respect them a ton, they’re No. 1 in the country, but because of the schedule we played we’re not really intimidated by anybody.”
Leaders: CC, Rylan Schwartz, sr., C (18g, 32a); Alexander Krushelnyski, jr., LW (15g, 26a); William Rapuzzi, sr., RW (15g, 20a); Mike Boivin, sr., D (14g, 14a); Scott Winkler, sr., C (13g, 14a); Archie Skalbeck, jr. F (12g, 11); Eamonn McDermott, jr. D (3g, 19a); Joe Howe, sr., G (13-11-4, 3.08 goals against, .912 saves percentage). UM, Erik Haula, jr. F (16g, 33a); Kyle Rau, soph. F (15g, 24a); Nick Bjugstad, jr. F (21g, 15a); Zach Budish, jr. F (13g, 22a); Adam Wilcox, fr. G (25-6-5, 1.84 gaa, .923 saves). Wilcox is profiled by College Hockey News.
A state lawmaker wants to give Minnesota $800,000 to maintain its rivalry with North Dakota. A sold-out Mariucci Arena is not incentive enough?
Air Force junior Adam McKenzie is the Atlantic Hockey Association Defenseman of the Year as voted by the league’s coaches.
McKenzie was named the AHA Player of the Week on March 4 as he scored five points (1-4-5) as the Falcons swept the 13th-ranked Purple Eagles in the final regular-season series. He had a career-high four points (1-3-4) in the win on March 2.
A first-team all-AHA selection this season, McKenzie is third Falcon to win the AHA Defenseman of the Year award, joining Greg Flynn (2008-09) and Tim Kirby (2011-12).
The Petaluma, Calif., native finished with 20 points (12 assists), including 11 points over the final nine games, including a career-high two goals in the season-ending loss to Canisius for Air Force (17-13-7).
Other AHA major awards: Niagara coach David Burkholder was named Coach of the Year, Niagara junior goaltender Carsen Chubak was selected as the Player of the Year while Purple Eagle senior forward Marc Zanette was named Best Defensive Forward.