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WCHA Hockey Tournament: 5 Teams Advance Saturday, Denver Forces Game 3

In addition to Minnesota's 7-3 win over Alaska-Anchorage, Saturday night saw a pair of overtime games and five teams finishing two-game sweeps to advance to St. Paul next weekend for the WCHA Final Five. They included a double overtime game in Duluth, a comeback effort falling short in Grand Forks, Nebraska-Omaha suffering a last minute heartbreak and the Denver Pioneers holding on against Wisconsin to force a third and deciding game Sunday night.

Saturday WCHA Final Recaps:

#2 Minnesota-Duluth 3 - #11 Minnesota State 2 (2OT)
DULUTH- It took almost 85 minutes to determine a winner Saturday but Mike Seidel was able to finally put Minnesota State away with his 15th goal of the season. That capped a night which saw the two teams combine for 108 shots and saw Mavericks goaltender Austin Lee make 56 saves to keep his team in the game. UMD goalie Kenny Reiter was just as good, making 47saves and helped Minnesota-Duluth kill a critical penalty in the first overtime.

The Bulldogs will play the winner of one of the two Thursday quarterfinals on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.

#3 Denver 3 - #10 Wisconsin 1
DENVER- After being shut out by Joel Rumpel for 104:04 of this weekend's series, Denver found the back of the net three times in the final period and tied the series at one game apiece Saturday. Pioneer forward Nate Dewhurst started the scoring to give DU their first lead of the weekend but Wisconsin defenseman Justin Schultz tied the game at 1 two minutes later. Salazar, however, scored on a one-timer from the left circle with 7:07 left in the game to put Denver ahead and Nick Shore iced the game with a late empty netter.

The two teams will play the decisive Game 3 Sunday night in Denver at 8:00 p.m. Central (7 p.m. local time).

#4 North Dakota 4 - Bemidji State 3
GRAND FORKS- Two third period goals 17 seconds apart by Bemidji State senior forward Jamie MacQueen brought the Beavers within one goal but the Fighting Sioux were able to hold for the final 3:37 and clinch their tenth consecutive Final Five berth. The North Dakota line of Mark MacMillan, Carter Rowney and Michael Parks had two of their four goals (Connor Gaarder and Dillon Simpson scored the other two) and the trio scored 13 points in two games this weekend.

The Fighting Sioux will play either St. Cloud State (if Denver wins on Sunday) or Wisconsin if they win on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.

#8 Michigan Tech 4 - #5 Colorado College 3 (OT)
COLORADO SPRINGS- For the second consecutive season, the eighth seed defeated the fifth seed in two games. This time David Johnstone scored 3:30 into overtime for Michigan Tech, following Steven Seigo tying the game with 1:05 left in regulation. Andrew Hamburg had two goals in defeat for Colorado Collegeas the Huskies head to their first Final Five since 2007.

Michigan Tech will play either Denver (if the Pioneers win Sunday) or St. Cloud State (if Wisconsin wins Sunday) Thursday in a Final Five quarterfinal.

#6 St. Cloud State 3 - #7 University of Nebraska-Omaha 1
ST. CLOUD- Ben Hanowski's 22nd goal of the season with 43 seconds remaining in regulation broke a 1-1 tie and handed Nebraska-Omaha their sixth consecutive loss to end the season. Jarred Festler scored 22 seconds into the game on a two-man advantage for St. Cloud State before Dominic Zonmbo tied the game seven minutes later. Travis Novak added a last-second (literally) empty netter and the Huskies, who lost numerous players to injuries and defections, advance to the Final Five.

St. Cloud State will play either North Dakota (if Denver wins) or Michigan Tech (if Wisconsin wins Sunday) Thursday in a Final Five quarterfinal.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.