This Week in the WCHA: February 5, 1999

It’s just one of those things that always seems to happen in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Last weekend, conference leader North Dakota — also the No. 1 team in the nation — squared off with Minnesota-Duluth, the last-place team in the league. Looks like a sure sweep for the Sioux, right?

Maybe in some other league, but one thing WCHA coaches learn right off the bat when they come in is that you never take another team for granted. The Bulldogs were within a minute of grabbing a win in the series opener and, despite losing their No. 1 goaltender, fought for a tie the second night.

This is where I get to make a shameless excuse. Maybe that’s why it’s so darn difficult to make picks each week. I don’t even want to look back at my record most weeks. Something you think is a dead-lock cinch turns out to be a flop.

With that pleasant thought in mind, let’s turn to this week’s action. After all, it’s time for Winter Carnival in Houghton, Mich., as the Techsters welcome the Sioux. The Huskies took both games last season against Minnesota — will they be able to harness the power of the Carnival to their advantage again?

Fresh off a pair of 1-1 ties with Alaska-Anchorage, St. Cloud State returns home to welcome Wisconsin. The Badgers fell victim to a Denver onslaught last Saturday, and have now fallen into seventh place in the conference. Can either UW coach Jeff Sauer or SCSU leader Craig Dahl field an entire lineup for this matchup?

After not tasting victory in two months, last weekend’s Minnesota sweep of Tech must have been awfully sweet for the Gophers. Maybe they should enjoy it while it lasts. They hit the road to face a rested, healthy Colorado College team. Will CC regain the form it had earlier this season, or will they continue to "struggle" against an improved-shooting Gopher team?

Minnesota-Duluth is next on the list of teams to make the journey to Alaska, but they welcome the challenge. After all, you push the No. 1 team to its limits two nights in a row, you should be able to walk with your chin up. Anchorage needs some wins to solidify its upper-level position in the face of advancing teams. Can UAA goaltender Gregg Naumenko keep up his solid play or will an improving Bulldogs offense be the one to get to him?

Denver again goes on the road to play a game at home and also plays a road game at that same arena. Confused? So am I. The Pioneers play a pair of non-conference games at the Air Force Academy this weekend, facing Air Force on Friday and Minnesota State, Mankato on Saturday. Will DU play well enough to keep its position in the U.S. College Hockey Online Top 10?

Will I finally stop asking questions and start giving some answers?

No. 1 NORTH DAKOTA (20-2-2, 15-1-2 WCHA: 1st) at MICHIGAN TECH (7-18-1, 7-13 WCHA: 8th) Friday-Saturday, 7:05-5:05 ET, MacInnes Student Ice Arena, Houghton, Mich.

ON THE SIOUX: You won’t find North Dakota coach Dean Blais surprised that Minnesota-Duluth put up such a fight against his team last weekend.

"Duluth has always been good competition," Blais said. "At times they’ve been rated real high and we’ve knocked them off, and vice versa."

But that still doesn’t make up for the fact that the No. 1 team in the nation, who had lost or tied only three games entering the weekend, came that close to being swept by the last place team in the conference. The Sioux have been forced to make a comeback to earn their points in each of their last three games.

Not to mention the number of close games they’ve been a part of. Seven of UND’s last nine games have either been a tie or a one-goal game. That starts to wear on a team after a while.

"Don Lucia wanted to know which church I went to," Blais said. "It’s been a grind, not so much physically, but mentally. When we came from two goals down at CC to win in the third period and then two goals down against Minnesota, and pulling our goaltender, tying it and winning it at Duluth, it’s been a tough three weeks. But we haven’t lost, we’ve managed to hang on."

The question stands, however, on the Sioux’s status. Are they as good now as they were earlier in the season. They don’t appear to be as dominant. Blais said that despite the prevalence of the one-goal game, he sees more intensity on his team now than before.

"It’s tough when everyone’s shooting at you," Blais said. "We’ve played well and the other teams have played well against us too."

Things haven’t been exactly as the UND leader would like, though. He emphasized that there is still a long way for his team to go before it wins anything.

"We haven’t accomplished anything. We haven’t won the league yet," Blais said. "It’ll be a joyous occasion when we do, but that’s still one of our goals. A few teams are still mathematically in range. We don’t want to see any peaks and valleys — especially valleys — at the end of the year. We want to keep building on what we’ve done.

