It's Mavericks vs. Mavericks as No. 20 Minnesota State heads to No. 13 Nebraska Omaha. The series closes out the first-half WCHA schedule for MSU.
There's lots of intrigue in this series, considering these teams have both been red hot of late and both sit near the top of the league standings. They have some of the top scorers in the league (Omaha's Ryan Walters leads the conference in points, while MSU's Eriah Hayes is tied for the goal-scoring lead). But we'd be remiss if we failed to acknowledge the relationship certain coaches have with the other program. Mike Hastings, of course, spent the last three seasons on UNO's bench and was a junior coach in that city for 14 years. Troy Jutting, now an Omaha assistant, was MSU's coach for the last 12 years.
Rob White of the Omaha World Herald, naturally, tackled the same storyline. But at the end of the weekend, we probably won't be talking about the coaches. Instead, it will be about the hockey, and Omaha knows it has a hot team coming to town.
Read more about Minnesota State by USCHO here.
Going around the WCHA ...
North Dakota at Michigan Tech: North Dakota apparently has a secret weapon in Corban Knight, who doesn't get much attention despite some outstanding play throughout his career. This year is no different. Meanwhile, the Huskies are feeling better about themselves after securing two points (two ties) at Wisconsin last weekend.
Colorado College at St. Cloud State: The struggling Tigers are hoping a long road swing can cure what ails them. This series begins a stretch of 11 games in which nine will be played away from Colorado Springs. For the Huskies, one of the league's better defenseman, Nick Jensen, is starting to show off his tough-guy side.
Denver at Bemidji State: The Pioneers are, shockingly, on a six-game winless streak, and it looks like their three-headed monster in goal is now down to one. The Beavers, of course, are hoping to keep Denver's streak going. Also, lots of good stuff and great reporting by Bemidji Pioneer writer Jack Hittinger on BSU's financial struggles and how they relate to hockey. Worth the read(s). Part 1. Part 2.
Minnesota Duluth at Alaska Anchorage: The Bulldogs are having an up-and-down season and trying to find their stride. It helps that they're getting a little scoring from some unlikely players. The Seawolves, meanwhile, would take scoring from just about anywhere, especially after getting just one goal last weekend in Mankato.
Alabama Huntsville at Wisconsin: The Badgers won the series opener 5-0 on Thursday night. They played without the services of Ryan Little, who was suspended one game by the WCHA for an dangerous hit last week again Michigan Tech. No penalty was called on the play during the game.