Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Morning Skate

It's old-school week in college hockey, at least here in Minnesota.

All of the state's D1 teams are playing old conference rivals, something that's nice to see post-realignment (Are we still talking about realignment?). That includes Bemidji State against North Dakota, Minnesota against Minnesota Duluth and, of course, Minnesota State against St. Cloud State.

The Mavericks will be playing in St. Cloud for the first time since the WCHA broke up, and, there are lots of reasons to stoke that in-state rivalry, says MSU coach Mike Hastings, including easing up on travel, drumming up fan interest, retaining some strong relationships and playing a strong out-of-conference schedule.

The games are big ones for Minnesota State, who, at 0-2, would like to get back on track and improve that nonconference record. For more on the matchup, check out The Free Press' College Hockey Gameday package.

Both Hastings and MSU women's coach John Harrington are traveling to their alma maters this weekend for games — Hastings to St. Cloud State and Harrington to Minnesota Duluth.

Tonight's MSU-SCSU game will be televised on Fox Sports North-Plus and Fox College Sports.

Looking at Mick Hatten's coverage from the St. Cloud Times this morning ... SCSU grad Hastings gets some praise for the work he's done with the Mavericks over the last three years. As for the Huskies, senior forward Jimmy Murray is off to a good start after a tough junior year.

Going around the WCHA ...

Bemidji State vs./at North Dakota: The Beavers beat the No. 2 team in the country (UMD) a week go and now get to take on No. 1 UND home and home. Take about a tough schedule.

Bowling Green at Canisius, RIT: The 10th-ranked Falcons hope to avoid slow starts on the road as they make this eastern road swing.

Alaska Anchorage and Alaska in Goal Rush tournament: Fairbanks' annual early-season event also includes RPI and American International. The Seawolves' Tanner Dusyk has been a good story, returning after missing last season following three different surgeries.

In other matchups, Michigan Tech travels to Ferris State for the first conference series of the season. Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State play each other home and home, although this weekend's games are nonconference contests. Alabama Huntsville will play an exhibition game against the Alabama Crimson Tide club team on Saturday.

For more coverage of the WCHA, read my and Jack Hittinger's USCHO column and challenge us on our weekly picks.

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