Three thoughts, Feb. 1

Three thoughts fromt his weekend in the WCHA:

1. Look out for BSU

Bemidji State took three of four points from visiting Bowling Green, which makes them unbeaten in four consecutive games against top-10 teams. Last week, the Beavers beat No. 7 Minnesota Duluth and then-No. 1 Minnesota State in the North Star College Cup. The Falcons are ranked sixth. “It’s huge to get three out of four points,” Beavers defenseman Matt Prapavessis told The Bemidji Pioneer. “On home ice, getting conference points. It was a huge, huge game. Maybe the biggest game of the season. Last week would have meant nothing if we didn’t do some damage this week, so it was huge.” Bemidji State has two losses in its last 13 games. And, although those defeats seem somewhat perplexing coming at Lake Superior State, they did outshoot the Lakers 78-44 that weekend. The Falcons have just two wins in their last seven games.

2. Mavericks have Bulldogs’ number

Minnesota State swept Ferris State with a pair of 5-1 victories. They teams quickly became rivals when the new WCHA began last year with a slugfest a year ago in Mankato and another meeting in the Final Five championship game. The Mavericks won all three of those games, and, this season, tacked on four more wins for seven straight against the defending league champions. MSU outscored Ferris 15-4, with 11 different players scoring goals. Kyle Schempp scored all four of the Bulldogs’ goals. “I think of it as a rivalry game,” Mavericks captain Chase Grant told the Mankato Free Press. “The intensity and focus levels up a little bit. We have plenty of motivation.” The sweep was a big bounce-back from MSU’s loss in the finals of the North Star College Cup against Bemidji State a week earlier. Ferris State, meanwhile, has lost four in a row (all to MSU) and eight of its last 10.

3. Showdown looming

Minnesota State and Michigan Tech became the first teams in the country to reach 20 victories, with the Mavericks doing it on Friday and the Huskies hitting the mark on Saturday against Alabama Huntsville. It was the third 20-win season in a row for MSU but the first for Tech since the 1987-88 season. That was also the last time the Huskies scored 11 goals in a game, which it did Saturday night against the Chargers. First-place MSU and second-place Tech, which has won four straight and five of six, are separated by just four points in the standings, four points that the Mavericks grabbed in mid-November in Houghton. Mark your calendar: They will meet again Feb. 27-28 in Mankato. Between now and then their schedules are quite similar: home next weekend (Alaska Anchorage is at MSU, Bemidji State is at Tech), in Alaska the following week (MSU at Fairbanks, Tech at Anchorage) and on bye the week before they meet.

34 COMMENTS

  1. If Kessel isn’t in the Hobey picture than what is the point in mentioning his name in an article titled “Hobey Watch”?

    Idiot amateur writer.

    • This is an article comparing the writer’s preseason picks to current reality. Read the first paragraph before insulting the writer.

    • Seriously buddy, READ THE ARTICLE! Elliot, while I think he does have a little east coast bias (see 14 preseason east picks vs. 11 preseason west picks), he is a professional and an excellent writer. Shut your mouth and if you think you can write professional work, apply to one of these places and see if you can….

    • these were guys that he mentioned at the beginning of the season. revisiting his picks.

      thompson should be in the talk now after another huge weekend

  2. Where’s John Muse (Boston College)? The kid has backboned BC to 2 national championships and is a serious contender for a 3rd.

  3. Small correction: The MSU – MTU series on Feb. 27-28 is in Mankato, not Houghton. As a Tech student I would love to see the Mavericks back in da Yoop this season, though.

  4. Typically, the Beavers start strong and finish weak… The only other year I can remember in the DI era where they started weak and finished strong was 2009… The year they plowed into the frozen four and shocked the nation…. Except for Beaver fans…. We all have always known they play good, scrappy hockey and can beat any team in the country when they come to play. Here is to a repeat of 2009, with one exception! (2 more wins at the end!) :) Even if it’s a pipe dream, I’m proud of the way the boys have been playing in the second half! BSU PRIDE!!!!

  5. Attendance a huge part? Funny…..still no one shows up….I’m guessing ticket prices have to do with that….and the crappy places they go. Or the fact that you have about a week to plan to go half way across the country to see your team.

    • I’d say the obscene ticket and concession prices for sure. (and don’t give me that “it’s the going price for an event like this” crap). In most cases, the local market doesn’t bother to show up.
      It’s also the schedule… Most schools are on their break the Regionals weekend.