"I’ve seen a little bit of complacency and no improvement in the last month, so I’m looking forward to seeing another jump in our improvement. I don’t know when that’ll come, it’s hard to tell. We’ve played three of our last four series on the road. Three of our last four series are going to be at home, so I would expect things to come together a little bit the last month of the season."

ON THE HUSKIES: Michigan Tech is just 3-8 this season at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. But when Winter Carnival comes around, throw that all out the window. Something strange happens, and I’m not talking about the festivities.

Since 1950, the Huskies are 65-27-6 in games played during Winter Carnival, the largest collegiate winter festival in the nation. Each year, in the fifth week of the winter quarter, Houghton transforms itself from a sleepy Upper Peninsula city to a thriving bastion of celebration. How to explain MTU’s success during the festival is an interesting question.

For a long time, Tech just had a good hockey team. With recent teams not exactly setting the world on fire, the Huskies are only 8-6-4 in the 1990s, but it still must be said that MTU is a different team during the Carnival.

"I think the players get caught up in the excitement and they relax a little bit more and just go out there and have some fun," Huskies coach Tim Watters said.

Winter Carnival isn’t just the games. There’s a snow sculpture contest, broomball tournaments, a talent show and the Sno-Ball Dance, featuring the Winter Carnival Queen.

"The whole atmosphere over Winter Carnival is just that — a carnival-like atmosphere," Watters said. "The students get into not just the hockey games but all the activities a little bit more, as do the local people and the many people that visit our campus."

That excitement should grow this season, as No. 1 North Dakota comes to town.

"I think it’s exciting any time you get to play the No. 1 team in the nation," Watters said. "There’s an air of excitement and this weekend will be no different."

The Techsters dropped a pair of 4-2 games to Minnesota last weekend, watching a two-goal lead go Friday night and seeing a 1-0 lead slip away on Saturday.

"I didn’t think we had a killer instinct this past weekend," Watters said. "We got up two goals in the first period on Friday night and we let that slip through our fingers. I think it just carried over through the rest of the weekend."

THE MATCHUP: Blais called his team "the road warriors." When you have a 10-0-2 record on the road, you can say things like that.

He said he hopes that experience will carry over to the time it counts.

"I think our guys know what it takes to win on the road," Blais said. "With the WCHA Final Five, the quarterfinals, semifinals and NCAA finals all on the road, you’d better be able to play on the road. It’s a different game. You keep it real simple and with a lot of discipline."

Here’s a side note: The Huskies have won the John MacInnes Memorial Cup, given to the winner of the two-game, total-goals series, 31 of the last 39 seasons.

PICKS: North Dakota, 4-3; 5-3

WISCONSIN (9-14-3, 7-9-2 WCHA: 7th) at ST. CLOUD STATE (12-11-3, 8-10-2 WCHA: 5th) Friday-Saturday, 7:35-7:05 CT, National Hockey Center, St. Cloud, Minn.

ON THE BADGERS: Things have come to this in Madison. At Jeff Sauer’s weekly news conference on Monday, the Wisconsin coach preceded reporters’ questions with a listing of his team’s latest injuries. "So you don’t have to ask the question," he said.

The question that comes up every week is, "Who’s next on the injury list?"

Here’s this week’s update: Defenseman Jeff Dessner injured his shoulder last Friday, forcing him out of Saturday’s game. He is expected to play this weekend, but Sauer said that it’s going to be "game-to-game." If Dessner gets hit again, his shoulder may dislocate again.

Defenseman Craig Anderson, already out for the season with a fractured vertebra, had the stabilizing halo removed from his head last weekend. The team is pursuing a medical redshirt for him, but it would be a special exemption because Anderson is already in his fifth season.

Forwards Niki Siren and Andy Wheeler were cleared to practice this week after knee injuries suffered on Dec. 31. Their status is still questionable.

Sauer said that, at practice Monday, he was going to have nine players in a no-contact situation. Just another in a set of problems plaguing the Badgers.

"I’ve personally never been through a season when we’ve had this many different types of things," Sauer said. "It’s just been one scenario after another."

The team’s goal of getting to the top five is still in reach, Sauer said. Of course, there are some tough weekends ahead of his team.

