Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Morning Skate

Minnesota State begins a three-week stretch of no games in Mankato (two road series, one idle weekend) tonight when it plays at Alabama Huntsville. The series gives MSU a chance to increase its lead in the WCHA standings to as much as six points with Bowling Green playing out of conference and Michigan Tech on bye.

Mavericks coach Mike Hastings says this is the stretch run for his team, which is playing for another conference championship but, more importantly, trying to get itself to peak come playoffs where the WCHA's NCAA tournament representative will come from, barring something unforeseen happens in the Pairwise Rankings between now and then.

Looking at the the matchup with the Chargers, MSU's getting great production from players such as Teddy Blueger and C.J. Franklin, and its once-struggling power play is suddenly red hot. Don't expect to see too many changes from last week's series against Bowling Green. Huntsville, of course, has its outstanding goaltenders. Matt Larose has been the guy of late, and both he and Carmine Guerriero are more than capable of stealing a game or two.

More information on the series from MSU and UAH.

Going around the WCHA ...

• The big series is in Big Rapids where Ferris State hosts Northern Michigan in a matchup of the fourth- and fifth-place teams in the league. Both teams scored their first series sweeps of the season a week ago. There should be plenty of good goaltending in this series so expect some low-scoring games.

• Bemidji State, which won a nonconference game at Minnesota Duluth on Tuesday, travels to Lake Superior State in a battle of two teams trying to get home ice for the playoffs. The Beavers hope they can continue their upward trend and get points on the road, while the Lakers look to break a five-game losing streak.

• Bowling Green will stop out of WCHA play for a single game tonight against in-state rival Miami. The Falcons, fresh off their split at MSU, hope to avenge an earlier loss to the RedHawks. More Bowling Green coverage from the good folks at right there on the link.

• Alaska, Alaska Anchorage and Michigan Tech are idle this weekend.

Read more about the WCHA in Jack Hittinger's and my USCHO column and read our weekly picks here.

More good college hockey news and notes from College Hockey News' Adam Wodon here.

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