Three things: Mavs go into break on top

1. Minnesota State retakes first

Minnesota State capped the first half of its season in dominating fashion, sweeping Alabama Huntsville last weekend and in turn leaping past idle Bowling Green to take over first place in the standings. The Mavs are on a four-game winning streak and have scored 20 goals in that span.

2. Beavers climb the ladder

After going more than a month without a regulation conference victory, Bemidji State finally got off the schneid with a sweep of Alaska Anchorage. In the first game, Jay Dickman netted his second hat trick of the season in a 5-1 win. On Saturday, Beavers’ goaltender Michael Bitzer earned yet another shutout as BSU won 3-0. With the sweep — their very first of the season — the defending MacNaughton Cup champs climbed all the way up to a tie for sixth place. They were previously in ninth place and out of playoff position.

3. One week off

While most conferences were off last weekend, giving teams two weeks of holiday break, eight of the 10 WCHA teams were in action Friday and Saturday, meaning most of them get just one week of holiday break before returning to action. Bemidji State, Alabama Huntsville, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan all play conference series against one another Dec. 29-30, while Bowling Green and Michigan Tech are participating in the Great Lakes Invitational on Jan. 1-2. Lake Superior State will also be participating in the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh. The question is, will the short break hurt or help those teams? Although more rest is always good, it seems like when teams are playing well they’d prefer to keep that momentum going. Let’s see how that plays out.