WCHA Rankings, March 4

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Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 12:00 am

1. N. Dakota (18-9-7, 13-6-7 WCHA, RPI No. 6): North Dakota clinched home ice in the first round of the WCHA for the 11th consecutive season, the league’s longest active streak, but its MacNaughton Cup hopes took a hit when it had to settle for a 2-2 tie with Bemidji State on Saturday. The game-tying goal by Jordan Schmaltz, at 8:27 of the third period, was initially disallowed but then was ruled a goal after video review. It hit a post, then the inside of the net on the other side of the goal before deflecting out. Next: at MSU-Mankato.

2. Minnesota (22-7-5, 14-7-5, No. 2): Highly-talented Gophers seem to keep doing just enough to stay in contention for the MacNaughton Cup — this time with a five-goal third period Saturday for a 5-1 win against Denver to salvage a split. Zach Budish had four points (two goals, two assists). Gophers are still two points behind St. Cloud State and are tied with North Dakota, but should have easy sledding at Bemidji State while the other contenders have tougher assignments. Next: at Bemidji State.

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