2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Friday reading: Penrose Cup race; regular-season finales; WCHA race; women’s hockey

Published: March 7, 2014, 9:07 am, by Joe Paisley

SCSU road celebrationCC fans can point to this stat to buoy their hopes this weekend: No. 4 St. Cloud State started the season at 11-1-2 but is  8-7-3 since Dec. 7.

The Huskies remain confident coming into this weekend because they faced a similar scenario last year when they shared the WCHA title with Minnesota. Friday’s game starts at 7:08 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

Here is The Gazette’s feature on CC captain Eamonn McDermott and the learning experience this season has been.

Three teams can lay claim to the inaugural Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champion. No. 9 North Dakota and No. 4 St. Cloud State are tied atop the standings, three points ahead of Nebraska-Omaha. A sweep by either UND vs. Western Michigan or SCSU at Colorado College guarantees them at least a share of the Penrose Cup, if not the outright title.

For seeding purposes, UND currently holds the tiebreaker with more conference wins but that could change this weekend. Omaha would need both teams to falter in order to have a shot at the title.

The top four teams receive home ice for next weekend’s NCHC best-of-three quarterfinal series. North Dakota and St. Cloud State have already clinched home ice, while UNO needs just one point at Duluth or UND to earn one point vs. Western Michigan to secure home ice.

The final home ice spot(s) will go to WMU, Minnesota-Duluth or Denver. Colorado College is locked in as the No. 7 seed and will face the No. 2 seed, which could be UND, SCSU or UNO. Miami is last and will travel to face the No. 1.

The NCHC race leads off a national roundup. Western Michigan hopes to grab a couple road points at No. 9 North Dakota and secure home playoff ice. Here is more on UND and the beat writer’s predictions.

Family ties will be tested when Nebraska-Omaha plays at  Minnesota-Duluth with home playoff ice on the line.  Here are UNO’s preview notes.

Here are some predictions for this week’s regular-season finales. 

Penrose cupHere is this week’s USCHO column which talks about commissioner Josh Fenton’s uncertain travel itinerary this weekend; CC’s offensive woes and Nebraska-Omaha’s emotional week.

Here is a look at some of the great hockey games played at the Target Center, the site for the NCHC’s Frozen Faceoff.

Minnesota State has a chance to win its first MacNaughton Cup this weekend and other WCHA links.

In women’s hockey, sophomore forward Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn./Minnesota), senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ontario/Clarkson) and junior forward Jillian Saulnier (Halifax, Nova Scotia/Cornell) have been named top-three finalists for the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. The honor will be presented on March 22, as part of the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four weekend hosted by Quinnipiac. The award, which is in its 17th year, is presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.