|The Mankato East/Loyola girls hockey team's tribute to Jack Jablonski.|
Judging by the tweets from various Minnesota State players, they made it to Canton, N.Y., last night after a long day of travel (Mankato —> Minneapolis —> Atlanta —> Syracuse, N.Y. —> Canton, N.Y.) for this weekend's series against St. Lawrence.
(Meanwhile, PucKato is safely nestled back home where he'll be covering East High School basketball and Gustavus Adolphus men's hockey this weekend.)
It's the last nonconference series of the season for the Mavericks, who are hoping to get on the winning track against the Saints and build momentum for the second half of the WCHA season. Co-captain Tyler Elbrecht insists the team is not that far from being a winner.
Looking at some of the conference coverage from USCHO, neither the WCHA correspondents nor the ECAC writer have much confidence the Mavs can do that this weekend.
Going around the rest of the WCHA ...
Minnesota Duluth at Western Michigan: In a meeting of future NCHC mates, the Bulldogs will go to Kalamazoo, Mich., for the first time and will try to keep their No. 1 ranking and unbeaten streak (currently at 14 games) intact as they continue a long road trip.
RIT at Wisconsin: The Badgers, like MSU, will try to kick start a second-half surge after a tough first half of the season with a pair of nonconference games against Rochester Institute of Technology. The two teams last met in the 2010 Frozen Four semifinals.
Alabama Huntsville at Denver: While it's no longer a farewell tour, Huntsville's long and winding road of a schedule stops in Denver where, despite the potential return of their top two goalies, the Pioneers appear to have found a gem in their third guy, freshman Juho Olkinuora, who has been outstanding in 14 games this season.
Cornell at Colorado College: While lots of coverage around CC and other NCHC teams this week are looking toward 2013-14 with the announcement of the conference's first commissioner, there's still a year and half to go, including the Tigers' series this weekend against Cornell. CC could get a boost by having Jaden Schwartz back in the lineup after his stint in the World Junior Championship.
Notre Dame at Minnesota (Saturday): The Hall of Fame game should be a good one with No. 3 hosting No. 5. But it will also be a bittersweet one after the passing of the Irish's legendary coach, Lefty Smith. Smith was Gophers coach Don Lucia's college coach and ex-Gophers coach Doug Woog's high school coach at South St. Paul.
Clarkson vs. North Dakota at Winnipeg (Saturday): Now-nicknameless and logoless North Dakota will head north a couple of hours for a game that has the Manitoba natives on the roster pretty excited. (Going to Canada ought makes College Hockey Inc. pretty excited, too.)