Gophers, UMD could play in same NCAA region

The competitive battle between the Gophers and Minnesota-Duluth could add another chapter or two before the season is over. They could meet in the WCHA Final Five, as well as the NCAA tournament if they are placed in the same region.
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The competitive battle between the Gophers and Minnesota-Duluth could add another chapter or two before the season is over. They could meet in the WCHA Final Five, as well as the NCAA tournament if they are placed in the same region.

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Gophers need two points to win McNaughton Cup, lock up No. 1 seed

Minnesota-Duluth's hopes of passing the Gophers in the WCHA standings could come to a halt this weekend. Minnesota can lock up the No. 1 seed in the WCHA tournament and claim the McNaughton Cup with one win over Wisconsin. Both teams have already secured home ice in the first round of the conference tourney.

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The NCAA hockey tournament is right around the corner and making the field will be challenging for most teams, but not the Gophers and UMD Bulldogs. Both look like locks to make the field of 16, even if they don't receive an automatic bid by winning the WCHA Final Five.

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The latest USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine college hockey polls list the Gophers as the No. 3 team in the nation, behind UMD and Boston University. However, the Gophers are No. 13 in the PairWise rankings. If they fall any further they could end up as a bubble team to reach the NCAA Tournament.

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The Gophers NCAA tournament hockey game against Boston University will be televised on Fox Sports North Plus Saturday at 3:30 p.m. FSN also announced on Tuesday that the North Dakota vs. Western Michigan game can be seen on Fox Sports North. Minnesota-Duluth's game against Maine will be televised on FSN Plus as well.

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