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This Week
This Week in MCHA

College Hockey:
This Week in the NCHA/MCHA

Only a week of conference action remains in both the MCHA and NCHA, and amazingly the playoff picture has shaped into one that is rather clear.

Before taking a quick look at that, however, its time to examine the USCHO.com Division III Mens Poll for the final time this season.

St. Scholastica dropped down a spot to No. 3 following a win over University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a loss to UW-Stevens Point. Two wins over the same foes vaulted UW-Superior back up to No.2, though the Yellowjackets did not garner any first place votes.

Yet another four point weekend by UW-Stout moved the Blue Devils up to No. 4, while another split weekend dropped St. Norbert down two more spots to No. 10.

Stevens Point was the only other NCHA team to receive votes and once again found itself the first team out of the top 15.

Finally, Adrian checks in at, big surprise, No. 8–up from a one week sojourn in ninth–and remained the lone MCHA team to receive votes.

Now, why will this be the final week of looking at the USCHO poll? Well, of course its because the fun is nearly upon us. The initial NCAA Regional Rankings, the only ones that matter, were compiled on Tuesday. Though they are not public this week, they will be next week and as usual should provide plenty of fodder to discuss up until Selection Sunday.

As USCHO has released its D-III PairWise comparisons, so while well never know the truth, why not speculate as to what the West Rankings might look like this week? My guess:

1. Superior
2. St. Scholastica
3. Stout
4. St. Norbert
5. Gustavus Adolphus
6. Stevens Point
7. St. Olaf

First through fourth is pretty easy to figure, but fifth through seventh is a bit of a quagmire. Though well look at this much more in-depth next week, some may be wondering how I came to my conclusions, especially when it comes to the absence of Adrian.

Well, Tim Russert famously scribbled on a dry erase board Florida, Florida, Florida! For our purposes, the phrase should be: Numbers, Numbers, Numbers!

To be continued

Another Year, Another Nominee

In each of the past two seasons, this column has been fortunate enough to feature a couple players who excelled at least as much off the ice as they did on it. Two years ago it was MSOEs Brian Soik; last year, Stouts Jeff DeFrancesca. Both were featured because they were nominees for the Hockey Humanitarian Award.

This time around, its senior defenseman Gregory Copeland of Marian. Copeland, a Loydminster, Saskatoon native, is among 21 nominees for the award.

The nature of the award is described as follows by its presenters:

The Hockey Humanitarian Award is awarded annually to college hockeys finest citizen and seeks to recognize college hockey players, Division I or Division III, male or female, who give back to their community in the true humanitarian spirit. It has been said of [the award] that we seek not to celebrate Hall of Fame athletes, but rather Hall of Fame human beings.

As far as the athlete in Copeland, the senior has been a mainstay on the Marian blue line for four seasons, posting seven goals and 31 assists in his career.

And according to his head coach Jasen Wise, his off the ice community efforts have proved just as important.

Hes the first guy to volunteer for everything, said Wise. I dont know if he can say the word no. If you ask him for help hes right there.

Hes been very involved on our campus since his freshman year. He does a ton of work on campus, off campus, you name it.

Among some of the activities Copeland has undertook during his time at Marian include those of a residence hall advisor and president of the universitys Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

SAAC is a student-athlete organization that serves as a go-between between students and faculty, while also working to foster a healthy relationship between student-athletes and the general student population.

They are a voice for the student-athletes, explained Wise. They promote athletics, they promote sportsmanship, and they promote student involvement.

Copeland also holds down a job at a local bank it town. When paired with his other activities, its not a bad repertoire for a student who also has hockey practice daily and games on the weekends.

The award itself will be presented April 10 at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. in conjunction with the Division I Frozen Four.

Whether Copeland wins or not is hardly relevant compared to the impression he has left on Wise, and no doubt the Marian community over the past four seasons.

If you could have your son emulate someone, you would want it to be Greg Copeland. Hes just a great kid.

Playoff Posturing

With one weekend remaining, four playoff spots are locked down in the NCHA and three in the MCHA. With nine more still up for grabs, its time for our annual rundown of the possibilities that may emerge from this final weekend.

NCHA

What we know:

Superior has won the NCHA regular season title. Though the Yellowjackets only hold a two point lead over Stout, they own the tiebreaker so the title is theirs regardless of what happens this weekend. It marks the first time Superior has won a NCHA regular season title since 2001. Congratulations to the Yellowjackets on a fantastic regular season.

With only one point in league play thus far, Lake Forest will finish in eighth, which means the Foresters will play at Superior in the quarterfinals.

One other quarterfinal series is all set as Stevens Point will be traveling to St. Norbert in the always highly competitive four-five match-up.

With seeds one, four, five, and eight all locked in, lets take a look at the remaining four teams and where they may end up. Contrary to past years, its much simpler this time around.

Stout

Current place in league: Third
League record: 9-3-1, 19 points
This weekend: vs. River Falls
Possible finishes: Second or third
Finish second with: Win over River Falls; or a tie against River Falls and a St. Scholastica loss or tie; or a St. Scholastica loss to Superior
Finish third with: A loss or tie to River Falls and a St. Scholastica win at Superior.

St. Scholastica

Current place in league: Second
League record: 9-2-2, 20 points
This weekend: at Superior
Possible finishes: Second or third
Finish second with: Win over Superior and a Stout loss or tie against River Falls
Finish third with: All other results.

River Falls

Current place in league: Sixth
League record: 4-8-1, 9 points
This weekend: at Stout
Possible finishes: Sixth or seventh
Finish sixth with: Win or tie at Stout; or an Eau Claire loss or tie at Stevens Point
Finish seventh with: All other results.

Eau Claire

Current place in league: Seventh
League record: 3-9-1, 7 points
This weekend: at Stevens Point
Possible finishes: Sixth or seventh
Finish sixth with: Win at Stevens Point and a River Falls loss at Stout
Finish seventh with: All other results.

Now that doesnt seem too complicated at all. What do I suspect will happen? I think Superior and Stout hold court at home and nothing changes, which would result in an intriguing opening round match-ups:

#8 Lake Forest @ #1 Superior
#7 Eau Claire @ #2 Stout
#6 River Falls @ #3 St. Scholastica
#5 Stevens Point @ #4 St. Norbert

MCHA

What we know:

Adrian is currently 18-0 in league play, has wrapped up its second consecutive regular season title, an


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