Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Morning Skate

The Maverick men's are off this weekend, and so is Puckato (for the most part).

There was some great action on Thursday night in Mankato as the East/Loyola and West hockey teams advanced (West in double-OT) in the Section 1A boys tournament. They will play in the semifinals on Saturday at the Rochester Rec Center. Read my game stories from a fun night of high school puck here and here.

If you're looking for a college fix this weekend, the MSU women will close out the regular season at home with a series against Bemidji State at the Verizon Wireless Center. They will be the last home games for the Mavericks' lone senior, Katie Johnson. That link goes to this week's college hockey notebook, which also talks about the playoff scenarios for the Gustavus Adolphus men's and women's teams, who enter their final regular-season weekend on the outside looking in.

With the MSU men on bye, where will they be by the end of the weekend? Currently they have a four-point lead atop the WCHA standings, so there could be some serious scoreboard watching. Here are the league matchups this weekend:

• Michigan Tech at Bemidji State: The Huskies have been on a roll of late, unbeaten in their last eight leading up to last weekend's bye. Two wins and they'll tie Minnesota State. The Beavers, meanwhile, are trying to improve their play at home and move up the standings.

• Bowling Green at Alaska: The Falcons, who are also hot on MSU's heels, fell out of the rankings this week and are trying to find some consistency as the season winds down. The Nanooks, meanwhile, are still sitting outside playoff position, so there's some urgency on their part right now.

• Lake Superior State at Alaska Anchorage: The Lakers and the Seawolves are in playoff position but trying to keep their heads above water. Lake Superior broke a six-game losing streak last Saturday at home against Bemidji State. The Seawolves are happy to be in a position to control their own destiny.

• Alabama Huntsville at Northern Michigan: The Chargers, fresh off their two-point weekend against MSU, are trying to get out of the WCHA cellar, while the Wildcats still have a shot at home ice, currently sitting in fifth place, four points behind Ferris State.

• Ferris State at Michigan: The Bulldogs are out of WCHA play for the final time and will take on No. 6 Michigan, its in-state and old CCHA rival in a single game tonight. They're hoping they'll still be alone in fourth place come late Saturday night.

My and Jack Hittinger's USCHO column gives Huntsville a little love this week, not only for its two ties against Minnesota State but for getting points in every league series so far in 2016? Can they get more this weekend? Check out our weekend picks.

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