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Hockey playoffs: WCHA (as we know it) skates into history

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What's next for the s00n-to-be-forever-altered WCHA?

Playoff hockey, starting tonight.

The team with the most at stake might be Minnesota-State Mankato. The Mavericks are not only hosting first round playoff games for the first time in five years (against Nebraska-Omaha), but a few victories can only help their chances of making the NCAA tournament.

In other pairings: Alaska-Anchorage takes on top-seeded St. Cloud State, Bemidji State travels to Mariucci Area to face Don Lucia's Gophers and Minnesota-Duluth is at Wisconsin.

After the first round, the six winning teams will be re-seeded No. 1 through No. 6, according to their regular season finish, and advance to the Final Five next week at Xcel Energy Center. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will receive a first-day bye.

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Gophers looking for revenge against Alaska-Anchorage in WCHA playoffs

It's been one year since Alaska-Anchorage upset the Gophers in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. This year the Gophers are the top seed and a heavy favorite against Seawolves. The best-of-three series between the two begins Friday at Mariucci Arena. If Minnesota wins they will advance to the WCHA Final Five.