Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Morning Skate

The No. 3 Mavericks will close out what's so far been a successful first half of the season with a nonconference series against Princeton at the Verizon Wireless Center.

Minnesota State's veteran depth up front has been a common theme over the last 2 1/2 months, but two rookies are making big impacts on this team. C.J. Franklin and Brad McClure certainly aren't playing like first-year players thus far.

For more on the series, check out The Free Press' gameday preview, too.

It's a big weekend for MSU sports, with the football team hosting a national semifinal game on Saturday afternoon. There's also thoughts going out to athletic director Kevin Buisman, who recently revealed that he has cancer.

Going around the WCHA ...

Minnesota Duluth at Michigan Tech: The series of the weekend takes place in Houghton where the No. 9 Bulldogs take on the No. 4 Huskies. This will be the 226th and 227th meetings between the two teams, who are now nonconference foes, but perhaps one of the most meaningful.

Lake Superior State at Ferris State: The Lakers and the Bulldogs meet in Big Rapids where the home team needs to win a couple of games if it wants to stay in the hunt for home ice over the second half of the season. After this weekend, 10 of Ferris State's next 12 games are on the road.

Northern Michigan at Bemidji State: This should be another good series and an important one for possible movement within the league standings. Bemidji State has seen recent improvement after losing a bunch of close games. Special teams has been a big difference between losing and winning.

Alabama Huntsville at Alaska: In Fairbanks, the Nanooks, coming off their series split in Mankato will host an improved Chargers team, one that has its sights on taking postseason-ineligible Alaska's place in the league playoffs at the end of the year.

For more on the WCHA (and the UMD-Tech series) check out Jack Hittinger's and my USCHO column this week. Also see who we pick in this weekend's games.

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