Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday-morning skate

Minnesota State is back home this weekend and will wrap up the nonconference schedule against American International. Many people have asked about AIC. It's a small college located in Springfield, Mass. It's hockey team plays in the Atlantic Hockey league.

This will be the second meeting between the Mavericks and the Yellow Jackets. The first came in the 2002-03 season, with MSU winning 7-3 and then "suffering" a 3-3 tie despite putting 60 shots on goal. That was somewhat of a low spot for the Mavs that year, yet it was part of the 17-game unbeaten streak that put them into a tie for second place in the WCHA and earned them a trip to the NCAA tournament. Read more about this year's matchup here.

As for the Mavericks, Shillelagh Tournament all-tournament defenseman Cameron Cooper is having his best season at MSU. The junior has been an every-day D-man, playing in all situations, including power play. The secret to his success? Keeping his game simple. And hockey might be the simplest part of the day for the human biology major.

Looking around the WCHA, there is just one conference matchup this weekend as St. Cloud State hosts Michigan Tech. For St. Cloud, it's been the best of times and the worst of times this week. The good: the Huskies are coming off a win at the Florida College Classic and freshman Nic Dowd was named tournament MVP and WCHA offensive player of the week. The bad: three players have left the team this week for various reasons. ... As for those other Huskies, they have lost 13 games in a row and have not won since an Oct. 15 victory over Minnesota State.

In nonconference play, MSU isn't the only team playing an Atlantic Hockey school. Wisconsin and North Dakota are, too. ...

• Wisconsin hosts Canisius: A big stat that has stood out for the Badgers this season has been their reduction in penalties, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Wisconsin is averaging 6.5 penalties per game, the lowest since Mike Eaves became coach in 2002.

• North Dakota hosts Robert Morris: The Sioux will be officially retiring the No. 12 this weekend in honor of Terry Casey, hanging the number to the rafters of The Ralph. Casey, an All-American in had 118 points in four seasons before being killed in a car accident in Montana prior to the 1968 Olympics, which he was preparing to play in.

• Bemidji State at Alabama-Huntsville: The Beavers are visiting Division I's lone independent team this weekend. The two teams are longtime rivals, and just a year ago, they were foes in the now-defunct College Hockey America league.

Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth will each host the U.S. Under-18 team in an exhibition game, playing tonight and Saturday, respectively.

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