Last week Theresa: 11-1
Season Theresa: 86-49-13
Last week Tyler: 11-1
Season Tyler: 85-32-9
We’ve got a rivalry series, an intriguing match-up, the battle of the WCHA newbies and a non-conference series … along with a few other games. Let’s get to this.
Friday, January 14 and Saturday, January 15
No. 6 Denver (13-5-4, 9-3-2 WCHA) at Minnesota State (10-8-4, 4-8-2 WCHA)
Theresa: MSU is riding a hot streak right now, as Tyler mentioned earlier this week, but Denver, despite all they’ve been thrown this season, has been a team that has soldiered on. That being said, DU has struggled of late to close out weekends, as evidenced by their Saturday ties their last two match-ups. DU swept the Mavericks last time these two teams met, but I don’t think that’ll happen this time around. Rather, I think we’ll see a split – DU Friday, MSU Saturday.
Tyler: Drew Shore and Jason Zucker are DU’s top scorers with 25 and 21 points, respectively. They return to the team after spending three weeks with the U.S. World Junior team. The question is whether the Mavericks can continue their hot streak into the WCHA schedule after winning eight of their last 10 games. Aside from a few lapses in two losses (MSU’s only losses in the last 10 games) to UND, MSU played well enough to win both games. Split.
No. 17 Colorado College (12-9-1, 8-6-0 WCHA) at Alaska-Anchorage (5-10-3, 4-8-2 WCHA)
Theresa: CC is without Jaden Schwartz thanks to his injury at World Juniors, but they have another equally potent offensive weapon in the Hockey Commisioners Association’s National Player of the Month for December in Tyler Johnson. The Tigers have also built up a little roll for themselves, winning seven of their last nine, though it should be noted they’re 2-2 in their last four. UAA, on the other hand, has been idle for about a month and, in the past two years where they’ve come out of a similar situation, they’re 0-3-1. These two teams split the last time they met and despite UAA’s tendency to stumble out of the second-half blocks, I’m still inclined to think they’ll split, partially due to the fact they’re at home. Therefore, UAA Friday, CC Saturday.
Tyler: UAA has had a knack for taking down decent teams at home this season including CC but the Tigers have held their own, scoring five goals in three of their last five games without their top offensive guy, Jaden Schwartz, who they won’t have for a while. CC sweep.
No. 9 Wisconsin (14-7-3, 6-6-2 WCHA) at No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth (14-4-3, 9-3-2 WCHA)
Theresa: This is quite possibly the most intriguing match-up this week. On one hand, you have the Badgers, a young team that looks to have finally found its groove, going 7-1 in its last eight. On the other hand, you have the Bulldogs, who started out so strong but have faltered slightly in league play since their two overtime game sweep of UW back in mid-November. Since then, UMD is 1-2-1 in WCHA action (though, it should be noted, 3-3-1 overall), which may not be bad, per se, but hasn’t been typical of what we’ve seen from the team. I have no doubt these two games will be just as close as the ones the teams played in November, but I have a feeling if the games go to overtime, the matured Badgers won’t be seeing the same results. Still, I have to make a decision and I think the likely response given everything is a split - UW Friday, UMD Saturday.
Tyler: Wisconsin’s had problems with consistency and Justin Faulk’s return brings a lot back to UMD’s blueline and this series is in Duluth’s barn. Wisconsin has the defense to win in Duluth and the offense to match the Bulldogs’ firepower. Split.
Minnesota (9-8-3, 6-6-2 WCHA) at No. 2 North Dakota (16-5-2, 11-3-0 WCHA)
Theresa: I can sit here and talk about how UND hasn’t lost in 9 games, and how they’re a second-half team. I can sit here and talk about how Minnesota has been a struggling team and how being down to one experienced goaltender might hurt them. However, this is a rivalry series, which means that most of that stuff can be thrown right out the window. We can expect two hard-fought, hard-hitting and probably close games. In my mind, we can also expect a split – UND Friday, UM Saturday.
Tyler: The Gophers are going into Grand Forks at a bad time. This is the time when UND annually begins to roll. Kent Patterson had a rough time last season at the Ralph, allowing five goals on 43 shots in two games and the Sioux haven’t lost a beat since last season. UND sweep.
Bemidji State (8-11-1, 4-9-1 WCHA) at No. 11 Nebraska-Omaha (12-7-1, 9-4-1 WCHA)
Theresa: In which we have the battle of the WCHA newcomers. The Beavers shockingly swept the Mavericks when these two teams last met a little over a month ago. Since then, both teams have gone 3-3 and both have had some surprising results – BSU won the Mariucci Classic and UNO got swept by Quinnipiac. So, what happens? Will Bemidji continue to see its stock slowly rise? Will the Mavericks get the mojo they had at the beginning of the season back, or will they continue to oscillate back and forth between winning and losing? I think I see both, in a split – UNO Friday, BSU Saturday.
Tyler: UNO is slipping lately. Since the Beavers swept the Mavericks Dec. 3-4, UNO beat Michigan Tech twice, split on the road with Colorado College and went out east and got swept by Quinnipiac at the end of December. BSU has only won on the road twice: at St. Cloud State and Alabama-Huntsville. UNO will wake up and sweep the Beavers.
St. Lawrence at Michigan Tech (3-15-2, 1-12-1 WCHA)
Theresa: The Huskies, the poor Huskies, after starting off the season on the right foot at 3-0-2, have lost 15 straight since. It hasn’t been for lack of trying, as the coaches of their victorious counterparts always praise them for being tenacious and tough. However, that doesn’t translate into victories, especially when you can’t put the puck in the net – MTU’s been outscored 71-27 in those 15 games. Their ECAC opponent this weekend, St. Lawrence, isn’t a strong team by any means (6-10-3, 3-6-0 ECAC) but it can score, unlike MTU. If the Huskies can keep it a tight, low-scoring series, they’ve got a shot. But, as much as I’m rooting for their winless streak to end, I can’t pick them here. SLU sweeps.
Tyler: I saw SLU play earlier this season and the Saints have two talented brothers, Kyle and Sean Flanagan, who will have a big impact on this series. SLU sweep.