2012 WCHA Playoffs: Denver Pioneers Draw Wisconsin Badgers In Opening Round

The 2012 WCHA Playoffs begin on Friday and will be quickly followed by Can the Denver Pioneers win their first WCHA Tournament championship since 2008?

Can the Denver Pioneers win their first WCHA Tournament championship since 2008?

The Denver Pioneers are the No. 3 seed in the 2012 WCHA Playoffs after the regular season came to an end on Saturday night. The Pioneers (21-11-4) will host the No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers next week in the best-of-three opening-round series. The Pioneers split a two-game road series with the Badgers On Feb. 17-18.

Denver closed out the regular season schedule in the WCHA with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks on Saturday night. Luke Salazar's goal with 38 seconds left in regulation allowed the Pioneers to go to overtime. Daniel Doremus came up big in overtime by scoring the game-winning goal.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs took the top two seeds this year. While the North Dakota Fighting Sioux and the Colorado College round out the top five in the final two spots, respectively.

The Pioneers lost to the Fighting Sioux in a double-overtime championship game, 3-2, in 2011. They will look for their first WCHA Tournament championship since the 2007-08 season.

Here is the complete schedule of games (PDF):

Friday, March 9: (12) Alaska Anchorage @ (1) Minnesota, 7:07 pm CT; (11) Minnesota State @ (2) Minnesota
Duluth, 7:07 pm MT; (10) Wisconsin @ (3) Denver, 7:37 pm MT; (9) Bemidji State @ (4) North Dakota, 7:37 pm CT; (8) Michigan Tech @ (5) Colorado College, 7:37 pm MT; (7) Nebraska Omaha @ (6) St. Cloud State, 7:37 pm CT.

Saturday, March 10: (12) Alaska Anchorage @ (1) Minnesota, 7:07 pm CT; (11) Minnesota State @ (2) Minnesota- Duluth, 7:07 pm MT; (10) Wisconsin @ (3) Denver, 7:07 pm MT; (9) Bemidji State @ (4) North Dakota, 7:07 pm CT; (8) Michigan Tech @ (5) Colorado College, 7:07 pm MT; (7) Nebraska Omaha @ (6) St. Cloud State, 7:07 pm CT.

Sunday, March 11 (if necessary): (12) Alaska Anchorage @ (1) Minnesota, 7:07 pm CT; (11) Minnesota State
@ (2) Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 pm MT; (10) Wisconsin @ (3) Denver, 7:07 pm MT; (9) Bemidji State @ (4) North
Dakota, 7:07 pm CT; (8) Michigan Tech @ (5) Colorado College, 7:07 pm MT; (7) Nebraska Omaha @ (6) St. Cloud
State, 7:07 pm CT.

Head over to Western College Hockey Blog for more WCHA news and notes.

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