Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Morning Skate

Minnesota State is back home after a week away and will try to get its 2016 record right against a dangerous Lake Superior State team.

Expect to see some lineup shuffling as the Mavericks try to kickstart their stagnant offense. Looking at some of the practice lineups this week, it doesn't appear any big names are being benched, but some roles may be changing, at least for tonight. Read more in this week's College Hockey Gameday.

One role that doesn't change too much is that of the team's fourth or "gold" line. Junior center Jordan Nelson says he wears that color practice jersey with pride as he did last season. However, he'd like to get his numbers back to what they were last year, too, especially his plus-minus.

As for the Lakers, a team MSU is 8-0-0 against, including a 6-0-0 mark last season, they're much improved and in play for home ice, having won three of their last five games and 7-5-2 since Nov. 20.

Going around the WCHA ...

• Bowling Green and Alaska Anchorage began their series on Thursday night, and the Falcons rolled, scoring five goals in the second period of a 6-2 win over the Seawolves.

• There's a good series brewing in Bemidji this weekend. Bemidji State and Ferris State have developed a nice league rivalry over the last couple of years.

• Michigan Tech (and several other teams) are idle this weekend, but their three-point series against Minnesota State showed things are moving in the right direction for the Huskies. That and more are explored in my and Jack Hittinger's USCHO column. You can also see our weekend picks here.

In cased you missed it, here's some of my coverage from earlier in the week:

• The WCHA is looking more and more like a one-bid conference for the NCAA tournament, and the race for the Broadmoor Trophy is wide open.

• The MSU women's team's Brianna Quade was named Defensive Player of the Week for an amazing effort in a pair of losses to No. 3 Minnesota.

• Finally, it's been a tough week at The Free Press, as we lost a friend and colleague, Dan Nienaber, to cancer. He was 49. Dan a bulldog reporter, who covered cops and courts and, before that, business. He was also a big college hockey fan; he loved his St. Cloud State Huskies. One of our editors, Kathy Vos, wrote a nice tribute to Dan, which you can read here.

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