"With what transpired over the weekend and games in hand, we win a couple games along the way and we’re right back in the middle of things," he said. "Our schedule’s not easy, there’s no question, to have to play CC and North Dakota yet. We have five weekends left; the only weekend on a small rink, which when you have a depleted roster is tough too, is the trip to Michigan Tech. Everything else is going to be on the big ice surface, which you need some bodies for that."

ON THE HUSKIES: When teams play Alaska-Anchorage, more often than not, they are forced to play the Seawolves game. In successive 1-1 ties last weekend, St. Cloud State saw a little of that.

"I think the first night we played that way," Huskies coach Craig Dahl said. "The second night, the slot shots were a lot more, it was like 18-14, it was a little more wide-open game. It’s evident to see where their main improvement is as a team, and that’s their goaltending. We had four breakaways at least during the weekend, including a 2-on-0 that we hit the pipe on."

While Gregg Naumenko was outstanding for the Seawolves, so was Dean Weasler for the Huskies. Weasler stopped 61 of 63 shots last weekend, including 39 on Saturday. He now has a 9-5-2 record with a 3.11 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.

Through everything, Dahl said he was happy to get the unconventional two points.

"I’m glad we got out of there with two points," he said. "It’s a hell of a trip."

One of the things that jumps out of St. Cloud’s results this season is the balance. Through 25 games, the Huskies have hovered around the .500 mark. The most they have been under is two games — after sweeps by Michigan Tech on Nov. 13-14 and North Dakota on Nov. 27-28. On the other hand, the most they have gone over .500 is one game, including their present mark.

SCSU, like Wisconsin, remains plagued by injuries. Dahl still has seven players — including three of his top nine forwards — out of the lineup. On the bright side, the Huskies didn’t lose anyone else last weekend.

"Praise God," Dahl said.

The Huskies currently hold a one-point lead on Minnesota and a two-point advantage on Wisconsin for fifth place. The Badgers and Gophers, however, each have two games in hand on the Huskies. With eight games remaining, Dahl said he has presented the team with what it will have to do down the stretch to hold on to fifth place.

"I’d say we’re going to have to get 10 points out of the 16," he said. "They know what they’ve got to do. We’ll see what happens."

THE MATCHUP: It’s funny, but neither coach seems really interested in the other’s actions.

"We don’t worry about them," Dahl said. "We just practice the things we have to do to get better. I never really stress too much, except watching their power play and penalty kill, know what they’re doing there."

Said Sauer: "I’m not too concerned about their roster. I’m more concerned about our roster and what we have to do."

Wisconsin leads the all-time series, 19-13-3, but has not had a lot of success recently. Over the last 16 games, UW is just 4-10-2 against SCSU.

PICKS: St. Cloud State, 5-3; 2-0

MINNESOTA (9-13-6, 7-8-3 WCHA: 6th) at No. 5 COLORADO COLLEGE (17-8-1, 12-6 WCHA: 2nd) Friday-Saturday, 7:35-7:05 MT, Colorado Springs World Arena, Colorado Springs, Colo.

ON THE GOPHERS: Yes, it was a full two months between Minnesota victories. And yes, the Gophers feel a whole lot better now that they’ve broken the winless streak.

The consecutive 4-2 victories over Michigan Tech moved the Gophers back into sixth place, within striking distance of fourth with a pair of games in hand.

"Wins are a whole lot better than losses," Gophers coach Doug Woog said. "The name of the game is to get a ‘W.’ We needed to get some points. The guys needed some rewards too, it’s been a long, long haul of getting shots and no goals."

A couple of things stand out between the Gophers team of last weekend and the one that endured January. The first is the improvement in shots.

"I thought we were shooting the puck a little bit better over the last couple weeks," Woog said. "We got good goals — we put the puck into the twine — against North Dakota. We hit five pipes Saturday night against Michigan Tech. We were bouncing that puck around pretty good."

The other is the balance in the scoring punch. Seven different players scored the eight goals for Minnesota last weekend.

"Before, I think you found it the same," Woog said. "You found points being distributed around quite a bit. It’s been moved around a little bit and that’s been pretty positive from our end of it. Our forward line has been balanced. We’re getting some production from some different people."

One of the results of that change is Matt Leimbek, who earned Minnesota’s second WCHA Player of the Week award of the season after a five-point (2 goals, 3 assists) weekend. He has eight points in his last five games and has scored goals in his last three games — the only goals of the sophomore’s career.

