A fantastic opening night of hockey saw the top two seeds advance, but St. Thomas and Wisconsin will be joined by “upset” winners Minnesota-Crookston and UW-Eau Claire in the semifinals.
In Quarterfinal #1, the Tommies and Johnnies started even as both felt out the tournament atmosphere. As the game went on, though, UST’s strength began to show as the team methodicaly broke down SJU over the final two periods for a comfortable 8-1 win.
In Quarterfinal #2, it was a tight affair between Wisconsin and Jamestown until the Badgers scored twice early in the third. With a strong defense, the Jimmies couldn’t muster an answer as the Badgers held for a 4-1 victory.
In Quarterfinal #3, the early leader for game of the tournament played out in exciting fashion between Minnesota and Minnesota-Crookston. The teams were neck-and-neck all year in the Northwest Division and adjacent in the latest ACHA Rankings, and that proximity showed on the ice. The Eagles jumped out to a suprising 3-0 lead in the first, but the Gophers came all the way back to lead 4-3 late until a UMC goal took it to overtime. One OT wasn’t enough, so in the second it was Crookston who found the winner to take them to the semifinal round by a score of 5-4.
In Quarterfinal #4, what was poised to be a hotly contested contest was put to bed rather emphatically by the Blugolds, who netted three quick goals in succession midway through the second to build a commanding lead. The Bulldogs attempted to rally and were able to net one, but UW-Eau Claire kept the pressure on to secure a 7-1 win.
5:30 PM, SR#1 – Quarterfinal #1 | #1 St. Thomas (8) vs. #8 St. John’s (1)
6:00 PM, SR#2 – Quarterfinal #2 | #2 Wisconsin (4) vs. #7 Jamestown (1)
8:00 PM, SR#1 – Quarterfinal #3 | #4 Minnesota (4) vs. #5 Minnesota-Crookston (5 – 2OT)
8:30 PM, SR#2 – Quarterfinal #4 | #3 Minnesota-Duluth (1) vs. #6 Wisconsin-Eau Claire (7)
All eight teams will continue to Saturday – those in the Championship bracket vying for a spot in the WCCHA Championship game on Sunday, and those on the Consolation side looking for redemption and the chance to finish strong on Sunday with two straight victories.
5:30 PM, SR#2 – Consolation Semi #1| #4 Minnesota vs. #8 St. John’s
8:00 PM, SR#2 – Consolation Semi #2 | #3 Minnesota-Duluth vs. #7 Jamestown
Tonight’s semifinal games can be viewed live, for free, on the WCCHA YouTube Channel. The Consolation games will remain accessible via LiveBarn (subscription required).