This Week in the WCHA: Jan. 17, 2008

What did I say last week about things looking up at the U, if only for a weekend? Yeah, maybe it was only for that weekend. Still, the Gophers are starting to score a bit more per game, so they may be sloooowly turning the corner. Now if they could only hold a lead … but regarding that, I give tons of credit to St. Cloud for never quitting and earning the tie on Saturday.

Red Baron Pizza WCHA Players of the Week

Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week: Jimmy Kilpatrick, CC.
Why: Scored seven points (2 g, 5 a) in the Tigers’ weekend sweep over Alaska-Anchorage.
Also Nominated: Chris VandeVelde, UND.

Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week: Taylor Chorney, UND.
Why: Scored two goals and two assists against Michigan Tech in the Sioux’s weekend sweep as well as helped his team allow only two goals against and 33 total shots.
Also Nominated: Brian Connelly, CC; Drew Dobson, MTU.

Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week: Garrett Roe, SCSU.
Why: Had four goals and 11 shots on goal to help his Huskies take three points from Minnesota.
Also Nominated: Tyler Johnson, CC; Kyle Ostrow, DU; Cody Danberg, tUMD; Evan Trupp, UND; Kyle Turris, UW.

Wisconsin/Denver Revisited

The Badgers filed a formal protest with the league regarding last Friday night’s fiasco at Denver (which I don’t want to get in a whole load of detail about here), which was denied in accordance with a “no protest, ref’s decision is final” rule.

Still, questions may be coming out of the weekend regarding video replay.

After Friday night’s game, Pioneer coach George Gwozdecky admitted that in the pre-video replay days, the goal should have counted. Granted, given the actual replay, it should have counted anyway.

“I didn’t know; I had no idea,” he said when asked if he thought it was a goal. “The one reason that our coaches in this league and the administration and the referees especially pushed so hard and so long for a very expensive but very effective tool like instant video replay was to get the call right. It’s tough when it goes against you — no question about it. But as tough as it is, you can’t argue about what you see on video.”

Well, unless the video watched was not enough, as was the case on Friday.

Badger coach Mike Eaves addressed the situation on Monday at the Badgers’ weekly news conference, saying that despite Friday’s mishaps (and a few other replay issues on Saturday), he’s still a proponent for the system.

“In the long run, we should get it right, but obviously there’s bugs to be worked out,” he said. “There’s been no doubt that it’s been very helpful, and what has happened this year was supposed to happen — especially at Denver — is they were granted the right to use any and all video replay to make sure that a goal was right. It was an experiment.

“As we did a couple years ago with just the one camera angle, Denver was one of the spots that was granted the [right] to do that, but there was a bunch of errors that happened on Friday night that obviously the league has to take a look at it and how to handle it in more than one area.”

Comments have also been milling about whether this situation has tainted the league’s image given the massive screw-up. I’m honestly not sure what to think about that. Granted, it doesn’t look good, but I think the perk here is that the error was definitely a human one and one that I think can be prevented in the future.

What do you guys think?

Random Notes (and Commentary!) From Around the League

UAA — If you’re a parent (or know a kid you can fake as your own), bring them to the Sullivan Arena on Saturday. Any kid 12 or younger wearing any sports jersey can get in for free and if you’re the parent (or kid-bringer) and wear UAA apparel, you get in for $5. Plus, if you’re early, you get a water bottle.

See, I like this promotion. Gets kids liking hockey early (big plus) PLUS it includes free stuff. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

tUMD — It’s not the end of the month so it’s not really time for the “Keeping up with the Pros” segment, but former Bulldog Matt Niskanen was named to the NHL’s YoungStars Team that will compete in a three-on-three event during the All-Star weekend.

MSU-M — If you’re a big hockey card collector, you may want to check out the North Dakota-Minnesota State game in Mankato on Friday. The first 500 fans will receive a Maverick men’s hockey trading card set.

Reader Mailbag

It’s time for the thing you’ve all been waiting for — my contest. Quite a few of you have complained to me about the quality of this here column and think that USCHO should have fired me a week in and that a monkey could do a better job.

