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College Hockey:
Three weekend observations

Wisconsin’s confidence, home playoff chances continue to grow

The league’s No. 2 team defense is finally getting support from the offense with players like John Ramage (eight career goals entering weekend) stepping up with OT goals both nights in the program’s first road sweep at Minnesota State.

Wisconsin, now tied for sixth with Minnesota-Duluth after going 7-0-3 in the last 10, has a very good chance at home playoff ice, especially with home series against Alaska-Anchorage and Bemidji State. That is a sentence I did not think I would type before Dec. 1.

While MSU is not among the WCHA elite – Denver, Minnesota, North Dakota and perhaps Nebraska-Omaha come to mind – Wisconsin winning their first WCHA overtime games since the 2006-07 season should give the Badgers the confidence they need to sustain this push.

Colorado College may have turned corner

Speaking of confidence, Colorado College got a much-needed boost by garnering a split at North Dakota by playing arguably their best hockey this season through the first four periods of the series. UND took over Saturday’s game in the second period, but the Tigers, which entered the weekend on a 0-6-1 skid, refused to be satisfied with a split. They showed grit by coming back to tie the game in the third period in an eventual 5-3 loss.

“We’re hoping we can build off this weekend and get on a roll,” CC assistant Eric Rud said in a radio interview.

That remains to be seen with a home series against Minnesota-Duluth but Tiger fans have reason to hope which, judging from the message board comments of “fans,” was in short supply only a few days ago.

Keeping it all in perspective

This just in: The WCHA race is not the most important thing in the world.

Some of us got a much-needed reminder of that when Air Force captain Nathan Lagred surprised his family during first intermission of Friday’s Wisconsin at Minnesota State game.

His wife Juanita and her three children were out on the ice for a fan promotion shooting pucks at a masked goalie. After a few shots, the netminder removed his mask to reveal he was their father, who was home a week early from his deployment to Afghanistan as reported by The Western College Hockey Blog.

Minnesota State deserves a pat on the back for setting up this special moment and for providing the video. Make sure to watch the entire video to see the looks on the kids’ faces.

Think of that image the next time you want to rip an opposing team’s fan for an ignorant comment. Remember what’s truly important.  Hint: It is not your team’s playoff chances.

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