The 2012 WCHA tournament bracket was finalized over the weekend and, as expected, the Minnesota Golden Gophers picked up the top seed and will face Alaska-Anchorage in the first round. A matchup pitting the top and bottom seeds sounds like a gimme, but the Gophers hockey team learned last season that they can't take Alaska-Anchorage lightly.
The Gophers were knocked out of the postseason by Alaska-Anchorage last year in the first round, but after winning the McNaughton Cup on Saturday, Minnesota should carry a bit of momentum into this wekeend's series.
Other Minnesota schools in the tournament, in order of their seed, are No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth, No. 6 St. Cloud State, No. 9 Bemidji State and No. 11 Minnesota State-Mankato.
Following this weekend's first round, the winning teams will earn berths in the 2012 WCHA Final Five, set for March 15-17 at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. The winner of the WCHA Final Five receives the WCHA's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
A bracket of the first round is included below.