Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday morning skate

The Mavericks are back home this weekend to take on Bemidji State and try to keep what is now a two-game unbeaten streak going. Six of MSU's final eight games are at home, and the Mavs believe they still have an outside shot at a top-six finish in the WCHA standings.

Among this weekend's storylines is MSU defenseman Kurt Davis, who is tied atop the program's Division I-era scoring list for defensemen with 91 points (last week at St. Cloud, it appeared he grabbed the record outright but had an assist taken away from him). He also ranks third all-time among D-men. While it's highly unlikely that Davis won't catch the top two on that list (Mike Weinkauf with 125 points and Dave Saatzer with 124 both played with Davis' dad, Carl, at MSU in the late-70s), "He has a chance to be a 100-point college defenseman," coach Troy Jutting said. "There aren't many players around anymore who can say that."

Check out the rest of The Free Press' weekend preview here.

As for the Beavers, they may be in their first season in the WCHA, but they want to snap a six-game losing streak to Minnesota State. Coach Tom Serratore called MSU the fastest team in the league.

As for the rest of the WCHA ...

Minnesota at Minnesota Duluth: It's always a big weekend in Duluth when the Gophers are in town, but the Bulldogs are the better team right now. UMD's Jack Connolly, a Duluth native, was picked by the WCHA coaches as preseason player of the year, and, so far, he's living up to those expectations. ... For Minnesota, freshman defenseman Mark Alt is glad he chose college hockey instead of football. The Gophers feel like they have to start winning -- now. ... Also, longtime Gophers radio analyst and beloved ex-hockey coach Glen Sonmor says he's retiring from broadcasting after this season.

St. Cloud State at Nebraska-Omaha: St. Cloud faces a tough final stretch with nothing but games against top-tier opponents on its schedule. The disappointing Huskies have found a few positives, including the play of young freshman defenseman Kevin Gravel, who has not yet turned 19. ... Omaha, meanwhile, is coming off a bad nonconference loss to Alabama-Huntsville. Fortunately for the red Mavs, it was a nonconference game, and they're still in the thick of the race for an upper-division finish in the WCHA.

Michigan Tech at Alaska Anchorage: The Seawolves must be licking their chops this weekend. Not only are the Huskies on a 22-game winless streak but Anchorage is just two points out of a top-six finish. It has never hosted a WCHA first-round playoff series before. Anchorage has had improvement all over, but sophomore Mitch Bruijsten credits his offseason workout regimen for his own betterment. ... As for Tech, it's simply not making plays.

Denver vs. Colorado College (home and home): It's Gold Pan time as the Rocky Mountain rivals take on each other. The second-ranked Pioneers are playing some pretty good hockey since losing 9-2 to the Tigers on Nov. 6, going 12-1-3. ... CC, meanwhile, says the traveling trophy is important but not as important as getting points for the league standings and staying in home-ice position. Many eyes will be on the Tigers' lineup to see the status of goalie Joe Howe, who was injured last Saturday. Howe practiced this week but the starter would not be determined until today, coach Scott Owens told The Gazette.

North Dakota is off this weekend, which is probably a good thing considering its rash of bad news this week (although it all ended up not as bad as previously feared). Captain and star defenseman Chay Genoway was injured last Friday and will be out 3 to 5 weeks, while sophomore forward Danny Kristo says he's feeling better while recovering from frostbite at a St. Paul hospital. ... Wisconsin is also idle this weekend.

Don't forget to check back later for the live blog during tonight's MSU-BSU game.

No comments: