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College Hockey:
WCHA picks: Nov. 18-20

No. 19 Nebraska Omaha (6-5-1, 5-2-1 WCHA) at No. 11 Denver (4-3-2, 3-2-2 WCHA)

Tyler: Nebraska-Omaha’s goaltending situation, between John Faulkner and Ryan Massa, has held the Mavericks back but Adam Murray hasn’t exactly put a lid on Denver’s net either. This weekend will see a couple of high-offense shootouts out on the range. Neither team is head and shoulders above the other so…split. UNO earns its first ever win in Denver.

Brian: The Pioneers hold a 8-3 advantage in the all-time series, and have dominated in Denver (6-0). DU’s power play has struggled overall so far going just 6-of-40 (15 percent) with the man advantage but UNO’s penalty kill (79.1 percent) ranks just ninth in the conference for the season. Something’s got to give there. In conference games, the Mavericks rank first in third-period scoring with 16 while only two teams (Bemidji State and Wisconsin) have allowed more than Denver’s 10 goals in the final period. In addition, the third is DU’s least-productive scoring period so it’s advantage-Mavericks if it’s close after two. On the heels of snapping a seven-game winless streak against Bemidji State last week, UNO will break another streak of futility in Denver and earn a split.

No. 15 Michigan Tech (6-3-1, 4-3-1 WCHA) at Alaska Anchorage (3-6-1, 0-6-0 WCHA)

Tyler: The biggest thing yet to learn about Michigan tech is whether or not it can win on the road. The Huskies lost their only two games away from Houghton, getting swept in Bemidji, Oct. 21-22. Now, the Huskies are going to Anchorage and won’t return home until after Thanksgiving. The Seawolves are struggling to score but I expect a minor turnaround, but one big enough for UAA to sweep this weekend.

Brian: To say the Seawolves have lost their scoring touch would be an understatement. After outscoring four non-conference opponents 17-9, UAA has been outscored 23-4 in conference play. Although the Huskies lost their only two road games of the season I don’t see Alaska-Anchorage’s offense getting healthy against MTU’s team defense and goaltending. Michigan Tech sweeps UAA in Alaska for the first time since Feb. 13-14, 2004.

Minnesota State (3-7-0, 2-4-0 WCHA) at No. 8 Minnesota-Duluth (7-3-2, 5-2-1 WCHA)

Tyler: Minnesota State’s offensive struggles will become even more visible this weekend. J. P. Lafounaine provides a lot of hope for the Mavericks but they’ve run into a buzzsaw/goalie-on-a-hot-streak in Kenny Reiter. UMD sweep

Brian: The Mavericks are coming off of a couple of impressive splits at Michigan Tech and at home against St. Cloud State. But hitting the road to face, arguably, the nation’s hottest team in UMD and its equally-sizzling goaltender is a task far more daunting. The Bulldogs don’t return to AMSOIL Arena until they host Alabama-Huntsville on Jan. 20-21 but give their fans a fond farewell with a sweep of Minnesota State.

No. 1 Minnesota (10-2-0, 7-1-0 WCHA) at/vs St. Cloud State (5-5-2, 3-2-1 WCHA) – Home and home

Tyler: Minnesota should get plenty of chances on the power play this weekend, especially if St. Cloud State continues to consistently fill its penalty box this weekend. The Huskies have accumulated 133 penalty minutes over the course of the past six games and have been forced to kill multiple 5-minute majors. The Gophers PP is slumping the last three weeks but could have a turnaround weekend against SCSU’s freshman goaltender, Ryan Faragher, still wet behind the years. Whenever an in-state rival hosts Minnesota, it always brings out the best in the local crowd. Expect a rowdy atmosphere Friday at the National Hockey Center. SCSU wins Friday, Minnesota win Saturday at home.

Brian: While St. Cloud State leads the league in penalty minutes (22.2 PIM/G) Minnesota is not far behind in third place (15.8 PIM/G). But don’t expect the Huskies’ anemic power play (9.5 percent conversion rate) to have much success against Kent Patterson and the Gophers’ WCHA-leading penalty kill (88.6 percent). SCSU holds a 3-2-0 edge in the last five meetings between the schools but Minnesota has won six of the last 10 (6-3-1). Unfortunately for Minnesota, that record is reversed (3-6-1) in its last 10 as the nation’s No. 1 team. I’m going to go against that grain, however, and predict the Gophers to take two from SCSU.

