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This Week in MCHA

College Hockey:
MCHA, MIAC and NCHA Christmas wish list

Now that the first half of the 2011-2012 hockey season has been hung by the chimney with care, let’s take a look at how the competition is shaping up in the MCHA/MIAC/NCHA conferences. Also, I will guess as to what the coaches would want from Santa Claus for the start of 2012.

MCHA
Adrian and Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) have the best records in the conference going into the break. Both teams are 7-1 in league play.  Marian has yet to lose a game in the conference, and is just a point behind the leaders in the standings.

Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE)
2011-12 overall record: 10-3
2011-12 conference record: 7-1
What Santa could bring: MSOE has nothing but conference games on the schedule, so the best thing Santa could bring would be the consistency that MSOE has displayed all along this season in the MCHA.

Adrian
2011-12 pverall record:  8-3
2011-12 conference record: 7-1
What Santa could bring: Adrian could use a dominant stretch where it conquers all. Adrian has been as high as No. 4 in the USCHO.com poll, but is now ranked at No. 7.

Marian
2011-12 overall record:  6-3-4
2011-12 conference record: 5-0-3
What Santa could bring: An awesome January. Marian faces Adrian and MSOE in the first four games of 2012. Marian is undefeated in conference play, and some inspired play could propel Marian to the top of the MCHA.

Lawrence
2011-12 overall record: 4-4-3
2011-12 conference record: 4-1-3
What Santa could bring: Lawrence is another team in the MCHA that only has one conference loss. It also faces front-runners Adrian and MSOE in January, so Lawrence could use the same gift that Marian needs.

Northland
2011-12 overall record: 3-7-2
2011-12 conference record: 2-5-1
What Santa could bring: Northland could use some improved defense. It has a good offense and freshman goalie Ian Perrier appears to be the answer in goal.

Concordia (Wis.)
2011-12 overall record: 1-10-2
2011-12 conference record: 1-6-1
What Santa could bring: Good luck for the new rink. The Ozaukee Ice Center can seat 1,000 spectators, and just opened in December.

Lake Forest
2011-12 overall record: 1-9-0
2011-12 conference record: 1-7-0
What Santa could bring: A successful trip to the East Coast. Lake Forest begins the second half of the season with a three-game swing to Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Finlandia
2011-12 overall record: 1-11-0
2011-12 conference record: 1-7-0
What Santa could bring: Better luck in the new year, because the first half of the season was not good to Finlandia.

MIAC
The MIAC is locked in a very tight race this season. Going into the winter break, St. Thomas leads the conference, while Concordia (Minn.) is in second, St. Olaf in third, and three schools are tied for fourth. Bethel is the surprise team in fourth place at the break with Gustavus and Hamline.

St. Thomas
2011-12 overall record: 8-3-2
2011-12 conference record: 4-1-1
What Santa could bring: Some separation in the standings. St. Thomas has a one-point lead, and could use some other teams to stop St. Olaf and Concordia (Minn.)

Concordia (Minn.)
2011-12 overall record: 7-3-3
2011-12 conference record: 3-1-2
What Santa could bring: A little more firepower. Good defense and goaltending is the team’s trademark, and finding a bit more offense makes Concordia (Minn.) a tough team.

St. Olaf
2011-12 overall record: 7-3-2
2011-12 conference record: 3-2-1
What Santa could bring: The same consistency St. Olaf has displayed this season.

Bethel
2011-12 overall record: 5-8
2011-12 conference record: 3-3
What Santa could bring: Continued confidence. Bethel is playing some of the best hockey in the MIAC.

Gustavus Adoplphus
2011-12 overall record: 7-4-2
2011-12 conference record: 3-3-0
What Santa could bring: More games in Wisconsin. Gustavus is 4-0-1 playing games in Wisconsin this season.

Hamline
2011-12 overall record: 5-7
2011-12 conference record: 3-3
What Santa could bring: Consistency. Hamline is stuck in a four-game losing streak after starting out the season strong.

Augsburg
2011-12 overall record: 3-6
2011-12 conference record: 1-3
What Santa could bring: A shift in momentum. A few wins could move Augsburg in the other direction.

St. John’s
2011-12 overall record: 3-6-2
2011-12 conference record: 1-3-0
What Santa could bring: More five-goal games. In its three wins this season, St. John’s has scored at least five goals.

St. Mary’s
2011-12 overall record: 3-8
2011-12 conference record: 1-3
What Santa could bring: More home games with MCHA teams. St. Mary’s is 2-0 this season when hosting teams from the MCHA.

NCHA
The most surprising teams this season have been in the NCHA. Two teams expected to be at the bottom are leading the conference going into the break.  Wis.-River Falls has been the surprise team in the nation. It has battled its way to a No. 4 ranking in the USCHO.com poll in December. Wis.-Stevens Point is currently second in the conference. St. Norbert is third in the conference.  St. Scholastica is another surprise team, trailing St. Norbert by one point in the standings.

Wis.-River Falls
2011-12 overall record: 9-2-2
2011-12 conference record: 5-1-2
What Santa could bring: The return of early-season success. Wis.-River Falls has only won once in its last three games.

Wis.-Stevens Point
2011-12 overall record: 5-6-2
2011-12 conference record: 4-4-2
What Santa could bring: Continued consistency. This is a team that is coming together earlier than expected.

St. Norbert
2011-12 overall record: 7-3-3
2011-12 conference record: 4-3-1
What Santa could bring: Last year’s mojo. The defending national champs had their unbeaten home streak stopped by St. Scholastica early in December.

St. Scholastica
2011-12 overall record: 7-3-2
2011-12 conference record: 3-3-2
What Santa could bring: Streak-busting ability. St. Scholastica put a stop to two winning streaks at St. Norbert’s home rink.

Wis.-Superior
2011-12 overall record: 7-4-2
2011-12 conference record: 3-3-2
What Santa could bring: A change of luck. Wis.-Superior has the offense, defense and goaltending to be a contender.

Wis.-Eau Claire
2011-12 overall record: 8-6-0
2011-12 conference record: 4-6-0
What Santa could bring: The attitude that helped Wis.-Eau Claire win the Adrian tournament.

Wis.-Stout
2011-12 overall record: 5-7-1
2011-12 conference record: 2-5-1
What Santa could bring: Improved defense.


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