After getting a hat trick last Friday, Minnesota State junior forward Justin Jokinen is leading the team in goal scoring. He's come a long way since the end of last season when he was a healthy scratch for the last 11 games of the year. A strong summer workout regimen has transformed the Buffalo Sabres draft pick into a consistent, comfortable player this year.
You can read more of The Free Press' preview here. Besides the usual Gopher-week excitement, this will be the first chance for MSU junior Michael Dorr to play against his old team.
As for Minnesota, goaltender Alex Kangas struggled to start the season, but, according to the Star Tribune. he might be heating up just in time to come to Mankato. Read the Strib's series preview here.
It's a full slate of WCHA action this weekend, with all 12 teams playing each other.
The biggest series is in Duluth where No. 1 UMD hosts No. 10 Denver in a battle of the two hottest teams in the country. It will also be the Bulldogs' last series at the famed DECC. They will move into the Amsoil Arena after Saturday's game. You can read more on the DECC coverage here and on Kevin Pates' blog. The Denver Post also recognized the end of an era.
In other action ...
St. Cloud State at North Dakota: For the Huskies, Drew LeBlanc's improved skating has turned him into one of the team's top scorers. The Times also takes a look at the return of North Dakota captain Chay Genoway. There's lots of UND coverage on Brad Schollsman's blog, including a story on Mike Cichy's long road to college hockey.
Nebraska-Omaha is at Bemidji State: It's a battle of the newbies as the Red Mavs face the Beavers. One person who's not surprised that Omaha has had a smoother transition into the WCHA than Bemidji is BSU coach Tom Serratore. That was the story of the series in both papers.
Wisconsin at Alaska-Anchorage: Like last year, the Badgers have one of the best power plays going. But there is only one similarity between last season and this season, and that's defenseman Justin Schultz. Wisconsin will test their power play against goalie Rob Gunderson, who was red hot a week ago in a split at Colorado College.
Colorado College at Michigan Tech: The Tigers head to Houghton, and grinder Nick Dineen is featured in the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Also, read weekend previews (and more on the DECC closing) by Inside College Hockey, USCHO and College Hockey News.