December 6, 2010
UNO hosts Michigan Tech for two games starting on Thursday
MADISON, Wis. – The second consecutive week of on-ice action featuring a full slate of six Western Collegiate Hockey Association series gets underway Thursday (Dec. 9) when No. 10-ranked Nebraska Omaha hosts Michigan Tech at Qwest Center Omaha (15,595) at 7:37 pm CT. The Mavericks (9-4-1, 6-3-1 WCHA) and Huskies (3-8-2, 1-8-1 WCHA) will then conclude their two-game regular season series on Friday evening at 7:07 pm CT.
Friday will also bring about the launch of five other two-game conference series set for Dec. 10-11. League-leading and No. 2-ranked Minnesota Duluth (12-2-2, 9-2-1 WCHA) heads down to Minnesota (8-7-1, 5-6-1 WCHA) for a pair of 7:07 pm CT face-offs at Mariucci Arena (10,000). No. 5-ranked and second place North Dakota (11-5-2, 9-3-0 WCHA) visits Minnesota State (6-6-4, 4-6-2 WCHA) and Verizon Wireless Center (4,832) for 7:37 pm and 7:07 pm CT encounters. Defending MacNaughton Cup champion and No. 9 Denver (11-5-2, 8-3-1 WCHA) travels northwest to Alaska Anchorage (5-9-2, 4-7-1 WCHA) and Sullivan Arena (6,251) for two 7:07 pm AT match ups. St. Cloud State (5-9-2, 3-6-1 WCHA) plays host to Colorado College (8-7-1, 5-5-0 WCHA) on Friday and Saturday at the National Hockey Center (5,371) at 7:07 pm CT. And No. 16 Wisconsin (8-7-3, 4-6-2 WCHA) entertains Bemidji State (5-8-1, 4-7-1 WCHA) in a pair of 7:07 pm CT encounters at the Kohl Center (15,325).
In addition to the Nebraska Omaha vs Michigan Tech series this week, three other weekend match ups – North Dakota at Minnesota State, Colorado College at St. Cloud State and Bemidji State at Wisconsin – will mark the only regular season meetings between the two foes. Minnesota State has won four straight, North Dakota is unbeaten over their last four at 3-0-1, and both CC and BSU sport three-game winning streaks.
In a full complement of WCHA series contested last Friday (Dec. 3) and Saturday (Dec. 4) four teams – North Dakota, Minnesota State, Colorado College and Bemidji State – managed to record sweeps and gain four points in the standings. The host Fighting Sioux won twice over St. Cloud State by 3-1 and 6-2 scores, the host Mavericks claimed back-to-back 3-2 and 2-1 victories over Minnesota, the visiting CC Tigers prevailed by 7-3 and 5-0 margins at Michigan Tech, and the host BSU Beavers marked their first-ever league sweep when they downed fellow first-year member Nebraska Omaha twice by 3-0 and 3-1 counts. In the showdown set in Duluth, visiting Denver split with the UMD Bulldogs (5-4 ot, 1-2), while up in Anchorage, the host UAA Seawolves traded victories with Wisconsin (2-1, 1-3). Last Saturday's game at the Duluth Entertainment & Convention Center (DECC) marked the final UMD men's hockey game there, as Minnesota Duluth is set to open the new 6,732-seat AMSOIL Arena on Dec. 30 in a U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game against North Dakota.
Heading into the second week of December, first place Minnesota Duluth (12 gp, 9-2-1, 19 points) holds a one-point lead over North Dakota (12 gp, 9-3-0, 18 points) and a two-point advantage over Denver (12 gp, 8-3-1, 17 points). Nebraska Omaha (10 gp, 6-3-1, 13 points) is fourth with two games in hand and Minnesota (12 gp, 5-6-1, 11 points) is fifth. Three teams – Colorado College (10 gp, 5-5-0, 10 points), Minnesota State (12 gp, 4-6-2, 10 points) and Wisconsin (12 gp, 4-6-2, 10 points) – share the sixth spot, with the Tigers having played two less games. Alaska Anchorage (12 gp, 4-7-1, 9 points) and Bemidji State (12 gp, 4-7-1, 9 points) are tied in ninth this week, St. Cloud State (10 gp, 3-6-1, 7 points) lies 11th and Michigan Tech (10 gp, 1-8-1, 3 points) is 12th. Both SCSU and MTU have played only 10 league games to date. The chase for the WCHA regular season championship and MacNaughton Cup consists of 168-games, with each of the league's 12-member teams playing 28 WCHA games.
Looking ahead to the weekend of Friday-Sunday, Dec. 17-19, there is just one league series on the docket as Nebraska Omaha plays host to Colorado College on Saturday and Sunday. That series will also mark the final league games until the weekend of Jan. 7-8. Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State, Denver, Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State, St. Cloud State and Wisconsin will all be idle.
Outside the WCHA next week, Michigan Tech visits CCHA-member Northern Michigan for a single game on Dec. 17 while North Dakota welcomes the U.S. Under-18 Team for an exhibition on Dec. 18. Through Dec. 6, WCHA teams own a combined record of 28-14-9 (.637) in 51 Division 1 non-conference games.
In this week's (Dec. 6) USCHO.com Men's Div. 1 Hockey National Poll, the WCHA has five member teams ranked among the top 20. Minnesota Duluth is at No. 2, North Dakota is No. 5, Denver is No. 9, Nebraska Omaha is No. 10 and Wisconsin is No. 16. Also receiving votes this week were Minnesota, Colorado College, Minnesota State and Bemidji State.
This Week in the WCHA
Games for Thursday, December 9: Michigan Tech at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT.
Games for Friday, December 10: Bemidji State at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Colorado College at St. Cloud State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Denver at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT; Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Michigan Tech at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; North Dakota at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT.
Games for Saturday, December 11: Bemidji State at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Colorado College at St. Cloud State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Denver at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT; Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; North Dakota at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT.
Last Week in the WCHA
Results of Friday, December 3
Colorado College 7 at Michigan Tech 3 (WCHA)
Denver 5 at Minnesota Duluth 4 ot (WCHA)
Wisconsin 1 at Alaska Anchorage 2 (WCHA)
Minnesota 2 at Minnesota State 3 (WCHA)
St. Cloud State 1 at North Dakota 3 (WCHA)
Nebraska Omaha 0 at Bemidji State 3 (WCHA)
Results of Saturday, December 4
Colorado College 5 at Michigan Tech 0 (WCHA)
Denver 1 at Minnesota Duluth 2 (WCHA)
Minnesota 1 at Minnesota State 2 (WCHA)
St. Cloud State 2 at North Dakota 6 (WCHA)
Nebraska Omaha 1 at Bemidji State 3 (WCHA)
Wisconsin 3 at Alaska Anchorage 1 (WCHA)