Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Morning Skate

It's semifinal weekend in the WCHA, and Minnesota State is in Houghton to take on Michigan Tech in the best-of-three series. The Mavericks are hoping to get through this weekend and into the Broadmoor Trophy title game for the fourth year in a row. They won two the first two they played in and then lost one, which still stings a bit, captain Carter Foguth said this week.

Minnesota State and Tech are pretty similar teams, Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said in this week's College Hockey Gameday. Hastings also said: "There are not a lot of differences from this standpoint: Their best players are playing very well. They're getting very good goaltending and special teams. ... Their depth; it's not just one guy. They've got four lines and six defensemen, and if you focus on one line or one defenseman or one pair of defensemen, you're going to lose some of the others."

One sign of the Huskies' depth is the recent emergence of senior forward Reid Sturos, who has six points in his last three games and is tied for the team's scoring lead.

It is strange — and yet another reminder of what once was — that there's not a Final Five this weekend. The winner of the Minnesota State-Michigan Tech series will face the winner of the Bemidji State-Bowling Green taking place in Bemidji.

The Beavers are known for their defense, which starts with All-WCHA goaltender Michael Bitzer. But the players in front of him are impressive, too. One of the unheralded pairs of defensemen on the team is that of Dan Billett and Tommy Muck.

As for the Falcons, they have a special defenseman in Sean Walker. Also, their special teams are playing well right now.

Staying on the subject of special teams, USCHO's preview of the semifinal weekend focuses on them. College Hockey News also previews the weekend.

Outside of the WCHA, the Gustavus Adolphus women's team is in the NCAA tournament, something it was hoping for after getting upset in the semifinals of the MIAC tournament. The Gusties practiced for a week, not knowing if it was preparing for anything. It was, and they'll play at No. 3 Wisconsin-River Falls tonight.

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