Well, if that’s still the case, here’s the contest: Do better than yours truly. I don’t expect coach quotes (but you can pull them from other sources as long as they are properly attributed). Give me 500 words of column — that really isn’t that much — only about a third of what actually gets “printed” here every week. If you win, you get your submission posted here next week and if you show up to the WCHA Red Baron Final Five, I’ll buy you a drink of your choice during one of the intermissions.

I came up with this idea about a month and a half ago, but waited until now because I’m going to be on vacation next week and darn it, I want to actually enjoy Hawai’i and not spend my entire time in coffee shops mooching free Internet to write.

Match-Ups By the Numbers

Three conference series this week and Denver and Colorado College have a Serratore brother hockey party with games against non-conference foes Air Force and Bemidji State.

No. 17 Wisconsin @ Alaska-Anchorage
Overall Records: UW — 9-10-3 (5-8-1 WCHA). UAA — 6-9-5 (2-9-3 WCHA).
Head-to-Head: UW leads 37-13-8 in the all-time series.
Top Scorers: UW — Kyle Turris (9-13–22). UAA — Kevin Clark (7-10–17).
Goaltenders: UW — Shane Connelly (19 gp, 8-10-1, 2.63 GAA, .910 sv %). UAA — Jon Olthuis (19 gp, 5-9-5, 3.14 GAA, .880 sv %).

No. 18 Minnesota @ No. 16 Minnesota-Duluth
Overall Records: UM — 11-10-3 (5-8-1 WCHA). tUMD — 8-7-5 (6-6-4 WCHA).
Head-to-Head: UM leads 124-66-11 in the all-time series.
Top Scorers: UM — Blake Wheeler (12-10–22). tUMD — Nick Kemp (7-6–13), Josh Meyers (5-8–13), Jason Garrison (4-9–13).
Goaltenders: UM — Jeff Frazee (14 gp, 6-7, 2.93 GAA, .890 sv %). tUMD — Alex Stalock (20 gp, 8-7-5, 2.43 GAA, .909 sv %).

No. 6 North Dakota @ No. 20 Minnesota State
Overall Records: UND — 12-8-1 (9-7 WCHA). MSU-M — 9-8-4 (3-7-4 WCHA).
Head-to-Head: UND leads 26-9-7 in the all-time series.
Top Scorers: UND — Ryan Duncan (9-13–22). MSU-M — Trevor Bruess (5-11–16).
Goaltenders: UND — Jean-Philippe Lamoureux (21 gp, 12-8-1, 1.86 GAA, .929 sv %). MSU-M — Mike Zacharias (18 gp, 8-5-4, 1.94 GAA, .930 sv %).

No. 4 Denver @ Air Force, vs. Bemidji State
Overall Records: DU — 17-5 (12-4 WCHA). AFA — 11-7-4 (9-6-3 AHA). BSU — 11-9-2 (8-2-2 CHA).
Head-to-Head: DU leads the all-time series against AFA 27-2, and the all-time series with BSU 4-0.
Top Scorers: DU — Brock Trotter (12-17–29). AFA — Eric Ehn (6-18–24). BSU — Matt Read (6-12–18).
Goaltenders: DU — Peter Mannino (22 gp, 17-5, 1.96 GAA, .927 sv %). AFA — Andrew
Volkening (22 gp, 11-6-4, 2.43 GAA, .894 sv %). BSU — Matt Climie (16 gp, 9-4-2, 1.78 GAA, .927 sv %).

Bemidji State, Air Force @ No. 3 Colorado College
Overall Records: BSU — 11-9-2 (8-2-2 CHA). AFA — 11-7-4 (9-6-3 AHA). CC — 16-6 (15-3 WCHA).
Head-to-Head: CC leads the all-time series with BSU, 2-1 and the all-time series with AFA 55-6-2.
Top Scorers: BSU — Matt Read (6-12–18). AFA — Eric Ehn (6-18–24). CC — Chad Rau (17-11–28).
Goaltenders: BSU — Matt Climie (16 gp, 9-4-2, 1.78 GAA, .927 sv %). AFA — Andrew Volkening (22 gp, 11-6-4, 2.43 GAA, .894 sv %). CC — Richard Bachman (18 gp, 15-3, 1.61 GAA, .940 sv %).