"Matty came through three games in a row with goals," Woog said. "It’s so ironic, he hasn’t scored a goal at Minnesota and now he’s got three in a row and got them all on the power play."

ON THE TIGERS: Having a weekend off this late in the season could have numerous effects, both positive and negative. For Colorado College, it seems the positives have already come; whether they can continue them through the weekend is the next challenge.

Positive No. 1: Time Off. CC coach Don Lucia didn’t see his players between his team’s last game and last Friday.

"I don’t know who enjoyed it more, them not seeing me or me not seeing them at this point of the year," Lucia said.

For some, this mini-break is the first in a long time. Forward Justin Morrison didn’t get any break while he was with the U.S. Junior National Team during winter break, so this was good for him, Lucia said. He also said he’s going to shorten practices the rest of the season to give people more of a break.

Positive No. 2: Injury recovery. The Tigers got Toby Petersen back for the Jan. 22-23 series with Michigan Tech, now it looks like K.J. Voorhees will see his first action of the season this weekend after recovering from back surgery.

"The biggest adjustment he’s going to have to make is just getting back in game speed," Lucia said. "There’s only one way to do that, and that’s play games. He’s where everybody else was in October. He’s practiced for three weeks, it’s like the season opener for him, the trouble is the speed limit goes up in games. I think he’ll be fine, especially two or three weeks from now. I don’t expect him to be in a groove this weekend, but I’m hoping that by the end of February he’ll be very comfortable."

Unfortunately for CC, Jon Austin went down with a sprained ankle this week in practice and will be out for two to three weeks. He joins Berk Nelson on the injured list.

Suddenly, the Tigers have company on their heels. Denver is just two points back, but CC has two games in hand. Said Lucia: "This is a weekend that we can try to put some distance between us and them."

As far as playing to the end, Lucia knows his team’s fate, as well as many others, rest in its own hands.

"What’s interesting in our league right now is that everybody controls their own destiny," Lucia said. "We control our own destiny for second, Minnesota controls their own destiny to get a home ice spot and maybe climb a whole lot higher. There’s this big mass of teams that are fighting for home ice, and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. Nobody’s got anybody to blame but themselves if you don’t get home ice or you do get home ice."

THE MATCHUP: If you’re a Minnesota fan, the images of the Nov. 6-7 series at Mariucci Arena must still haunt you — maybe even more as this weekend’s series approaches. That weekend, CC came into Minnesota and put a whomping on the Gophers, 7-1 and 6-1.

It’s hard to forget the sight of Tigers players skating circles around the Gophers defense. Lucia said that was one of the best weekends of hockey he’s seen his team play.

"It was one of those weekends where the stars were aligned right for us," Lucia said. "That’s probably as good a weekend of hockey as I’ve had a team play in six years. Just back to back, all six periods, goaltending was very good, the specialty teams was very good. Every phase of the game clicked. We need to do that again this week. My concern is, having the weekend off, that we’re not too rusty in the first period and Minnesota takes advantage of that. This is an important final 10 games for us and we obviously want to try to do well at home and win as many games as we can at home from here on out, establish ourselves and try to get second place."

Woog holds a high opinion of CC, probably drawn from that weekend.

"To me, they’ve got as good a talent as anybody in the league,"Woog said. "That’s the part that scares me. Their skill level, their speed level throughout the lineup is as good if not the best in the league. That kind of scares me. We won’t give them as much space. It was like kids against men when we played them the last time. We play a little tighter, we play better defensively. They just threw the puck around like it was on a string. Hopefully we won’t allow them to have that many opportunities this time around."

To do that, the Gophers will have to control the neutral zone on the big ice. If they can’t do that, the scoreboard might get another pounding.

PICKS: Colorado College 5-2; tie 4-4

MINNESOTA-DULUTH (6-19-3, 3-14-3 WCHA: 9th) at ALASKA-ANCHORAGE (11-11-4, 8-8-4 WCHA: 4th) Friday-Saturday, 7:35 AT, Sullivan Arena, Anchorage, Alaska

ON THE BULLDOGS: When you come so close to defeating the No. 1 team in the nation, not just once but twice, do you feel encouraged that your team can play at that level or frustrated that you didn’t have a better fate?

"Both," said Minnesota-Duluth coach Mike Sertich, who saw North Dakota steal a win last Friday and fight back for a 2-2 tie last Saturday.

"I don’t think there’s a question that we had it in our hands and North Dakota snatched it from us, but that’s all part of the gig."

