Colorado College needs help from St. Cloud State this weekend to finish second in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Two wins against Denver — the Pioneers have won five straight in the series — are what CC needs to finish third and avoid the play-in game at the WCHA Final Five. But home ice for a first-round series of the WCHA playoffs isn’t secure, and CC coach Scott Owens remains pessimistic. A wild weekend in which Minnesota State-Mankato swept No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 11 Denver split with No. 10 North Dakota muddied the playoff picture. The No. 4 Tigers took care of business by sweeping Minnesota Duluth, although they couldn’t shake North Dakota or St. Cloud State in the standings. CC trails second-place Denver by three points and third-place Wisconsin by two points and holds a three- point lead over North Dakota and St. Cloud State, which are tied for fifth. Here are two certainties: No. 1 Minnesota has won the WCHA regular-season title outright, and Minnesota, Denver and Wisconsin will host best-of-three, first-round playoff series. CC can clinch home ice with a win or tie against Denver; a St. Cloud State loss or tie at Wisconsin; or a North Dakota loss to Michigan Tech. Sweeping Denver would guarantee CC a third-place finish. The Tigers could finish second if they swept Denver and St. Cloud State took three of four points from Wisconsin. “It would be nice to get some help,” Owens said, referring to the St. Cloud State-Wisconsin series. “I think Wisconsin will probably rebound and be able to get a game at home. But obviously they’re leaking.” If CC finishes fourth, it will host seventh-place Minnesota State in the first round March 10-12. If CC finishes fifth, it will host North Dakota or St. Cloud State. The Tigers will travel to North Dakota or St. Cloud State if they finish sixth. Zaba earns WCHA honor Goaltender Matt Zaba was named the WCHA co-Defensive Player of the Week. In two games against Minnesota Duluth, Zaba (19-10-1) stopped 57 of 59 shots and didn’t allow an evenstrength goal. His 19 wins are the most in the country. Ticket info Fewer than 20 tickets remain for Thursday’s game at World Arena, and CC officials anticipate the game will sell out today. Only singles remain for Friday’s game at Magness Arena in Denver. If CC clinches home ice Thursday, tickets for the first round of the WCHA playoffs will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. If CC clinches home ice Friday, tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. Tickets may be purchased by calling TicketsWest at 719-576-2626 or online at www.cctigers.com. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or email@example.com
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