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Last week Theresa: 7-2-1
Season Theresa: 110-63-18

Last week Tyler: 8-1-1
Season Tyler: 113-43-14

This weekend is a busy one in the conference, as all 12 teams face off against each other. That also means that this weekend is important for position jockeying, as both the top of the league and the middle of the league (that is, the fight for the MacNaughton and the fight for home ice) are very muddled.

Minnesota State (12-12-6, 6-12-4 WCHA) at No. 19 Colorado College (16-13-1, 10-10-0 WCHA)
Theresa: This could prove to be an interesting weekend and one where I can realistically see any number of results. As Tyler points out below, the Mavericks have had a bit of trouble on the road against winning teams. That, and they’ve had a bit of inconsistency when it comes to scoring (although to be fair, hot opposing goalies don’t help). The Tigers, on the other hand, have a tendency to play well against teams below them in the standings. If their power play can come together after a week of practice, they should do just fine this weekend. CC sweep.

Tyler: MSU has hung around with some of the best teams in the WCHA this season but they were all at home. The Mavericks haven’t won a road game against a team with a winning record all season. MSU will without a doubt put up a fight but CC should come out on top both nights. CC sweep.

Bemidji State (10-14-2, 6-12-2 WCHA) at Michigan Tech (3-22-3, 1-18-1 WCHA)
Theresa: Tech rule. BSU sweep.

I make that pick because of the new said Tech rule. However, if there’s a weekend left the rest of the year for the Huskies to break their streak, it’s probably this one. This weekend is Winter Carnival up in Houghton and Tech typically wins at least one game during Carny … a fact that doesn’t hurt the Huskies since they’re playing another WCHA bottom-feeder in Bemidji. I’m not changing my pick, but that all being said, I will gladly eat crow should MTU come out of this weekend with some points.

Tyler: Tech has to be on edge for Friday’s game, knowing what’s at stake. A loss means the Huskies break the league record for most losses in a row. Tech won’t lose that game because, thankfully, this weekend’s opponent is fairly weak as well. Split.

St. Cloud State (11-14-3, 7-11-2 WCHA) at No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth (18-5-4, 13-4-3 WCHA)
Theresa: From the looks of things, it appears as if the nice little streak the Huskies were on to turn around their season is now over … and I only really say that because of the way they lost last Saturday in Omaha. If SCSU comes out of this weekend with some points, it’s because they know that they’re still technically in the race for home ice. However, their opponent is a tough Minnesota-Duluth squad made scarier with the reunion of the Connolly-Connolly-Fontaine line which, I would think, should stay together this weekend. It’s a tough call, but I’ve got to say that I see a UMD sweep.

Tyler: The Huskies can’t match the firepower UMD’s top line brings, assuming Scott Sandelin keeps Justin Fontaine and the Connolly’s together after they scored five goals last Saturday.  UMD sweeps.

No. 4 Denver (17-6-5, 13-4-3 WCHA) at Minnesota (11-11-4, 8-9-3 WCHA)
Theresa: Like the series above, this is good one to watch in terms of WCHA standings. DU is tied with UMD atop the league with 29 points while the Gophers are currently one point out of home ice. Given the way both teams have performed this year, it makes sense to say that this is the Pioneers’ series to lose. However, with the exception of last weekend, the Gophers have gotten at least one win out of every top-10 opponent they’ve faced (Michigan, Duluth back in December, North Dakota). So, despite the fact that DU is 9-1-1 in its last 11 against the Gophers,  I think I’ll gamble on the home team and call a split – UM Friday, DU Saturday.

Tyler: The Gophers’ leading scorer, Jay Barriball, could sit out this weekend due to injury. That leaves an already punchless Minnesota lineup without its best offensive player against DU goalie Sam Brittain. Minnesota has one of the worst penalty kills nationwide, giving the Pioneers a good opportunity to improve that 18.8 percent power play. DU sweep.

Alaska-Anchorage (10-13-3, 9-11-2 WCHA) at No. 5 North Dakota (19-8-2, 14-6-0 WCHA)
Theresa: See above regarding league implications. UAA in fight for home ice, UND in fight for MacNaughton, etc., etc. With that out of the way, what does this weekend bring? The Seawolves are riding high coming into this weekend, on a three-game winning streak. They’re facing a team they tied earlier this season and a rested team coming in off the bye in the Sioux. However, it’s worth noting that the Sioux will be without Chay Genoway (which they’ve dealt with before) and most likely Danny Kristo. Due to those two things, I’m going to keep my faith in the Seawolves and call a split – UAA Friday, UND Saturday.

Tyler: The Seawolves have won the last three games going into Grand Forks but UAA also had a nice little streak going into Denver a few weeks ago and got swept. I don’t think the Seawolves have what it takes to beat a top-5 team on the road. Meanwhile, UND had a week off to assess the troublesome past six games. Sioux sweep.

No. 7 Wisconsin (19-8-3, 11-7-2 WCHA) at No. 16 Nebraska-Omaha (16-10-2, 12-6-2 WCHA)
Theresa: The Badgers have been quietly putting together a good season, particularly since December – after a Dec. 3 loss against UAA, the team has gone 12-1. With the exception of a 6-5 win over Canisius, the team also hasn’t allowed more than two goals per game during that stretch. This weekend, they face UNO, a team that has been fairly inconsistent in the second half of the season. The Mavericks have their nights when they can score (see: Jan. 21’s 8-4 win over UND), but also have nights where they struggle if they run into a hot goalie (see: Jan. 29’s 2-1 loss to UAH). Given the way both UW’s Scott Gudmandson and UNO’s John Faulkner can play, this weekend may just prove to be a goaltender’s battle. The question is, then, who comes out on top? This weekend, I’ve got to go with consistency – UW sweep.

Tyler: It’s been 84 days since the last time Scott Gudmandson allowed more than two goals in a game. If he keeps that pace against a UNO offense that’s been extremely inconsistent, the Badgers have a chance to sweep this weekend. UW will need the Gardiner/Schultz defensive pair to continue producing. The duo has been on the ice for 20 of UW’s last 26 goals. UW sweep.

  • There is no doubt that ECAC is the better conference this year. ECAC is 8–9–4 against Hockey East this year. What the real tell tale difference is however, is that ECAC went 8–8–4 against the best conference in D1, the WCHA. Hockey East was 5–9–1 .

    Never mind that Hockey East could only go 9–4–4 against the pitiful Atlantic conference, ECAC went 27–6–5.

    There is no debate that ECAC is better this year.

  • Go DU

    DU has almost as much raw talent as Minnesota, and are obviously playing much better overall regardless. That said, when you have the kind of talent the Gophers possess, combined with Denver’s tendency for complacency for one game every weekend, I’m hoping for a sweep but expect a split.

    Go Pios!

    • B.D.

      Yeah, gotta play it safe and go with DU on this one. Minnesota has just been lackluster this year at best. Not sure why….

      • Goalie Fan30

        Im thinking Lucia needs to go… With that said I wouldnt be suprised to see ol’ Deaner (Blaise that is) in there in the next few years. He is a U of M grad and the chances of him coming back to the SIOUX are slim at best. The gophers are talented every year but seem to fall apart for whatever reason? I think this weekend we will see a good game both nights with some NHL highlights from a bunch of young players. As for the Alaska~Sioux series Depending on whether or not Dell has a good friday nite makes the series interesting… WE (the sioux) will sweep if we show tonight! Ill be at the game and come back to comment later if any WCHA fans care which probably means no hahaha Like most of you, I just like to hear myself talk

        • Anonymous

          If the gopher’s don’t make the NCAA’s in the next two years Lucia will be gone. Lucia isn’t the only reason that this team doesn’t show up to play 60 minutes every night. It looks like some of the guys are just going through the motions each night. From the gopher games I’ve seen this year the team tends to quiet at some point each game.

          • Goalie Fan30

            Why do you think that is? Dont they have the most nhl draft picks out of any NCAA team… most depart early (prolli cause the development process is crap) and never make the big show! Also, do you think the NHL teams tell them to get out now or is it the college work and the money offered that bribes them into an AHL careeer Whatever the problem is in gopher town its has to start with Mr. Lucy I hope they keep him… I have to move down to Minni next fall semester for grad school and I would love to see Maruicci torn down after the Sioux (again hopefully) destroy them in regular season!

