The Mavericks will host Alaska-Anchorage tonight. A couple of notes: Dan Tormey will start in goal again, giving him back-to-back starts for the first time since early in the 2006-07 season. Defenseman Ben Youds remains out with a knee injury, but forward Mike Louwerse, who had to leave last Saturday's game at CC, is back in the lineup. Full lines will be posted during tonight's plausibly live blog.
In today's Mankato Free Press, you can read about senior defenseman Blake Friesen, who, like the other four seniors, knows that the end is near. Can Friesen be this year's R.J. Linder? Also in the Freep, MSU athletic director Kevin Buisman comments on Thursday's WCHA moratorium vote.
As for the Seawolves, sophomore forward Tommy Grant is on pace to be the team's first 20-goal scorer in five years and its second in the last 12.
Minnesota and St. Cloud State will play a home-and-home series this weekend, and Don Lucia will be back behind the Gophers' bench. He does not have cancer, but something is squeezing a nerve in his head and he's still waiting for an exact diagnosis. St. Cloud Times writer Kevin Allenspach says Lucia's health reminds us that it's just a game. The Times also tells the secret to forward John Swanson's smooth skating. By the way check out the sweet throwback jerseys St. Cloud State will be wearing (fixed) Saturday night, which will be part of Hockey Day Minnesota (once again, Mankato is left out).
North Dakota, which thumped Minnesota last week will now face a different challenge, going to last-place Michigan Tech, which beat the Sioux in a nonconference game during a holiday tournament. The Huskies certainly remember that, too, although they continue to suffer injuries like no other team.
This weekend's best matchup might be in Wisconsin where the second-place Badgers will host third-place Colorado College. Wisconsin, which may be one of the WCHA's most perplexing teams, looks like it has a favorable schedule for the stretch run. Capital Times writer Todd Milewski discovered a Pairwise "ifs and buts" machine (if I did it right, changing MSU's four losses to St. Cloud State and Denver into series splits puts the Mavericks into 15th in the Pairwise instead of out of the rankings completely). Meanwhile, this series is always a homecoming for CC coach Scott Owens, a Madison native.
Slumping Minnesota Duluth is playing a nonconference series, but its opponent, Bemidji State, will be trying to prove more than ever that it belongs in the WCHA.
Here are WCHA previews from USCHO.com, INCH and This is the WCHA.
All of my time in hockey arenas have led me to ponder what the best hockey songs are. There's "The Good Ol' Hockey Game," a staple at the Alltel Center and, of course the "Ole" song adopted by the Mavericks. Every rink seems to play "Welcome to the Jungle" or "Enter Sandman." What do you think? What are your favorites? What should be played? What shouldn't? If you're in need of an example, you just might hear an interesting version of the "Zamboni Song" or get several other ideas tonight at McGoff's where friends of PucKato, Fish Frye, will be playing, I'm told, before and after the game. It will be the season's second Fish Frye Hockey Show. What that means, well, you'll have to stop down to find out. I'm guessing, since the Mavericks are playing the Seawolves, that the Frye will pull out their extraordinary verion of Michelle Shocked's "Anchorage." (How many other hockey blogs out there are going to give you a Michelle Shocked reference? Only PucKato.)