Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Morning Skate

The Mavericks are back home after more than a month off and will host Bowling Green in a series that certainly some fans circled way back when the schedule was first released. The two teams are tied for third in the WCHA standings currently, although MSU has two games in hand. The Falcons were the preseason pick to win the league this season.

It will be interesting to see who Minnesota State starts in goal. Aaron Nelson is in the mix now after his two victories last weekend at Alabama Huntsville. Nelson has proven that patience pays off for players, as difficult as that might be for 2 1/2 years.

For more about the Bowling Green series, read The Free Press' College Hockey Gameday.

For the Falcons, they have had some issues in goal, too, but sophomore Chris Nell, the first-team All-WCHA goalie last year, appears to be returning to form after a tough start, even as he's been splitting time lately. The Falcons expect this weekend to be a challenge. The last time the two teams met was in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Five last March when MSU won 2-1.

Read more about Bowling Green here.

Going around the WCHA ...

Alaska at Ferris State: Sixth place hosts seventh place in this series. The visiting Nanooks had a week off to think about its two shutout losses to Notre Dame. The Bulldogs are winless in five straight, although they got the extra shootout point at Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

Alaska Anchorage at Michigan Tech: After a 1-11-2 start, the Seawolves are an improved 4-3-1 in their last eight games. Eight of their next 10 games, however, are on the road, starting this weekend in Houghton. The second-place Huskies are coming off a split with Notre Dame but have lost just one league game since getting swept by MSU in October.

Lake Superior State at/vs. Northern Michigan: The Lakers and the Wildcats split their home-and-home series last weekend and will be back at it again this weekend, starting tonight in Marquette. Northern Michigan's Dominik Shine has been heating up as of late.

Michigan Tech is the focus of this week's USCHO column.

In other hockey coverage, the Minnesota State women also return home this weekend to face North Dakota. The Mavericks have become a much different team over their last two months, and Minnesota Hockey Magazine has taken notice.

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