Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Morning Skate

It's Gopher weekend!

The Mavericks will head to No. 5 Minnesota today in hopes of keeping some recent history going against that team. They are 5-1-0 in their last six games against Minnesota, but the two teams appear to be going in separate directions right now.

For Minnesota State, junior forward Eriah Hayes is on a six-game point-scoring streak and has that look about him over the last three weekends. There aren't a lot of players in the league like Hayes, who came from a small town on the outskirts of the State of Hockey.

The Mavericks will be healthier than they were last Saturday, as defenseman Tyler Elbrecht makes his return to the rink. Forward Adam Mueller also will be back after missing a game. Austin Lee is expected to go in goal, and he'll have to be good against the high-scoring Gophers. Read more in The Free Press' preview here.

As for Minnesota, the Star Tribune takes a look at freshman defenseman Ben Marshall, who is learning on the fly. The Strib also has a preview here. Remember that the Gophers had risen to No. 1 in the nation but have slipped recently. The Pioneer Press looks at one of the reasons why.

Want more about the series? Jess Myers writes about Michael Dorr's return to Mariucci Arena for ESPN Twin Cities. And back to the Strib for a bit, beat writer Roman Augustoviz challenged me to a pick 'em contest with this weekend's WCHA schedule.

Time to go around the rest of the WCHA ...

Minnesota Duluth at Michigan Tech: The champs enter this series riding a 10-game unbeaten streak. As well as their big guns from last year are playing, Duluth is getting other contributions, too, including senior defenseman Scott Kishel, who played in just seven games a year ago. ... For Michigan Tech, it has doubled its win total from a year ago and now takes on a team that beat Michigan in the national title game last spring. Why is that significant? Huskies coach Mel Pearson was an assistant coach on that team

Nebraska Omaha vs. Alabama Huntsville: Huntsville may be winless and on its way out as an NCAA program, but the red Mavericks aren't looking past the Chargers after getting upset by them 10 months ago. This series will be played in Nashville.

Bemidji State at St. Cloud State: The Beavers head south to take on the Huskies and will have to play on that dreaded Olympic ice. Bemidji State is 8-33-3 on the big ice since 1999 (I'm pretty sure a couple of those wins have taken place in Mankato). Lots more on BSU on that link. ... For St. Cloud, injuries have hampered its start to the season, but the development of the defensemen is one reason why the Huskies have stayed near the .500 mark.

Denver at Colorado College: The Gold Pan series continues with just one game tonight, and all eyes seem to be on CC super sophomore Jaden Schwartz, who has four hat tricks this season (he'll be in Mankato in two weeks!). Schwartz scored two of those hat tricks a week ago at North Dakota, but the Tigers were outscored 11-9 and swept. 

North Dakota at Alaska Anchorage: North Dakota might have turned the corner last week against CC, but now it heads to Anchorage where its record hasn't been very Sioux-like. By the way, we're nearing the end of the Fighting Sioux era. This week UND officials requested that all media stop using the nickname and logo as they will be retired on Jan. 1. ... For the Seawolves, their freshman have been picking up their play of late, including during last weekend's three-point series in Mankato.

More WCHA coverage from USCHO, INCH and College Hockey News (here and here).

1 comment:

Goon said...

According to Cardinal when he was on KFAN, the Mavericks don't have to bother showing up because their winning the next 6 games and it won't even be close and they will be 17-4-1 after that stretch is over.