Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Morning Skate

Minnesota State returns to WCHA play this weekend when it hosts Wisconsin. The Mavericks' hot streak began on Thanksgiving weekend in Madison, Wis., with a two-game sweep there. They have lost just one game since then, and, surprisingly, the Badgers have not lost since then either, going 5-0-3, including a sweep at Alaska Anchorage a week ago.

For MSU, it is getting scoring from all over the lineup, and a strong contributor has been junior forward Johnny McInnis. McInnis started coming on as a sophomore after being in and out of the lineup as a freshman.

Read the McInnis story and The Free Press' gameday preview here.

As for the Badgers, Madison beat writer Andy Baggot explores the reasons why the team has been so successful as of late. Read a series preview here. Also, like the Mavericks, the Badgers are getting a player back from the World Junior Championships, only one that's more decorated. Sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe was the captain of the U.S. team that took gold last week in Russia.

Going around the WCHA ...

Michigan Tech at Minnesota Duluth: The Huskies are coming off their impressive win at the Great Lakes Invitational and are hoping that springboards them into a strong second half in the WCHA. As for the Bulldogs, they have their minds set for the same thing. Perhaps a note from Austyn Young's dad will help.

Colorado College at North Dakota: The Tigers are struggling; they haven't won in seven games and have just one victory in their last 12. In Colorado Springs, they still believe in coach Scott Owens but also realize this isn't the most ideal weekend to turn things around. The paths of the two teams might have diverged in early December when they last played.

Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota: The Seawolves have lost six in a row and eight of nine and now have to play the No. 1 Gophers. The streak could easily continue for Anchorage if it can't find scoring. It has just six goals in the last six games, getting shut out twice. The Gophers, meanwhile, are getting goals from new places, as Sam Warning has turned into a shooter.

Nebraska Omaha at Denver: Big series with two teams at/near the top of the standings. For the first-place red Mavericks, they're not taking their newfound position lightly. Like CC-UND, this is a matchup of future NCHC teams. The Pioneers, meanwhile, seem to have righted their ship after a bumpy stretch from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Be sure to check back tonight for a live chat during the MSU-UW game.

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