Greetings from snowy northern Wisconsin. Yes, I know I'm due in the southern part of the state by the end of the day, so I'll get an early start on this morning.
The Mavericks and the Badgers are both desperate for WCHA wins, as each has just one so far (Wisconsin has just one overall).
Minnesota State had last week off, but coach Mike Hastings didn't give his team a lot of time away from the rink. In some ways, he had more time with his team before this series than he did before the season opener.
A few notes ...
Opponents have outscored MSU 32-27 this season, including a 12-10 edge on special teams (the Mavs have eight power-play goals and two shorties). In third periods, MSU has a 14-11 scoring edge, but it's been outscored 21-12 in the first 40 minutes of games.
The Mavericks are 1-3-1 on the road this season with the lone win coming in the season-opener at Alabama Huntsville. Going back to last season, MSU has lost seven straight WCHA games on the road, with their last one coming on Feb. 1 at Alaska Anchorage. That was also the Mavericks' final win of last season. They went 4-10-0 on the road in league play last year.
As for the Badgers, their best forward, Mark Zengerle, remains out with a broken finger, while these games will be the final two of freshman phenom Nic Kerdiles' NCAA suspension. Wisconsin also lost assistant coach Bill Butters a couple of weeks ago, as he resigned from his post and the search is on for his replacement.
For this weekend, Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves has juggled his lineup in hopes of improving the offense. Read more about the series here.
Here are the other series/games in the WCHA this weekend (sorry, no links this week, as I'll be on the road early) ...
Minnesota at Vermont
North Dakota at Notre Dame
Alaska Anchorage at Bemidji State
Alabama Huntsville at Nebraska Omaha
St. Cloud State at Minnesota Duluth
New Hampshire at Colorado College (Fri.), Denver (Sat.)
Yale at Denver (Friday), Colorado College (Sat.)