          • Anonymous

            Maybe he needs to stop recruiting so many NHL draft picks and start recruiting kids that can play together under the system he has in place there. North Dakota has been making it to the NCAA tournament each year with less draft picks, it’s because they buy into the system at North Dakota.

        • cholkesvig

          Blaise will not becoming to the UofM he likes where is his he wanted the Mankato job but they stuck with a idiot of a coach he wont go to the Sioux either, if he did it would be for a year to reitre there.

          • siouxfanforlife

            Actually, BLAIS (just wanted to get the spelling right) most likely will end up in Minnesota. He has a clause in his contract with UNO that if the head coaching position in Minnesota becomes vacant he can opt out of his current contract with UNO. I agree though, I can’t see him coming back to UND, I think he will either retire at UNO or Minnesota.

  • Anonymous

    If Wisconsin is gonna sweep, they are going to have to do it in an extremely hostile environment. They are going to be playing in front of upwards of 16,000 on Friday night and 10,000 plus on Saturday night as well. This, in arena that not only serves beer but has a ginormous full service bar at one end of the arena that has a sweeping full view of the ice. A place that nobody on their team has ever even so much as seen before.

    Further, Wisconsin has exactly ONE win all season against a team with a winning record, January 15th against Minnesota-Duluth. So, you expect them to all of a sudden reverse that trend in one of the more hostile situations they are likely gonna face all year? They better hope THEY don’t get swept.

    • Goalie Fan30

      Ya I have to agree! This is not an easy sweep and it could definetly go the other way in favor of UNO. Should be a great series but I see a split either way….

      • hockeytimeincapitalcity

        Wisco is not afraid of an environment like UNO’s. They play in filled venues all the time. UW was a different team when they played NoDak, Denver, and UMD early in the year. Now Wisconsin is playing very well. Schultz and Gardiner might be the best scoring defenseman duo in the country and Gudmandson might be the best goalie in the country right now. That said, it’s a conference game and UW hasn’t seen much of UNO.

  • Marmoset2

    UW sweep of UNO? Unfortunately, UNO spoiled that prediction by winning 4-1 tonight. UNO sweep of UW????

    • Anonymous

      An interesting aside to this is that UNO won with it’s best player sitting on the bench. Supposedly, Terry Broadhurst slipped and fell on his way to class the other day and they don’t know how long he’s gonna be out.

  • Anonymous

    Shucks, we only managed to get 15,137 into the building tonight for the Badger beat-down.

    Having attended the game, considering Wisky’s record against team’s with winning records this year, I can say I wasn’t terribly surprised by the outcome. I consider it insulting that the Omaha World Herald’s headline tonight says “Mav’s upset #7 Badgers”. This, despite the fact that Wisconsin has NEVER been ahead of UNO in the conference standings the entire season!!! By the way, in UNO’s various games/series, all in the last 365 days, against Michigan, Miami of Ohio, Notre Dame, North Dakota, and Minnesota, their record is 9-5-0.

    A more appropriate headline would have been, “Badger woes against teams with winning records continues”.

    It was pretty obvious, even at a casual glance, that UNO is a better skating team than Wisconsin. I’m sure we’ll see a better effort out of Wisconsin tomorrow night, but, no matter what happens, they are leaving town STILL behind UNO in the standings.

    • Anonymous

      Wisconsin was higher the in the league standings then UNO. That was the weekend that UNO played UAH. If Wisconsin would have won tonight they would be tied with UNO at 26 points.

  • Fred

    UNO looked better than Wisconsin on Fri. night. The Wisc. fan next to said so halfway through the game and he was quite impressed with UNO. And they did it without Terry Broadhurst, who slipped on some ice going to class (!–yes, I know, these are not football players). Broadhurst has been scoring over one point per game this season. He won’t play on Sat. and the coaches didn’t say what was the injury, but he was at the game, limping.

    One hallmark of UNO this season is balanced scoring. Again, four different players got goals on Friday.

  • Jdorf40

    I can’t believe Theresa Spisek still has a job.