That’s all been part of the trend against North Dakota this season for the Bulldogs. They lost 3-0 and 4-1 at Engelstad Arena earlier this season.

"We played North Dakota tough all four games," Sertich said. "Realistically, when you look at the games out there they were one-goal games. It was 1-1 Saturday night with about 3 minutes left and they got some at the end and 1-0 (Friday night) and they got an empty-netter and another one at the end."

A good number of WCHA coaches have expressed their belief that Duluth is not your normal last-place team. But effort aside, what counts is the numbers. And UMD just hasn’t received its share of breaks this season.

They got more bad news Saturday night when goaltender Brant Nicklin was knocked out with a sprained left knee. He will miss this weekend’s trip to Anchorage, ending his streak of consecutive WCHA starts at 80.

Tony Gasparini, the son of former North Dakota coach Gino Gasparini, will take over the No. 1 spot in Nicklin’s absence. He has a 2.29 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in 184 minutes of work over five games this season. That includes the last 59:21 of Saturday’s tie with the Sioux.

"He didn’t get nearly the shots that Nicklin had to play, but played very well when we needed him," Sertich said.

ON THE SEAWOLVES: Dean Talafous still isn’t quite sure what happened last weekend in a pair of 1-1 ties against St. Cloud State. Was this the same team that opened up its offense this season or a version of last year’s last-in-the-NCAA scoring effort?

"I don’t know what the heck happened," Talafous said. "I thought both teams played hard. I don’t think they held back at all. It was good goaltending in both ends. I think both teams played pretty good defense, but not because they sat back and tried to defend. It was just kind of the way the weekend went."

The UAA coach considers this time of year playoff time, and, as such, things tend to get a little tighter.

"If you look at the past, playoff time is a little more difficult, things toughen up," Talafous said. "Teams are trying to bring their game to a new level. Generally speaking, the games are pretty tight. You look at Duluth and North Dakota last weekend and you look around the league and it’s just hard-fought games."

Goaltender Gregg Naumenko continued his stellar freshman season, lowering his goals-against to 1.97 while raising his save percentage to .932 with 56 saves last weekend.

"Gregg is really playing well for us but I think he’d be the first one to admit the team is working extremely hard in front of him as well," Talafous said. "The kind of success Gregg is having wouldn’t be happening if the team wasn’t limiting the quality shots in front of him and working extremely hard at coming back and defending. You need both.

"Even the best goalie in the world, if the team in front of him isn’t working and there’s a lot of quality shots and rebounds, isn’t going to look very good. Gregg has been very steady for us, but I think the team’s performance has been very consistent as well."

Naumenko has allowed just one goal in 10 of his last 12 outings.

UAA was not called for a penalty in Saturday’s game against the Huskies. The only surprise about that tidbit is the length of time since that last happened. It was almost two years ago — Feb. 22, 1997 — when the Seawolves last failed to take a penalty.

THE MATCHUP: Count Talafous as another of the coaches who thinks Duluth is a lot tougher than its record suggests.

"I still think the series we played in Duluth earlier this year is as tough a series as we’ve played this year," he said. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for Duluth. And then to go toe-to-toe with North Dakota for two games, they’ve played North Dakota as well as anybody. The combination of our memory of our series down there, and then with what they did last weekend, I don’t think they’re going to catch anybody by surprise."

Anchorage got three points out of that series in Duluth earlier this season — a 3-1 win and a 1-1 tie — but, "We needed everything, good goaltending, we played our best ever and still it could have went the other way easily," Talafous said.

Sertich said his team isn’t in a position where it can worry about the other team’s situation.

"We just have to take care of ourselves, we don’t worry about them," Sertich said. "We know what we’re up against, but the only thing we can control is what we do."

PICKS: Alaska-Anchorage; 2-1; 1-0

No. 10 DENVER (15-9-2, 10-8-2 WCHA: 3rd) at AIR FORCE (12-13-1) Friday, 7:30 MT, Cadet Ice Arena, Air Force Academy MINNESOTA STATE, MANKATO (10-12-4) at DENVER Saturday, 4:00 MT, Cadet Ice Arena, Air Force Academy

ON THE PIONEERS: Your top line produces all of three points in a two-game set, with two of those points coming on a late, meaningless goal Saturday night. Do you think your team has much of a chance?

