Three things I think I learned this week:
1. No place like home
Much was made of Alaska Anchorage’s travel problems last week, (In case you missed it, weather delays stranded the Seawolves in Minneapolis until Thursday.), yet it found a way to win two games and spoil Minnesota State’s long trip to Alaska. Senior goaltender Chris Kamal was a big reason for the wins, allowing just one goal a night to a team that had averaged 3.9 goals per game over their previous nine games. Perhaps recent history was on the Seawolves’ side. The bulk of their turnaround under new coach Matt Thomas has taken place at Sullivan Arena, where they are an impressive 9-2-1.
2. FSU showdowns
Ferris State remained undefeated in WCHA play (12-0-2) with a sweep of Michigan Tech. The Bulldogs pushed hard to sell out the games and got full houses for their wins, drawing 2,490 on Friday and 2,529 on Saturday. Up next is a trip to Mankato to take on Minnesota State. Had the Mavericks been able to win two games at Anchorage, first place would have been up for grabs. It still has a chance to be a great series. I’m curious to see what kind of crowds they get in Mankato Friday and Saturday.
3. A season saved?
Bemidji State went into the weekend at Lake Superior State on an eight-game winless streak. Four ties in that stretch kept the Beavers afloat, but they needed a win – or two. They got the sweep against the No. 19 Lakers – on the road no less – and are in the thick of the WCHA race for home ice (top four). “This was a huge game,” Beavers coach Tom Serratore said on the radio after Saturday’s game. “I told our guys this is game seven of the Stanley Cup finals, and that’s how it’s going to be for the rest of the year. The sweep is what we needed to rectify last season.”