Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday Morning Skate

It's North Star College Cup time. This tournament doesn't have the vibe of Boston's Beanpot yet, but it seems to be growing. We'll see if the new Saturday-Sunday format draws in more people, especially for the early game Saturday. That 4 p.m. Friday game could be tough for the out-of-towners.

Minnesota State doesn't have a lot of Minnesotans on its roster, but one of its top players is from the North Star State. C.J. Franklin, who is coming off his best weekend of the season, grew up in Forest Lake, not far from St. Paul, and his early childhood experience on a turkey farm might explain why his such a hard worker.

Read The Free Press' College Hockey Gameday preview for more on the tournament.

The 19th-ranked Mavericks will take on St. Cloud State, which shut them out twice back in October in St. Cloud. The third-ranked Huskies won't be an easy out. Interestingly, the St. Cloud Times' Mick Hatten wrote about Blake Winiecki, who has changed positions to center, not unlike Franklin for the Mavericks. The only difference is Franklin did it last week, while Winiecki has been there most of the season.

The other matchup pits Minnesota against Bemidji State, and the 20th-ranked Gophers are hoping to improve their showing against other teams in the state. That's certainly all the talk in the Twin Cities. They have one win, the 4-0 shutout in Mankato in November, in their last 11 games against their cousins. The next night, MSU came from behind to win 3-2 in overtime.

In the WCHA on Friday night, Michigan Tech and Bowling Green tied 4-4 in a wildly entertaining game. Northern Michigan got a rare win for a WCHA team over an NCHC team, beating Minnesota Duluth 4-3. Alaska went to Wisconsin and lost 4-3. Alabama Huntsville won 2-1 at Alaska Anchorage.

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