"It’s funny how that goes," Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. "Sometimes yes and sometimes no."

It just so happens that last weekend’s series with Wisconsin was sometimes yes. The line of Paul Comrie, Mark Rycroft and James Patterson didn’t have much of an impact at all, but the Pioneers still skated out of Madison with three points.

The DU line that made the most noise was that consisting of Joe Murphy, Chris Paradise and Matt Pettinger, a combination which was united recently.

"(They) outstanding both nights," Gwozdecky said. "I thought they were our best line (Friday) night and one of the reasons they got the start was the way they played (Friday) night. I was hoping they could create some energy for us early in the game."

Gwozdecky said he felt that line’s performance, as well as the fact that each line contributed a goal to the 5-0 rout on Saturday, shows his team’s depth.

"We’ve got some marquee players, there’s no question about it," Gwozdecky said. "That top line should be our most productive line, but we also have depth to our lineup. I think it’s been proven in the past that we’re not a one-man team. I think that was probably proven throughout the weekend."

Stephen Wagner made up for a poor effort on Friday with his fourth shutout of the season on Saturday. He became the first DU goaltender to amass four shutouts in a season since Gerry Powers, who had five in 1968-69. It was also the fifth blanking of his career.

"He was back on his game tonight," Gwozdecky said after Saturday’s game. "Who knows why he played like he did (Friday) night."

Comrie received a game disqualification for butt-ending on Saturday and will miss Friday’s game against Air Force on the resulting suspension.

A reporter asked Gwozdecky after Saturday’s win if the Pioneers were a title contender. His response was a solid no — even he thinks North Dakota has this nailed down. But there was more.

"Are we an contender for second place?" Gwozdecky asked. "I think we’ve got CC in our sights, I think we might have an opportunity to catch them if the timing is right."

ON THE FALCONS: Air Force had a weekend off after sweeping Niagara two weeks ago, 4-1 and 3-2.

Senior center Justin Kieffer leads coach Frank Serratore’s team with 31 points in 26 games (11 goals, 20 assists). Tony Lawrence leads Air Force freshmen with 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points.

Sophomore netminder Marc Kielkucki has an 11-9-1 record, a 3.34 goals-against average and a .870 save percentage.

ON THE MAVERICKS: Coach Don Brose’s Minnesota State, Mankato team had trouble capitalizing on its chances in a pair of home losses to Brown last weekend. They outshot Brown 40-21 on Sunday, but still lost 3-0.

After finishing the first period of Sunday’s game tied at 1, Brown came out firing again and outscored the Mavericks 7-2 in the final two periods of an 8-3 victory. Senior wing Tyler Deis, junior forward Jesse Rooney and sophomore forward T.J. Guidarelli scored MSU’s goals.

Mankato junior defenseman Todd George has moved into a tie for eighth on the Mavericks’ scoring list for defenseman with 64 points in 93 games.

Junior center Aaron Fox leads the Mavericks in scoring this season with 15 goals and 16 assists. He has appeared on the scoring sheet in 18 of his 25 games this season.

MSU is 4-7-3 on the road in ’98-99 and 3-7-2 against WCHA teams this season.

THE MATCHUPS: Think these are just more non-conference games? Think again. Every game at this part of the season would be considered for a team on the bubble of the NCAA tournament. Two wins gives Denver a better record and a better chance of getting in if they don’t get the automatic bid.

The last time DU played Air Force, the Pioneers romped, 11-1, on Dec. 27, 1995 in the Denver Cup. They are 18-2 against the Falcons and 1-1 vs. Minnesota State, Mankato.

PICKS: Denver over Air Force, 5-1; Denver over Minnesota State, Mankato, 3-2

UPCOMING SCHEDULE Here’s where things get really weird at the Kohl Center in Madison. Wisconsin and Colorado College play Thursday night and Saturday morning. Maybe Jeff Sauer should start working on "Brunch with the Badgers."

Thursday, Feb. 11 Colorado College at Wisconsin

Friday, Feb. 12 Alaska-Anchorage at Minnesota Denver at North Dakota Michigan Tech at Minnesota-Duluth Nebraska-Omaha at St. Cloud State

Saturday, Feb. 13 Colorado College at Wisconsin Alaska-Anchorage at Minnesota Denver at North Dakota Michigan Tech at Minnesota-Duluth Nebraska-Omaha at St. Cloud State