Wisconsin (5-6-1, 4-5-1 WCHA) at No. 5 Colorado College (5-2-0, 3-2-0 WCHA)

Tyler: Wisconsin beat No. 1 Minnesota last Friday because they got a great game out of Joel Rumpel and because they were able to slow the Gophers game down from the puck drop. But the Badgers were outshot badly last weekend and they paid for it in Saturday’s loss to Minnesota. I think CC will sweep but the Tigers need to shore up their recent defensive issues to make it happen.

Brian: It’s time for Colorado College to perform the way many of us expected it to this season and play up to its ranking, at least in its own zone and goal crease. I think it happens for the Tigers this weekend as they sweep the Badgers in just the second series of the season at World Arena.

North Dakota (3-6-1, 1-5-0 WCHA) at Bemidji State (4-7-1, 2-5-1 WCHA) – Saturday/Sunday series

Tyler: North Dakota is well-rested with a week off and hungry for a win, which the Fighting Sioux hasn’t earned since Oct. 29 at home against SCSU. For those reasons, the Sioux will pick up a victory this weekend, but UND has been so bad on the road to this point that I doubt they’ll leave Bemidji with a sweep. Split.

Brian: These two teams rank one right after the other in four WCHA overall statistical categories (scoring offense, scoring defense, power play, and penalty kill). Don’t expect a lot of power-play goals because as adept as each team is on its penalty kill, its power-play proficiency is equally inept. They are within half a goal per game of each other in even-strength scoring and .2/game in even-strength goals against. But since 1970, the Sioux have a whopping 21-1-1 record in the all-time series and are 16-0-1 against the Beavers since their Division I rivalry began in 1999-2000. With records and statistics this similar, history and a hot goalie in Aaron Dell wins out as North Dakota sweeps.

 

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  • Anonymous

    If the Gophers sweep it’s because they played a weak St. Cloud team.. If they split it’s because the Gophers are overrated. Nonetheless, the Gophers will sweep.

    • Mr Hockey

      I love your take. It is exactly what the Gopher haters will say. Go Gophers!

    • Anonymous

      Are all Gopher fans this paranoid?

      • Chris

        no

      • Mr Hockey

        It’s not paranoid, it’s reality. We as Gopher fans know what people will say if they win or lose.

        • Sandman7733

          So true. However, it seems to be that way in nearly every sport when rivals go at each other. I actually witnessed 2 men (and I use the term “men” loosely) get into an actual fight, in a sports bar, over the 2009 NCAA Nat’l Championship football game in which Alabama beat Texas. One of them was insisting that Texas would have won had Colt McCoy not gotten hurt. Of course, the Bama fan would have none of that. The sad part was that the Texas guy had one of his children with him, and of all places for this to happen, it was at a Buffalo Wild Wings in the Twin Cities. Also, at the 2002 Frozen Four in St. Paul, during the Championship game (which I was blessed to have tickets for), watched a guy in a North Dakota jersey get so upset when the Gophers won, that he actually started crying. However, with a bit over 2 minutes left, the Sioux fan was relentless in his taunting of nearby Gopher fans. I guess he got what he deserved.

          • Mr Hockey

            Two years ago I went to a Gopher game in St. Cloud after the Huskies won and I was leaving fans were all over me. I mean they were in my ear saying the Huskies kicked your arse. I let it go 10 minutes, then I said stop yelling for a second. They asked why? I said i’ve been trying to count SCSU’s National Championship banners, but I keep losing my count at zero. Then it was silent.

          • Guest

            Who’s got more banners?  Sioux or Gophers     Silence……

          • Mr Hockey

            No silence, it’s smarts. That’s the old joke North Dakota fans ask Wisconsin and Minnesota fans that question all the time and it gets passed down the line. Same as when Michigan asks North Dakota who has more Championships.

          • Anonymous

            Dear Guest,

            You are a moron. 

          • Mr Hockey

            Hey Goldy it’s just you & I vs the rest. I love are odds in winning this battle…lol

          • Anonymous

            Haha! I’ll take these odds any day.

