Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday morning skate

Heading to Sconnie soon, but here's some reading for y'all while I'm driving down to Wisco ...

Minnesota State is hoping to get the bad taste of last weekend's Denver series out of its mouth this weekend. Senior defenseman Channing Boe said he couldn't wait for tonight's game against the Badgers just to move past that pair of blown leads to the Pioneers. But the Mavericks aren't panicking. They're reminding everybody that they played DU toe to toe and are still an impressive 8-3-1 in their last 12 games. There won't be many lineup changes. Expect the forwards to be the same as last Friday and the defensemen to be the same as Saturday.

While the Mavericks have a high-scoring pair of defensemen in Kurt Davis (7 goals, 12 assists) and Ben Youds (4 goals, 11 assists), who have combined for 34 points this year, Wisconsin has the top scoring pairing in Justin Schultz (14 goals, 18 assists) and Jake Gardiner (5 goals, 21 assists). They have 58 points this year, and, unlike Davis and Youds, they usually play together.

Wisconsin State Journal writer Andy Baggot reminds that Gardiner was a forward until his senior year at Minnetonka High School when he switched to D, a move suggested by none other than ... MSU coach Troy Jutting. More from the Madison side of things here.

Going around the rest of the WCHA ...

Minnesota Duluth at Michigan Tech: The Bulldogs, who split with Wisconsin last week, take on the lowly Huskies, who have not won in 17 games (injuries have taken a toll at Tech). UMD is talented offensively but added some grit to its top line.

Alaska-Anchorage at Denver: There's often discussion on this blog about ice time. Well check out how Anchorage's Craig Parkinson spent the end of last Saturday's win over CC (and how he spends his life). As for Denver, there's some great news on Jesse Martin, the player who suffered a broken neck in a game earlier in the season. Not only is he back in school but he's thinking about making a comeback to hockey.

St. Cloud State at Bemidji State: The Huskies and the Beavers are battling (along with MSU) to move up from near the bottom of the WCHA standings. For St. Cloud, it has decided that goalie Mike Lee will be the man and will no longer rotate with Dan Dunn. Bemidji, meanwhile, is back home for the first time in more than a month.

Nebraska-Omaha at North Dakota: This series marks the return of former UND coach Dean Blais to Grand Forks. He did take the visitors' bench once as coach of the U.S. World Junior team last year, but now it's as a WCHA rival. For the Mavericks, they have cooled off after a red-hot start to the season.

Alabama-Huntsville at Colorado College: The Tigers will step out of conference play to take on the independent Chargers. The Colorado Springs Gazette takes a look at the future of Huntsville hockey (and everybody else's with Big Ten hockey looming).

Be sure to check back with the blog later for a live blog/chat during MSU's game against the Badgers.

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