      • Break or not, I would be willing to go, but it definitely makes it 100 times harder to go somewhere it isn’t cheap to fly into (Grand Rapids, Toledo), or would take about 12 hours to drive. Price gouging at different regionals is pathetic as well. Any time its in St. Paul, you can guarantee that it is at least 40 dollars more a package.

          • Remember in, I believe 2010, when St. Cloud and Wisco were in St. Paul? Place wasn’t even half full with 2 teams from that area and ticket prices way more than anywhere else. Simple economics would fill the area. Lower price, sell more tickets. High price, sell less. Look at grand rapids a few years ago. 1000 people at the regional title game. Bet if they cut ticket prices in half they would have had a lot more people in the seats.

          • Look at the Providence Regional final last year. There were very generously 1,000 people at the game, after BC fans bailed. Even though the Dunkin Doughnuts center is very dark, it could not hide all the empty seats. This “attendance” excuse is pure crapola.

          • Guess the question is if they didn’t make the moves for “attendance” would you even see 1000 seats filled? If they can get even a few hundred additional seats filled through all of the regions, they are going to make some moves. The real issue is the locations. You want better attendance at the Regionals? Two sites get picked one east, one west and 8 teams at each instead of 4 teams at each of 4. Automatically more teams in the same arena, play Thur/Sat and Fri/Sun. Would be a lot more energy and in my opinion is the next best reasonable solution to try before we go back to higher seed hosting as that is a really big advantage (as a North Dakota fan it would be great, as we tend to get a lot of #1 seed rankings but I want what is best for all of college hockey and not just the same group of teams that find themselves higher up in the PRW year in and year out).

          • The real problem with using this regional “attendance” excuse is that the team they count on for more bodies in the seats has to win the first game, and make it to the finals so their fans will show up. From what I have seen, and personally witnessed, the ONLY fans that will show up for a finals, even if they lose the first game, are the Sioux fans. Maybe the refs should be “encouraged” to make sure these “great attendance” fans make it to the finals. Just kidding of course, but this “solution” would solve their attendance woes. The higher seed hosting would be an absolute joke, and would be terrible for all of college hockey. Even your suggestion with only 2 regional sites has probable holes. What kind of attendance would be at one of the Eastern finals if UNO played SCSU?

          • Sometimes I don’t get fans. If I paid for a seat for all the games, I’m going to go to all the games, even if I have to watch two teams I don’t really care about. Its college hockey. Nothing better!

          • I totally agree, why waste your money!! When the FF was in Denver I went and cheered for the Sioux, as a WCHA team. I did the same for CC when we went to the World Arena the same year. The year before I was rooting for Minnesota and UND at the Denver Regionals. Conference fans need to realize, the better their teams do in the Regionals and Frozen Four, the better next years rankings will be for the entire conference.

      • True, the NCAA hasn’t yet figured out that its hockey regional ticket prices are too high. I went to Worcester six years ago, and even back then it cost me over $100 (with fees) for a single seat. Guess they like seeing empty seats. This year’s regionals also fall on Easter weekend.

    • I have two things they can do to fix it, One top seed hosts the regional, they can do it at their home arena or a near by larger arena if the anticipate they will be able to sell more tickets than their home arena can accommodate.

      Option two, go to a best of three series to be similar to the NHL playoffs, then the higher seed hosts the series, one game Friday, One game Saturday and a tie breaker on Sunday if needed. More hockey, more ticket sales and no empty venues.

  6. Its totally true. The ticket prices jump heavily when you go from conference tournaments to the NCAA tournament, AND they don’t sell beer. Lower the cost, start selling beer, and try to place teams fairly in a reasonable location if possible. That will produce better results. Now if only the Big 10 tournament was fixable…

    • Mister Perfect has Penn State in as the Small Six conference leader. There will only be one team from B1G in the end. If Penn State wins conference they will beat Michigan and drop them out of the top 14.

  7. I’m so sick of watching the regionals at empty arena’s at neutral sites. Seriously the only packed regional was in Fargo, and the whole time all I was thinking was that if they had held it in Grand Forks more people would have attended. Lets quit trying to copy basketball and just let the top seeds host the regional, and better yet copy the NHL and have the tournament be a best of three series (instead of best of 7) rather than a one and done. It makes more sense financially and adds even more to have a higher seed overall as higher seeds would have home advantage. If you had a really High profile match up like a North Dakota vs Minnesota or a BC vs a BU, then by all means move it to a Pro arena to boost ticket sales, but otherwise campus locations on non neutral sites are better than a dead neutral venue.

  8. Jayson – when you use winning % to determine the conference automatic bid, are you going to use in conference or overall winning %? Makes a difference in the B1G, I think, with Minnesota and Michigan.

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