          • Guest

            Dear Goldy,

            Have you looked in the mirror today?  What does football have to do with hockey you dumb chit…

          • Anonymous

            Dear Guest,

            Football has nothing to do with Hockey.. It’s called an analogy. Did attend the prestigious educational institution known as the University of North Dakota? I thought they taught this. Oh well. Your degree in Underwater Basket Weaving will take you far in life when your living on your farm harvesting crops and bathing your best friend. A pig named “Suey”.

          • Guest

            Really, because ya I graduated there and now live in Minneapolis and going to graduate  school so I dont think Ill be farming anytime soon.  Looks like my degree in psychology is doing me a little better than your degree in recreation and tourism..   still, your football analogys have no place here bud!  Keep to the subject

          • chickenstrip6

            We could change this to who has more wins? now who’s silenced?
            143 > 128

          • Guest

            Not me haha!  Id rather have more banners, wouldnt you?

          • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

            gopher fans are so gullible!!! lol   a reply of wins ( which UND will eventually take, even though it will take years because of the new conferences) but really wow. go sioux go north dakota!!!

          • Sandman7733

            Classic. As much as I love going to the games, I’ve never myself been one to taunt opposing fans. I’ll trash talk in fun, but I’ll never take it to a level where I feel the need to scream directly in someones face, or get into an altercation. Frankly, I’ve never understood that mentality. What really gets me are those who actually believe that the success of a team, be it college, pro or whatever,  somehow determines how great an academic institution the respective college is, or how wonderful the city and/or state is that they represent. I’ve never been able to figure out why people actually believe that to be the case. As if LSU is a better school than Stanford, or Oakland is a better place to live than Minneapolis, Denver or San Diego. To each his own I guess.

          • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

            when the gophers barely swept the sioux a few weeks ago i was sad….but then i realized who had more championships and who had a more reliable fan base as well as the better hockey venue. In conclusion  every time i witness gophers enjoying themselves i don’t get angry, i simply congratulate them. maybe one day their program could stand in the same great spotlight as the great fighting sioux hockey program. 

        • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

          word choice should be “paranoia” and the gophers are good just not great. if you want to win consistently in hockey now, you need out of state players  the potulny’s  and vanek  are why the gophers have been winners in the last 10 years.  from Europe and North Dakota   enough said. 

  • iEatgoophsForBrkfst

    It is the writers of these dumb articles that will give the goophs all the credit for everything. If they split, it will be because they gave one away, not that they sucked or something. And if they sweep, they will write that they are the greatest team ever. Im hoping, like everyone else, that the goophs actually play a caliber team and show their true colors. Its a long season, and eventually they will start to fall apart. There are much better teams around college hockey

    • Mr Hockey

      It’s the writers? You just stated you hope the Gophers play a caliber team. What about Duluth who the Gophers swept in Duluth?  They haven’t lost since being swept by the Gophers and the only other team to beat UMD is Notre Dame. This is what us Gopher fans are talking about.

    • Sandman7733

      First off, given that the schedule is predetermined, how can you say they have not played a “caliber” team?? UMD and North Dakota are not “caliber” teams??
      It isn’t up to the U of Minnesota when they schedule them, or when a team gets hot. What are they supposed to do, wait until UMD or No. Dak is playing their best hockey and somehow alter the schedule to accommodate the naysayers??
      Besides, when Minnesota plays the likes of North Dakota, Wisconsin or UMD, it doesn’t really matter what the teams records are, they are RIVALS and will play each other accordingly.
      So, just WHO are the better teams around college hockey…in your opinion of course?? gigg

      • Fan Man

        Its not up to the U of M when/where they schedule teams?   That might be the dumbest thing Ive heard from a goofer thus far this season!  So who makes the schedule then?  the NCAA no,   hmmm   could be the athletic director from the U and dont think for a second that the coach has no input on when and where to schedule these games.

        • Mr Hockey

          You’re really showing how little you know. The schedules are made 3 years in advance. The point is, 3 years ago Sacred Heart and Vermont had good teams, the Gophers scheduled them as opponents. Now 3 years later Sacred Heart and Vermont don’t,what are you suppose to do cancel the games? Here’s a tip no what you’re talking about before you posts, especially when it’s national.

