Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Morning Skate

Good morning from Bemidji. It looks like I made the right call getting out of Mankato a day early because of the snowstorm. Unfortunately, I missed the big East-West playoff showdown because if it. Good work by Jim Rueda covering the East victory.

Here in the north where they didn't get any snow, Minnesota State and Bemidji State will close out the WCHA regular-season schedule against each other. The Mavericks have something to play for as they can still finish second in the conference by making up three points to Michigan Tech. But they also don't need a lot of extra incentives when they're playing a rival.

The Mavericks have a couple of of players in the hunt for the WCHA scoring title, and if either freshman Marc Michaelis or defenseman Daniel Brickley get there, it will be a rare feat. For more see the Freep's College Hockey Gameday.

It will be interesting to see how MSU's offense fares this weekend after putting up 12 goals a week ago. As I columnized earlier in the week, it was a performance almost as impressive as the shutout streak the Northern Michigan came to town with.

As for the Beavers, they already clinched the MacNaughton Cup, however they still have goals for the rest of the season, including winning 20 games. Bemidji Pioneer writer Jack Hittinger opined that a regular-season title is important for BSU but only the first step for a successful season.

Going around the WCHA ...

Michigan Tech at/vs. Northern Michigan: Minnesota State is rooting for the team it beat up last weekend. If Northern Michigan can keep Tech from getting more than three points, the Mavericks have a shot at second. Huskies coach Mel Pearson said his team can't think about the team that's chasing his right now. The Wildcats, meanwhile, are holding a slim, one-point lead for the final playoff spot and want to find a way to keep it.

Alabama Huntsville at Bowling Green: There's a race for the WCHA's final home-ice playoff spot, but only Bowling Green controls its own destiny. However, home hasn't been too kind to the Falcons this season. The Chargers hope to take advantage of that and find their way into the postseason field. They're currently in ninth place, one point out of eighth.

Ferris State at Lake Superior State: Lake Superior State is in an interesting position. The Lakers could get home ice or they could get knocked out of the playoffs this weekend. They are five points out of fourth but three points ahead of ninth. What a spot to be in on the final week of the regular season! Ferris State, meanwhile, is tied for fourth but will need help to overtake Bowling Green for that spot.

Alaska at Alaska Anchorage: Alaska finds itself in similar position to Lake Superior State as it plays its in-state rival. The Nanooks are four points out of fourth and four points ahead of ninth. They just want a win to get in. The Seawolves, who are in 10th place, may know their fate before their late-night start, depending on how Huntsville and NMU do earlier. It was a tough day for hockey in Anchorage as the town's ECHL team, the Alaska Aces, announced that it would be folding after the season.

Read more about the WCHA from USCHO here.

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