Previewing this week's WCHA conference play.
In case you missed it, I was on College Hockey Inc.'s College Hockey Today podcast where we discussed, as you might expect, college hockey.
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All series are Friday and Saturday, except Minnesota-Duluth at Nebraska-Omaha, which is a Saturday-Sunday series.
Denver at Minnesota State
I'll be in Mankato for Friday's game, so check back here for live coverage of the game.
Minnesota State's home win last Saturday over Minnesota was a big one for the program, because it came in front of the first official sellout crowd at the Verizon Wireless Center since the 2009-2010 season. The Mavericks will be looking to parlay that newfound home atmosphere into a couple points against another tough opponent this weekend in Denver. That's no easy feat, as you have to travel back to a home sweep in February of 2008, to find Minnesota State's last victory over Denver.
College Hockey News profiled DU's Nick Shore, who is off to a big start this season.
Sam Brittain and Jussi Olkinuora are likely to each see a start this weekend for Denver. Phil Cook is most likely the starter for Friday's game for MSU. Saturday likely depends on how Friday goes.
North Dakota at St. Cloud
This one is interesting, and not just because I want to see if North Dakota is called "the green team" all weekend like the St. Cloud public address announcer has been doing all year.
There's some interesting trends at work in this one. In their last five trips to St. Cloud, North Dakota is 0-6-4 on Friday nights, but a perfect 10-0-0 on Saturday nights. Meanwhile, this year's Sioux team has worked the exact opposite trend, going 3-0-0 on Fridays while going 0-2-1 on Saturdays.
Clearly copying my lead, the St. Times had an excellent feature on Nic Dowd, and the improvements he made in conditioning over the summer, which have led to huge dividends on the ice.
Whatever happens to all the hats thrown on the ice when a player scores a hat trick? Brad Schlossman has done the dirty investigative work to find out. It's kind of funny that the player gets to pick out a hat to keep. It's also probably a Nic Kerdiles-style SERIOUS NCAA VIOLATION.
On the injury front, Michael Parks is still out for UND. Ben Hanowski and Joey Benik are still out for St. Cloud, and David Morley is listed as day-to-day.
Bemidji State at Colorado College
Here's a YouTube video of Bemidji head coach Tom Serratore's weekly press conference. There's really not much to say with the Beavers coming off a bye week. The most fascinating part for me was wondering what was in that mug sitting in front of him. Coffee? Hot cocoa? A particularly dark beer, such as a porter or stout? Whatever it was, it looked delicious.
Colorado College is returning home after two long road trips. It was interesting to me to hear Colorado College head coach Scott Owens say Bemidji State plays "a radically different system".
Here's a feature on Colorado College defenseman Eamonn McDermott, an excellent passer and apparent coinnoisseur of baths and bath-time apparel.
Minnesota at Alaska-Anchorage
For a team expected to breeze through the WCHA, the Gophers are sitting at 2-2 in conference play, after two series where they came in as pretty heavy favorites. This weekend, they'll be playing another team projected to finish in the bottom half of the conference, and if the Gophers give up more points here, there be more some serious cause for concern.
Minnesota head coach Don Lucia has a lot of family ties in the Alaska area, but they'll all be for the winter this weekend.
Alaska-Anchorage's Taylor Pickering was forced to retire from hockey due to concussion problems.
Minnesota's Sam Warning will miss this serious with the same injury that forced him to miss last weekend.
Minnesota-Duluth at Nebraska-Omaha
UMD head coach Scott Sandelin was once an assistant coach under Dean Blais when Blais was at North Dakota, so they certainly know each other well. I think it's fair to say both teams have underwhelmed a little bit with their performance so far this season. A split seems most likely between these two pretty evenly matched teams, but if one team can sweep, that puts them back in the position they were hoping to be preseason, while the loser is facing a tough hole to dig out of.
Whatever academic issues that kept UNO's Matt White out of the lineup last weekend have apparently been cleared up and he'll be in the lineup this weekend.
Nebraska-Omaha has been fantastic on the penalty kill so far this year. Of course, on the other side of the coin, their power play has been as bad as their penalty kill has been good. Their penalty kill, with two shorthanded goals, is producing nearly as much offense as their power play, which has only scored three goals this year.