          • BestUShockeyComesFromMN

            Love all the Gopher haters. Especially the ones who probably have trouble even tying their own shoes. GO GOPHERS !

          • Fan Man

            Sorry dont have to time to be on here twenty five times a day like you to clarify things but here is what I was commenting on you dink.  Sandman says “It isn’t up to the U of Minnesota when they schedule them.  I begged to differ saying that he was a moron for saying that when in fact prestigious schools usually do have the upper hand in when and where they schedule games.  Your not just going to get the Sioux to go play on the road at some little school like Bentley or something…   I know they schedule far in advance too!  For instance,  Maine and the Sioux exchanged home and road games from last year to this year.  So ya I think I do have a pretty good idea of how/who teams schedule.    Another, dont you have a life or do you just troll this site all day and nite looking to pick an arguement.   Get a life!  Im just as knowledgeable if not more but cannot troll around looking for fights like you.  Here’s to hopeing that st.cloud stomps them goofs tonight!!!!!!!!!

            Cheers

          • Fan Man

            Yes 1-0   GO CLOUD GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • iEatgoophsForBrkfst

            4-1 now! Goophs suck. they will come back to reality and play like they have the last 5 years

          • Fan Man

            I am absolutely loving it right now and I dont even like st. cloud!  I just like anybody that puts the goofs in their place…

          • Mr Hockey

            St Cloud played a nice game last night. They took advantage of their opportunities. The Gophers outshot them but shots don’t matter goals do. Not going to sit an argue about who is a better team all day. I’m heading to Mariucci to watch tonights game. St. Cloud scored more goals and won, they didn’t out play the Gophers if you watched the game. Love or hate the Gophers anybody who watched the game saw the Gophers are the better team just didn’t win. But hockey is the won sport where talent doesn’t matter, anybody can win any game. That was the case last night. Respond if you like, I’m heading to Mpls so I won’t be responding back. Catch you tomorrow.

          • Fan Man

            I can sympathize with you in that the Sioux are usually the better team but somehow end up on the short end of the stick.  st. cloud freshman goaltener Farhaha or whatever comes in to our building and saves 44 and shuts us out!  Sucks doesnt it

        • Sandman7733

          Usually the respective conference determines the schedules of teams within the conference well in advance. As to teams outside the conference, that has to be determined by BOTH schools, not just one.
          So, you honestly believe that the U of Minnesota holds a gun to everyone else’s head and says, you play us on this date, etc, etc.??? IT’S A TWO WAY STREET!!!!
          So, according to your logic, the U of Minnesota is somehow able to determine who they will play, when and where they will play precisely to their benefit?? And the opposing school has NO say, what so ever?? That is simply AMAZING!!! Not to mention that they somehow know in advance when an opposing team will become hot and somehow avoid scheduling them at that time??? Even more AMAZING!!!

    • Anonymous

      There are much better teams around college hockey? What?? Do you even watch college hockey? The Gophers swept Duluth and North Dakota and split with Wisconsin. They are in first place in the best conference in College Hockey and number 1 in the rankings in both major polls. 

    • jmsptrk

      These “much better” teams are sure having a hard time proving it.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IBX3ZLT5XKNZDOL2YZHPVX27VI STEVEN P

      “There are much better teams around college hockey”

      OK,care to elaborate? Judging from everything I can find online,that’s an unsupportable argument,so I am assuming you are privy to information not available to us common folk. I am anxiously awaiting your erudition.

  • CanSeeClearly

    BC > MN

    • Anonymous

      Oh my gosh… What the heck are you doing on this forum you clown. I could write a whole Library of Editions on how The Gophers are superior to BC.

  • Bob

    The press in this division should open their eyes — comments like vvet behind the ears or playing out of his mind — no Gentleman, that is hovv he plays – get used to it because he is going to beat you until the NHL takes him — the league has just obtained a league changer — Ryan Faragher.

  • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

    the bull dogs are weak this year. vermont blows. the sioux are rebuilding.  wisconsin is youn and unpredictable.  the gophers always start the year playing weak teams.   I WIN

  • http://www.collegehockeypulse.com/ mrjakep

    Wow!  A split with Mercyhurst and Holy Cross!  I am gonna have to see it to believe it!

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